I love the Nokia tune, the tune we all grew up to. But they changed it somewhat with the new Nokia phones and I’m still not over that anytime I boot a Nokia phone.

The Nokia 1 goes for less than Ksh. 9,000 and is part of Google’s Android GO project that seeks to make the Android experience smoother for the millions who use devices with low specs like 1GB RAM or less. It has a 4.5 inch 480p resolution display, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, 2150mAh battery and runs Android 8.1 Oreo (GO Edition).

As a part of the GO project, some heavy things in Android have been stripped down to make the System light so as to ensure your phone doesn’t have a hard time doing simple tasks. This stripping down has been done on both the Operating System level and on the apps level.

Nokia 1 Kenya
Not the brightest outdoors

That’s why you get many GO apps on the device like YouTube GO, Maps GO, GMail GO, etc. which are essentially lighter versions of the official apps. If you’ve used Twitter Lite or Facebook Lite you understand what this means. The apps have been stripped down to be less resource demanding promising a faster Android experience.

True to the promise, the experience is better than it would be on normal Android with the usual apps given the same specs. But there’s a lot of compromise at play to ensure this.

Nokia 1 Kenya
Headphone jack is at the top

The GO Apps are quite different from the normal apps you’re used to on normal Android. So there’s kind of a learning curve. YouTube GO for one oddly requires your phone number which makes no sense. Google GO app on the other hand looks totally different from the normal Google App we are used to.

The reassuring thing is that these are not at all deal breakers for anyone who will be considering this phone. Because one, it is a cheap phone, and two, the differences from normal versions of Android are here to give you a better experience. Plus, there’s Files GO, an app dedicated to cleaning your phone to ensure the very limited 8G storage doesn’t fill up denying you full use of your device.

Nokia 1 Volume
Volume rocker and Power button

Another thing that’s really good about this device is that Nokia hasn’t touched anything. It is clean Android with no bloatware at all. Meaning you’re assured of quick updates. I wouldn’t want to say the Nokia 1 will be receiving Android Peppermint (we’re already calling it that), but incase of a security update or anything from Google, a phone like this will be among the first to receive the update. Also, clean Android is always better.

What I don’t like:

  • Display: A 720p 5 inch phone would make more sense to me.
  • Pricing: There’s phones with the same 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, but with a better display, and are cheaper
  • Fingerprint: Nope, they didn’t add this, yet there’s phones at this price range with this.
Nokia 1 USB
Micro-USB Charging Port. Speaker is at the back

What I like:

  • Supports 4G networks: many phones at this price point don’t. Though this is a Nokia device that doesn’t support Faiba4G in Kenya.
  • Battery life is not awesome but is good.
  • Dual SIM cards plus Micro_SD Card Slot

Don’t get this phone if:

  • You want the best cameras. No, the cameras aren’t something to write about. They’re usable, clear and all. But nothing more past that.

Nokia 1 Front

Get this phone if:

  • You’re on a budget and this is the best device you can afford
  • You’re getting a smartphone for the first time
  • You want a secondary device say as your ‘kabambe’
  • You want a Nokia phone for fun

What are your thoughts on the Nokia 1. Is it a device that entices you? You can pick it up from online stores, or from Safaricom Shop.


  1. So cliche! But still I can;t get over the original 3310. It was the bomb. Kwanza, generating those polyphonic ringtnones and playing the “snake” game! That was life 😉


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