Nokia or more so the company behind the brand, HMD Global, have become a bit of a hit around the Ausdroid office. There is always something interesting coming from the manufacturer and the guarantee for three years with security updates and firmware updates have become a bit of a hit.
Last year I reviewed the previous iteration to the Nokia 2.3, the Nokia 2.2 last year and I was a little underwhelmed simply because I was trying to work out if it was more a budget device or a mid range device, given the mid range market has certainly changed a lot over the last few years.
So when HMD Global offered us a review device for the Nokia 2.3, I thought it would be a good idea to give it a try and not only see if the device has changed since last years version but what they have improved.
So let’s have a look to see how the Nokia 2.3 held up.
Nokia devices have always been known for their European Finnish designs and looks and the Nokia 2.3 is no exception. Opening the box — the packaging is similar to their previous products and something that does spark a little bit of joy each time I open any Nokia branded device box.
Included in the box is the standard corded earbuds, along with a somewhat fast charger and surprisingly a MicroUSB card, which did perplex me given the current standard and where manufacturers are heading towards – USB-C cords and chargers.
The Nokia 2.3 comes with 6.2-inch HD display with the 5MP front facing camera housed in the top middle of the display in a teardrop notch.
The display seems brighter in the middle but as you get to the edges it’s as though the brightness is slightly, well a little less bright. It’s more apparent when viewing at different angles but it doesn’t seem detract from every-day viewing.
Viewing the display in full sunlight is okay, although I did struggle when in direct bright sunlight – I did have to put the screen brightness up to full but there was still some issues.
As for the charger, it confuses me why Nokia didn’t go with the new current standard of USB-C charging for the Nokia 2.3. I believe this could be to keep costs down but at the same time, it is a big oversight on their part.
Next to the charger port is the audio speaker located to the right of the charger port and a microphone for phone and video calls just located to the left of the charger port.
The left hand side of the device, there is a dedicated Google Assistant button which is similar to what we have seen on previous Nokia devices and while some people are perplexed by this, I certainly welcome it when you’re at home and don’t want to set off all your Google Assistant speakers and display, or out in public and don’t want to yell the usual “Hey Google”.
The top side of the device houses the 3.5mm audio jack which is located just near the right hand side of the device and is good news for those who prefer to still have this feature available on their device.
The rear of the device, which seems to be made from a textured plastic mould, kind of slightly ridged pieces going in a horizontal direction, houses the dual rear camera which I will go into further depth later on down in the review.
The Nokia 2.3 is powered by a MediaTek Helio A22 processor that is backed up by 2GB of RAM which is a little worrying, given the ‘A’ series of processors can be quite slow and sluggish. This was proven when trying to multitask between apps in most occasions, going between the various apps I tend to use throughout the day.
The Nokia 2,3 comes with 32GB of onboard storage which can be extended to 512GB thanks to the inclusion of the MicroSD slot. The Nokia 2.3 is powered by a non-removable battery 4000 mAh that enables a close to two full-day charge through various AI and battery saving technology enabled with Android One.
Lights, Camera, Action!
The Nokia 2.3 comes with dual rear cameras which are made up of a single 13MP main camera and a 2MP sensor rear camera, exclusive bokeh effects and focus adjustment.
The shots taken with the dual rear camera in daylight outdoors were great, clear with little reduction in colour or vibrancy — as you would expect in 2020 with perfect conditions. However, low light night time shots is where things went downhill. Pictures would turn out washed out colour wise with a lot of graininess and noise added in.
Furthermore, the AI used to help take shots did take its time processing the picture and shutter was also a little slow. Whether this can be updated or changed via a software update in the future is unclear.
The front facing camera is a single 5MP camera which is housed in the tear drop in the top middle. Again the selfie pictures in daylight or room full of light were okay. But again in low light or night time selfie pics struggled with clarity and further graininess added to these shots.
The Nokia 2.3 is powered by Google’s Android One firmware based on Android 10 and I am led to believe this device is and will be upgraded to Android 11 once it is released. During the review period there were three security updates which where installed.
As per other Nokia branded devices run now OS or user experience software over the top of Android, so it’s very much close to vanilla android and the only Nokia branded app that is not a typical Google app is the My Phone app which provides support from the company directly and their community or fan sharing tips and much more.
The one thing that has always since its launch now over four years ago with Nokia branded devices, is their guarantee to security and firmware updates for three years. It certainly is something that I think should be guaranteed for all Android devices regardless of price.
Would I consider buying one?
For a budget device, the Nokia 2.3 does offer some decent specs for the price. Granted there are issues with the camera, a micro-USB charger instead of the new current standard USB-C and the processor lag experienced, some of which are to be expected for a budget device today.
For me, the simplicity of the Android One software alongside the guaranteed firmware and security updates for three years are the main selling point here given that this is not guaranteed with many other Android manufacturers — especially in the budget range of devices.
If you’re after a device that is guaranteed the software and security updates and you’re not fussed with the overall camera or lack of fingerprint scanner, then there is a lot to like with the Nokia 2.3. That being said, there are other possible alternatives coming from OPPO, realme and Vivo that do offer similar specs for the same price but may not offer the updates that Nokia do.