It’s the year 2023, and there are only a handful of smartphone options available in the budget segment of under INR 10,000. Nokia C31 is the latest addition to this list and is designed to cater to those looking for a decent smartphone at a low price. Today I bring you my Nokia C31 Review, I have been using this phone for a week now, and without diving into the Nokia nostalgia, I will be sharing my honest opinions about it to help you make the right buying decision.
Nokia C31 Review
The Nokia C31 retails at Rs. 9,999 for the 3GB Ram/32GB Storage and Rs 11,999 for the 4GB Ram/64GB Storage. I have divided the Nokia C31 review into segments, which you can access from the table of contents. Now, without any further adieu, let’s dive into the review.
Let us first take a look at what you get in the box with the Nokia C31. The contents of the box are pretty usual for what you would expect for a phone in this price range.
- Nokia C31 Smartphone.
- SIM Ejection Pin.
- 10 Watt Charger.
- Micro USB Cable.
- User Manual.
Build And Design: Built to Last
Nokia’s name to fame was for making durable smartphones, which is apparent with the Nokia C31. The phone feels sturdy and solid even though the sides and the back are built entirely out of plastic.
It does feel a little big weighing 200g, the good thing is nothing feels hollow and the textured back adds character to the smartphone.
Going through the phone, you will find the 3.5mm headphone jack at the top but sadly no secondary microphone. At the bottom, you will find the microphone and a micro USB port which is disappointing to see in a device which is released in 2023.
On the right, you will find well-placed volume and power buttons. The left side houses the SIM card tray that lets you use two SIM cards along with a memory card.
At the back, you will find the camera array, the aptly located fingerprint sensor, and the speaker at the bottom.
Overall, I enjoyed holding and using this phone because of its build quality. To be honest, I have to praise Nokia for going with a textured back panel instead of a glossy one which would have made the phone look cheap.
The front of the Nokia C31 is home to a sizeable 6.74-inch LCD panel, making it an ideal choice if you consume a lot of movies and web series. Although the dewdrop notch and a big chin at the bottom of the display do make the phone look quite outdated.
As for the display itself, since this is an HD+ display screen, the resolution is capped at 720p for videos. The phone doesn’t come with Widevine L1 certification which means streaming content on Netflix and Amazon Prime will be limited to 480p.
As for the brightness of the display, it is adequately bright for indoor use but you may find it difficult to use it outdoors under harsh sunlight. But to end on a good note, you get an auto-brightness sensor that does a good job of changing the brightness based on the current environment.
Nokia C31 Sound Quality Review
The sound quality of the Nokia C31 is adequate and the single speaker at the back can get plenty loud without any distortion even on higher volumes. However, it does lack any sort of depth in the sound. Also, since the speaker is placed at the back, laying your phone flat will muffle the sound heavily.
The sound output from its 3.5mm headphone jack was surprisingly good for its price range. I enjoyed listening to songs on this device and could not hear any issues with the audio output. But you need to manage your expectations as it will not please any audiophile.
Nokia C31 Performance Review
The performance of this device is the one thing that disappointed me during my usage of this phone. It is powered by an octa-core UNISOC SC9863A processor which is more than four years old at this point.
Forget about heavy tasks, as the phone struggles to keep up with the basic things and animations. Be it opening apps, scrolling through social media, or typing too fast on the keyboard, everything feels sluggish with constant frame drops and stutters.
YouTube at times froze on me as I was trying to skip forward in videos. I understand that I shouldn’t expect flagship performance from a budget device but Nokia could have optimized it on the Nokia C31.
The underpowered and slow processor is coupled with eMMc 5.1 storage which isn’t as fast as the newer UFS storage type. Here are benchmarks to show the CPU performance and read and write speeds of this device.
Those who are looking for a budget gaming smartphone should look elsewhere. You can play casual games like Subway Surfers, Hill Climb Racing and if you don’t mind a few frame drops then Asphalt Nitro as well.
Software and UI
Nokia’s strength is that they go with a clean and close-to-stock Android experience on their smartphones which is also present here. You get stock Android 12 out of the box which is free of any bloatware and adware.
This makes the device stand out as most other devices in this segment fill their phones up to the brim with bloatware apps and ads to keep the price low.
I was hoping the phone would benefit from the clean experience but it seems like it isn’t well-optimized. Nokia does not promise further Android version updates but you will receive them security updates for the next two years.
This is a good thing as it ensures that your device will keep up with the latest security standards but our unit is still running on the October update, in Feb 2023.
Nokia C31 Camera Review
Nokia C31 comes with a triple camera setup which consists of a 13 MP main camera followed by 2 MP macro and 2 MP depth sensors. It also has a 5 MP Selfie camera. The device uses the infamous Google Camera app to help with photos and software processing.
The main 13 MP sensor takes decent photos in well-lit scenarios. Although you will start to lose details as soon as you zoom in. The camera also struggles to handle exposure. Here are some camera samples shot in the daylight.
You can take some nice photos to share on social media in bright sunlight. It is also capable of recording 1080p videos at 30fps.
Pictures taken at night look soft and grainy. It does have a night mode but even that doesn’t help much and it takes a while to capture and process the image. The result is you get some unintentional long-exposure shots with the night mode.
You can also switch to macro mode but you will have a hard time focusing on the subject. Furthermore, if you do manage to take a shot, the images will not turn out well since it is just a 2 MP lens. Here are a couple of samples from the macro camera.
The 5 MP selfie camera takes good photos in daylight. But in the artificial or low light scenes, pictures lose details and come out blurry as you can judge from the samples below.
Nokia C31 Battery Life Review
The battery life of the Nokia C31 impressed me a lot, as it comes with a 5050 mAH battery and Nokia promises that it should last for up to three days on a single charge. I can vouch for this as I was able to use the device for two days straight without having to plug in the charger.
Also, the provided Super Battery Saver option helps you stretch out the battery life in case you are away from the charger. Talking about the charger, you get a 10 Watt charger that takes almost 3 hours to refill the giant battery.
If you are a casual user then you can easily stretch it out to three days but even for a heavy user, the battery should run for a day and a half.
Nokia C31 is a 4G phone with support for VoLTE so you can use any 4G SIM card with this device. Since the device comes with a full-size SIM trayyou can use two 4G SIM cards at the same time.
The connectivity during my usage period was great as I didn’t face any network-related problems with the device.
However, since there’s no support for 5GHz WiFi which means even on WiFi, you’ll miss out on high-speed internet speeds. You can only use 2.4 GHz Wifi with this smartphone.
Nokia C31: Pros and Cons
Now that we have discussed all the key elements of the device, it is time to break down the pros and cons of the Nokia C31.
- Sturdy and heavy build.
- Textured back for better grip and feel.
- Large display.
- Decent speakers.
- Long-lasting battery life.
- Dedicated Micro SD Card slot.
- Bloatware-free stock Android.
- Sluggish performance.
- Dated processor.
- Average cameras.
- No secondary microphone.
Comparison with Similar Devices
If you want to look for other options in this price range then you can find several good options from brands like Xiaomi, Realme, and Motorola. However, in the case of Xiaomi and Realme devices, you will miss out on the clean Android experience.
Motorola is the only brand in this price range with better specifications and a stock Android experience. But you will have to compromise on the sturdily built quality and 2 years of security updates.
My Closing Thoughts about Nokia C31
During my time, I liked trying out what Nokia has to offer in 2023. Even though they seem to have mastered the way to make a solid smartphone. I wish they would invest more in the processor and a better camera, by compromising on a smaller display.
With all that said, I have to say that Nokia C31 is a good smartphone if you are planning to gift it to your parents or other elders in your home. The big screen will make it easier for their eyes to read texts and operate the device. You can also use it as a secondary phone. But make sure you go with the 4 GB RAM option (Amazon India) as runs smoother and gives you more internal storage.
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