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Phones

New sub-$200 Nokia phones are Verizon and Cricket exclusives

The Nokia 3.1 Plus and Nokia 2 V are coming to Cricket and Verizon respectively; Canada's Rogers getting a phone soon.

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The Nokia 3.1 Plus, a Cricket-exclusive LTE phone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Get ready for a wave of new Nokia-branded budget phones. Finnish startup HMD Global has rebooted the Nokia brand over the last few years, releasing a number of Android Nokia smartphones available unlocked. HMD is now trying to push into North America even more with its first carrier-exclusive US and Canadian phones, arriving over the next week.

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Cricket's exclusive new Nokia phone, the Nokia 3.1 Plus, looks like the more interesting of the two. At $160, it's a basic 5.99-inch display Android LTE phone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 439 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 3500 mAh battery, and, ambitiously, a rear dual camera that can take bokeh-effect portrait photos (13MP/5MP, but no extra optical zoom). It also has a rear fingerprint sensor, NFC and Google Pay, a feature set that Cricket doesn't usually offer on phones in this price range. 32GB of onboard storage can be expanded via a MicroSD card slot. The phone's matte blue polycarbonate finish is basic but clean, and feels comfy to hold. It's available now via Cricket. Is it as good as the Nokia 6, which doesn't cost much more? We'll have to test to find out.

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The Nokia 2 V, a Verizon-exclusive budget Android phone.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Verizon-exclusive Nokia 2 V is aiming even lower, at a "sub-$100" price when it arrives January 31. The phone's specs are all a notch lower, too: it has a 5.5-inch screen, a Snapdragon 425 processor, a 5MP front camera and 8MP rear camera, 8GB of storage, and a MicroSD card slot, but no fingerprint sensor or NFC. But it does boast a pretty big 4,000mAh battery.

Canadian carrier Rogers is also getting its own exclusive Nokia phone in Q1 via its sub-brand, Chatr, but the specific phone model hasn't been revealed yet.

We'll offer more hands-on thoughts when we get the phones for review.