Tech review: Nokia 1 Plus quality screen proves bigger really is better

Tech review: Nokia 1 Plus quality screen proves bigger really is better
The battery in the Nokia 1 Plus is only 2,500mAh, but thanks to the low-powered hardware and Android Go, the performance is good enough to get you easily through a day or more of use.

Noel Campion enjoys the larger screen and the range of well-developed features with the new Nokia 1 Plus

The Nokia 1 Plus was first announced back in Mobile World Congress in February, along with other new smartphones like the Nokia 9 PureView.

Unfortunately, the latter isn’t currently available here, but you can buy the Nokia 1 Plus here, which is an unashamed budget phone and the bigger brother of the Nokia 1 from last year.

Bigger is definitely better in this case, but despite the larger screen, the Plus isn’t too much bigger overall.

Most of the additional size is in its height. The Nokia 1 Plus comes with a massive 5.45-inch FWVGA+ IPS screen in an 18:9 aspect ratio.

This is much bigger than its predecessor’s 4.5-inch display for the greater part, thanks to a big reduction in the forehead and chin bezels.

The display quality is above par for a budget phone with good viewing angles and text looks reasonably sharp.

Screen brightness is decent, but not bright enough to make it easy to see outdoors on a sunny day.

Colours are more on the side of being realistic than vibrant, which I prefer, but you don’t have a way of changing this in the display settings like you would on a more premium phone.

The Nokia 1 Plus has one of the better screens I’ve seen on a budget phone and although it pales in comparison to flagship devices that are more than 10 times the price, the larger display size is a big plus.

The Nokia 1 Plus uses Android Go, instead of the regular version of Android.

For a low-powered budget phone, Android Go is a plus because it is optimised for phones that don’t have high-spec hardware, allowing it to run smoother and faster.

Of course, you do lose out on some bells and whistles, but the intended users for devices like the Nokia 1 Plus probably won’t care.

Under the hood, the Nokia 1 Plus’s engine is the entry-level 1.5GHz quad-core MT6739WW chipset running on 1GB of RAM, and a basic 8GB of storage.

You can upgrade this with a microSD card; 8GB of storage is almost criminal by today’s standards but again, considering the audience, it should be enough for most.

However, I would not suggest buying this for a teenager who will want to play games but with a large microSD card, there wouldn’t be an issue with them taking lots of photos.

For €140 you can buy something like the Nokia 3.1 with 16GB of base storage if you feel 8GB isn’t going to be enough.

I’m used to using flagship devices, so using the Nokia 1 Plus feels painfully sluggish and laggy by comparison.

However, it does get the job done and for those who are not heavy users, it will suffice.

The Nokia 1 Plus has a pleasing design and the removable covers harken back to the days of the Xpress-On covers from older Nokia’s.

Personally, I think this is a great move and I’ve seen lots of great third-party covers available for it.

The phone feels great in the hand and isn’t too big or heavy. The stock back has a nice texture making it nice to grip without fear of it slipping out of your hands.

Nokia calls this a 3D nanotextured polycarbonate back panel.

The body is also plastic with nice clicky buttons for the power on and volume keys.

Tech review: Nokia 1 Plus quality screen proves bigger really is better

Glass backs are now very common on more expensive phones and I’ll be the first to admit how great it looks, but they’re incredible slippy and if you let it fall, it could shatter the glass.

Something we’re not seeing too often on high-end devices anymore, bar a few, is a 3.5mm jack.

However, you’ll have to supply your own headphones.

At this stage, I’d prefer to see all phones move to USB Type C rather than the older microUSB on the 1 Plus, but this is another way to cut costs.

The Nokia 1 Plus sports an 8MP rear camera with a flash while the front selfie camera is a 5MP affair.

I wasn’t expecting too much from either but you can attain decent photos in good lighting conditions.

The camera options are fairly limited consisting of photo, video, square and timelapse.

Don’t expect fantastic quality when shooting in less than ideal light as the camera isn’t great at capturing detail in low light.

This is to be expected at this price point but is always worth pointing out.

The battery is only 2,500mAh, but thanks to the low-powered hardware and Android Go performance is good enough to get you easily through a day or more of use.

However, unlike most phones, the battery on the Nokia 1 Plus is removable.

With only 8GB of storage, more than half of it is already taken up by the OS and pre-loaded Google’s Go apps designed and optimised for Android Go, including Google Go, Gmail Go, YouTube Go, Maps Go.

You also get the Google Play Store along with full access to normal Android apps. With only 8GB of storage, you’re limited in how many you can install.

The Nokia 1 Plus doesn’t have facial recognition or a fingerprint reader.

You can secure it with a PIN or password but because there’s no NFC, it doesn’t support Google Pay.

Overall, The Nokia 1 Plus is designed to meet the basic needs of those who don’t require all the bells and whistles of more expensive phones.

The excellent large screen, 3.5mm headphone jack and affordable price of €89 make it an attractive option for those in the market for an entry-level phone.

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