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Nokia C32 Smartphone Review – This is the best looking smartphone in its segment!

Nokia, once a dominant force in the smartphone industry, has been facing challenges in keeping up with the strong competition from Chinese manufacturers. With the market growth in the country slowing down, Nokia has shifted its focus and is now primarily concentrating on producing affordable devices. Their latest offering, the Nokia C32, is aimed at entry-level smartphone users and is priced below INR 10,000.

Priced at INR 9,499, the Nokia C32 offers a large display, a sizable battery, a dual camera setup, and more. However, smartphones in this price range face several difficulties, with the main one being competition from brands like Redmi, POCO, Motorola, and realme. We have been using the Nokia C32 for over a week now, and in this comprehensive review, we determine how it fares against its rivals.

Nokia C32 Specifications

Before starting with the Nokia C32 review, let’s glance at the phone’s specifications, pricing, and things we get with the device.

  • Display: 6.52-inch HD+ IPS LCD
  • CPU: Octa-core Unisoc Unisoc SC9863A processor
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64/128GB
  • Software: Android 13
  • Main Camera: 50MP primary sensor + 2MP macro lens
  • Selfie Camera: 8MP
  • Connectivity: USB Type-C, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v5.2, GPS/ A-GPS, 3.5mm headphone jack, FM Radio
  • Cellular: Dual SIM
  • Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, side-mounted
  • Battery: 5000 mAh, non-removable
  • Charging: 10W fast charging

Box Contents

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Here’s a complete list of items you get inside the box:

  • Nokia C32 smartphone
  • 10W Charger
  • USB Type-C charging cable
  • Sim Ejector Tool
  • Documentation

Design

Nokia C32 12 scaledSitting in the sub-INR 10,000 price segment, the Nokia C32 features a predominantly polycarbonate construction. The front of the phone is guarded by toughened glass, a reasonable choice considering the smartphone’s affordable nature, while the back is composed of polycarbonate material with a matte finish. Positioned at the top rear of the device, there is a dual-camera module along with sensors and a flash, while the Nokia logo is located at the bottom.

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Flipping the phone over reveals a 6.52-inch HD+ IPS display with a dewdrop notch and noticeable bezels. Interestingly, the Nokia branding on the bottom bezel has been removed, which is a welcomed change. In terms of button placement, the right edge of the Nokia C32 houses the volume buttons and a power button that also serves as a fingerprint sensor. On the left edge, you’ll find the SIM tray, while the top edge features a 3.5mm audio jack. The bottom edge is home to the main speaker unit, microphone, and USB Type-C port used for charging the device.

Display

Nokia C32 5 scaledThe Nokia C32 boasts a 6.52-inch HD+ IPS LCD display that adheres to the standard 60Hz refresh rate. It is disappointing to see a smartphone in the INR 10,000 market with an HD+ LCD display, thick bezels, and a dewdrop notch, especially when competitors are offering Full HD+ 90Hz panels. Nevertheless, the display provides satisfactory brightness levels and cooler tones, which is acceptable considering the device’s price range.

The display is suitable for basic tasks like content consumption and occasional light gaming. However, users may experience instances of light bleed and shadows, particularly around the notch, which is a common occurrence in budget smartphones featuring a dewdrop notch. Color inconsistencies may also be observed, but adjusting the color profile in the display settings can rectify this issue.

Software and Performance

Nokia C32 6 scaledSimilar to previous Nokia smartphones, the C32 operates on stock Android. However, Nokia has chosen to equip this device with the standard Android 13 build out of the box instead of a stripped-down Android Go version, which is an improvement compared to some of its competitors. Nokia is committed to providing two Android version upgrades and two years of security updates for the C32, ensuring it should receive updates up to Android 15 before reaching its end of life.

Nokia C32 9 scaledThe user interface remains consistent with previous stock Android builds from the company. Nokia has made efforts to maintain a stock Android experience by including applications such as Nokia Care, Nokia Photography, and Digital Wellbeing. The device is free from bloatware, and the user interface incorporates convenient features like gestures and fingerprint movements. For instance, users can slide up or down on the fingerprint sensor to access the Notification Center and more.

Nokia C32 8 scaledPowering the Nokia C32 is the relatively lesser-known Unisoc SC9863A1 SoC, which is a similar variant to the one found in the Nokia C31. This entry-level chip is not as widely used, as MediaTek has a stronger presence in the budget smartphone market. The reasoning behind choosing this processor over other options such as the MediaTek Helio G37, G80, or Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 SoC.

Despite its entry-level status, the SC9863A1 performs adequately. During regular testing, the device exhibited satisfactory performance, with no major UI flaws except for some delays in app launching. The Nokia C32 comes with 4GB of RAM as standard, and the storage options include 64GB or 128GB. For the purpose of this review, we have the 128GB storage variant.

Camera and Battery

Nokia C32 13 scaledThe Nokia C32 is equipped with a dual-camera setup on the back, consisting of a primary 50MP sensor and a 2MP auxiliary lens. For selfies, there is an 8MP front-facing camera housed within the dewdrop notch. Unfortunately, the performance of the main camera is not particularly impressive. In well-lit conditions, the shots captured by the 50MP sensor are passable at best but struggle in low-light environments. The phone’s portrait mode demonstrates decent edge recognition, and the accompanying app offers additional tuning options.

The 8MP front-facing camera can capture reasonably good outdoor selfies. However, as expected from a smartphone in this budget range, the overall camera performance suffers in low-light situations.

Nokia C32 7 scaledWith a 5,000mAh battery, the C32 offers more than sufficient power for a device of its size and capabilities. In our tests involving gaming, movie watching, texting, and calling, the phone still had approximately 25% battery remaining at the end of the day. On the downside, the included 10W charger takes over two hours to fully charge the phone, which is a slight disappointment.

Verdict

With a starting price of INR 8,999, the Nokia C32 stands out for its sturdy build quality when compared to some of its rivals. Nokia’s commitment to simplicity and attention to detail is evident in this device. While the phone performs well in certain aspects, it falls short in others. In a highly competitive market like ours, the Nokia C32 appears to be trailing behind its competitors. Nevertheless, Nokia benefits from a strong legacy, brand recognition, and trust, which are factors that Chinese players are currently grappling with.