Looking Into The Low Budget Feature Phone That is The Nokia 1


The Nokia 1 offers something rather special – a solid Android smartphone experience for a [pretty neat] feature phone price. This is an aspect that isn’t easy to come by these days especially since you also get the latest version of AndroidGo, with 8 Oreo – although it’s a slightly paired down variant of the operating system.

According to Gopher Ogembo, Senior Business Manager, East Africa at HMD Global, the real aim of the Nokia 1 is to allow customers who currently using feature phones to make the jump to smartphones without breaking the bank. The Android Oreo Go Edition, an operating system from Google that offers the latest features while streamlining for less powerful devices, is a perfect fit for cheap, low-powered phones like the Nokia 1.
So what does the Nokia 1 hold?


The design of the Nokia 1 is simple and clean. Plastic, but not cheap. Old-school, yet somehow modern. Some reviews have called the design ‘uninspired’ but I see it as the kind of design fit for its audience. Considering most of its buyers are kawaida business men who look at a phone’s functionality other than it’s design, the simplicity is right on the money


With GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, is this phone really worth the Kshs 9,500?


Most feature phones don’t have what the Nokia 1 currently has. There are plenty of low-cost rivals from more obscure brands which usually have a variety of different issues, and the Nokia 1 is looking to provide a simple alternative that may take a little longer to load, but will work how you want it to.

It also runs on Google’s Android One Go platform that is specially tailored to lower power devices, and key apps such as Maps, Assistant and the File Manager have their own “Go Edition” versions on the Nokia 1 to ensure they work.


There’s not much about the display. I mean the display brightness works well both during the day and the night but kinda struggles in strong sunlight.


It’s also mostly plastic with no toughened glass to protect the screen so if you’re a bit clumsy like I am, expect a few scratches on the screen.

Battery and Processor

The battery is where the Nokia 1 shines. At 2150mAh, the battery is relatively tiny but packs quite the punch.

I charged it only twice in the two weeks that I had it and considering I went out with it at least three times, the battery didn’t die out on me.

I would recommend it for guys with biashara who need to be on the phone almost all day, bodaboda guys and even millenials for them to use when going out as a substitute for their more more expensive gadgets at night.

I also loved the fact that I can take the battery out, the last few phones I’ve had/reviewed didn’t have that option and I like the fact that the Nokia 1 is old school like that.


It also has the edge of exchangeable covers, the joy of being able to buy an extra battery, it’s Dual SIM so you can easily pop up your two SIM cards without the problem of thinking, where the heck do I get a pin to remove the SIM tray. Yep, no SIM tray because they went a bit old school with this, which I low-key liked.


It has a quad-core MediaTek MT6737M processor clocked at 1.1GHz coupled with 1GB of RAM.

It’s also worth noting that while the Nokia 1 only comes with 8GB of internal storage, the Go Edition Android software means that there’s over 5GB of available space for you to use. If it was running the standard version of Android, you’d be looking at around 2GB of usable space, making it a win for the Nokia 1.


It doesn’t run as fast as one would expect, for example, Google Maps would take forever to load but then again, that’s not its core purpose.


Unfortunately, there isn’t much to say about the camera. The 5MP camera is slow, meaning fast-moving subjects or low light conditions present a challenge. It shoots video in SD, which looks ok on the little screen but not good elsewhere. There is a flash and a 2MP selfie shooter included.


This might be a very basic phone, but it provides the lion’s share of the functionality and connectivity you’re going to need.


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