HMD Global's two recent launches position the brand in competition with the likes of Oppo, Samsung and others. The Nokia 3.4 is a cheaper alternative to the Nokia 5.4, which targets the masses with its pricing and entry-level features. By the looks of it, Nokia is still playing on its strengths and tweaking a few things as per trend to stay relevant in the budget race.
Nokia 3.4 is priced at Rs 11,999 and comes in three colours. While the Charcoal variant is for those who want a classy shade, but there are two other colours, Dusk and Fjord, which are more trendy and attractive. In this review, we assess if other features complement the phone well enough to be considered by the masses.
Design and display
Nokia 3.4 is a beautiful phone for the price, especially if you're considering the purple or blue shades. There are fine lines on the polycarbonate back panel, which is disrupted by the circular camera module, fingerprint scanner and Nokia logo. The handset offers a sturdy grip and the ergonomics are great. The slightly curved back panel is to be thanked for. The metal chassis adds a comfortable weight to the phone and makes it less slippery.
Nokia 3.4 has a 3.5mm jack on the top, a USB Type-C port along with speaker grille at the bottom, the volume and power buttons on the right and a dedicated Google Assistant button along with SIM card+microSD card tray on the left. Everything is uniformly spread out.
The display on the phone is a 6.39-inch LCD HD+ panel. There are minimal bezels around the phone, but the signature chin with Nokia's logo on it is hard to miss. But what's impressive is that there's a punch-hole camera, giving Nokia an edge over rivals who opt for notch display.
The display renders natural colours and is suitable for viewing content, binge-watching shows, playing games. Despite being a 6.39-inch display, it is easy to reach the top area of the screen to pull down notifications with a single hand. But it is disappointing to see 720p resolution whereas its rivals such as Poco M3 offer 1080p panels. It shouldn't hinder your usage, but you'll notice the difference when compared with other phones or if you upgrade to 3.4 from a Full HD display phone.
Nokia 3.4 is powered by a modest Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 processor, which is paired with 4GB RAM and 64GB expandable storage. The handset supports dual 4G VoLTE, which sure comes in handy in this 4G era. But the biggest USP is the clean stock Android 10, which is free from ads and bloatware - a relief in this price segment.
The overall user experience has been satisfactory. The configuration itself is suited to handle day-to-day tasks, but we wouldn't test the limits with heavy apps. We noticed a slight delay in loading heavier apps as compared to your daily ones. Browsing the internet, social media, watching content on OTT apps, making regular calls and messaging and casual games won't be an issue at all. But do consider alternatives if you're planning to spend hours playing Call of Duty on the phone.
Nokia 3.4 makes up for the limitations in its performance with a pleasing, clean user experience. Android 11 will also be rolled out soon and the handset will eventually get Android 12 as per Android One commitment. So you're good for at least 3 years.
The circular camera module grabs instant attention. There is a 13MP primary sensor paired with 2MP depth and 5MP ultra-wide sensor. By this configuration, we expected the landscapes and portrait shots to be satisfactory. The selfies are taken care of using an 8MP snapper.
There are various camera modes, including Night, Portrait and ultra-wide. We put the different modes to test and here's what we found.
Shooting with the primary sensor in broad daylight produces decent photos with crisp details. In some cases, the photos tend to lose out on details, which can be visible only if you zoom in to the background elements. The wide-angle shots maintained focus and detailing at the centre, losing out on contrast levels and dynamic range. The edges would be distorted too. The portraits, however, were above average as the edge detection was on point with the right amount of blur. You can also set the level of bokeh before the shooting, which is a handy feature.
The night mode naturally takes a few seconds to capture, but in this case, the image would be brighter but the rest of the elements such as contrast, colour and details suffered. Finally, selfies captured on the 3.4 are good, mainly in well-lit areas. Low-light would hamper the quality of selfies.
Check out a few camera samples below:
Nokia 3.4 isn't going overboard with the battery. There's a humble 4,000mAh offering, which in our moderate use case lasted a full day. With heavy usage, like binge-watching shots and browsing social media extensively, you will need to plug the phone in to charge at the end of the day with little juice left to go further. This only works if you have a 100 percent battery at the beginning of the day, which takes about two and a half hour to fully power the phone. This was expected considering only a 10W charger is included in the box. Slow charging is a real problem, especially in 2021, but the USB Type-C is welcome.
Nokia 3.4 is for those who want a clean smartphone that looks great without any frills. The cameras are average, performance will get you through the day, and the stock Android drives the phone home.
Nokia 3.4 looks great, better than many phones in its segment, and feels good too. The software advantage and brand loyalty are to play a strong part in the phone's success. But if you take the competition into consideration, brands like Redmi and Poco pose fierce competition with better cameras and display - the areas where the 3.4 lags