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Nokia 2.3 Review: Balancing Act

The best Nokia 2 series phone to date?

Right before 2019 came to a close, HMD Global introduced a new entry-level Android One phone with the Nokia 2.3. As a successor—or more like a “plus” version—of the Nokia 2.2, the Nokia 2.3 gets a bigger display, beefier (but non-removable) battery, dual rear camera setup, and a more durable ribbed back panel.

Having a sub-Php 6k price, the Nokia 2.3 is going up against strong competition from budget-centric brands like Realme, Redmi, and Honor. Is this entry-level Android One phone another hit for HMD Global?

Pros

-A battery beast

-Unique finish that is more resistant to wear

-Better camera algorithm compared to the Nokia 2.2

 

Cons

-Slow battery charging

-Slightly pricey for a quad-core phone

 

Blocky and solid

Unlike the Nokia 2.2, the Nokia 2.3 has a less curvy body that is reminiscent of the Nokia 2.1. It has roughly the same dimensions as the Nokia 3.2 with its 6.2-inch HD+ display, sizable bottom chin with Nokia branding, and a waterdrop notch that is home to a 5-megapixel selfie snapper.

Like its predecessor, you get the usual button layout, with the Google Assistant button on the left and power and volume controls on the right. Since it does not have a removable battery like the Nokia 2.2, the Nokia 2.3 has a NanoSIM tray on the left and the loudspeaker at the bottom.

On the back, the Nokia 2.3 has a polycarbonate panel with a ribbed texture. Our review unit is in Charcoal, and appears more of a dark gray than black, as with other Nokia phones with the same color variant. We like the ribbed texture on the back of the Nokia 2.3 as it’s practically immune to smudges and feels like it could withstand the usual wear and tear that comes with daily use. In fact, the finish is durable enough that you can choose not to put it in a case.

And even though the Nokia 2.3 sports a polycarbonate build, the phone feels hefty and solid to the core. In fact, its build quality feels better than its predecessor, and even the more expensive Nokia 3.2.

Proven internals, insane battery life

Save for having less RAM at 2GB, the Nokia 2.3 has the same 32GB internal storage and the same Helio A22 processor found on the Nokia 2.2. While it comes with less RAM, the Nokia 2.3 score in AnTuTu is close to its predecessor, crossing the 70k mark.

Like with our experience on the Nokia 2.2, the Nokia 2.3’s Helio A22 processor performs well despite being only a quad-core processor, being able to properly run Call of Duty and Asphalt 9: Legends at the lowest graphics settings. The only difference is with multi-tasking, as the Nokia 2.3 has less RAM to deal with for multiple apps running in the background.

When it comes to battery life, the Nokia 2.3 reigns supreme, as its 4000mAh cell scored almost 16 hours with PCMark’s battery test—that’s roughly the same score we got with the Nokia 3.2, which also came with the same battery but with a Snapdragon 429 quad-core processor instead. On actual use, we managed to use the phone for two days before it needs to be topped up.

The compromise with the Nokia 2.3’s impressive battery life is its slow charging speeds, as it is limited only to 10w charging. It takes around three hours to juice up the battery via MicroUSB.

More than the added depth sensor

On the hardware side, the Nokia 2.3 has the same camera setup found on the Nokia 2.2 save for the additional depth sensor. Aside from the additional rear camera, the Nokia 2.3 performed better than the Nokia 2.2 with its updated camera app algorithm. Compared to its predecessor, the Nokia 2.3 has a better dynamic range and improved exposure accuracy, along with a slightly faster autofocus speed.

HMD Global also addressed the video issue we encountered on the Nokia 2.2 as the Nokia 2.3 records videos in a more familiar .mp4 format. If there’s room for improvement for the Nokia 2.3’s camera app, we hope HMD Global adds a night mode feature to improve its performance in capturing photos in low light.

Verdict: Great offering, but the competition’s getting tight

At Php 5,990 (with a jelly case and Bluetooth speaker), HMD Global’s latest entry-level Android One phone offers great value for money with its incredible battery life, improved overall camera performance, and more durable back panel finish.

However, the Nokia 2.3 is a bit on the pricey side for a quad-core phone. Xiaomi’s Redmi 8A, which is Php 500 more affordable, comes with a more powerful Snapdragon 439 octa-core processor and a bigger 5000mAh battery.

Nokia 2.3 specs

  • MediaTek Helio A22 quad-core processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 6.2-inch HD+ IPS display, anti-fingerprint coating, Gorilla Glass
  • 32GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
  • Dual rear cameras: 13-megapixel f/2.2 main camera; 2-megapixel depth sensor; with PDAF, LED flash
  • 5-megapixel f/2.4 front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Face unlock
  • 4000mAh battery
  • Android 9 Pie (Android One)

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