With the new Nokia 3.1 Plus, HMD Global is looking to make a splash in the budget market with the phone’s massive screen and the stock Android experience. In fact, if you read my first impressions of the phone, then you’ll know how much I like it. But I decided to do a customary comparison to find out if it holds its head against the competition.
Now, this comparison may sound ridiculous due to some obvious reasons. On one side, we have the Redmi 6 Pro that’s powered by the Snapdragon 625 SoC, whereas, on the other hand, we have the Nokia 3.1 Plus that’s powered by the Helio P22.
Yes, looking at the specs alone, it may seem that they both would attract different customers. However, Nokia decided to attach an odd-ball price tag to the Nokia 3.1 Plus, making it difficult for me to compare it against the devices in its “league”. It seems like a bold move, but hey, the performance of a phone is not always defined by its price tag, right? Cue the comparisons.
Design And Build Quality
Logic dictates that the Redmi 6 Pro, with an almost full-metal body, would give it an edge over the Nokia 3.1 Plus in terms of the design and build quality. But I beg to differ. The Nokia 3.1 Plus, in my opinion, takes the cake. The Nokia 3.1 Plus is an eye-catchy device, thanks to its die-cast metal back. It looks and feels good in the hand, whereas the Redmi 6 Pro, looks just like, well, any other Redmi phone out there.
The Redmi 6 Pro, despite its notched display, doesn’t get rid of too much of the bezels, but the Nokia 3.1 Plus keeps it classic. I also love the silver accents on the Nokia 3.1 Plus’ dual camera unit and the fingerprint scanner. Both phones weigh almost the same, but the Nokia 3.1 Plus has an edge when it comes to the in-hand feel.
Look, neither of them is a head-turner, but the Nokia 3.1 Plus looks and feels arguably better than the Redmi 6 Pro’s plain Jane looks. So, if you ask me, I’ll say the Nokia 3.1 Plus should be your pick if you don’t want to compromise on the looks.
Moving on, both the phones also come with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a micro USB port. I’d like to give bonus points to Nokia for throwing in a dedicated slot for a microSD card as well. Good job, Nokia!
Display: Notch or No-Notch?
The Nokia 3.1 Plus sports a 6-inch HD+ 18:9 aspect ratio display, whereas the Redmi 6 Pro has a 5.84-inch FHD+ 19:9 panel. Yes, the Redmi 6 Pro is a clear winner here. I personally had no issues with the Nokia 3.1 Plus display, but there’s no denying that the FHD+ display looks way better than the Nokia 3.1 Plus.
That being said, I still prefer the classic no-notch design of the Nokia 3.1 Plus. It could be just me, but I had a great time-consuming media on the Nokia 3.1 Plus without having to put up with a notch.
The Nokia 3.1 Plus comes with a 13MP + 5MP dual camera setup on the rear, which on paper seems to be better than the Redmi 6 Pro’s 12MP + 5MP combination. On the front, again the Nokia 3.1 Plus’ 8MP selfie shooter sounds better than the Redmi 6 Pro’s 5MP shooter. So, does the Nokia 3.1 Plus takes better photos than the Redmi 6 Pro? Take a look for yourself:
As you can see, the sample shots are not too bad on either of the phones for this price point. There are instances where I prefer Nokia’s camera over the Redmi 6 Pro, but there’s no significant difference. That being said, I found the Redmi 6 Pro’s camera to be more reliable. Unlike the Nokia 3.1 Plus, the Redmi 6 Pro’s cameras are not plagued by the focusing or shutter lag issues, which, in my opinion, makes a huge difference.
Hardware And Performance
As mentioned earlier, both phones are not in the same league when it comes to the internal specs. The Redmi 6 Pro’s Snapdragon 625 processor easily outperforms the Helio P22 found inside the Nokia 3.1 Plus. The Redmi 6 Pro also comes with up to 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, whereas the Nokia 3.1 Plus maxes out at 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage.
But that’s not to say that the Nokia 3.1 Plus is pathetic when it comes to the performance. I am glad to report that the stock Android running on the Nokia 3.1 Plus keeps thing nice and smooth. I found it to be sluggish at times, but it shouldn’t have any trouble handling day-to-day tasks with ease. When it comes to running games and intensive applications, though, the Redmi 6 Pro is a clear winner.
As mentioned earlier, the Nokia 3.1 Plus is running a stock version of Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box. I don’t hate the MIUI 9 on Xiaomi’s Redmi 6 Pro, but I’ll pick a device running a stock version of Android any day of the week over the other.
The stock Android helps the Nokia 3.1 Plus churn out a decent performance even with a slightly under-powered processor. That being said, the MIUI 9 brings a ton of great features like parallel apps, app-locking and more. So, I’d say this comes down to your personal preference.
Before moving on to the battery performance, I’d like to point out that there’s no Face Unlock on the Nokia 3.1 Plus. The fast and reliable fingerprint scanner makes up for it, but it’s hard to justify the omission of Face Unlock feature when other entry-level devices like Redmi 6, etc. have it, even if it’s not the most secure implementation.
On the battery front, the Redmi 6 Pro edges out the Nokia 3.1 Plus with a better battery. We are looking at 4,000 mAh battery on the Redmi 6 Pro against the 3,500 mAh battery in the Nokia 3.1 Plus. However, I’d say it is a close one considering the fact that Nokia 3.1 Plus is running a stock version of Android and it has fewer pixels to work with. I’ve been using the Nokia 3.1 Plus for the last few days myself, and I can confidently say that this phone can easily power through a full day of usage. I consider myself a moderate-heavy user, and as you can see from the screenshots below, I am ending my days with 6 hours of screen-on-time (SoT).
Nokia 3.1 Plus vs Redmi 6 Pro: Which One Should You Buy?
Well, if you are looking for a simple answer, I’d say the Redmi 6 Pro is undoubtedly a better phone. The Nokia 3.1 Plus, though it shares a lot of similarities, fails to impress on various parameters. Yes, it has an impressive build quality and it runs on stock Android, but the performance is frankly middling.
It is also worth pointing out that the base model of Redmi 6 Pro costs Rs. 500 less than the Nokia 3.1 Plus (at the time of writing this article). So, if you are fishing for pennies, then just go for the Redmi 6 Pro.