Nokia may not have really felt like entering the premium smartphone market in India of late, but the low-end phone range of HMD Global the caretaker of the Nokia phone brand – is expanding steadily. HMD recently launched the Nokia C01 Plus in India as an entry-level phone that new smartphone users will turn to, especially when the price is Rs 6,199.
If you are not too ambitious about your phone, the Nokia C01 Plus comes across as a good option, but is it worth your money? I took the Nokia C01 Plus for a spin, and here is my review.
Nokia C01 Plus review: Solid body and good display
Nokia phones are usually lookers, no matter their price. And that is something the latest Nokia C01 Plus stands for, too. Because the price here is among the lowest, you will pay for a smartphone, and there is not much to expect. The blue-coloured plastic body looks elegant, which I am sure will attract first-time smartphone users. The phone’s sleekness is another reason why they will consider the Nokia C01 Plus.
I like compact phones, and the Nokia C01 Plus is just the right amount of compact. It was always so comfortable holding the phone in my hands, even for extended periods, sometimes when browsing the web or watching Instagram Reels endlessly. And beyond the grip, the weight of the Nokia C01 Plus is on the lower side so that you do not get tired of holding the phone. There is no fingerprint sensor on the phone, but you have the face unlock feature that works in good light conditions.
The Nokia C01 Plus has a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Micro-USB port on top, while the microphone is on the bottom. The speaker is on the back, and it is adequately loud for my sessions watching Lucifer Season 6 on Netflix. And it is also loud enough for devotional songs your parents or grandparents may like to listen to.
The Nokia C01 Plus’ display is 5.45-inches and has a resolution of 720×1440 pixels. I was surprised to see how good and sharp the display looks on a phone that is one of the cheapest on the market. I absolutely had no issues reading articles or recipes on display, even though sometimes I was outdoors on a bright day. It is not your 2021-ish display design, though. There is no notch or punch-hole: you have thick chins on both top and bottom, and I do not think that was an issue for me.
I enjoyed watching the entire season 6 of Lucifer on the Nokia C01 Plus, and not even once did I feel I was holding a low-end phone. Yes, there is no Full-HD certificate for Netflix streaming, but that is an overstated expectation. And if this is going to be a gift for your parents or grandparents, I think they will like watching the news, daily soaps, and bhajans on it.
Nokia C01 Plus review: Gets the basics right
Given its price, the Nokia C01 Plus comes across as a good phone for people who do not need to do a lot. What I mean to tell you is that this is a good phone if you are going to do a lot of calling, texting, and using WhatsApp. I am even willing to tell you that the Nokia C01 Plus is a-okay if you play games like Candy Crush Saga or even Temple Run, but anything beyond the level of these games is going to turn your experience sour.
See, the Nokia C01 Plus uses a Unisoc SC9863A processor, and it is not adept at handling high-graphics games, so I would advise against playing games like Battlegrounds Mobile India on this phone. You can always download and run them, but at your own risk. I would suggest downloading some interesting puzzle games that even your parents will enjoy playing. The 2GB RAM inside the phone is big enough to give a good experience, but the 16GB storage may not be sufficient. But do not worry. You have a microSD card slot that you can use to expand the storage.
Since there is 2GB of RAM, a full-fledged Android version would not be suitable. That is why you get Android 11 (Go edition) on the Nokia C01 Plus. This is essentially a watered-down version of Android that gives you all the functionality of a smartphone but with some limits that justify the low price. Instead of your regular apps, you have apps such as Google Go, Google Assistant Go, and Gallery Go on the phone. But you can download the regular versions anytime. In fact, there are some regular Google apps such as YouTube and Maps on the phone, which run absolutely fine despite the low RAM.
HMD has prided itself in offering a near-stock Android experience on its Nokia phones, and I have time and again praised the company for that. But I do not think I will admire the Nokia C01 Plus purely from the software aspect. Why? Bloatware. Yes, this may be the first phone that brings apps such as Josh, MX TakaTak, MX TakaTak Lite, MyJio, ShareChat, Netflix, and Snapchat pre-installed on the phone. These apps can be uninstalled, but I was not a bit disappointed HMD took a detour from its commitment to a pure Android experience.
Nokia C01 Plus review: Average cameras
If you are going to buy the Nokia C01 Plus, do not pay much attention to the cameras. That is because the cameras on the Nokia C01 Plus just get the job done, nothing beyond. The 5-megapixel camera on both front and rear sides click wide-angle photos, but they often turn out fuzzy. Proper light on the subject can improve results, but not so much. You have a portrait mode for when you want a blur in your photo.
Both cameras, however, are good for video calls that I think your parents and grandparents will appreciate on the Nokia C01 Plus. I also think that because the photos are not very sharp from either camera, they can be good retro photos that you have so many filters in camera apps for. Just add some colour layer, and your Instagram will have something new for the next photo update.
Nokia C01 Plus review: Super lasting battery
It is the best thing about low-end phones. Their battery runs for a long time, so you do not have to keep the charger with you all the time. The Nokia C01 Plus has a 3000mAh battery, which, interestingly, is removable. This is great for when your phone is stuck, and you must think of the only way to reset. Jokes apart, the battery lasted for around three days on a single charge, which is absolutely great. The phone supports the regular 5W charging, which is quite slow, so your phone is going to take around two hours or even more to charge fully.
Nokia C01 Plus review: Should you buy it?
Nokia’s phones are often good in terms of design, durability, and software, but the hardware on them is often below par with what other brands offer you for around the same price. Gladly, the Nokia C01 Plus does not dwell in that perception. It has a good overall feel, and even the hardware is good enough for its customers. The software would have been better without third-party apps, so that is something I feel goes a bit against the phone.
I feel if you are going to buy the Nokia C01 Plus for your parents or grandparents, it is a good buy. If you want to give it as a gift to your house staff, again, this phone looks like a good option. And if you are shifting to a phone that gets the basics right, the Nokia C01 Plus is your phone.