Nokia 1.4 review: Good pick for casual smartphone users

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The Nokia 1.4 is one of HMD Global’s entry-level smartphons offerings for 2021. Priced at P4,990, this device offers a large 6.51-inch display, dual rear cameras, Android 10 (Go Edition) operating system, and a 2GB RAM + 32GB ROM configuration. It mainly targets casual phone users, with its features and design that make it easy to connect, learn, and play.

Eye-catching look, smart design choices

The Nokia 1.4 is serving more-than-decent looks for its price. We got our hands on the dual-tone Fjord variant that gives off an elegant mix of metallic blue and purple hues.

The placement of the circular and protruded camera module, the round fingerprint sensor, and the Nokia logo at the centerline at the back is refreshing. Speaking of, the Nokia 1.4 sports a rear fingerprint sensor instead of going for the face unlock feature available on the Nokia 1.3. It’s a more accessible security option, we think, given that our current health situation requires wearing a mask most of the time. There’s also a dedicated Google Assistant key on the left of the phone.

The phone also feels sturdy, even with the plastic chassis. It has some heft but it’s not too heavy, and fits just right on the hand thanks to the slim body. The textured rear cover also helps with grip.

Its 6.51-inch display has an HD+ resolution and a 20:9 aspect ratio. The colors are decent—not too vibrant but not pale—and the details are just right. The bezels around the screen are not too thick to become a distraction when viewing content.

Meanwhile, the teardrop notch at the top doesn’t take up much space so it easily becomes unnoticeable.

Nothing much to expect from the loudspeaker located at the back of the Nokia 1.4. It’s a little weak in terms of volume but produces decent sound. Good thing there’s a 3.5mm jack, which is available at the top edge of the phone. However, the bundled earphones leave a lot to be desired.

Barebone camera offering

The Nokia 1.4 sports a dual-camera system at the rear with an 8-megapixel main sensor and a 2-megapixel macro lens. The main cameras produce passable images and videos that can be used for documentation and communication. Even under good lighting conditions, the resulting pictures look a bit noisy and lack details. The colors are vibrant for the most part.

The macro mode works decently, but this is something you can just stop using at all.

The same performance can be expected from the front camera. Selfies turn out fine generally, with good colors but lacking in detail.

The Camera Go app offers very basic features. You can toggle between macro and normal mode for photos, turn on/off flash, activate/deactivate night mode, and then some. A helpful feature is the photo counter at the top-left corner, which tells you how many more pictures you can take before using up all the phone’s storage.

Decent power and performance

With entry-level phones like the Nokia 1.4, there’s no illusion of getting the latest hardware and features. Under the hood, this phone has Snapdragon 215 processor, 2GB RAM, and 32GB internal storage. The latter can be expanded via microSD, so you can store a few more files and install additional apps.

Out of the box, the Nokia 1.4 runs on the Android 10 Go Edition operating system. The Go Edition is a tweaked version of Google’s mobile OS that is designed for low-powered devices. This allows the phone to run applications and tasks smoothly even with the small RAM and less powerful processor. The phone also comes pre-installed with the Go version of Google’s suite of apps, which take up less space on the phone’s storage and get lighter updates. It can run multiple apps at the same time but don’t expect super snappy responses. Still, it feels quite responsive and fluid for the most part. Playing power-intensive or graphics-heavy games can cause the phone to lag.

The battery power is a mixed bag. It can last for up to a day with normal usage, which includes a little social media browsing and video-watching. However, charging is a bit slow, taking more than three hours to fully charge—longer if you are using the phone while juicing up. The handset also still uses microUSB for charging and wired data transfer, instead of USB-C.

Speed says

The Nokia 1.4 is not without flaws. But it is a good option for a budget phone with its large display, fast and secure operating system designed for low-capacity internals, elegant design, and other user-friendly features. It fits casual users who want their device capable of doing essential tasks smoothly and easily.

However, it’s also important to note that for the same price point—give or take a few hundred pesos—realme and Xiaomi offer slightly higher-specced budget smartphones (realme C11 and Redmi 9C/9A, respectively). Or if you add a thousand pesos or two, you can get a higher Nokia model that brings significantly better performance and more up-to-date features.

Words and photos Pat Calica

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