Nokia C1: Hands-on Review on the Most Affordable Android Smart Phone From HMD Global.

The Nokia C1 is an entry-level smartphone that has been made available for just Ksh 5,999. The C1 is not a new line of phone but it is a successor of the Nokia 1 plus, which a successor of the Nokia 1.  

Straight out the box, the Nokia C1 is a light phone which looks and feels premium compared to devices on this price point. The Nokia C1 comes with a USB charger, a pair of earphones and a removable battery.

The Nokia C1 packs 5.45 inches with an IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen that provides a resolution of 480 x 960 pixels. The phone has 1GB RAM and 16GB memory and is available in only black and red. Other features include; GPS, Radio, Bluetooth, and micro USB 2.0.

Physical Specifications

I have with me a black unit.


The Nokia C1, unfortunately, operates on 3G, but considering the price point, we can cut HMD Global some slack.  The device runs on the Android 9.0 Pie (Go edition) and is powered by the Quad-core 1.3 GHz processor. HMD Global decided to use the android 9 go edition as it is an optimized version of android. This version supports regular features but are leaner, faster and smaller in size. On using the phone the device had a smooth performance when sticking to basic uses such as texting and casual browsing. Heavy browsing and running multiple apps on the background lead to the phone overheating and it automatically brought you back to the home screen on the phone.  

Nokia C1 packs a 5MP camera on its front and rare side. The pictures taken on this device are grainy and lack dynamic range. Under direct sunlight, the Nokia C1 produces decent photos.   

A selfie taken at night.
A photo taken by the rare camera.


The battery of the Nokia C1 is removable, unlike most recent smartphones. The battery is backed with Li-Ion 2500 mAh fuel. One thing that HMD Global always tries to incorporate on its devices is great battery life. And the Nokia C1 is no exception, the 2500 mAh fuel comfortably lasts for a day when you stick to casual uses. But on using the device to play games, listening to music and browsing the internet the device will be up for at least 5 hours. The Nokia C1, unfortunately, does not support fast charging and takes more than 3 hours to fully charge.        

The volume and power button are located on the right side of the Nokia C1, while the google assistant button is located on the left. All buttons produce click sounds and are easily accessible.  

The Nokia C1 has no bloatware which is a common trait for Nokia phones. The lack of bloat and customization has enabled the processor for this phone to be faster which is a good thing for this mid-range budget phone.  

Nokia has said that the phone will receive two years of Android software updates and 3 years of security patches despite its being an entry-level smartphone. As I was using the device, I received January and February software updates.  

Should you buy or not buy the Nokia C1? At its price point, Nokia C1 offers a decent camera and good battery life. This will be an ideal secondary phone for basic functions.



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