Nokia 8.3 5GSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

Best Android One Phones Android Central 2021

The best Android One phones get the latest Android updates on time and offer a clean interface. If you're looking for an Android One phone in 2021, your options are limited to Nokia's devices. The Nokia 8.3 is the best choice right now, but you can find other options at various price points. Here are some of our top choices to consider.

Nokia 8.3 5G: Best Overall

Nokia 8.3 5GSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

With the Nokia 8.3, HMD Global has a device that goes up against the best cheap Android phones. The phone has a massive 6.81-inch Full HD+ display backed by a powerful Snapdragon 765G chipset with 5G connectivity, and the 4500mAh battery ensures you get at least two days of battery life.

There's also a 3.5mm jack, and the 64MP camera at the back takes great photos in most lighting conditions. The Nokia 8.3 gets a lot right, and the fact that it runs clean software without any bloatware gives it an added edge. That said, Nokia hasn't been the best at software updates lately, and the Android 11 update for the Nokia 8.3 didn't show up until after five months of its availability.

The Nokia 8.3 also misses out on a 90Hz or 120Hz screen, and there's no wireless charging. So while the phone doesn't quite hold its own against the Galaxy A52 5G or the Pixel 4a 5G, it is the best choice right now for Android One.

Pros:

  • Powerful hardware
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Bloat-free software
  • Reliable cameras
  • 3.5mm jack

Cons:

  • 60Hz screen doesn't cut it
  • No wireless charging
  • Updates taking longer than usual

Best Overall

Nokia 8.3 5G

Nokia 8.3 5G Android 10

The best Android One phone you can buy

The Nokia 8.3 5G offers reliable hardware, clean software, 5G connectivity, and great cameras in a value-focused package.

Nokia 5.4: Best Value

Nokia 5.4Source: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central

The latest entrant in HMD Global's portfolio is aimed at the budget segment. The Nokia 5.4 is powered by the Snapdragon 662 chipset, comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, NFC, and a massive battery that lasts two days between charges.

The camera is much better than last year, and the 48MP module takes decent photos in its category. That makes the Nokia 5.4 that much more enticing as a budget phone, and the 16MP camera at the front also holds its own.

The Nokia 5.4 has a 6.39-inch screen, but the resolution itself is at 720p. That's not too bad as the screen feels fine in daily use, but a 1080p panel would have made the phone a much better option. But the biggest issue is that the Nokia 5.4 is still on Android 10 as of May 2021, and there's no mention of when the update will be rolling out to the phone. That's inexcusable for an Android One device, but for whatever reason, HMD Global has struggled with delivering the Android 11 update.

Pros:

  • Two-day battery life
  • Decent cameras
  • Clean software
  • NFC

Cons:

  • Still on Android 10
  • 720p display

Best Value

Nokia 5.4

Nokia 5.4 Android 10

A great Android One phone for under $300

The Nokia 5.4 has a minimalist design combined with clean hardware and reliable hardware, making it a great budget phone.

Nokia 7.2: Still Going Strong

Nokia 7.2Source: Joe Maring / Android Central

The Nokia 7.2 debuted a few years ago, but it is still a decent enough option in 2021 with the new lowered price. Nokia phones have a legacy for being well-built, and that point holds 100% true with the Nokia 7.2. It has a durable aluminum frame with a sleek glass back that looks and feels incredible.

Around the front, the 6.3-inch display is a joy to look at. Not only is it crisp with a 2220x1080 resolution, but its ability to natively play HDR10 content and convert SDR videos into HDR ones means everything is brimming with color and vibrancy at all times.

What else helps the Nokia 7.2 stand out? Its battery life is fantastic, an NFC chip enables contactless payments with Google Pay, USB-C is used for charging, and you can expand the generous 128GB of base storage up to an additional 400GB if you plan on storing a bunch of local files.

There aren't many downsides to the Nokia 7.2, but we will point out that the triple rear cameras are simply OK and that the bottom bezel below the screen is on the large side of things. Other than that, this is a stellar handset.

Pros:

  • Premium glass build
  • HDR10 display
  • Great battery
  • 128GB of storage out of the box
  • 3.5mm jack

Cons:

  • Large bottom bezel
  • Rear cameras are just fine

Still Going Strong

Nokia 7.2

Nokia 7.2 Android 9.0 Pie

Still a decent choice in 2021

The Nokia 7.2 isn't a new phone by any measure, but it nails the basics, and the screen is still a delight to use.

Nokia 3.4: Best for Less

Nokia 3.4Source: Nokia

HMD Global has recently focused heavily on the budget and entry-level segments, and the Nokia 3.4 is a testament to that. The phone delivers the same industrial design aesthetic as the rest of Nokia's phones, making the device stand out in the budget category.

On the hardware side of things, the Nokia 3.4 has a 6.39-inch 720p display, Snapdragon 460 chipset, and a 4000mAh battery that easily lasts two days. There's a 13MP camera at the back, and while it won't win any awards, it takes decent enough shots in daylight conditions.

The main reason for buying the Nokia 3.4 is the clean software. It's a rarity to see a device in the budget segment with bloat-free software, and that alone makes the Nokia 3.4 worthy of consideration. That said, the phone is still on Android 10, so fingers crossed HMD Global rolls out the Android 11 update soon.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Large battery
  • Clean software without any bloat
  • 3.5mm jack

Cons:

  • 720p panel
  • Still on Android 10

Best for Less

Nokia 3.4

Nokia 3.4 Android 10

Spend even less

The Nokia 3.4 gives you the basics at a low price point, making it a solid choice if you want an entry-level phone.

Nokia 1.4: Best Entry-Level Pick

Nokia 1.4Source: Nokia

Want the most amount of phone for just over a hundred dollars? Then you'll want to take a look at the Nokia 1.4. The phone is powered by Android Go — a lightweight version of Android that's designed for entry-level devices with limited memory and storage.

So even though the Nokia 1.4 has just 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage, it runs just fine in daily use. Android Go offers a lite version of most Google services, and they offer the same feature-set while taking up barely any storage. The phone has a 6.39-inch 720p panel powered by the Snapdragon 215, and has an 8MP camera and a 4000mAh battery that runs for nearly three days between charges.

Pros:

  • Powered by Android Go
  • Reliable in daily use
  • Minimalist design
  • Amazing battery life

Cons:

  • Cameras are limited
  • No fast charging

Best Entry-Level Pick

Nokia 1.4

Nokia 1.4 Android 10 (Go Edition)

Just the essentials

Featuring Android Go, a minimalist design, and incredible battery life, the Nokia 1.4 is a reliable choice for under $150.

Nokia 8 V 5G UW: Best for Verizon

Nokia 8.3 5GSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

Weird naming aside, the Nokia 8 V 5G UW is basically the Nokia 8.3 that's tailored for Verizon. The only difference between the two devices is that the Verizon version has mmWave 5G connectivity as well, and that means you'll be able to leverage the carrier's nationwide 5G coverage.

So if you're a Verizon customer and are in the market for a new Android phone with clean software, the Nokia 8 V 5G UW is a great option. However, the same shortcomings that plague the Nokia 8.3 are valid here, too. The Nokia 8 V 5G UW has a 60Hz screen, no wireless charging, and HMD Global continues to drag its feet when it comes to software updates.

Pros:

  • Reliable hardware
  • Great cameras
  • Bloat-free software
  • Stellar battery life
  • 3.5mm jack

Cons:

  • 60Hz screen doesn't cut it
  • No wireless charging
  • Updates taking longer than usual

Best for Verizon

Motorola One Vision

Nokia 8 V 5G UW TA-1257 Android 6GB

The default option for Verizon users

The Nokia 8 V 5G UW has mmWave 5G, making it a great choice for Verizon customers looking for an Android One phone.

These Are the Best Android One phones

Nokia 8.3 5GSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

The list of Android One phones continues to dwindle in 2021, and your only realistic option is Nokia. The Nokia 8.3 is a solid choice if you're looking for a phone with clean software. It's powered by the Snapdragon 765G and has 5G, and you get a large screen coupled with decent cameras and two-day battery life.

It misses some of the more exciting changes we've seen over the last 18 months — like a high refresh rate display — and HMD Global hasn't done a good job delivering software updates. The Nokia 8.3 made the switch to Android 11 only in February 2021, a full month after Samsung rolled out the stable update to its Galaxy S20 series. As of May 2021, only six Nokia devices have been updated to Android 11, and that's not a good look for a brand whose entire software premise relies on timely updates.

So if you really want an affordable 5G-enabled device that has a clean interface and will get updates faster than any other phone, do yourself a favor and pick up the Pixel 4a 5G. If you're in the market for a more budget-focused option, the Pixel 4a continues to be a stellar choice in 2021.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Author:

Harish Jonnalagadda is the Regional Editor at Android Central. A reformed hardware modder, he now spends his time writing about India's burgeoning handset market. Previously, he used to ponder the meaning of life at IBM. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

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