The days of having to pay big bucks to get a decent mobile phone are officially over; I’m declaring them dead. We have lots of choices for better than basic phones under $500 now; the Nuu Mobile G3+ is a well-built, unlocked phone with a few compromises, and it is less than $250 with no contracts or obligations. No, really.
I can hear the naysayers now … how can a “cheap” phone possibly compare with the premium phones available these days? Well, ask yourself what the most important features of your phone happen to be — A big, vibrant screen? The G3+ has that. A 4,000mAh battery that can get you through the day? Check. A decent camera? Check. Dual-SIM? Check. USB Type-C? Check. Face unlock? Check. Dual rear cameras? Check. Something you can buy unlocked and without a contract? Check.
Obviously, paying so little for a phone means that there you can expect some trade-offs beyond even more RAM, a top of the line processor, or a fancy status brand stamped to your phone’s chassis, but there are surprisingly few. Let’s take a look …
Included in the box are the G3+ smartphone, a smoky gray TPU case, a USB Type C to 3.5mm Audio Cable, a USB Type-C charging cable, a USB Power Adapter, two Nuu Mobile stickers, and a quick start guide. Nothing about the packaging and the contents would lead you to think that this is a budget smartphone; in fact, there are items included that some flagships don’t bother to include.
Nuu Mobile G3+ Specifications
Operating System: Android™ 8.0 Oreo™
Processor: MediaTek Helio P25 Octa Core 2.39GHz
Display: 5.7” HD+ 1440 x 720 (18:9)
Camera: Rear camera: 13MPx + 5MPx; Front camera: 13MPx
Video: HD Recording and Playback; Recording Resolution: 1080p; Playing Resolution: 1920 x 1080; Video Playing Format – H.264/H.263, MPEG4/2, 3GPP
Battery: 4,000 mAh
Storage: Built-in: 64 GB; RAM: 4GB; microSD (supports up to 128GB)
Networks: Dual SIM Dual Standby; LTE B2/4/5/7/12/17; WCDMA B1/2/4/5; GSM B2/3/5/8
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n; Dual-SIM; Bluetooth 4.2; USB Type-C; NFC
The Nuu Mobile G3+ measures approximately 2.8″ wide by 6.1″ long by 0.4″ thick, and it weighs 6.3 ounces. The 5.7″ display is not full-screen, so there are no notches or dips — just the typical dark bar running across the top and bottom of the screen that dutifully hides the 13-megapixel front-facing camera, the earpiece, and the front camera flash. There are no buttons on the front, so even though it doesn’t have the display du jour, it doesn’t look like a 2017 remnant, either. The phone feels incredibly solid and well made, and it has a great weight and balance. It also has softly curved edges and no sharp corners, so it feels comfortable in hand; even better, the Nuu Mobile G3+ is slim enough for one-handed use without feeling like it is too tall. There’s no mention of Gorilla Glass and for this price, I wasn’t honestly expecting it. My suggestion would be to buy a screen protector, slip the phone into the included PU case, and call it good. If you don’t do this, you will get scratches on the screen — the proof is, unfortunately, already on my review unit.
On the back, there are two cameras: the 13-megapixel primary camera on the bottom with the 5-megapixel secondary camera above it. To the right, there is an LED flash, and under the cameras, there is a rounded-square fingerprint sensor. The back is slick and shiny; I can’t tell if it is glass or plastic (I guess it doesn’t really matter), and there appears to be an aluminum band running around the sides. Don’t think for one moment, though, that the back feels cheap or nasty; it doesn’t. But it is a fingerprint magnet, and it should be in a case.
On top of the phone, there is a SIM tray. Inside the tray, there are two slots for either a microSIM and a microUSB memory card or two SIM cards.
The left side is plain.
On the right side, there’s a power/wake/sleep button as well as two volume buttons.
On the bottom, there is a speaker, a Type-C port, and a microphone disguised as another speaker.
The fingerprint sensor on the phone has been rock solid, but if you want to activate facial recognition for unlocking your phone, the option is there.
Watching media on the display isn’t painful; the picture is sharp, colors are fine, and although the sound is a little bit tinny through the single speaker, it’s not terrible.
The Nuu Mobile G3+ Camera
The camera is not too shabby, but it won’t win any awards, either. For what it is, it does a good job. In bright sunlight, it does very well. Here are some photos that were taken outdoors …
Inside, in a questionable light, it’s a crapshoot. A steady hand helps, but …
Camera settings include Video, Photo, Portrait, Beauty, Pan, Mono, and Pro — which allows you to adjust the settings on your own rather than giving the phone’s camera free-reign; there is also an HDR option which works in Photo and Portrait. The selfie camera settings include Video, Photo (with optional HDR), Beauty, and Mono. I found that in most situations, turning off the flash made the selfies look better — the flash will wash you out, otherwise. The photos also aren’t as clear or sharp as I am used to with the Pixel 3 XL, but to be fair, nothing else is, either.
One of the things I really like about the phone, beyond its great build quality and feel in hand, is that it comes loaded with absolutely nothing extra beyond the following: the typical GSuite items (Google, Chrome, Gmail, Maps, YouTube, Drive, Play Music, Play Movies, Duo, Play Store, and Photos), FM Radio, a File Manager, a Sound Recorder, a SIM Toolkit, and a Chromium Projects Internet browser. That’s refreshing.
The phone comes with 64GB of user storage on board, with the system taking up 7.4GB before loading anything. If 64GB feels a little bit too constraining, you can always add a microSD card.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the phone ran quite smoothly — opening multiple apps didn’t bog it down, and the games I like to play (nothing too intensive, mainly word games and Yahtzee) ran smoothly. I guess when you go in with zero expectations, you can be very pleasantly surprised!
If you go into buying the Nuu Mobile G3+ expecting the performance and camera of a $1000 flagship, you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment. But if you buy one expecting a well-made phone that doesn’t feel like a complete budget job, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. The Nuu Mobile G3+ is a solid phone that works very well; it is perfect for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money but who also doesn’t want to hate their cheap, plastic phone every time they use it. It would be a great choice for students, young professionals, and anyone who is on a budget.
The Nuu Mobile G3+ regularly retails for $229.99, but it is available now for $149.99; you can get it here.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Extremely premium build; No installed bloatware; Camera is not too shabby when used in good light; No contract; The G3+ uses USB Type-C vs microUSB; Includes a case and a 3.5mm to USB Type-C dongle for wired headphone use; The Nuu Moble G3+ can be purchased for $149.99, which is an amazing price; Dual SIM; It has a memory card slot; Face Unlock
What Needs Improvement: It runs Android 8 instead of Android 9; The selfie-cam is inconsistent