Nokia 1 (Android Go) Review - 2011 Would Have Loved This
The Nokia 1 is an inexpensive Android smartphone with entry level hardware and a very affordable price tag. The operating system it runs, Android Go, is a version of Android Oreo (8.1) optimised for low end hardware.
- Body: Plastic body with removable and replaceable back (133.6x67.78x9.5mm)
- Screen: 4.5-inch, 16:9, FWVGA 854x480, IPS LCD
- Rear Camera: 5MP, LED flash
- Front Camera: 2MP
- Chipset: MediaTek MT6737M, octa-core 1.1GHz
- Memory: 1GB RAM, 8GB, microSD slot for up to 128GB expansion
- OS: Android Oreo 8.1 (Go Edition)
- Battery: 2150mAh, removable
- Connectivity: Optional dual SIM (4G), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS/AGPS, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Micro USB, FM Radio
First impressions were good while unboxing the device: Nokia include a charger, microUSB cable and earphones in the box. Snapping in the removable battery gave me a lovely nostalgia pang. That 2150 mAh battery installation action reminded me of the days when it used to be the standard way to get through the day without plugging in.
I popped a SIM card in and a 64GB MicroSD card as well and setup was relatively fast and painless. Android Oreo 8.1 Go Edition is pretty straightforward and an almost pure Google experience in this case. The only difference compared to the Nokia 1's bigger siblings and my Pixel 2 XL is that the main Google apps (Gmail, Search, Assistant, Maps) are the Go versions, which means they are optimised to run on the lower end hardware and use less storage and memory. In day to day use, the only time one of these apps left me wanting was Google Maps Go which feels like it is just running in a web view and does not support turn by turn navigation.
Using a 854x480 screen device is weird: while perfectly functional and usable it feels strange. This is also a bigger device than what I classed as a "Big Ass Phone" (BAP) back in 2011. The screen viewing angles are decent, but colours are terrible. Still, nothing to complain about at the £60 price point.
Battery life gets me through a day with basic messaging (hangouts, SMS, Messenger Lite), social media (Twitter) and reading BBC News on the web.
The Google Go launcher links to web and thanks to Data Saver it is truly parsimonious in data usage.
Media playback through the 3.5 mm "Courage Port" audio jack is good, though I did notice Pocketcasts kept on being shut down in the background while Google Podcasts wasn't. I had to go into power settings and disable optimisations for Pocketcasts to keep it alive in the background.
The 5MP rear camera is awful, but still manages to take pictures. The same can be said for the 2MP selfie camera: no need for beauty mode as you end up looking like you have been painted by an impressionist.
If you are travelling and desperately need a replacement device for basic messaging and web use, the Nokia 1 is a good deal and seems to be quite reliable with good battery endurance. Don't expect modern amenities like turn by turn navigation out of the box. You can install full Google Maps, but that is likely to kill battery life and be quite slow and clunky. Pair this Nokia 1 with an Amazon Fire 7" tablet and you have a true inexpensive travel entertainment and communication centre.