Nokia 2.3 hands-on review: a charming, cheap Android phone

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The Nokia 2.3 was announced just a week ago. This Android One smartphone is the latest Nokia 2 series phone and hopes to replicate the success of its predecessors. At the official Lagos launch of the device, I spent some time with it and have my Nokia 2.3 hands-on review ready for your enjoyment.

Before the 2.3 was the Nokia 2.2 and before that was the Nokia 2.1, before which was the Nokia 2. All the phones in the Nokia 2 series have performed well in the market year after year. Third time is a charm, it is said. Does the Nokia 2.3 meet up? let’s find out. A good place to start is with the specifications and features.

Nokia 2.3 Hands-on Review: Quick Specs

Nokia 2.3 hands-on review
Mister Mobility goes hands-on with the Nokia 2.3
  • 6.2-inch, 720×1560 pixels, IPS LCD display
  • Android 9 Pie (ready for Android 10)
  • Mediatek Helio A22 chipset clocked at 1.8 GHz
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage
  • 13MP + 2MP dual camera with LED flash
  • 5MP selfie camera
  • 4000 mAh battery, with standard charging.

Having looked at the specs, how is the phone itself in the hand?

Nokia 2.3 Hands-on Review and First Impressions

I expected the Nokia 2.3 to be well built and after a few minutes of examing it first-hand, I can say that I was not disappointed. It isn’t premium, of course, but it does feel better built than competing products that we have seen. The textured back cover is really nice, though it isn’t as spectacular as officiel renderings had made it out to be. But there is no mistake about it: the Nokia 2.3 is well built and also looks classy.

There is a dual camera along with LED flash at the back of the phone, and below that is the Nokia branding. You will not find a fingerprint scanner anywhere there, as the phone does not have one.

Nokia says the dual camera and comes with ‘Recommended Shot’, a new feature that helps you choose the best picture, alongside other AI-powered features such as ‘Portrait Mode’ and low-light imaging. I didn’t have enough time to try out these features, so I can’t provide details of how well they work in this hands-on article.

Nokia 2.3 hands-on review charcoal
Nokia 2.3 hands-on review: the phone has a textured back cover

It is too early to give a valid verdict on performance. But out of the box and with no apps installed, it runs smoothly. This is thanks to pure Android on the device and the lack of bloatware. It remains to be seen how smooth the phone will run after a dozen apps have been installed and run for a while. A full review is required for that.

Does the Nokia 2.3 phone support 4G LTE networks? Yes; it does. It is a dual-SIM device too and both lines can use 4G. I didn’t have time to test out a Glo SIM card in it, but the specs say LTE band 28(700) is supported. Nokia Nigeria officials have also reiterated that they have Glo 4G in mind for devices introduced into the country.

Nokia 2.3 bottom ports
Nokia 2.3 hands-on review: bottom port

At the bottom of the phone is a microphone hole, a micro-USB port and a loudspeaker grill.

In addition to the volume and power buttons on the right side, there is a dedicated Google Assistant button on the opposite side, right below the SIM card tray slot. The Assistant button is nifty for activating the voice assistant. If it gets in your way, as it sometimes does, you can disable it. There is no known way to remap it yet, but hopefully….

Nokia 2.3 hands-on review dedicated Google Assistant button

Nokia 2.3 Hands-on Review: Software

We have walked through the hardware side of the phone. It is a good time to have a look at the software. The Nokia 2.3 runs stock Android OS – meaning Android without any customisations. Or Android as Google likes it.

There is no bloatware on the phone and the user interface is Pixel-like, of course, since Nokia does not implement any custom UI on it.

The Nokia 2.3 phone runs Android 9 Pie out of the box. But HMD Global officials say that it is Android 10 ready, which means that it will get Android 10 update. There is no word on when the update will be released for this phone, but based on Nokia’s Android 10 update schedule, it isn’t likely to be until at least Q2 2020.

Is Nokia 2.3 a good phone?

Nokia 2.3 hands-on review green back

As far as I can tell from the brief time I spent with this new Nokia 2 series phone, it looks like a solid device in its category. It sells for ₦36,000 in stores across the country. It is good to see Nokia come up with a phone that is competitive price-wise.

Plus, you will be getting Android software updates for the next two years and monthly secuirty patches for the next three years. So, at least for the next 2 years, the Nokia 2.3 stays up-to-date. None of the competition will give you that. Not a single one of them.

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