The cheapest Nokia Android smartphone is here and if first impressions are anything to go by, the Nokia 2 packs quite a punch. HMD Global, the small Finnish firm behind Nokia’s comeback into the smartphone game seems to be quite bullish about the Nokia 2. In fact, Juho Sarvikas, HMD Global’s Chief Product Officer believes that the phone delivers on the four main aspects people look for in a budget smartphone – great battery life, a good display, 4G connectivity and good cameras.
Nokia 2 is an out and out phone for the masses. If that was not clear from the outset, HMD Global decided to launch the phone in a metro station – in amongst the masses so as to speak – to hammer home the point. So what does the entry point into Nokia’s fascinating new Android world bring to the table? Nokia’s second coming has never been about paper specifications – and the same is true for the Nokia 2. The specification list is quite modest – there is a gigabyte of RAM, 8GB of internal storage which can be expanded via a microSD card, the Snapdragon 212 processor and 4G VoLTE support.
What HMD Global claims they have concentrated on is user experience – via the efficient Snapdragon 212 processor which they claim delivers great battery life, a high contrast LTPS display which uses less power and a pure and unfettered build of stock Android devoid of any unneeded gimmicks, bloat or overlays. Despite these claims, the phone did exhibit signs of lag during my brief hands on with the device. Just like the entire Android Nokia line-up, Stock Android on board was smooth and a delight to use – but it did feel like the Snapdragon 212 was struggling to keep up with the workload. I will have to test it fully to see how the phone performs under intensive use and whilst playing games. The Nokia 2 also comes with HMD Global’s promise of timely updates – both monthly security patches and yearly Android versions. The Nokia 2 will ship with Android Nougat out of the box but HMD Global has confirmed that an update to Android 8.0 Oreo is on the way.
Where the Nokia 2 succeeds – and succeeds massively – is design and build quality.
While it is too early to comment on battery life, HMD Global claims the phone delivers a two-day battery life. We have seen such bold claims in the past from many manufacturers which have turned out to be nothing but snake oil, so you will have to wait for the Nokia 2’s full review for a verification of these assertions.
When quizzed about unrealistic battery life claims, HMD Global’s Chief Product Officer Juho Sarvikas just told me to wait till I can test it out for myself. Supreme confidence in one’s product indeed. Where the Nokia 2 succeeds – and succeeds massively – is design and build quality. The phone simply does not look or feel cheap in any way whatsoever. It has a removable polycarbonate back which is mated to an aluminium frame (Series 6000 aluminium) for rigidity. To put it simply, the Nokia 2 manages to achieve the rare feat of looking and feeling like a phone above its price range. The phone is available in three colour options – copper, white and black. It looks especially sleek and Stormtrooper like in the white variant which comes with a black coloured mid-frame. In what is becoming a tradition with my Nokia phone reviews, I once again tried bending the phone. Just like the previous Nokia devices, the Nokia 2 didn’t flinch. Once again, HMD Global must be lauded for constructing a rock solid smartphone – even at this price range where many manufacturers compromise on build quality.
The 5-inch HD display on board seems adequate with decent viewing angles and natural, if not very punchy colours. The display is covered with Gorilla Glass 3 for protection against nicks and scratches. A final evaluation of the display will have to wait till the full review of the Nokia 2. As mentioned above, HMD Global is very proud of the LTPS technology used in the display which they claim results in 15% lower power consumption and as a result better battery life.
Nokia’s second coming has never been about paper specifications – and the same is true for the Nokia 2
What does 99 Euros (roughly Rs 7,000) fetch you in terms of imaging prowess? An 8MP camera at the rear with an LED flash and a 5MP fixed focus camera up front for selfies. During my limited time with the device, the rear camera seemed par for the course, producing images with fairly decent dynamic range and detail. However, one should keep their expectations in check with a camera at this price range. While I am yet to test the rear camera fully, suffice to say it will not blow you away. The front camera seemed to produce decent shots – suitable enough for social media use anyway.
All in all, the Nokia 2 seems like quite a competent budget smartphone by the folks over in Finland. It seems to carry forward the positives of past Nokia phones – great build quality and design, a lean and mean software experience and the promise of timely updates. This time around, HMD Global has added a king size battery and a killer price tag to the mix.
However, do not get your cheque books out yet – the processor and RAM are big question marks and could be the limiting factor. And whether the battery life is actually as good as the company says it is, will only be answered with the full review.