Nokia Essential E3511 review: Cheap and good

Nokia was once a mobile phone powerhouse. But these days, the name is being splashed across different businesses, from networking to audio products.

Chinese company RichGo Technology bought Nokia’s branding for audio products in China and the Asia-Pacific markets two years ago. And in 2020, we saw the release of Nokia Essential E3500 true wireless earbuds. Now, its successor is here in the form of Nokia Essential E3511.

  • Price: S$149, get it at Lazada or Shopee
  • Drivers: 10mm
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2
  • Weight: 4g (earbud); 40g (charging case)

The E3511 costs only S$149, but it has an array of features that belies its affordable pricing. These features include 10mm dynamic drivers, active noise cancellation (ANC), better microphones, an IP44 rating for water resistance and a metallic charging case.

The Nokia Essential E3511 true wireless earbuds and its charging case. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

The review unit comes in black, but it is also available in blue and white. The earbuds have an almost all-black exterior. Only the grey Nokia logo on the stem and stem tip prevented the black flush.

AffordablePlastic build (earbuds)
Premium metallic charging caseIffy touch controls
Good audio outputANC can be better

However, the pill-box-shaped charging case comes in dark grey for this black model and has a USB-C charging port in front. While the case has a metallic and premium feel, the earbuds are all plastic in comparison.

In addition, the earbuds itself look similar to Apple AirPods Pro. The only difference is a more protruding stem compared to the AirPods Pro’s seamless and integrated stem.

Nokia E3511 (left) compared to the Apple AirPods Pro. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

There is a slight indentation on the stem of each earbud, which is the touch control area. This allows you to control playback with one tap, double tap for voice assistant, press and hold to activate ANC mode. I find a slight lag between touch and execution. Slight irritant, but it is okay once you get used to it.

Out of the box, there are three sizes of ear tips to choose from. So, you can definitely find one sizing to fit your ear canal. Once you find the right fit, the earbuds will stick to your ears even when you go jogging.

What you get out of the box. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

Plus, the earbuds are really lightweight and very comfortable to wear. It might not even notice you are wearing them if you turn off the audio. Not to mention, its IP44 rating means you don’t have to worry about jogging in the rain as these earbuds take a bit of the rain. Just don’t jump into the swimming pool with them.

Pairing the earbuds is a breeze. Put on the earbuds, go to your smartphone’s Bluetooth setting and tap on Nokia E3511 to pair. However, there is no app for you to adjust ANC or equaliser (EQ). Everything is pretty much automatic.

But thankfully, nothing needs to be adjusted as the E3511 produces sound with clear highs, rich mids and solid bass. I think some might find the bass lacking punch, but it does make its soundscape more balanced and versatile for different genres of music.

On the downside, the E3511 lacks the solid ANC performance you find in the likes of AirPods Pro or Sony WF-1000XM4. If you are thinking of blocking your neighbours’ endless renovations, you will need to crank up the music volume with ANC turned on to do so.

The charging case is small enough to be stored in your pants’ side pocket. (Photo: Nokia)

On a full charge, the E3511 is supposed to last 4.5 hours with ANC turned on. And I found the rating to be spot on. Not to mention, this battery life is comparable to that of AirPods Pro. The charging case will add another 12.5 hours. As such, it can easily last you a working day.

VERDICT: While it might be lacking in the ANC department, the Nokia Essential E3511 offers great value in terms of its good sound performance and affordable pricing.