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Nokia 2.1 Unboxing and First Impressions

HMD Global recently launched the Nokia 2.1 for the Philippine market. It's a budget Android 8.1 Oreo (Go edition) handset with enhanced multimedia experience.
Nokia 2.1 Unboxing and First Impressions
For your entertainment?

Nokia highlights its "big" 5.5-inch HD display for a larger viewing experience, large 4,100mAh battery with up to 2 days battery life, and stereo speakers for louder tunes with better soundstage for just PHP 5,990.

If I'm correct, it is one of the very few with two front-firing speakers on a budget.

However, it has few caveats. In particular, the RAM and ROM size is not big at 1GB and 8GB, respectively. There are other similarly priced devices with bigger RAM and ROM size.

But, like all Android (Go edition) smartphones, this handset has lightweight apps. It also has a dedicated microSD card slot for your files.

So, it could still be more optimized than some of those similarly priced phones with better looking specs on paper.

It's time to check it out!

Nokia 2.1 Specs

Display: 5.5-inch IPS screen w/ HD resolution at 267 ppi
CPU: 1.4GHz 64-bit Snapdragon 425 quad-core processor
GPU: Adreno 308
ROM: 8GB expandable via microSD card slot up to 128GB (dedicated)
Back Camera: 8MP f/2.0 w/ AF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 5MP f/2.4
Battery: 4,100mAh
OS: Android 8.1 Oreo (Go edition) 
Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 4G LTE Cat 4, Bluetooth 4.1, FM Radio, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, dual SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, proximity, sound
Others: Stereo speakers, Colors: blue copper, blue silver, grey silver
Dimensions: 153.7 x 77.7 x 9.35 mm
Weight: 174 g
Price: PHP 5,990



The Nokia 2.1 arrived with the 2A USB wall charger, USB Type-A to micro USB cable, earbuds with microphone, and the paper documents. It has no screen protector and case included inside.

Build Quality/Design

Sturdy polycarbonate construction
Sturdy polycarbonate construction

Like most Nokia devices from the past and today, the Nokia 2.1 is built like a tank for the price. Yes, it is mostly made out of plastic, but it is not the cheap type of plastic. It feels durable and well refined. The frame is solid and the removable back plate doesn't feel flimsy.

Looking at its design, the Nokia 2.1 is mix of classic Nokia and modern smartphones. The curves are nice and it has a beautiful chrome paint in the middle of the frame.

Classic Nokia build!

It is a bit thick at 9.35 mm due to its large 4,100mAh battery. But in real life, it doesn't look and feel that thick. The body is quite big at 153.7 x 77.7 mm as it has large top and bottom bezels to house the speakers on each side.

On the top, you will find the ever important 3.5 mm headphone jack. At the bottom, there's the micro USB female port. There's nothing at left, but you will see the power button and volume up and down keys at right.

At the back, the camera and flash are there. You will also see a small microphone hole on the top of the camera.

If you open the backplate, you will find the dual micro SIM slots and the dedicated microSD card slot. It has 3 slots in total.

In front, the front camera and the two speakers are there.

Ergonomically, the ports and buttons are all easy to reach. They are found on familiar locations as well.

This phone is also a joy to hold. It is comfortable and far from slippery at all. It isn't prone to fingerprint smudges.

Initial findings

1. As mentioned, the Nokia 2.1 is a sturdy looking machine. It doesn't have the 2018 small bezels found on phones with 18:9 or higher screen aspect ratio, but its design is still considered as neat looking for a budget phone.

The screen is quite big at 5.5-inch. I also like that it has 5 points of touch for easy swiping and typing. It also oleophobic coating to avoid fingerprint smudges on the screen.

2. It doesn't have the highest specs for the price. But, it has a respectable chipset, the 64-bit Snapdragon 425 quad-core processor.

The RAM is 1GB small, but due to the optimizations of Android (Go edition) OS, the experience is very smooth for the price. In fact, it could be even faster than some phones with 2GB RAM with regular Android OS.

Maybe, the only real problem that I will have with this phone is the storage. 8GB is too small for a 5,990 device. Yes, even if you can expand the storage via microSD card.

It is tiny even if it has smaller Android (Go edition) optimized apps by default.

It has 4G LTE Cat 4 connectivity for your speedy browsing experience on a budget.

3. Like what we said, it runs with Android (Go edition) OS. It is based on Android 8.1 Oreo. It is stock like and could receive fast updates from Google. Google stated that it will be updated to Android Pie soon. Again, it is very smooth for the price.

4. At the back, it has an 8MP f/2.0 primary shooter. It has the camera UI found on higher-end Nokia phones. For selfies, it has a 5MP f/2.4 snapper. My experience is quite nice so far. It has speed focus and can take decent shots.

5. The Nokia 2.1 has no LED notification light and gyro sensor. But it has a light sensor and OTG connection. The dual speaker for stereo sound is legit so far. It is really loud and quite crisp for the price.

As of the moment

Personally, I enjoyed its build quality and ergonomics. It also has a snappy performance despite the lack of RAM size. Thanks, to its very nice lightweight software.

The stereo speakers are very impressive for the price as well.

Again, the only thing that I did not like is its small internal storage size.

But other than that, this phone is a shaping up to be a respectable budget phone.

What do you think guys?
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