Earlier this year, HMD Global released its most affordable Android smartphone ever: the Nokia C1. Armed with a sub-Php 3k price, the Nokia C1 covered almost every essential feature that an ultra-budget smartphone should have—save for LTE connectivity.
HMD Global has fixed that small connectivity problem with the new Nokia C2, which now has LTE connectivity and a few other upgrades over C1 like a bigger display and battery. But those features come with a slightly higher price tag, as the Nokia C2 is Php 800 more expensive than its predecessor. Are the upgrades worth it?
- Surprisingly good battery life
- Rear camera can shoot native Full HD video
- Great display for an ultra-budget phone
- No Android 10 (Go Edition) for now
- Old processor
The Nokia C1 comes in the typical packaging that usually accompanies phones with the Nokia name. Inside the box, you get the same set of accessories that you get with the Nokia C1: MicroUSB cable, 5w charger, 2800mAh battery, headset, and documentation. For the first time, HMD Global is including a jelly case with the Nokia C2, which should indicate that all future Nokia phones will finally have a jelly case out of the box.
If you compare the Nokia C1 to the Nokia C2, both phones look virtually the same when it comes to design language. You get an 18:9 aspect ratio for the display, along with a removable back panel that gives you access to the SIM and MicroSD card slots and the battery.
The back panel is made from matte plastic, which is just as durable as the one used on the Nokia 2.1 and Nokia C1. While it is not as classy or sexy as the glasstic panels used in more expensive phones, the material was chosen for practical reasons: aside from being smudge-resistant, the matte finish is more durable against wear and tear.
Port and button layout on the Nokia C2 is similar to the Nokia C1: headphone jack on top, Google Assistant button on the left side, power and volume controls on the right side and MicroUSB port at the bottom.
Aside from the processor upgrade, the Nokia C2’s biggest improvement over the Nokia C1 is the display. Aside from having more screen real estate at 5.7-inches, you also have a respectable HD+ resolution, making it a pleasure to use for watching videos through YouTube Go.
Like the Nokia C1, you get a good quality IPS panel on the Nokia C2. The display is bright enough for use under direct sunlight—again, a rarity for ultra-budget phones.
The Nokia C2’s back-firing speaker sounds better than the one found on the Nokia C1. The maximum output is lower than other smartphones, but sound quality remains consistent and free of any distortion.
While the Nokia C2 also comes with 1GB RAM and 16GB internal storage, it gets a newer and better Unisoc SC9832e processor. Compared to the SC7331e used on the Nokia C1, the Nokia C2 has a higher clock speed and support for LTE connectivity. Other than those key upgrades, you can’t expect much with the Nokia C2’s processor, as it is based on an old 28nm (some may say ancient) production process.
1GB RAM is very low for today’s standards, but its stripped-down version of Android Pie keeps the phone running smoothly with Go versions of Assistant, Maps, Gallery, YouTube, Google, and Gmail. Playing games is not advisable with the Nokia C2’s modest internals, but lightweight games like PUBG Mobile Lite is at least playable, but barely so.
The Nokia C1 has no Android 10 update for now, and that’s understandable: as of this writing, only the Nokia 1.3 comes with a Go version of Android 10. HMD Global has a stellar reputation of rolling out major Android updates, so we expect the Nokia C2 to get Android 10 (Go Edition) soon.
Paired with a bigger (and still removable) 2800mAh battery, the Nokia C2 has vastly improved in terms of battery life. We got 13 hours and 23 minutes on PCMark’s battery test, which translates to at least a days’ worth of use. Top-ups are done using an old 5w wired charging solution, and it takes a little over two hours to fully charge the Nokia C2’s battery.
The cameras remain unchanged on the Nokia C2, though HMD Global addressed the issues we encountered with the Nokia C1—most notably the autofocus system. With the Nokia C2, autofocus works properly for all lighting conditions. It may be slow in low-light situations but is still useful nonetheless.
The Nokia C2 has the same set of features with the Nokia C1, though the newer processor adds native Full HD video recording, timelapse shooting, and better HDR image processing.
Despite being more expensive than the Nokia C1, the Nokia C2 is more well-rounded with a bigger display and battery, along with LTE connectivity. HMD Global also addressed some of the camera issues with the Nokia C2, making it one of the best Android Go phones you can get today.
- 1.4Ghz Unisoc SC9832e quad-core processor
- 1GB RAM
- 5.7-inch HD+ IPS display; 18:9 aspect ratio
- 16GB of internal storage, expandable via microSD
- 5-megapixel f/2.4 rear camera with AF and LED flash
- 5-megapixel f/2.2 front camera with beautification and LED flash
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
- Xpress-On Covers
- Android 9.0 Pie (Android Go)
- 2800mAh battery