It was just a few months back at MWC that Nokia announced the first few devices. The comeback comprised of phones that were decidedly mid-range and good enough to get their foot in the market. The following months have seen HMD’s strategy take more concrete form as we saw with the Nokia 8 and the Nokia 7 announcements. Entry level smartphones, however, are the bread and butter for any company planning to make money in India. And that brings us to the Nokia 2. Hitting a 99 Euro price point, the Nokia 2 distills the higher end Nokia experience to a level that is palatable for first-time smartphone buyers. Is it any good though? Let’s find out.
Nokia 2 specifications
- 5-inch (1280 x 720 pixels) HD LTPS LCD In-Cell Touch display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 display protection
- 1.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 212 Mobile Platform with Adreno 304 GPU
- 1GB LPDDR3 RAM, 8GB internal memory, expandable memory up to 128GB with microSD
- Android 7.1.1 (Nougat) OS, upgradable to Android 8.0 (Oreo)
- Dual SIM
- 8MP autofocus rear camera with LED Flash
- 5MP front-facing camera
- Splash proof (IP52)
- 3.5mm audio jack, FM Radio
- Dimensions: 143.5 x 71.3 x 9.30 mm
- 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS / GLONASS
- 4100mAh battery
Design & Hardware
There are some very obvious cuts that have been made to the hardware to be able to hit this price point but despite that, the Nokia 2 feels relatively robust and maintains that Finnish je ne sais quoi. The front of the device is in line with the rest of the mid-range Nokia phones and to be fair isn’t all that different from most other phones in the category.
The phone comes equipped with a 5 inch 720p screen that is par for the course. In our time with it, we found the screen to be fairly bright even outdoors. The contrast ratio is decent but the Redmi series has marginally better displays albeit at slightly higher price points. The screen does have Gorilla Glass 3 protection which is an added benefit. There are large bezels on all sides and it’d have been nice if Nokia used capacitive keys here to maximize screen real estate. Up above the display is a 5MP front-facing camera.
Despite being on the larger size for a device with a 5-inch screen, the phone feels quite nice in the hand though certainly not luxurious. The quality of materials helps in giving the phone a somewhat premium feel, particularly so in the copper and black colorway. The volume rocker and power button on the right-hand side are ergonomically positioned and easy to reach out.
Sure, HMD Global / Nokia doesn’t skip a beat to inform you that the phone has a Series 6000 aluminum build but that’s really just the middle frame. The back of the phone is polycarbonate and can be removed. An 8MP camera and LED flash lie towards the top of the phone. We spent some time testing this out since we weren’t very happy with the results we’d obtained from the Nokia 3 and 5. It would be unreasonable to expect the Nokia 2 to replace a dedicated camera but clearly, Nokia has learned a lot over the past few months. The Nokia 2 is capable of taking some very respectable shots when the lighting is good and it should serve most users quite well.
Powering the show here is a Snapdragon 212 processor and 1GB of RAM, specs which have left fans and tech enthusiasts a bit miffed. First things first, this isn’t quite the smoothest Android experience out there. For a budget phone and pre-production hardware, general performance seemed satisfactory but certainly not free of stutters and jerky animations. Juggle between a few apps and even system animations appear visibly slow. In contrast, the Redmi 4 delivers double the RAM, a better processor and visibly improved performance at a slightly higher price point.
In the Nokia 2’s favor though, you get pure unadulterated Android 7.1.1 here with an update to Oreo coming shortly. And with all the optimizations that Google has been making to improve performance on the Android 8.0 update, we expect to see at least some improvements on the Nokia 2 as well. More on this when we get our review device in. The battery unit here is rated at a massive 4100mAh which combined with the low-end processor should easily match up to Nokia’s claim of 2-day battery life. The phone ships with dual SIM card slots as well as a dedicated microSD card slot to augment the built-in 8GB of storage.
With the Nokia 2, HMD Global finally has an entry point into the ultra-budget, first-time smartphone buyer demographic. You might want to dismiss the Nokia 2 for having somewhat lowly specifications compared to the entry-level competition but we feel that the handset will do quite well. Nokia seems to be targeting the user base for which branding, reliability and after sales service would rank just as high or even higher than pure specs. We would recommend that you look elsewhere if entry-level performance is your priority. Check back in for the full review later this month once we get our hands on the hardware.