Our Nokia 3.4 review looks at this mid-range smartphone with an overall package that is impressive, from hardware to software to performance. Is this the best phone under $150, £100, or 70000 naira? Let’s find out.
The Nokia 3.4 is a 2020 model from HMD Global and a successor to Nokia 3.2, which we reviewed here. Nokia 3.4 is produced and sold in two variants – one with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, and the other with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage.
We are reviewing the 4/64GB variant, and it checks all the right boxes on paper. The 3.4 is an upgrade to the 3.2 in a number of ways – a bigger display, a more powerful processor, more RAM, more storage, and more up-to-date software.
Nokia 3.4 Review: Quick Specs
- 6.39-inch, 720 x 1560 pixels, curved IPS LCD
- Stock Android 10, with planned upgrades to Android 11 and Android 12
- 8MP selfie camera
- 13MP wide angle + 5MP ultrawide angle + 2MP depth camera with LED light
- 4000mAh battery with 10W charging
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 processor engine
- 4GB RAM
- 64GB internal storage
- Dedicated microSD card slot
- USB Type-C
- 3.5mm audio headset port.
Nokia 3.4 Review: Quick Pros And Cons
- beautiful design, especially the back cover
- beautiful, sleek, crisp display
- lightweight build
- impressive performance
- decent battery life
Nokia 3.4 Review: In the box
Inside the Nokia 3.4’s retail box are the usual suspects:
- the Nokia 3.4 phone itself
- paper documentation
- transparent silicon case
- USB-C cable
- 5V wall charger. The phone supports 10W charging, which is a bit faster, but you have to buy a 10W charger separately, or use one that you already own.
- 3.5mm headset
- SIM ejector pin
Nokia 3.4 Review: Hardware And Design
The 3.4 is has a metal frame but a plastic material on the back. HMD Global calls it a nano-textured plastic. We call it beautiful. Taking a closer look, the texture is from thin vertical stripes/grooves in the plastic. And it is beautiful to look at as well.
There is a USB-C port, along with a microphone and loudspeaker grills, at the bottom edge of the phone. Moving to the right side of the phone, we find that the volume controls are built into one seamless button – push the top to increase the volume and push the bottom section to reduce the volume. Below it is the Power button.
On the left side is the SIM tray slot, and below that is the dedicated Google Assistant key. Pushing it launches Google Assistant for your use.
At the top edge is a 3.5mm port, and there is a microphone opening close by.
The Nokia 3.4 is a beautifully crafted smartphone, keeping to HMD Global’s reputation for making well-designed and well-built phones. Here is a hands-on video showing you the device,
Nokia 3.4 Review: Software
Like all other Android Nokia phones, the 3.4 is an Android One device and so runs stock Android OS. That is Android without the kind of customizations that other manufacturers include. Out of the box, Nokia 3.4 has Android 10, and it will receive the Android 11 update, as well as Android 12 when it is released.
In addition, it will get 3 years of security updates.
Stock Android is clean and light and devoid of a lot of 3rd party bloatware. Google’s apps are pre-installed though and some constitute bloat. Thankfully, they can be uninstalled.
Nokia 3.4 Review: Network And Telephony
Nokia 3.4 supports 2G, 3G and 4G networks on both SIM slots and switches between them depending on available coverage.
Setting up and using mobile Internet is as fast and as easy as we expect it to be. No fuss.
The phone holds on to available network quite well and calls are strong.
Nokia 3.4 Review: Display And Multimedia
While the display resolution is a run-of-the-mill 720×1520 pixels, what we have is a screen that is beautiful. It is not just beautiful to look at, it is also beautiful to touch. The specs sheet does not provide details, but there has to be some sort of coating that was applied to the screen to make it feel this smooth.
It also has curved edges. The Nokia 3.4’s display is a marvel, considering the specs. It is so crisp and clear and beautiful that it makes using the phone a delight.
Viewing photos and watching videos on the Nokia 3.4 are pleasant experiences, despite the display’s resolution. Audio reproduction is fine and okay for a mid-ranger of this class. You won’t get a lot of bass and depth, but that is the norm for devices in this class.
Nokia 3.4 Review: Photography
The main camera on the Nokia 3.4 has a circular layout that is distinct. The bump has a 13MP wide angle camera as its main lens, along with a 5MP wide-angle lens and a 2MP depth sensor, with LED flashlight.
What sort of photos does it capture? How good is it? Let’s have a look at a few sample photos below.
At the front is a 5MP sensor, and it does a decent job too.
Both cameras take good photos in natural lighting, and without any surprise, they lose some details in low light and in night shots. This happens to varying degrees with all cameras. But the results from the Nokia 3.4’s cameras are satisfactory for the class the phone exists in.
Nokia 3.4 Review: Multitasking And Performance
If there is one area that we were concerned about, it was performance. Qualcomm made claims about the Snapdragon 460 offering much better performance than its predecessor, but we weren’t convinced.
The Nokia 3.4 has us surprised, and we have thrown away our concerns. The performance has left us happy. We did not experience any moments in which the phone had us itching for more power.
Of course, if you throw the heaviest possible tasks at it, those moments will happen. But the Nokia 3.4 is not a premium/flagship smartphone and should not be expected to deliver premium performance.
Clearly, Qualcomm’s claims about the Snapdragon 460 chipset are true. Plus, the Nokia 3.4 uses Adreno 610, the same GPU coupled with the more powerful Snapdragon 665 chipset. Then, there’s 4 GB RAM bolted in there to help with app launching and switching.
Altogether, Nokia 3.4‘s performance has been dreamy.
Nokia 3.4 Review: Battery life
Thanks to a 4000mAh battery, the Nokia 3.4 won’t leave you dashing for your charger after a few hours of use. With a little over moderate use, you will get a full day and some extra hours out of it. If you use it more intensively, it will likely give you no more than a working day.
The phone supports 10W charging, which can charge it up from 0 to 30% in 30 minutes. However, HMD Global includes only a 5W (standard) charger in the box. To take advantage of the faster charging that 10W charging provides, you need to buy a 10W charger or use one that you already own.
Nokia 3.4 Review: Final Words
With the Nokia 3.4, you get a decent screen, decent build, decent performance, decent battery, decent cameras, decent storage, and up-to-date software that will get upgraded for two years.
Drawing a conclusion about this handset is easy. It is a fantastic mid-range smartphone that impresses on all fronts – offering good performance in a drop-dead sexy body. It is one of those devices of which you can say that the whole is bigger and better than the sum of its parts.
As such, it was easy for us to fall in love with the Nokia 3.4, and we are sure that it will sell well in the market. We wish it supported at least 15W fast charging instead of 10W. We also wish that Nokia included a fast charger in the box.
Is this the best phone under $150 (USA), £100 (UK), or 70000 naira (Nigeria)? It comes close. If you are in the market for a smartphone and have a budget of ₦64,500, the Nokia 3.4 is solid value for money. You should consider making it your choice.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.