Nokia 6.1 vs. Nokia 3.1: What are the differences and which should you buy?

Nokia 6.1
Nokia 6.1

Nokia 6.1

The Nokia 6.1 is just about one of the best phones you can get for $200. Its build quality is simply fantastic, the software is clean with guaranteed updates, and you even get things like NFC for Google Pay and a fingerprint sensor.

Nokia 6.1

Our pick

Incredible build quality
Great software package
Solid battery life
NFC for Google Pay
Rear fingerprint sensor
Cameras are just average
The display uses the older 16:9 aspect ratio

Nokia 3.1

For about $40 less, the Nokia 3.1 drops the 6.1's NFC chip, fingerprint sensor, and comes outfitted with a slower processor and less RAM. It's has a surprisingly great display and is built like a tank, but it's best suited for doing the basics and nothing more.

Nokia 3.1

Does the basics

18:9 screen
Guaranteed software updates
All-day battery
Sluggish performance
No fingerprint sensor

For most people, the Nokia 6.1 is the better buy of the two phones. The Nokia 3.1 offers a lot for its price, but for just 40 bucks more, the 6.1 is outfitted with better performance, a fingerprint sensor, a larger display, supports contactless payments thanks to its NFC chip, and uses the newer USB-C port for charging instead of the outdated Micro-USB one.

Why you should get the Nokia 6.1

Nokia has been bombarding the smartphone space with new phones back-to-back, and in 2018, two of the more affordable ones that were released were the Nokia 3.1 and Nokia 6.1. Both handsets are great devices that are worthy of your consideration, but for most buyers, we think it's worth handing over a few more bucks for the 6.1.

Why? It's better than the 3.1 in just about every way and doesn't cost much more.

Starting first with performance, the Nokia 6.1 uses the tried-and-true Snapdragon 630 processor from Qualcomm while the Nokia 3.1 is powered by the MediaTek MT6750. Both phones work well for checking social media, browsing the web, and managing emails, but the Nokia 6.1 is better at more demanding tasks such as playing games. On a similar note, the Nokia 6.1's extra 1GB of RAM over the Nokia 3.1 means it can have more apps open at once in the background for more seamless multitasking.

Some other advantages of the Nokia 6.1 include a fingerprint sensor, an NFC chip that allows you to use your phone to pay for things at stores that accept Google Pay, USB-C for charging, and a better rear camera.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Nokia 6.1Nokia 3.1
Operating SystemAndroid 9 PieAndroid OneAndroid 9 PieAndroid One
Display5.5-inch16:91920 x 1080IPS LCD5.2-inch18:91440 x 720IPS LCD
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 630MediaTek MT6750
Rear Camera16MPf/2.013MPf/2.0
Front Camera8MPf/2.08MPf/2.0
Storage32GBExpandable up to 256GB16GBExpandable up to 256GB
Battery3,000 mAh2,990 mAh
SecurityRear fingerprint sensor
AudioMono speaker3.5mm headphone jackMono speaker3.5mm headphone jack
Carrier CompatibilityAT&TT-MobileAT&TT-Mobile

Strengths held by both phones are excellent build quality, great displays, and all-day battery life. Even more important, the Nokia 3.1 and Nokia 6.1 are running Android One. This means you get a clean, stock build of Android out of the box with guaranteed updates down the road. When talking about phones in this price range, that's a pretty rare find.

Don't think that all this high praise for the Nokia 6.1 means the 3.1 is a bad phone. That couldn't be further from the truth, but when stacked up side-by-side with its sibling, the Nokia 3.1 is a tough recommendation for anyone that can afford the slightly more expensive 6.1.

With just $40 separating the Nokia 6.1 and Nokia 3.1, the latter gives you a lot of extra niceties that result in a better day-to-day user experience. The Nokia 3.1 is a good option for buyers that are really strapped for cash and just need something for as little money as possible, but for everyone else, it's worth going all the way for the Nokia 6.1

Joe Maring

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.