Nokia E3511 Review: Worth A Look If They're On Sale!

If you’re around my age or older, you’ll be super familiar with this brand, Nokia. My first ever phone was a Nokia, and it was built like a tank. Sadly, their phones aren’t as popular now, but it was certainly a surprise when I got my hands on these Nokia earbuds.

We have the Nokia E3511 earbuds with us today, and they’re a pretty decent option if you’re on a budget. Plus you get the added nostalgia value.

So let’s talk design first. We have the black model with us today, although the case itself is a metallic dark silver, which certainly makes it look more premium than the S$149 price tag suggests. Speaking of which, it seems to be quite frequently discounted to S$99, which is even better. Surprisingly, the build quality is actually quite good. The lid opens and closes smoothly and there’s even a little lip on the lid to help get a better grip on it when opening. Weirdly enough, the USB-C charging port is on the front of the case, the same side that the lid opens from. This is something we’ve seen previously with the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 earbuds, and while it’s odd, it’s not too bad once you’ve gotten used to it. Inside, you get the earbuds.

The earbuds are stemmed and there’s a glossy finish to most of the earbuds, although there’s a metallic cap on the bottoms that resemble the case. There are touch controls here, although it’s not on the front of the stem as per normal. It’s actually along the side, so it’s like where you would press to control the AirPods Pro, except this is fully touch.

So it’s a bit confusing, and there’s no way to customise the touch controls. But anyway, a single tap on the left and right controls play/pause, a double tap on the right raises the volume while a double tap on the left lowers it. A triple tap on the right skips tracks forwards while a triple tap on the left pulls up the voice assistant. There’s no track skip backwards here, and you can’t even customise the controls to include it. A tap and hold on the left earbud for 2 seconds switches between ANC modes.

Because of where the touch sensor is, it actually isn’t the best. I find myself accidentally triggering the touch controls and it’s not the most responsive either. There aren’t any different voice prompts except for the ANC modes. That means that whether you’re playing or pausing music, skipping tracks or adjusting the volume, there’s only one beep so you have no idea what you just triggered.

There’s no app for these earbuds either, so yeah. Additionally, you’ll have to change the ANC setting every time you put these on because they don’t remember the last setting. The software part of these earbuds is honestly a bit of a letdown.

That being said, it’s surprising there’s ANC on these, and that it’s actually not too weak. While train rumble and the likes still come through quite clearly, the earbuds do a good job of removing my fan whir and I’ve found that the ANC is strong enough to remove most of the distracting noises at home while I’m working. These are best used while you’re at home or in the office, I’d recommend getting another pair of earbuds with stronger ANC for commutes if that’s what you need.

Ambient sound is fine as well, it’s perfectly useable for quick conversations and such.

These run on Bluetooth 5.2, but there’s only SBC and AAC here. There’s also a tiny bit of noticeable lag when playing games or watching videos. The earbuds can be used individually, but you will lose functionality in terms of touch controls if you choose to do so.

You get IP44 dust and water resistance which is surprising. The earbuds do sit quite snugly in the ear, so I think light exercise with these should be fine.

Nokia claims 4.5 hours in the earbuds with ANC on and 6.5 hours with ANC off. That’s a pretty decent estimate, and since I was listening at lower volumes, I did get around 4 hours and 45 minutes, so that’s good. No wireless charging here, although I didn’t really expect it anyway.

Mic quality is okay, it’s fine if you’re in a quiet environment, but if you’re taking calls outside, the wind might be a bit loud. There’s not much noise suppression either.

The sound quality isn’t too bad. It’s easy on the ears with a slight emphasis in the bass and mids, but there is a very distinct lack of energy and sparkle in the treble, resulting in a lot of my music feeling rather subdued. There is a decent amount of bass though, so it works quite well for bass heads. You wouldn’t want to listen to classical or tracks with plenty of string instruments and the likes, it just doesn’t do any justice to them. Vocals can also feel a bit distant because of this, but raising the volume a touch does help.

The soundstage isn’t too cramped, although instruments do feel quite tight and closely packed with very little air and space between them. It can get a bit hard to pick out individual instruments or more subtle details in songs.

That being said, at S$99, it’s not too bad. It’s difficult to recommend these at S$150, because there are plenty of other very good options in that price range, but for under S$100 or around US$70, these are decent earbuds to use around your home or office with effective enough ANC.