Nokia 2.3 has launched globally at an event in Egypt, and its key highlights include being part of the Android One programme, a 4,000mAh battery, and a dual camera setup at the back. This phone is the successor to the Nokia 2.2 which was launched in June this year, and it sees improvements on the battery, camera, and display fronts. The Nokia 2.3 is positioned in the budget segment, and in Europe it will retail for EUR 109 (roughly Rs. 8,600). It should launch in India in the sub-Rs. 10,000 bracket – a heavily populated segment in which it will compete with the likes of the Redmi Note 8, Realme 5s, Vivo U10, and more. For now, the company has only unveiled one variant internationally, and it's uncertain whether the India model will have the same configuration.
We were able to spend a little time with the Nokia 2.3 on the sidelines of the global event, and here are our first impressions.
At the outset, the Nokia 2.3 is bigger than its predecessor and is considerably heavier as well. The Nokia 2.2 weighs 153 grams, while the Nokia 2.3 weighs 183 grams. The increase in weight can be attributed to the 4,000mAh battery that claims to offer two-day battery life. However, we weren't able to test that given our short time with the phone. Even with the increase in weight, the phone feels light in the hand, and it has a premium overall look and feel. It has metal sides and a polymer back panel with what the company calls a “3D nano texture” for better grip. The phone has a large 6.2-inch HD+ display with a 720x1520-pixel resolution and 19:9 aspect ratio. The waterdrop-style is somewhat V-shaped, rather than the rounded one on the Nokia 2.2. There's a chin at the bottom of the display as well, and it has a Nokia logo on it.
In our short time with the device, we found that the display was reasonably bright with good colour reproduction. It was a little reflective when direct light fell on it, but we couldn't test it in daylight. We would recommend that you wait for our full review to know how well the display works outdoors and while streaming videos.
The phone has been launched in three colour options in Egypt – Sand, Charcoal, and Cyan Green. The dual camera setup sits in the top centre of the rear, with a 13-megapixel primary camera that has an f/2.2 aperture, plus a 2-megapixel depth sensor for better portraits. The company has added a new feature called Recommended Shot, which will take several shots of the same frame in quick succession and offer you the best one, based on AI calculations. The Recommended Shot will be marked with a dot, and the user will have the ability to keep any photo from the burst.
The camera module on the rear doesn't stick out like on many devices, and sits inside a metal ring which could help protect the lenses from scratches. Up front, the Nokia 2.3 has a 5-megapixel selfie sensor situated inside the waterdrop-shaped notch, and the company offers AI beauty filters for users to tinker with. The photos we were able to take in the little time we had with the device seemed to have good detail and depth. Shots taken in low light seemed to have little noise. However, we will reserve our full opinion of the camera when we review the Nokia 2.3 at length.
There's no fingerprint sensor on the Nokia 2.3, but to make up for it, face recognition has been integrated. The Nokia 2.3 is powered by the MediaTek Helio A22 processor, which is the same as the Nokia 2.2, and in our brief experience with the phone, browsing through the UI didn't have any lags or hiccups. The phone is a part of the Android One programme, and runs on stock Android Pie, which means there's no bloatware, no customisation, and no ads. There is no Android One branding this time around, though users have been promised two years of software upgrades and three years of monthly security updates. The phone's UI is neat and minimalistic, with the app drawer popping up from the bottom while the notifications shade can be pulled down from the top. The phone is marketed to be Android 10-ready, but a rollout timeline hasn't been announced.
The Nokia 2.3 packs 2GB RAM and offers 32GB of storage. There's also support for memory expansion (up to 512GB) using the microSD card slot. The volume rocker and power button sit on the right side, and there's a dedicated Google Assistant key on the left. The 3.5mm audio jack is on the top, and the bottom has a Micro-USB port and speaker. It's disappointing to see HMD Global still sticking to the Micro-USB standard while other phones such as the Redmi Note 8 in the same price segment offer a USB Type-C port. This is a dual-SIM phone, with an additional slot for a microSD card.
The Nokia 2.3 doesn't offer NFC but comes with Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, and GPS. With these internals, the Nokia 2.3 brings a lot to the table, along with the stock Android experience. HMD Global also promises two years of software support and three years of monthly security patches.
HMD Global competes with the likes of Xiaomi and Realme, and the company is using camera quality and battery life as its main selling points for the new Nokia 2.3. Overall, this phone looks and feels premium, and has a bigger display that is somehow still comfortable to use with one hand. At EUR 109, it could turn out to be a good budget choice for users who hate bloated custom Android UIs. Its performance in the Indian market will largely depend on the price tag attached to it. It should launch here soon, and we'll have the exact date and launch price for you as soon as HMD Global announce them.