Nokia C3 Review : HMD Global may not have had a popular Nokia smartphone in a while, in my opinion, but there’s no denying that most of its Android phones have looked pretty good so far. Today , we’re going to review the company’s new entry-level Android offering, the Nokia C3. This budget phone features a simplistic design and minimal specifications, but hopefully, that should be enough to deliver a decent Android experience.
This phone seems very cheap, beginning at a price of Rs. 7,499. It’s time to find out if the Nokia C3 is worth buying.
Nokia C3 design
If Nokia’s name wasn’t enough nostalgia, the removable battery in the Nokia C3 should certainly bring back some memories. The entire back shell is a single piece of plastic that comes off so you can attach the charger, the SIM cards, and the microSD card.
There are two Nano-SIM card slots, so you don’t need any adapters. The colour of the sand, which I think looks pretty amazing. The phone is also available in Nordic Blue. It’s not too thick at 8.69 mm and weighs 184.5 g.
According to Nokia C3 review, it looks stylish thanks to its compact back, which has only a small vertical camera module and a fingerprint sensor. The back panel doesn’t attract fingerprints, and it’s strong grip.
Volume and power buttons are on the right, whereas the dedicated Google Assistant button is on the left. There’s a headphone jack at the top and a Micro-USB port at the bottom. There’s no speaker cutout, and that’s because the Nokia C3 uses the earpiece as a loudspeaker.
The front of the phone is a 5.99-inch HD+ IPS panel with hardened glass. The layout of the front still seems nostalgic, but really, this is something that is best forgotten. Instead of a notch, the Nokia C3 has wide, old-fashioned borders on the top and bottom, and comparatively thinner borders on the edges.
This is not a huge complaint for an entry-level handset, but given that its peers have already moved on to more modern designs, I think that HDM Global should have done better.
The items of the box are pretty simple. You’ll get a 5W charger, a USB cable, and a quick-start guide. There isn’t a back case or a headset.
Nokia C3 Android 10 Smartphone
Nokia C3 performance
The Nokia C3 is powered by the Unisoc SC9863A octa-core SoC (formerly known as Spreadtrum). It consists of eight ARM Cortex-A55 CPU cores running up to 1.6GHz. It’s built on a very old 28 nm manufacturing process that may not be as powerful as some of the newer MediaTek and Qualcomm SoCs.
The Nokia C3 version with 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of data, which is priced at Rs. 8.999. The basic version with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage is priced at Rs. 7,499.
Other features include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 and FM radio. In order to operate, the latter needs a headset to be paired. The Nokia C3 is assisted by 4 G VoLTE and GPS. It has a range of simple sensors, such as a proximity sensor, an ambient light sensor and an accelerometer.
Unfortunately, there’s no gyroscope and compass, which means you can’t see the way you’re facing in applications like Google Maps.
According to Nokia C3 review, it runs stock Android 10 with only the standard Google apps pre-installed. The only third-party software called My Phone from HMD Global is for after-sales service and mobile maintenance. You get some simple movements in the Settings app, but that’s the extent of the customization.
The Google Assistant button should be useful if you’re an avid Google Virtual Assistant user. It can’t be remapped to run some other app or functionality. The C3 is not part of Google’s Android One plan, so you’re not guaranteed two years of software updates.
Using Android on the Nokia C3 was a good experience, but even with 3 GB of RAM and Android, it wasn’t the smoothest thing to do. Animations and multitasking triggered a bit of occasional stuttering and lag. The fingerprint sensor worked well, but it took a little longer than normal to wake up.
Face recognition was slow to kick in and perform authentication, too. The gaming performance was not great either. Easy titles like Sky Force Reloaded ran great, but anything heavier always struggled to run well or produce decent graphics.
This lack of efficiency is also noticeable in the benchmarks. I got a respectable AnTuTu score of 1,06,338 points, which was on par with what the MediaTek Helio G35 SoC could offer, as seen in our reviews of Redmi 9 (Review) and Realme C12 (Review). The graphics ratings, however, were a little lower.
The Nokia C3 managed 26fps in the T-Rex comparison of GFXBench. The monitor gets bright enough, and the videos don’t look too bad. The earpiece speaker is getting especially noisy as it faces you directly, and there’s little to no risk that your palm will be blocked.
Nokia C3 Android 10 Smartphone
Nokia C3 battery life
The Nokia C3 does not have a very large battery coming in at a size of 3.040mAh. It’s performed very poorly in our HD video loop test, lasting just 7 hours and 34 minutes, which is one of the lowest times we’ve recorded in a while. With medium to light use, I was able to get a full day of battery life, but watching videos or gaming easily drains the battery. Charging the battery is not very easy. You only get a 5W power adapter in the pack, and even though I was connected to a faster charger, I was only able to charge up to 43% of the battery in an hour.
Nokia C3 cameras
The Nokia C3 has an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel selfie camera. Autofocus is usually on the slower side and worsens in low light. The app offers simple shooting modes, but some popular modes, such as Portrait mode, are missing. There’s an auto-HDR feature that’s good to see.
Unfortunately, the accuracy of the picture is very inferior, even in daylight. I considered the dynamic range to be very small, with most landscape shots showing low details and exposures. Close-ups were a little better, but again, the textures usually looked flat and smooth. Low-light pictures turned out to be grainy and limited detail.
Selfies usually had poor data, too, and exposure was all over the place during the daytime shooting. In low light, most of the selfies were grainy and almost unusable. The Nokia C3 can shoot up to 1080p images, but I found the output to be below average even during the day. Autofocus was sluggish, too.
Overall, the cameras on the Nokia C3 are very disappointing, and just not good enough, even for casual photography.
Conclusion: Should you buy the Nokia C3?
I think it’s pretty obvious right now that the Nokia C3 doesn’t offer the best value for money, particularly the 3 GB variant priced at Rs. 8.999. I think that the Realme Narzo 10A (Review) or even the Narzo 20A, which we are currently testing, will be far better alternatives.
Apart from decent build quality and clean Android experience, the Nokia C3 doesn’t have enough to justify that price. The performance is middling, the battery life is poor, the cameras are not strong.
If you have a tight budget, the Realme C11 (Review) should be a better option for Rs. 7,499. You lose the fingerprint sensor, and the output is more or less close to that of the C3, but at least you’re going to have a much better battery life.