Tuesday, March 5, 2024

REVIEW | Nokia 3.4 lower mid-range smartphone

With the release of the Nokia 3.4, HMD Global is looking to offer premium looks and feel on an otherwise budget-priced device. Boasting a large 6.39-inch screen and a good-looking exterior design, at under P7,000, it could make for a great buy. After spending a month with it, below are notes from my experience.

Design and Ergonomics

The Nokia 3.4 is a substantial phone; it’s slim yet sufficiently weighted and not cheap feeling. The rear is textured, with a fingerprint sensor positioned for index-finger reach. The device we were testing was a shade of blue, featuring hues of violet as the light hits it at various angles. In no way does the phone seem like a low-cost device. The round edges make it comfortable to hold, though the large dimensions are a bit much if you have small hands.

Though the screen resolution is just 720p, stretched across a large 6.39-inch IPS LCD display, sharpness is decent and perfectly fine for daily use. The colors were good and combined with the thin bezels, it makes for a good content-consumption device. The big-screen adorns the entire front facia, with a tasteful Nokia branding on the chin. Included in the package are a charger, pair of headphones, clear case, and documentation.

The button placement is standard fare Nokia, with Power and Volume on the left, and a dedicated Google Assistant button on the right. At the top, there is a 3.5mm audio jack, and a USB Type-C connection at bottom, placed between a speaker and a mic.

Specs and Performance

Powering the Nokia 3.4 is the Snapdragon 460 octa-core processor. RAM and storage come in three flavors: a 3GB/32GB variant, a 3GB/64GB variant, and the top-spec 4GB/64GB variant. The test unit was the latter, with 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage.

In terms of where these specs fall, the Nokia 3.4 is a lower mid-range device. Based purely on the specs, this device should perform decently well, but in our testing tended to lag and have some issues at times. This made for a less than optimal experience, which we feel is more related to software bugs and required optimization.

The included speaker was good, with good audio playback. It was a mono presentation though.

Battery and Charging

The included battery has a capacity of 4000 mAh, though charging is just at 10 watts. So, expect good battery life, but also long charge times.

Charge Matrix:

  • 15 Mins – 8%
  • 30 Mins – 16%
  • 45 Mins – 24%
  • 60 Mins – 32%
  • 90 Mins – 47%
  • 120 Mins – 60%
  • 150 Mins – 72%
  • 180 Mins – 86%
  • 210 Mins – 96%
  • 230 Mins – 99%

At around 4 hours, it’s probably practical to charge the device at night as small quick-bursts of top-up charging aren’t going to help much. Thankfully, battery drain is slow, with one and a half hours of YouTube playback consuming only 10% of battery. Standby is also good, lasting a couple of days with limited use.

Software and User Experience

The device ships with Android 10, with an upgrade path to Android 11. The UI is pretty much stock Android, but if you prefer a different skin you can always go with a launcher. The Microsoft Launcher is great, and one that I would recommend.

As mentioned before, we did experience some software-related issues, with the phone lagging and times, and taking a second or two to switch between apps. There was an instance when trying to shoot a video where the app kept crashing, forcing us to restart the device. Hopefully, a future software update will fix these inconsistencies.

Camera and Optics

The Nokia 3.4 features a triple camera setup, integrated into the rear beautifully in a ring layout with the flash. The camera bump is not too intense, and being centered there is no rocking on a flat surface. As for the camera hardware, it features a 13-megapixel primary sensor, a 5-megapixel ultrawide, and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. The front camera is an 8-megapixel wide-angle lens.

In our testing, we found that the camera was quite lack-luster. Pictures were just okay, with low-light and night photography being poor. Colors were often bland. In dim lighting such as in restaurants, pictures ended up being grainy and looking flat; in perfect lighting, they were just okay.

We also noticed that the camera software was sluggish, taking a while to switch between modes and being slow between pictures. Again, something that we hope can be fixed with a software update. But future updates aside, this device is not camera-focused. So, if you need a great shooter, this is not for you.

Selfies were okay; for a change, we took one with dim-lighting and as expected got just average results. The software does feature beautify functionality.

Value and Competition

The Nokia 3.4 pricing was dropped to P6,990 in February 2021, though released in late 2020 at a slightly higher price. This is a fiercely competitive price range, with the previously reviewed Realme C15 being available at the same price. Comparing the devices, the build, design, and overall aesthetic of the Nokia 3.4 are far superior, while the camera functionality on the Realme C15 is better.

Step-up to P7,990 and you can get the Xiaomi Poco M3, with lower midrange offerings from Samsung such as the A21s costing P9,990.


As always Nokia nails the design, look, and feel of the 3.4, with a very premium feeling unit. If you want something that looks classy but doesn’t cost a fortune, this device is for you. The larger screen and good battery life also make it ideal for content consumption. On the other hand, the photography experience was poor, so if that’s important to you, this is not a good choice. Not to mention the software issues we had, which will hopefully be sorted in future updates.  

  • Model: TA-1288
  • Price: P 6,990
  • Verdict: A premium looking lower mid-range phone, with a lackluster camera


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