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Android One is pure Android and is a strong reason to buy the 3.1 or 5.1 over the 2.1.

Materials

Polycarbonate chassis
Removable back to access SIM and microSD
Blue/Copper, Blue/Silver, Grey/Silver (colour in infused into the polycarbonate)
153.6 x 77.6 x 9.67 mm x 174g
Aluminium sides and polycarbonate back
Blue/Copper, Black/Chrome, White/Iron
146.25 x 68.65 x 8.7mm x 138.3g
6000 series aluminium chassis and back
Copper, Tempered Blue, Black
Premium solid feel
151.1 x 70.73 x 8.27 mm x 148g

2.1 has a polycarbonate chassis and removable back (for sim and micro-SD, not battery removal). The review unit was Blue/Copper. Our only issue is that the copper highlights may be easy to scratch.

3.1 loses those copper edge highlights. In all, it is a glass slab.

5.1 has excellent build quality, but it too is a featureless glass slab.

What’s missing

Gyroscope
Magnetometer
G-Sensor
Front notification LED
NFC
No IP rating
Fingerprint reader


Front notification LED
NFC
No IP rating
Fingerprint reader


Front notification LED
NFC
No IP rating

2.1: While none of these is a deal breaker on a $199 phone the lack of a Gyroscope, Magnetometer and G-Sensor limits its use as a GPS. We did try Google Maps Go (opens in a Chrome browser), and lag was too large for in-car use. It’s fine for pedestrian use.

3.1: It is more of a traditional smartphone, and the missing features are no deal breakers.

5.1: Ditto to 3.1

Camera Rear/Front

8MP AF flash, HDR Video [email protected] 13MP, f/2.0, AF flash
Video [email protected] mono audio
16MP, f/2.0, PDAF dual flash
[email protected]
5MP
Video [email protected]
or [email protected]  
8MP f/2.0 84.6° FOV
Video [email protected]
8MP f/2.0 84.6° FOV
Same

Daylight, outdoors

2.1: Colours are reasonably accurate, contrast is low, and in all quite a good ‘social media’ shot. ISO 100, 1/2372 sec, 2.1MB.

low-cost Nokia shootout

3.1: Colours are accurate, contrast is good, and the detail is excellent. ISO 100, 1/3205 sec, 4.5MB

low-cost Nokia shootout

5.1: Much brighter shot reflecting more processing power. Good colour, tone and definition. ISO 101, 1/1250 sec, 5.2MB.

low-cost Nokia shootout

Indoors Office Light

2.1: Colours have a slight pink tinge but overall a good shot. The depth of field is an issue with AF. ISO 100, 1/50 sec, 1.2MB. On repeat shots, we found some blur due to the long exposure time. Hold it still.

low-cost Nokia shootout

3.1: Colours are accurate. Definition/detail is good. The depth of field is an issue with AF. ISO 106, 1/50 sec, 2.9MB

low-cost Nokia shootout

5.1: Colours are superb. Definition/detail is excellent. PDAF means good dynamic focus of the foreground and background. Image did not have ISO/shutter information.

low-cost Nokia shootout

Low light

2.1: Blurry, loss of colour and detail. ISO 500, 1/20 sec, 1MB image. We re-tested with flash, but there was no improvement.

low-cost Nokia shootout

3.1: Good definition, some colour coming back, but the lens struggles to get enough light. Flash did improve this shot. ISO 385, 1/25 sec, 4.3MB