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Nokia 2.2 review: Android One smartphone at a good price

Debashish Pachal
Nokia 2.2 review: Priced starting at Rs 6,999, the Nokia 2.2 is an entry level Android One smartphone. Here is our review. (Express Photo: Debashish Pachal)

The sub-Rs 10,000 budget smartphones are the most sought after in India. The same segment also happens to be competitive as smartphone makers want to grab a chunk in the budget range. HMD Global has recently launched its Nokia 2.2 smartphone in a bid to dig into this price segment. The company has also launched the Nokia 4.2 and 3.2 earlier this year, but the Nokia 2.2 is the most economical device on offer by the company.

Launched at a starting price of Rs 6,999, the Nokia 2.2 comes with a removable 3,000mAh battery, almost an alien concept these days. The device also packs a quad-core MediaTek Helio A22 processor which has been paired with 2GB/3GB of RAM. So, is the Nokia 2.2 worth buying? Read our review to know.

Nokia 2.2 specifications: 5.71-inch HD+ display | MediaTek Helio A22 processor | 2GB RAM+16GB storage/3GB RAM+32GB storage | 13MP rear camera | 5MP front camera | 3,000 mAh battery | Android 9.0 Pie

Nokia 2.2 price in India: Rs 6,999 for 2GB RAM/16GB internal storage variant | Rs 7,999 for 3GB RAM/32GB internal storage variant

Nokia 2.2 design, display

The Nokia 2.2 comes with a waterdrop style U-shaped notch display. There are some bezels around the display screen which in comparison to its predecessor Nokia 2.1 is thinner. Due to the thinner bezel, the smartphone’s display screen looks much bigger. At the back, the Nokia 2.2 has a plastic cover with a glossy finish. The back cover can be removed for adding and removing the battery and SIM cards and memory card. The glossy back panel tends to attract smudges.

Nokia 2.2 review: The smartphone comes with glossy plastic back which attracts smudges. (Express Photo: Debashish Pachal)

Nokia has allowed a removable battery in the Nokia 2.2. The card slots which are placed near the back camera setup can support two nano SIM cards and one microSD card. On the side panels, the volume and power buttons are placed on the right side and the Google Assistant button is on the left. The smartphone is available in two colour options – Steel and Tungsten Black.

Nokia 2.2 review: The smartphone also has a U-shaped waterdrop notch display. (Express Photo: Debashish Pachal)

The Nokia 2.2 feels sturdy and light enough to be held in one hand. There is a 3.5mm headphone jack on top of the frame and a speaker hole and micro USB port at the bottom. HMD Global had brought the Google Assistant button on the Nokia 4.2 and Nokia 3.2 smartphones and the Nokia 2.2 is no different. This button allows the user to launch Google’s voice assistant on a single tap. The AI gets activated even when the phone is on locked condition but the AI screen takes time to pop up which is a little annoying. There is no fingerprint reader in this smartphone but it comes with face unlock feature.

Nokia 2.2 review: There is a 3.5 mm headphone jack at the top edge of the smartphone. (Express Photo: Debashish Pachal)

The 5.71-inch HD+ display having an aspect ratio of 19:9 shows good and bright colours. The brightness levels seem fairly good indoors, but it can look dim when the user is under direct sunlight.

Nokia 2.2 review: The smartphone comes with a micro USB port at the bottom. (Express Photo: Debashish Pachal)

Nokia 2.2 performance, software, battery

The Nokia 2.2 comes with a MediaTek Helio A22 processor paired with 2GB/3GB RAM. In terms of performance, the smartphone was a little sluggish when switching between apps. On day to day use, when you open the camera app for clicking photos, the camera tends to open a little slowly and picture processing tends to take time. When clicking a selfie in low light with the auto-screen flash, the app tends to hang with the white blank screen after clicking the shot.

Nokia 2.2 review: The smartphone is powered by MediaTek Helio A22 processor and runs Android 9 Pie. (Express Photo: Debashish Pachal)

When you are playing heavy graphics games such as PUBG on this phone, it tends to slow down. Even in low-resolution mode, the smartphone faces tough challenge processing the game. Apart from PUBG, I tried playing some other games such as Asphalt 9: Legends, Angry Birds Rio, Temple Run 2 and Subway Surfer. While Asphalt 9 did show quite some lags being a heavy game. The other three games – Angry Birds, Temple Run and Subway surfer worked pretty well. It tends to heat up a little when you are constantly playing for 30 minutes or more, which I think happens to most smartphones. However, if you are a person who is looking for a smartphone for playing PUBG or other graphics intensive games, then I am afraid, Nokia 2.2 is not the device to go for.

Coming to the software, the Nokia 2.2 is an Android One device and runs the stock Android 9.0 Pie. It is guaranteed to receive regular updates for a period of two years under the Google Android One program. The operating system is decent and there are no issues with OS as such. However, there were some lags when switching from one app to another. I tried opening six to seven apps together and the phone had become a touch slow. Apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Messenger, YouTube, Netflix, Prime Videos and Subway Surfer/Angry Birds, when opened together, slow down the pace visibly.

Now if you are into binge-watching, then this phone might interest you a lot. The smartphone’s decent screen size and fairly good sound quality can be helpful if you’re watching the latest movies on Netflix or Amazon Prime Videos. YouTube videos also play well in this device. The screen has clarity and there are no lags or errors if you have a stable WiFi or mobile internet.

Coming to the battery backup, the 3,000 mAh battery can last for a day with gaming, photography and binge-watching on a single charge. On regular workdays, however, if you are busy on your computers and not able to fiddle much with your phone, then the device can last up to nearly two days. When charging the smartphone, it takes nearly three hours to charge from zero to 100 per cent.

Nokia 2.2 camera performance

The Nokia 2.2 comes with a 13MP rear camera with LED flash and autofocus. The smartphone can click some fair shots during the day. However, you should not expect DSLR like crisp quality at this price. There is no bokeh effect on offer but you do get HDR mode, panorama, support of Google Lens in the camera app.

Nokia 2.2 review: The image details are fairly decent for photos shot during day time. (Express Photo: Debashish Pachal)

However, by night or under low light, the smartphone is not that efficient. The night shots often seem too noisy and there is a lack of detail in the photos that I tried to click at night.

Nokia 2.2 review: Images clicked at night or in low light lack depth. (Express Photo: Debashish Pachal)

On the front, the Nokia 2.2 comes with a 5MP sensor with fixed focus. Even this camera shoots fairly well during the day but under low light, it tends to lack details. The front camera is also used for the face unlock feature. It fails to detect the face if there is a lack of light. At times even under normal light, it takes a little longer time to recognise the face. Also at times when clicking a selfie on low light conditions with auto screen flash, the camera tends to hang with a white screen after clicking the picture. This might be some sort of a software glitch which HMD must address at the earliest.

Nokia 2.2 review: Photos clicked at night are not very clear. (Express Photo: Debashish Pachal)
Nokia 2.2 review: During the day the camera can click some fairly decent shots with proper details. (Express Photo: Debashish Pachal)
Nokia 2.2 review: Even with auto flash, the photographs clicked at night seem dull. (Express Photo: Debashish Pachal)
Nokia 2.2 review: Image sample during the afternoon. (Express Photo: Debashish Pachal)

Nokia 2.2 verdict

Given the economical price, Nokia 2.2 is okay for a budget phone. There are some issues related to night photography with the camera, but then we must understand that this is a budget smartphone. However, customers can also look for other budget alternatives such as the Realme C2 which is priced starting at Rs 5,999 or the recently launched Redmi 7A which starts at Rs 5,799.