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Nokia 2.2 review: an ultra-affordable Android One phone

HMD Global-owned Nokia has been focusing on the budget segment of late. The combination of aggressive pricing and a decision to opt for Android One across its entire line-up has proved to be a smart move. After launching the Nokia 4.2 and Nokia 3.2 in the budget range, the brand has now gone for an even more aggressive price segment with the Nokia 2.2. I received the device for the purpose of review and here is the detailed account of my usage for two weeks.

Hits

Let’s go over what works in the favour of Nokia 2.2 first. The main talking point is definitely the pricing of the smartphone. At the introductory price of Rs 6,999, the Nokia 2.2 is one of the most affordable Android One offerings in the market. This is worth mentioning since the Nokia 2.1 was an Android Go, device featuring a stripped down version of the OS. You get promised Android updates for two years and then monthly security patches for additional one year.

The Nokia 2.2 comes flaunting the signature sedate design philosophy of Nokia and feels sturdy despite being crafted from plastic. The company is offering the handset in Steel and Tungsten Black hues. What sets Nokia 2.2 apart is that if you don’t like the colours it’s being offered with, you can swap them out for Xpress-On covers in Taurus Green, Pink Sand and Ice Blue.

The Xpress-on covers bring me to the removable back panel of the smartphone. This time around, Nokia has made the battery replaceable, which is a big pro if you tend to overcharge and end up with a dead battery. You will also find the micro-SIM, nano SIM and microSD card slot under the rear panel. 

A quick heads up, the indicator on the smartphone shows the micro-SIM card at the bottom and microSD card on the top. However, the SIM card goes in the top slot and memory card in the bottom. I nearly lost my SIM card to the phone after mistakenly inserting it in the microSD card slot. Another prop to the device is the presence of a dedicated Google Assistant button on the left, which gives quick access to the Google Assistant.

Display wise, the Nokia 2.2 is equipped with 5.7-inch HD+ (720 x 1,520 pixels) panel with a 19:9 aspect ratio. The smartphone is one of the few devices at this price range to come with a waterdrop notch on top, offering an uninterrupted immersive viewing experience. The display panel itself is sharp as well as vivid and with a peak brightness of 400 nits, is legible under direct sunlight as well. 

Last on the list of hits is the battery life of the smartphone. HMD Global has equipped the Nokia 2.2 with a 3,000mAh battery, which sounds under-powered on paper. However, thanks to a low-powered chipset and low-resolution display, the battery drain is not too drastic and Nokia 2.2 can easily last a whole day on a single charge.

Misses

You might have guessed it by now that the first on the list of misses here will be the underpowered processor that I just mentioned. The Nokia 2.2 gets the MediaTek Helio A22 chipset paired with either 2GB or 3GB of RAM. The one I have comes with 2GB RAM and subsequently gets 16GB storage, while the 3GB variant comes with 32GB storage. 

During the two weeks duration with Nokia 2.2, I used the smartphone as my primary work device with my SIM in it. The MediaTek Helio A22 fails to keep up and the whole interface feels sluggish despite being bare bones Android. Even opening and closing regular apps like WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter felt sluggish, let alone PUBG. The camera app also takes at least 5 seconds to focus and click the pictures.

Speaking of the camera, the Nokia 2.2 is equipped with a single 13-megapixel primary camera on the back with LED flash support and a 5-megapixel selfie camera. There are HDR, panorama, Google Lens and AI scene recognition modes on offer.

During my time with the phone, the camera captured decent pictures during daylight, however it doesn’t boost the saturation and images appear dull. The slow focus and shutter speed I mentioned before also come into play here and most images turn out to be shaky. Nokia claims that low-light imaging on the 2.2 is backed by AI, however, I didn’t notice any significant improvement. Take a look at the gallery below for Nokia 2.2 camera samples:

The 5-megapixel selfie camera nestled in the waterdrop notch is again nothing to write home about. The camera clicks the same dull images in broad daylight and misses the mark in less than ideal lighting conditions.

Verdict

The Nokia 2.2 is currently the most affordable smartphone with the Android One branding and that’s the main highlight of the smartphone. You get the assurance of two major Android updates as well as timely roll out. Beyond the stock Android interface, the Nokia 2.2 is a pretty run-of-the-mill budget handset. A decent choice if you are looking for a secondary device for basic usage and good battery life, but not much else.

Pricebaba’s rating: 6.5 / 10

What works:

  • Stock Android
  • Dedicated Google Assistant button
  • Day-long battery life

What doesn’t:

  • Underpowered processor
  • Sub-par cameras

Photos by Raj Rout

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