Nokia used to be a household name back in the day when feature phones were all the rage. The brand was almost synonymous with the concept of phones, and it wasn’t surprising that they dominated the mobile phone industry until the late 2000s. Then came Android, and with that, the downfall of Nokia. This can be attributed to the fact that they decided to opt for Windows Mobile as the OS of choice on their smartphones when the competition chose the more popular and capable platform, Android. The best phones either ran Android or iOS. Even some of the best Nokia smartphones of that time like the Lumia 1020 that sported excellent hardware was let down by sub-par software.
Gradually, Nokia drifted into oblivion. After a long hiatus though, Nokia made a comeback in 2017 with the Nokia 6 by lending its name to HMD Global. This time, they finally made the right choice of going with Android. In fact, they partnered with Google for the Android One program that ensures up to two years of software updates. If you owned a Nokia phone in the past and your nostalgia has convinced you to get a new Nokia smartphone, you’re at the right place. Here’s a list of the best Nokia phones you can buy in 2021 across various price points depending on what you exactly need.
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Best Nokia Phone Overall: Nokia 8.3 5G
The Nokia 8.3 5G was initially launched in the US as a Verizon exclusive. It was also renamed as the Nokia 8 V 5G UW (who decides these names?) and came with support for mmWave 5G, something that was absent on the global variant of the Nokia 8.3. However, Nokia is now selling both variants on its website with a price difference of $200 which is ridiculous considering the only advantage that the Nokia 8 v 5G UW has over the Nokia 8.3 is the additional 5G bands. If you stay in a locality that does not have support for mmWave 5G, you’re better off saving $200. Even if you have 5G mmWave connectivity, we don’t think the $200 markup is justified just for that.
At present, Nokia doesn’t sell a flagship smartphone with top-of-the-line internals. At the time of writing, the Nokia 8.3 is the most premium smartphone that the brand has to offer. In terms of specs, the Nokia 8.3 5G and Nokia 8 V 5G UW come with a Snapdragon 765G chip under the hood that should handle most day-to-day activities with ease. You can get up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. The display is a 6.81-inch FHD+ IPS LCD panel with a hole-punch cutout.
Nokia talked a lot about the cameras on the Nokia 8.3 5G especially in terms of video recording. The primary shooter is a 64MP sensor paired with Zeiss optics. It is accompanied by a 12MP ultra-wide camera and two 2MP sensors for macro and depth sensing. The selfie camera is a 24MP shooter. The phone runs Android 11 and powering all the internals is a 4500mAh battery with support for 18W charging. If you want the best of what Nokia has to offer at the moment, the Nokia 8.3 5G is the way to go.
Best Mid-range Nokia Phone: Nokia 5.4
The Nokia 5.4 is a very balanced smartphone. It covers all the basics of a good smartphone and aims to offer a solid and reliable experience. The ‘5’ series from Nokia has been their best-selling smartphone series because it offers good value for your money. If you are looking for a solid mid-range smartphone that can handle basic tasks smoothly, the Nokia 5.4 can be a good option.
It doesn’t score too high in terms of specifications on paper though. The Snapdragon 662 handles CPU duties, which means your regular apps for messaging, emails, social media, and even some casual games will run smoothly, but you cannot expect to run heavy games on the Nokia 5.4. You get 4GB of RAM along with 128GB of onboard storage. There’s a 48MP primary camera along with a 5MP ultra-wide and two 2MP sensors for macro and depth sensing. The display is a 6.39-inch HD+ IPS LCD panel and powering all this is a 4000mAh battery.
Second Best Mid-range Nokia Smartphone: Nokia 5.3
The Nokia 5.3 is the predecessor to the Nokia 5.4 which we talked about earlier. The reason we decided to include the Nokia 5.3 is the fact that it doesn’t differ a lot compared to the Nokia 5.4 in terms of what it offers. There are a few differences in specs here and there, but the overall package that you get is quite similar. There is a considerable difference in price too between the Nokia 5.3 and 5.4. So if you wish to save a little more money, you can opt for the Nokia 5.3 and still expect a similar performance to that of the Nokia 5.4.
Surprisingly, the Nokia 5.3 actually has a better chipset in the form of the Snapdragon 665 compared to the Snapdragon 662 on the Nokia 5.4. While the difference is not drastic, it implies that the raw performance you are going to get from the Nokia 5.3 is going to be similar to that of the Nokia 5.4. It has a 6.55-inch HD+ LCD display which is bigger than the one on the 5.4, along with the same 4000mAh battery. The main difference is in terms of cameras. The Nokia 5.3 has an older 13MP primary camera while the rest of the sensors in the array remain the same at 5MP+2MP+2MP. If cameras are not too high on your priority list, the Nokia 5.3 can still be a good pick in 2021.
Best Built Nokia Phone: Nokia 7.2
The Nokia 7.2 was launched a while back but is still a worthy option to consider given that it is a part of Nokia’s upper mid-range ‘7’ series. The phone has a robust build with glass on both the front and the back and is one of the more premium-feeling smartphones from Nokia. If content creation and consumption are high on your priority list, the Nokia 7.2 is a good smartphone to consider especially since the price has fallen compared to what it was at launch.
You get a 6.3-inch FHD+ IPS LCD display to enjoy content on and if you are someone who makes content, you get a 48MP primary camera with an 8MP ultra-wide and 5MP depth sensor. The front-facing camera is a 20MP shooter. The phone is powered by the Snapdragon 660 SoC which is probably the only downside of this smartphone since the processor is quite old and cannot handle intensive tasks like gaming. Powering the internals is a modest 3500mAh battery. Get this phone only if you want premium looks and build quality along with good cameras. Else, the Nokia 5.4 is a better option.
- Consider getting the Nokia 7.2 only if good looks and build quality is of prime importance to you. The cameras are decent too, but the phone is let down by ageing internals. The display is a plus point of the device since it supports HDR content and hence can be a good option for content consumption as well.
Best Value Nokia Phone: Nokia 3.4
This is Nokia’s best value for money option in terms of the specifications and features that you get for the price. The Nokia 3.4 is a great option for those who are looking for a secondary smartphone that can last throughout the day or even more. It can also be a good option for someone looking to buy their first smartphone and who doesn’t want to spend too much. If you are a parent and want to get your kid a smartphone to perform basic tasks and enjoy watching content, you should consider the Nokia 3.4.
The large 6.39-inch HD+ LCD display with a punch-hole cutout makes it look modern and lets you enjoy the content you’re watching without any interruptions. The phone is powered by the Snapdragon 460 chipset which should suffice given that this phone is not really meant for gaming or for performing heavy tasks like video editing. In terms of cameras, you get a 13MP primary shooter with a 5MP ultra-wide and a 2MP depth sensor. An 8MP shooter resides in the front. The 4000mAh battery ensures that you get more than a full day’s worth of usage on a single charge.
Best Big Screen Nokia Phone: Nokia 2.4
If you’ve observed all the phones from Nokia throughout this article, you would see a pattern. Almost every Nokia phone has a compact form factor emphasizing one-handed usage. As a result, the displays on most smartphones from Nokia are on the smaller side when you compare them to smartphones from other brands that have screens breaching the 6.7-inch mark even on affordable smartphones. The Nokia 2.4, however, changes that with a 6.5-inch HD+ LCD display with a dewdrop notch. If you enjoy watching videos or movies on your smartphone, the large display will surely come in handy, though the HD+ resolution is a bit of a let down for the keen-eyed.
Apart from the large display though, the Nokia 2.4 doesn’t have much to offer in terms of specs or numbers. The MediaTek Helio P22 onboard is an entry-level chipset so the performance is going to be average. The primary camera is a 13MP shooter along with a 2MP depth sensor. For selfies, you’ve got a 5MP front-facing camera. Along with the display, another strong attribute of the Nokia 2.4 is its large 4500mAh battery that lets you enjoy content on that display for long hours.
Best Affordable Nokia Phone: Nokia 4.2
The Nokia 4.2 has been around for quite some time now which means the price has fallen into the affordable category making it one of the best Nokia phones to buy around the $100 mark. It is a compact smartphone that looks premium and feels more expensive than it actually is. While it surely isn’t a spec monster, Nokia has managed to produce a decent all-around package especially considering the price.
The Snapdragon 439 SoC from Qualcomm is responsible for the performance of the Nokia 2.4. It is an entry-level SoC so you can expect slight hiccups here and there. Since all of Nokia’s phones run on a clean version of Android, the UI along with your day-to-day apps should run just fine. As we mentioned earlier, this is a compact smartphone so you get a 5.71-inch HD+ LCD display. The rear houses a 13MP primary camera and a 2MP depth sensor. There is an 8MP camera on the front for selfies. Powering everything is a 3000mAh battery which is a slight letdown.
Best Entry-level Nokia Smartphone: Nokia 2.3
We included the Nokia 2.4 earlier in this list as the best big-screen phone from Nokia. The Nokia 2.3 is the predecessor to the 2.4 and while there aren’t too many similarities in terms of specs, the Nokia 2.3 is a well-rounded smartphone considering its current price of around $100. If you want to get a taste of the new batch of Nokia devices without spending too much, the Nokia 2.3 can be a decent option.
The phone runs on the MediaTek Helio A22 processor which is an entry-level chipset. What this means is that the performance you would get from this phone will be average and you can’t expect it to run heavy apps or games. But then, that’s what you expect from a phone that costs this much. The phone has a 6.2-inch HD+ LCD display with a 5MP selfie shooter at the top. The rear houses two camera sensors – A 13MP primary shooter and a 2MP depth sensor. Powering everything is a 4000mAh cell.
Best Super Budget Nokia Phone: Nokia 1.3
This is one of the most basic smartphones that Nokia has to offer. The Nokia 1.3 is best suited for someone moving from a feature phone to a smartphone for the first time and just wants to experience a touch-screen device with connectivity to the internet. It can also be for someone looking for a secondary device to carry to school or to use a secondary SIM card provided by your work if your existing smartphone only supports a single SIM.
Just as you’d expect, the Nokia 1.3’s guts are just enough to perform basic tasks like calling, texting, and running lightweight apps. The Snapdragon 215 is paired with Android Go which means you get access to all the ‘Go’ and ‘Lite’ versions of popular apps that are not as resource-hungry as the regular ones. The display is a 5.71-inch HD+ LCD panel which is good enough to watch videos. The rear houses an 8MP camera while the front gets a 5MP shooter. The 3000mAh battery should be adequate given the low-power chipset.
These are some of the best Nokia phones you can buy in 2021 in case you still have some attachment with the brand. The best option remains the Nokia 8.3 5G, though we hope that Nokia comes out with a proper flagship soon.
If you are open to options from other brands as well, which in a lot of cases, have better offerings in terms of specs as well as value, you can check out our compilation of the best Android smartphones. If you’re specifically looking for affordable options, you can check out our list of best cheap android phones to buy.