The last time I used a Nokia phone it was a Nokia 6700 Slide –  a piece of solid metal I loved so much and was sad to let go to switch to of all other phones the infamous Idios because of the entry of Android that came and buried us all.  Some of my best memories of mobile telephony and indeed some of my best phone photography at that time was done on that phone and I’ll never forget the Carl Zeis lense that came proudly emblazoned on the camera.

Then Nokia fizzled out of my life as other brands came about and android got bolder and the updates kept coming, but that does not mean that I forgot the name. I don’t think anyone who has used Nokia can really forget it, especially the iconic 3310 which was a darling of a lot of people. For some reason I cannot explain, I did not use the 3310. I think at that time I was trying out either Sagem or Siemens – I really do not remember. But the thing is, I do remember Nokia even more than what I was actually using. See?

Anyway, that was then and good old Nokia is back into our lives, this time operating on Android. Among the first Nokia that came in in April last year was the 3310 and if I had used the 3310 back then, trust me I’d have bought it’s new sister for old time’s sake.

I’ve been using the Nokia 1 for the past several weeks, an entry level gadget and immediately felt a positive difference from the gadgets I’d tended to gravitate towards over time, like the removable battery and the ability to navigate with one hand. It feels good to be in control honestly – that this is a phone I can disassemble without ruining, and although I’d hardly buy different covers for interchanging, I would be quick to purchase a bright colour for all my tenure of use. I’ve been known to rant about phone colours and was happy to learn that this phone can have different interchangeable covers, though purchased separately. So if you’re one to match phones with your clutches, Nokia got you.

The re-introduced Nokias still maintain the essence of Nokia, particularly the iconic tune which we can never forget. What I have does not have the equally iconic power-on handshake but the box does have the image of someone holding onto the hand of someone they trust. I have absolutely no trouble associating Nokia with trust, especially since I already had hands on experience of my past one taking quite the falls, falling apart, and me being able to reassemble it and moving on.

Before I opened the box I thought that the Nokia 1 was a tiny phone but I was actually pleasantly surprised that it is actually quite bearable, standing at 133.6X67.8mm with a display of 4.5 inch, with a thickness of 9.5mm. Still not the biggest out there but for phone portability that is quite a winner. Especially considering that in keeping with the times, Nokia 1 is a light weight at just 121gms. This is a luxury I did not have in my days of 6700 slide but I’m not complaining.

I was pleased to see that this 4G enabled phone came with Swahili as part of a set up option and also a Swahili hard copy instruction manual, if anyone needed any more convincing that this phone really does this part of the world. That and the fact it is a dual SIM are something that brings the phone very close home.

Camera and sound

With a camera of 5mp back with LED Flash and 2mp front, picture resolution is not the sharpest out there but then again remember this is an entry level phone that is retailing at Kshs7,999/- and we can only expect so much. Music quality is not top-notch either but we’re keeping to the same argument that to be fair, it is fair priced and features that come along with that are within range.

The earplugs it comes with are hard plastic which I think are quite old fashioned in these days of smaller, softer cushier or let’s say more ergonomically shaped plugs that are kinder to the ear.  Since time immemorial, whenever I used those hard plastic earplugs they’ve always hurt my ears within about 30 minutes or so and eventually end up not using them at all. But for users who can wear them long, you’re good to go. I tend to think they’ll last longer anyway. It does not help that the speaker at the back of the Nokia 1 is quite tiny and does not give the best sound but we’ll go back to the point of pricing and be satisfied with that.


The phone comes with a storage of 1GB RAM and 8GB ROM, which I feel is pretty good for an entry level phone. In any case ROM is expandable to 128 GB via microSD, which will do well to keep all those photo and video memories in the phone.


The Nokia 1 battery is 2150 mAh and for a normal phone user, that will perfectly last around 8 hours. Of course when it comes to phone use you’ll define your normal with time. You’ll need to consider whether you spend the day on YouTube with it, or on FM radio, or if the phone spends its time in your jeans pocket. For example, I’m not exactly in the 8 hour category. I’m on phone just about throughout and will therefore be more of a battery guzzler.

Android 8.1 Oreo (Go Version)

Nokia 1 comes with Android 8.1 Oreo Go version, a version of Android optimized to work with devices with 1gb RAM or less and still not be a slow nightmare to use. Some softwares on Nokia 1 are already go, like Gmail and YouTube but you can always head to the playstore and get the full versions. But note that these will affect phone performance. Once again I think this is something to be customized by users depending on preference. Keep in mind though that the Go Edition saves on data and storage.

In conclusion, the phone comes with all one would need and I feel that the modernity of this phone is quite in line with the price point and is a good buy for the price of Ksh7,999/-.

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