HMD Global has been vying to capture a share of the budget smartphone segment in India ever since it revived the Nokia brand, but the relatively high prices of its phones and the presence of competitors that offer more bang for the buck have kept Nokia from recapturing its former glory. The Nokia 3.2 is the company’s latest attempt at offering an affordable phone that looks to strike the right balance between features, experience, and price. The phone packs a large display with a modern waterdrop notch design and a large 4000mAh battery. On top of that, the Nokia 3.2 offers a stock Android experience with the promise of timely updates.
However, HMD has also made some serious compromises to keep the price in check. The quad-core SoC at the heart of Nokia 3.2 looks underpowered on paper, and the imaging hardware too seems less impressive than what we’re now used to seeing at this price level. Has the company cut costs in the right places, or is the Nokia 3.2 just another budget phone that is destined to lay down arms in the face of intense competition? Let’s dive right into our review and find out.
Nokia 3.2 design
The design of the Nokia 3.2 can be described as utilitarian at best, but some will find the understated look appealing. The phone has a polycarbonate unibody with curved sides that extend all the way to the 2.5D curved glass on the front. The rear panel looks like glass and has a reflective finish.
However, it attracts dust particles and smudges rather quickly, and we found this to be more easily visible on the Nokia 3.2’s black variant, which we have for review. The Nokia 3.2 comes in a steel grey colour option as well.
HMD Global has eschewed the premium glass bodies of its pricier offerings in favour of polycarbonate to keep the price of the Nokia 3.2 in check, but it has another disadvantage. The phone’s glossy rear panel gets scratched easily, and we noticed a lot of scuff marks within just a week of using the phone. If you want to prevent this, you’ll have to buy a protective case as the retail package does not include one.
When it comes to in-hand feel, the Nokia 3.2 is not the most comfortable phone to use. The phone has a large profile, which means one-handed usage is out of the question here. We often had to adjust the phone in our hands and stretch our thumb to reach content at the far corners of the screen. On a similar note, the volume rocker is also a little difficult to reach due to its placement.
The right side has the volume rocker and the power button, which also doubles as a notification light. Unlike the power button on the Nokia 4.2 (Review), which is surrounded by a ring of light, the power button here has a thin white strip in the middle that lights up when a notification arrives. Although it is not as bright as the one on the Nokia 4.2, the power button indicator on the Nokia 3.2 gets the job done just fine.
There is a dedicated Google Assistant button on the left, a feature that is hard to find on a phone in the sub-Rs. 10,000 price segment. A single press brings up the Google Assistant, while double-pressing the button opens a page populated with contextual information and suggestions based on your activity and location. You can choose to disable the Google Assistant button, but you can’t remap it to perform any other task.
The rear camera module is ever so slightly raised, while the fingerprint sensor sits below it. The bottom of this phone has a Micro-USB port and speaker, while the 3.5mm headphone jack can be found at the top. On the left, you will also find the SIM tray, which can house two Nano-SIMs and simultaneously a microSD card of up to 400GB capacity.
Nokia 3.2 specifications and features
The Nokia 3.2 packs a 6.26-inch HD+ (720×1520 pixels) display with a 19:9 aspect ratio and a waterdrop notch at the top. This new phone is powered by the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 429 processor, which is a little disappointing considering the fact that there are more powerful and lower priced phones such as the Redmi Note 7 (Review) with the octa-core Snapdragon 660, and the Realme 3 (Review) with the MediaTek Helio P70 processor.
The Nokia 3.2 comes in two variants — the base variant with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage priced at Rs. 8,990, and a higher-end variant with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage priced at Rs. 10,790, which is the one we have for review.
For connectivity, there’s 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS/ A-GPS, FM radio, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a Micro-USB port with OTG support. Authentication is handled by face recognition and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor. Surprisingly, the 2GB RAM variant of the Nokia 3.2 misses lacks a fingerprint sensor. This omission on a phone that costs as much in 2019 is quite disappointing, and cannot be excused.
The phone also has an ambient light…