Nokia 2.1 is a budget phone that offers many nice things at a very affordable price. You can read more about it in the review below. However, in order not get ahead of ourselves, let’s start from the beginning. Inside the factory box, HMD included the phone itself, a charging adapter, microUSB cable, user manuals as well as branded Nokia headphones. We’d say this is quite a rich package for the price. The device that we got here comes in blue/silver color option, but also available are blue/copper and grey/silver color options.
Nokia 2.1 is, once again, a budget smartphone, so not too much from it should be expected. Still, this phone’s display is pretty good. Here we have an IPS LCD display with 720p HD resolution, and the diagonal of 5.5”. Although this phone is quite young, it doesn’t really follow modern trends regarding the display, which is why we have the good old 16:9 aspect ratio display. Pixel density is only 267 PPI, which is not really the best, but it is what it is.
The display is quite bright, and even at direct sunlight you won’t have too much trouble reading from it. There is also the night mode that will turn the colors into brownish shades, so the colors aren’t too aggressive on the eyes at night.
Basically, the phone provides good views, but as said before, you shouldn’t expect too much from it. Colors are nice, not washed up, and pixelization is visible only when you look for it.
Hardware and OS
It’s nice to see that HMD opted to use a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset in their Nokia 2.1. Although the Snapdragon 425 is an old chipset built on a 28nm process, it’s not too bad at all. Of course, this is a budget chipset as well, so you won’t be able to run too high demanding tasks, but regular day to day use shouldn’t be an issue at all.
Memory configuration is, however, disappointing, even in this price range. This phone comes with only 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage. In 2018 this is good for – almost nothing – but we have to admit that HMD has paid attention to this. This is why they have placed a microSD card slot into the Nokia 2.1, and allowed storage expansions of up to 128GB. We have to notice, however, that one such microSD card costs almost half as much as the phone itself, so we don’t really think that this expansion is worth it.
Something that has left an excellent impression, and probably the best thing about this phone are its speakers. Even some flagships, phones 10 times as expensive as the Nokia 2.1 don’t have stereo sound, but this phone has it! And not any stereo sound but very good one! The phone sounds amazing, all tones are nicely reproduced and basses are quite deep – this is truly something of worth in this phone.
Another good side is that this phone is powered by Android GO version 8.1 Oreo. As you may already know, the Android GO is a version of Android that Google has tailored specifically for budget phones that otherwise wouldn’t be able to run the software. Exactly because the phone runs this type of software, user experience is not bad at all. True, it did happen that the phone has stuttered a few times during navigation and opening apps, but only when this is done for the first time. Every other time the launches are much faster and smoother. All in all, we must admit that we have expected much worse experience exactly due to the small amount of RAM, but we’re pleasantly surprised by how the Nokia 2.1 performed.
So far we’ve got used to having double camera setup in phones from 2018, but HMD didn’t choose this for the Nokia 2.1, which is why we have only 1 camera sensor here. As we’ve already said multiple times, this is an entry level budget phone, so we can’t expect the camera to be particularly good. That said, the camera is – only average. This is an 8 megapixel sensor that supports autofocus and HDR mode. Photos made by the primary camera are, honestly, bad.
Even at daytime, details are almost completely gone, colors look washed up and noise is more than just noticeable. We won’t even talk about night time photos – there’s really nothing to say about them.
The front facing camera is a 5 megapixel sensor. It too makes quite bad photos, so we definitely won’t recommend it for selfies. Still, we think that it will perform relatively OK in video calls.
Speaking of video, the main camera is capable of producing videos of maximum 720p resolution at 30fps. Videos are only average, so we can’t recommend this phone for any sort of serious recording, but you’ll definitely be able to capture a video or two – just don’t expect movie quality from it.
When we speak of connection options, Nokia 2.1 supports many features like WiFi 802.11 with HotSpot, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS with GLONASS and BDS. For wired connections the phone uses microUSB port, and an important addition is USB On-The-Go.
This is only a 3G device that supports two nanoSIM cards in two separate slots on the back of the phone. This is a good thing since it’s possible to use both SIM slots together with a microSD card.
Sadly, here we won’t find NFC or IC port or any similar advanced connection options, however, these couldn’t even be expected from such a cheap phone.
Perhaps the brightest point in this phone is its battery. With 4000 mAh capacity it is more than capable of lasting up to 2 full days. This is, of course, possible with medium use, and it’s capable of delivering up to 128h or music reproduction or 19h of talking over the 3G connection. Inside the factory box there is a charger thanks to which the Nokia 2.1 will charge up from 0 to 100% in a little over 2 hours.
Nokia 2.1 won’t leave you breathless and it won’t let you do wonders with it. However, it will let you perform basic functions, and that it will do well. All this time we talk about this phone being a budget phone, but we never said what that actually means. For the price of only 75 euros you’ll get a modern smartphone that won’t really be on top of the offer, but for the price it’s more than just good. If you use your phone for just basic operations and you don’t really need crazy camera or hardware performances, this phone may be the right one for you.
Nokia 2.1 Full Specifications
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