The Nokia 2 is the cheapest of the devices presented by HMD Global to date. With a price tag of around $100, the Nokia 2 is a budget smartphone that promises great battery life. Is it the best option in this price range? We tested the phone thoroughly and here is our opinion, both the bad and the good!
- Battery life
- Screen brightness
- Damage resistance
- Limited storage
- Slow performance
Nokia 2 release date and price
The Nokia 2 has been available since November 2017 in the United States, and it took a few months to reach other markets, but it is now available worldwide. The starting price is $99, and it comes in three colors: white, black and black with an orange frame.
Nokia 2 design and build quality
The Nokia 2 is part of a great range of smartphones that Nokia has made its comeback with. It feels very resistant due to its aluminium frame, and the buttons are also finished in this material.The weight shows that the aluminium is not just there for show, as for its size it is heavier than the norm. Basically, you can expect the new Nokia to be as tough as the old Nokia.
Personally, I think the branding at the top of the phone looks great. However, I don't like the wide bezels around the screen: they are quite excessive particularly at the bottom. There's enough room to place three sensors, but this space is not taken advantage of due to the on-screen navigation buttons.
The back is made of polycarbonate and can be removed to access the slots for the two nanoSIM and microSD cards. All three cards can be used at the same time. So, you won't have to decide between dual SIM or more memory. On the Nokia 2 you can have both. Although the back is removed, the battery, unfortunately, is fixed in place.
In the lower frame, we have a microUSB port and in the upper frame we have a 3.5 mm headphone jack, things that for better or for worse are still in the device's input. The camera doesn't stick out much on the back of the phone and for me, that's a good thing. Protruding cameras don't do smartphones any favors in terms of design.
A better display than the iPhone 5s
The screen surprised me considering the price of the smartphone. It has a 5 inch LCD panel with a resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels that offers almost 300 ppi, which is pretty good for a phone in this range. But what has surprised me the most is the brightness, its good viewing angles and the color representation. It not only gets very bright, but has a wide brightness range, which was very useful when I wanted to read something in the dark before going to sleep with a slightly dimmed screen.
The only negative point I find is the large bezels, as we have already mentioned. The display occupies about 67% of the front panel, which is a better ratio than the iPhone 5s but the dimensions of the device could have been reduced a little.
What software is it running?
The Nokia 2 runs with a pure version of Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Nokia promises that it will update its devices, and the brand has plans to update it to Android Oreo. In the meantime, you can expect to receive security patches religiously every month. Another aspect to point out is the absence of bloatware, as it only has the basic apps installed.
The pre-installed apps include Nokia Mobile Care, through which you can troubleshoot, check and manage device status, or check its warranty status.
If you have good software though, it means it will take up some space. Of the 8 GB of internal memory on the device, only 4 GB is left over. In other words, as soon as the device is removed from the box, half of the memory is already occupied by the system. The microSD can be formatted as part of the system but applications need to use part of the internal memory, so the microSD doesn't completely solve the problem, it just makes it a little better.
How does it perform?
This is the weakest point of the device. Generally, the Nokia 2 works well and it was able to handle the tasks I wanted to carry out. Nevertheless, you'll need to have some patience when opening the camera, or moving from the camera to the gallery, for example. I consider myself a very patient person, and honestly, the Nokia 2 did frustrate me at times. Sometimes, you don't know whether its loading or not, but it will eventually resolve after a few seconds.
The processor, a Snapdragon 212, is a magician when it comes to saving energy but, of course, it can be slow. In some cases, apps that were still in the background were closed, for example, the podcast app that I regularly had open fell victim to this. The RAM is only 1 GB, but at least it still allows for some multitasking.
The GPU, an Adreno 304, doesn't support Open GPL 3.0 graphics so it's pretty clear that it's not good for playing games. But, it is able to run relatively well. I tried some less demanding ones and just needed a little patience, as with the rest of the system. I've even been able to play N.O.V.A. Legacy without much trouble. The main problem is that you have to uninstall one game to be able to play another because of the limited space.
How does it sound?
The device's main speaker is located at the rear of the device behind a slot in the cover. It's powerful, loud but low quality. Thinking about the price again, its better than some mid-range phones in comparison.
The device comes with some headphones in the box. They are of low quality, similar to those free ones you can sometimes get on planes, but they are fine for hands-free calls. The Nokia 2 also has an FM radio tuner, which only works when you connect a headset because it uses it as an antenna.
In calls, the sound is pretty good, as the top speaker is good quality and the two microphones cancel noise.
Have realistic expectations for the camera
The Nokia 2 cameras are not amazing, but considering price range, you can't expect anything more. For what it costs, you're not going to get high quality photos with beautiful details, but at least you have a way to save some of your memories!
The main camera features an 8 MP auto-focus sensor and video quality up to 720p at 30 frames per second. For the front camera, the maximum resolution is 5 MP and is has the same video quality as the rear camera. The images do not have much dynamic range and the details are lost quite a bit, but at least we can take some photos with this budget device.
Is the battery really as good as they claim?
If there is one thing that the Nokia 2 beats the vast majority of smartphones with, it is the battery life. With normal use, it can last two days without problems and about 6-8 hours of screen time. During a weekend when I didn't use it much (just to chat, send e-mails, read some news and listen to music), to my surprise, the battery had lasted an entire four days with just over 4 hours of screen time.
However, it takes some time to charge its 4,100 mAh battery from 0 to 100 percent, and you'll have to leave it plugged in for 4.5 hours if the device is switched off. In the PC Mark test, the device was able to last for 13 hours and 38 minutes with the screen switched on.
Nokia 2 technical specifications
The Nokia 2 promised a great battery and certainly delivered on this. Despite this being impressive, the phone realistically wouldn't meet the vast majority of user needs. It's very slow, with a limited storage of only 4 GB once you take into account the software already on the device, and even though a microSD can be used as internal memory, the problem isn't completely solved.
It is decent for a low-end smartphone, but only in certain situations. If you don't care about having a high-end device, don't depend on your smartphone in your everyday life or use many apps, or if you only need a second back-up device, then the Nokia 2 is a good option.
Have you used the Nokia 2? Is it what you need from a smartphone?