Finnish brand Nokia is synonymous with electronics and IT, and with the classic tagline ‘Connecting People’, loves to do just that, with its range of phones, phone accessories and more. To complement their suite of offerings, Nokia has also entered the increasingly competitive market of wireless earphones, releasing their own models in a bid to compete with other brands. We look at two models in their Essential True Wireless Earphones series – the E3103 and the E3511, and review them:
Between the two models reviewed in this post, the Nokia E3103 is the cheaper model that won’t hurt your wallet as much. The E3103 may be basic, but offers everything you need in a pair of wireless earphones.
Coming in a matte plastic case, the first impression these earphones leave is that they are obviously of a cheaper make, and the case itself is rather light. But that in no way means it is flimsy, and feels firm enough to last. Weighing 3.3 grams, it’s a lightweight option that makes it easy to fit any bag or even a pocket for a wide variety of uses. We didn’t test this, but with an IPX4 water resistance, these earphones are at least splashproof and can handle even if you’re caught in an unexpected thunderstorm or unfortunate spillage, or using it during a sweaty workout.
The E3103’s fit can feel somewhat loose at first, almost as if they’re threatening to fall out, but they hang onto the ears surprisingly well, staying on even when walking from place to place. In terms of sound quality, with a 13mm dynamic driver, it’s honestly very good for what it is, with good bass and balance across a variety of songs.
As for other audio functionality, while it doesn’t have an outright noise cancelling feature, the E3101 is still effective at blocking environmental noise during calls, allowing your voice to be heard more clearly over say, a Zoom meeting. When testing battery length, the earphones survived several hours of meetings (while recharging them in the case) – the official website states it can hit up to seven hours of playtime on a single charge, which seems accurate, and certainly enough to last through a busy day, or several if you’re only using them for occasional listening.
Conclusion: a simple but effective all-purpose model for everyday use, it may be basic but it does what needs to be done.
Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆
As for the NOKIA E3511, one of the most striking features about its case is how it is meant to rest flat, opening upwards like a compact. With the aluminium case coming in white, black or blue metallic colours (with customizable silicon tips) the E3511 wins points for being stylish and standing out in its design compared to other earphones in its range.
However, judging it on its functionality is a somewhat different ballgame. Firstly, the positives: the sound quality is fine, and works well for both music and voice calls, using adaptive noise cancellation to block some environmental noise for clarity of input and output, better for both listening and speaking. Surprisingly, compared to the E3103 model above, the E3511 boasts only a 10mm dynamic driver – sufficient for most listening, but somehow not as powerful if you really want to take a deep dive into your music.
At the same time, the noise cancelling itself does not compare to the market standard – the Apple Airpods, and noise like a fan blowing wind can still be heard even when noise cancelling is turned on. Switching between modes also isn’t as convenient as other products on the market, requiring users to use two fingers to pinch the ‘tail’ of their earphone to change modes, which can be more difficult to do than say, a simple tap or controlling it from one’s phone.
Standard splashproofing (IP44, fairly powerful) aside, the earphones also boast up to 6.5 hours of play time on a single charge, while the case can fully charge it up to three more times allowing it to last a whole day. What stands out perhaps is NOKIA’s dedication to the environment, with the earphones made using halogen-free materials to reduce environmental impact.
Conclusion: While it may not be the best thing on the market, it’s earphones that are relatively affordable, though you may have issues with switching modes, while noise cancelling shouldn’t bother you unless you require absolute silence. If you’re fine with these limitations, then the E3511 may just be the sleek earphones for you.
Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆