The Nokia 2.2 is HMD Global’s entry into the value space, for the cost-conscious consumer. I spent a couple of days with it, took it to Caliraya Lake, and put it through its paces to see how it performed as a daily driver. Below is my experience!
Design and Ergonomics
Having used several Nokia branded phones in recent years, most of which consisting of solid aluminum and glass builds, it was interesting to be holding a plastic unit with the Nokia 2.2. The build is light, and some people who saw it felt it was cute. The test unit was black and had prominent Android One branding on the rear.
The screen is 5.71-inches in size and features a resolution of 720p. The panel is an IPS LCD, which looks okay. The sharpness of content is sometimes noticeably lower than other full HD, higher-end phones. Also present is a thick bezel around the entire screen.
The button placement is standard fare, with Power and Volume on the left, and a dedicated Google Assistant button on the right. At the top, there is a 3.5mm audio jack and a MicroUSB 2.0 port at the bottom. The rear cover is detachable, allowing for a battery, dual SIMs, and a MicroSD card.
Specs and Performance
Powering the Nokia 2.2 is the Mediatek MT6761 Helio A22 SoC, which consists of 4 Helio A22 cores clocked at 2.0 GHz. The included GPU is a PowerVR GE8320. RAM and storage come in two flavors — a 2GB/16GB variant and a higher 3GB/32 GB version. The test unit was the latter, with 3GB of memory and 32GB of storage.
Undoubtedly, these are budget specs and it becomes apparent when you start multitasking with multiple apps open. This is likely due to the memory running out. Gaming performance though is okay; we tried Mobile Legends for a bit, and it seemed fine. I also used the Nokia 2.2 to stream music via Bluetooth to a wireless soundbar, and the experience was good, even over prolonged use.
Possibly the most noticeable performance degradation was during app updates from the Google Play Store. The device came to its knees, making it almost unusable for multitasking. Being used to background app updates, this was quite a poor experience, and possibly the Achilles heel of the Nokia 2.2. Best to do such updates when not using the phone.
With many manufactures skipping headphones in the kit, it’s nice that HMD Global includes a pair. I tested it for music as well as watching YouTube videos. It lacks bass and has a bright presentation, but it’s certainly good enough. The headphones are light and the cord is fairly long.
Battery and Charging
The included battery has a capacity of 3000 mAh and is removable; it’s been a while since I’ve been able to slide off the rear cover and swap out the battery!
At 2% charge, the phone initiates fail-safe shutdown, and cannot be powered on.
Below is the charge matrix, starting from 2%.
Without fast-charge capability, it takes quite some time to fully charge. But on the flip side with basic use the battery life is pretty impressive, easily lasting a day. And worst case you can even swap out a drained battery with a charged one, given that it’s removable.
An inclusion worth mention is a notification on the lock screen indicating the time to reach 100% while charging. (It only appears a few minutes after connecting it to the charger).
Software and User Experience
Nokia is known for its Android One experience, which means a clean stock Android 9 Pie pre-installed, free of any bloatware. This is further upgradable to Android 10; at the time of writing the upgrade was available.
The test unit was the version with 32GB of internal storage, and 3GB of memory. With just the core apps installed, the device reported 11.30GB used, the system/OS taking 10GB, and the remaining 1.1GB going to apps. During my use, with a few albums of music stored on the device, and then actively shooting photos and video, in no time I was being prompted about low space.
If you’re used to other manufacturer skins like EMUI, or Color OS, there is a little adjustment involved, getting comfortable with Android One.
The Nokia 2.2 features Face unlock, but the implementation is quite slow, taking about five seconds. Many a time even after the five seconds, it fails, which is usually when lighting is poor or your face is moving. While a nice inclusion at this price-point, it’s better avoided being as slow and unreliable.
Camera and Optics
The hardware on the Nokia 2.2 is a single 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera for selfies. Based on my testing, the optics are quite weak.
Under the ideal circumstances, with good lighting, some good pictures with detail are possible. But even in several good daylight situations, often the pictures were over-exposed and blown-out, lacking vibrant colors. Needless to say, low light photography is quite terrible.
Clicking on the picture to preview it, usually takes a second or two. Which is likely to do with the limited memory and overall slowness of the device.
If you’re looking for a good shooter, it’s suggested to increase your budget and look at another device.
Value and Competition
The Nokia 2.2 was initially released at P5,990 and has subsequently been dropped to P4,990. Given its sub-P5000 price point, some of its limitations are easily forgivable. If you need a phone on a budget or need a backup phone, the Nokia 2.2 offers good value. And being on the Android One program, you don’t have to worry about poor, short-term software support; something that’s a risk with value products.
The bulk of the competition at this budget price bracket is from Cherry Mobile, and then there’s the Realme C2, and Vivo Y91C, both of which have undergone price drops, now priced at P 4,990.
The Nokia 2.2 is an ultra-affordable smartphone, meant for the budget seeker, looking for modest specs, and decent functionality, backed by Android One and the legendary Nokia reliability. That being said, it’s not well-suited for multitasking performance and photography finesse.
Verdict: A competent budget offering from Nokia