We check out HMD Global’s latest Android Go phone!
Android Go was made with one thing in mind: to provide a lightweight-yet-complete Android for budget phones with modest internals. HMD Global, on the other hand, wanted their Android Go phones to be more than just entry-level mobiles. With the Nokia 2.1, they went the extra mile and gave extra value-for-money with their second Android Go phone putting in a bigger than average battery and stereo speakers for entertainment. Will it be enough to make the Nokia 2.1 stand out against the budget offerings of their competitors?
What’s in the box?
Like other Nokia phones, the Nokia 2.1 comes with a white box with a photo of the phone in front. Inside the slide out box, you have the phone itself, along with documentation, a 10W charger, MicroUSB cable, and headset. HMD Global doesn’t included a screen protector or case in the package, unfortunately.
It looks like the Nokia 2.
Yes, it does—to an extent. While they are aesthetically similar, the Nokia 2.1is a little bigger. A quick way to tell them apart is by the fact that the Nokia 2 has a speaker slit on the rear and the Nokia 2.1 doesn’t. Our review unit is in light grey, which looks more like white in person.
The removable back panel’s texture is reminiscent of Nokia phones of yesteryear: it is a smudge and scratch-resistant matte plastic that can stand to wear and tear better compared to phones with glass backs. While it is a budget phone, HMD Global added metallic detailing on the Nokia 2.1’s side to give it a premium appeal. This is part of the phone’s Nordic design—characterized by the phone’s simple, minimalist look while maintaining functionality.
Opening the back panel reveals the non-removable 4000mAh battery, MicroSD card slot, and two separate MicroSIM slots.
The headphone jack is found on top, while the MicroUSB port is found at the bottom. Power and volume controls are found on the right side.
Does it have the same camera setup too?
Yup! You are getting the same 8-megapixel rear camera and 5-megapixel front camera of the Nokia 2. We will be running our usual tests to see if they produce better images compared to its predecessor.
How about the display?
With the Nokia 2.1, you get a bigger 5.5-inch HD LTPS display. The display contributes to a physically larger phone since it uses a 16:9 aspect ratio. However, HMD Global utilized those thick top and bottom bezels by placing front-firing stereo speakers and placing them symmetrically. This makes the Nokia 2.1 one of the best-looking budget smartphones out there.
Color reproduction and viewing angles are great. The stereo speakers produce decent sound quality even at high volume levels. We’re quite impressed on the display and speakers used for the Nokia 2.1 but we’re reserving our verdict for our comprehensive review.
What’s under the hood?
Powering the Nokia 2.1 is the Snapdragon 425—the de facto processor for most, if not all, budget phones. The processor is paired with 8GB internal storage and 1GB RAM—both fitting for an Android Go phone. We could not run AnTuTu on the Nokia 2.1, but expect the score to be around 32k to 35k.
Equipped with Android Oreo Go, the Nokia 2.1 handles multitasking quite well in spite of its modest internals. We tried running PUBG Mobile Lite on the Nokia 2.1, and we’re quite impressed with its performance considering you only have 1GB of RAM. We’ll discuss that in detail in our full review.
Since it is an Android Go phone, expect the Nokia 2.1 to be updated to the Go version of Android Pie in the future.
How much does it cost?
The Nokia 2.1 retails for Php 5,990 and is available at stores nationwide. While people may find it too expensive for an Android Go phone, the Nokia 2.1 comes with standout features such as stereo speakers, generous 4000mAh battery, and a clean, minimalist look. We will be using it as our daily driver and determine if it is one of the better Android Go phones out in the market.
Nokia 2.1 specs
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 quad-core processor
- Adreno 308 GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 5-inch HD display, anti-fingerprint coating, 1280 x 720 resolution
- 8GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD
- 8-megapixel rear camera with AF and LED flash
- 5-megapixel front camera
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
- Android 8.0 Oreo (Android Go)
- 4,000mAh Battery