Movies and series are best enjoyed on a large, high-resolution TV or PC monitor.
However, certain smartphones sport HDR displays with high resolutions and brightness, making them suitable viewing devices if you can – or need to – stomach a smaller display.
After using the Samsung Galaxy S9, I’ve found watching Netflix or YouTube on a mobile device to be a lot more tolerable.
With its high-resolution AMOLED display and impressive brightness, the S9 holds up well – even in sunny, outdoor areas.
As the recently-launched R999 Nokia 1 smartphone supports the Netflix mobile app, we decided to test its ability as an affordable media-playing device for those in the market.
We installed Netflix on its Android 8.1 Go OS and fired up some series.
Display and resolution
The most important factor affecting image quality is the resolution of a display, and the Nokia’s 4.5-inch screen falls behind flagship displays in this regard.
It features an 854 x 480 resolution with an IPS LCD panel.
Due to its small screen size, however, the Nokia 1’s pixel density falls under the High Density classification for Android devices.
IPS panels also tend to have better viewing angles than TN or VA displays, but the Nokia 1’s image fidelity falls off quickly when viewed from an angle.
This is caused by the panel being slightly recessed into the chassis below the glass cover.
After starting an episode of the Expanse on Netflix, it was also impossible to see anything when the display was reflecting sunlight.
The glare from the front glass of the Nokia 1 paired with its relatively dim backlight makes it difficult to use it on a bright day.
However, the resolution of the display in combination with its screen size meant watching Netflix in conducive lighting conditions – regular indoor settings – was pleasant.
The app also never stuttered or froze while streaming, even though the Nokia 1 only has 1GB of RAM.
This solid performance may be attributed to Android 8.1 Go, which drastically reduces the memory and storage consumption of applications.
Mobile data and Wi-Fi
Our previous Netflix streaming tests found that flagship smartphones with higher-resolution displays used more data when streaming video, compared to lower-end devices.
We also found that streaming over a mobile data connection used less data than streaming content over Wi-Fi.
The Nokia 1 supports LTE and Wi-Fi connections, which means the stream quality should never be limited by bandwidth constraints.
In our Netflix tests, an MTN prepaid SIM was loaded with data and placed in the Nokia 1.
The Netflix account used for the test was set to automatically adjust streaming quality, and a speed test was conducted before streaming started to determine the device’s connection quality.
The MyBroadband Speed Test App was used for the speed measurements.
At the time Netflix test was started, the Nokia 1 on MTN scored:
- Download speed – 23.70Mbps
- Upload speed – 22.90Mbps
Two episodes of The Expanse were played during the test, each with a runtime of over 40 minutes.
We then used Android 8.1 Go’s built-in data usage monitor to measure the mobile data consumed by Netflix.
The mobile data usage measured for each episode was:
- Episode 1 (45m) – 200MB
- Episode 2 (43m) – 180MB
We also tested the Nokia 1’s Wi-Fi capabilities and found them to be limited compared to flagship smartphones.
The Nokia 1’s Wi-Fi adapter supports 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, and to see what it could handle we connected it to a Netgear Orbi mesh Wi-Fi system with a 100Mbps/50Mbps fibre connection.
The MyBroadband Speed Test App was once again used to determine the maximum download and upload speeds of the Nokia 1.
Results of the Wi-Fi speed tests, and how they compare to a flagship device, are listed below.
|Wi-Fi Speed Tests||Download||Upload||Latency|
|Nokia 1 Test 1||46.42Mbps||41.22Mbps||8ms|
|Nokia 1 Test 2||47.74Mbps||20.99Mbps||8ms|
|Nokia 1 Test 3||48.68Mbps||43.70Mbps||8ms|
|iPhone X Test 1||96.11Mbps||42.88Mbps||8ms|
|iPhone X Test 2||96.25Mbps||26.05Mbps||10ms|
|iPhone X Test 3||96.26Mbps||8.87Mbps||7ms|
When would you watch Netflix on a Nokia 1?
Watching Netflix on a mobile device is best done on a smartphone with a bright, large display – like the Samsung Galaxy S9 or Huawei P20.
Using the Nokia 1 to watch Netflix is possible, but it is far from an ideal.
There are certain cases where the device’s support for Netflix could come in use, though.
By inserting a MicroSD card into the device and downloading a bunch of Netflix episodes for offline viewing, you can use the Nokia 1 to watch series while travelling without an Internet connection.
This means you do not need to take your high-end smartphone with you on holiday, as the Nokia 1 could fulfil all your smartphone requirements.
The battery life on the Nokia 1 is also excellent during normal operation, although it loses around 2% every 10 minutes of Netflix video streaming at max brightness.
The device features a removable battery, however, making it an ideal travel companion for areas where access to electricity is a problem.
Additionally, the Netflix app allows you to cast to smart TVs and similar devices with the Nokia 1.
Overall, the Nokia 1 offers an impressive performance for its price.