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Hands-on review: The Nokia 1.3 mobile phone

16 Jun 2020

I’ve been happily using the Nokia 1.3 for the past two weeks and having just seen the ridiculous price (NZ $169), I’m guessing that many of you will want to know how it shapes up.  Initially I ran into problems: suddenly, no one was calling or texting me. I was busy blaming COVID-19 when I discovered the “Do Not Disturb” setting. I can happily report that people still love me.

I’ve been a relatively recent convert to the world of Android 10, and Nokia’s Android 10 Go package appeared much the same as what I’ve become accustomed to.  What makes this phone stand out are the features packed into such a low-cost package. 

What do you use your phone for? For me, I can honestly say, it’s my portable music studio. Spotify and home security would be my most-used apps. I threw my micro-SD card in and haven’t yet had any warning messages about space running out. Being an Android phone, setup consisted of putting it next to my existing Android device and letting them sort out what I needed. All I had to do was go and make myself a coffee.  

You won’t be panicking and yelling for a paperclip when you open your Nokia 1.3. My fingernails were too brittle, so I used a knife blade to prise the cover off. And yes, I know that if I’d gone into a store, they’d have had it off in nanoseconds, but this time I was determined to do it all by myself.  Imagine my surprise that along with space for the micro-SD and SIM card, there’s a slot for a second SIM. Here I had to pause and rub my eyes because some resellers say it only has a single SIM slot. The second slot is offset to the side, but it’s there. 

The cover has a textured matte feel to it that I found encouraging. Too many modern phones are so slick that they refuse to stay still. 

For the past five weeks or so, we’ve been based at a cancer hostel. My life has consisted of using my Wi-Fi hot-spot, and I’ve appreciated the fact that I can tell my Nokia will switch off the hot-spot automatically, which is a life saver for me. I’m impressed with the clarity of the screen, and it’s coped admirably with the short bouts of Netflixing I’ve engaged in, mainly just to prove that I could! 

By now, everyone has a pretty clear idea of how their mobile will be used. I’ve arrived at the conclusion that I’m more than happy with a handset that doesn’t cost more than a laptop. My main requirement is that it will fit in my pocket, keep me up to date with my emails, and take snapshots from time to time. (Editor’s note: Mr McCarthy is quite the photographer, as longtime readers can surely attest to!)

As I write, I’ve just plugged it in for the first time since the weekend (it’s Tuesday afternoon) and to date, battery usage hasn’t been an issue.  

Nokia has a respectable pedigree and having chatted with the team, I can confidently state their staff are passionate about their products. The Android 10 OS has proved to be a very stable and reliable system, meaning that even if you take a wrong turn, it’s not the end of the world.

At an incredible price, you won’t be disappointed at the performance, ideal for everyday use, and it won’t send you into months of grief if you accidentally take it swimming as I did in a previous fruit-flavoured life.