Nokia 1 – What it’s like to use a R999 smartphone

The compact Nokia 1 was recently launched in South Africa with a price tag of only R999.

The device features the Android 8.1 Go operating system along with support for LTE networks.

With its Nokia 1 device, HMD Global aims to deliver great value paired with a standard smartphone feature set, said the company.

Many retailers do not yet have the device in stock, but we found a Nokia 1 for sale at the advertised price of R999 and put it in our shopping basket.

Hardware and design

The Nokia 1 is a small phone with a compact LCD touchscreen that is surrounded by relatively thick bezels.

Despite its incongruity with smartphone design trends, the Nokia 1 manages to appear modern thanks to its simple colour scheme, centre-mounted rear camera, and bevelled chassis.

More importantly, the back panel of the Nokia 1 is removable – meaning you can remove and replace its battery if necessary.

The ability to remove a device’s battery is often a request of seasoned smartphone users, who want to be able to take it out if they choose to.

The Nokia 1 is a comfortable device to hold and typing messages or browsing on the device is easy, as the screen is not too small to be restrictive.

Despite being a new device, the Nokia 1 sports a microUSB charging port instead of a USB Type-C, although the former is still common among lower-priced devices.

The camera is functional and impressive, and the inclusion of both front and rear-facing cameras allows for compatibility with multiple modern applications.

From a hardware perspective, you would struggle to get better than the Nokia 1 for R999, and the improved support for Android updates makes it an even more attractive device.

The specifications of the Nokia 1 are below.

Nokia 1
Dimensions 133.6 x 67.7 x 9.5 mm
OS Android 8.1 Go
Display 4.5-inch FWVGA IPS (854 x 480)
Processor 1.1GHz Quad-Core MediaTek (MT6737M)
RAM 1GB
Storage 8GB, MicroSD
Rear camera 5MP
Front camera 2MP
Battery 2,150mAh
Cellular LTE
RRP R999

Android Go and running apps

Under its hood, the Nokia 1 takes on modern Android flagships with its software – running Android 8.1 Go.

Android Go is essentially a lighter version of Android 8.1, and while it loses a number of advanced features, it retains the modern interface and functionality of the full OS.

Applications like Uber, Netflix, WhatsApp, and Facebook work on the Nokia 1, and there is little noticeable lag with multiple applications open simultaneously.

The device is simple, offering no biometric security features, advanced themes, or bundled additional software, but it contains everything a functional smartphone should – including Maps navigation, Chrome, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

The lightweight Google apps offered within Android Go also strip out extraneous features in favour of functional, lightweight solutions which are said to provide the functionality users will require.

You won’t get many of the impressive features offered within flagship Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S9, but the Nokia 1 won’t hold you back either.

It also promises impressive battery life, said its makers.

Whether it serves as a primary smartphone or a backup device, the Nokia 1 should handle most tasks you throw at it.

Images of the Nokia 1are posted below.


Nokia 1

Nokia 1 4

Nokia 1 5

Nokia 1 1

Nokia 1 2


Nokia 1 and Samsung Galaxy S9

For comparison against a flagship Android device, the Nokia 1 was placed next to a Samsung Galaxy S9.

The Nokia 1 is substantially smaller than the Galaxy S9 in terms of screen size, and a bit thicker.

Nokia 1 Galaxy S9 1

Nokia 1 Galaxy S9 2

Nokia 1 Galaxy S9


Now read: WhatsApp not guaranteed for Nokia 8110

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Nokia 1 – What it’s like to use a R999 smartphone