Last year’s Nokia 2 had two things going for it: a big battery that goes on and on and a good price. What it lacked, though, were optimizations to make its performance better. From my experience, the device holds up just fine until it starts freezing on you.
To that end, there was a promise by HMD Global’s Chief Product Officer at the start of the year that the device’s performance would improve once it received the Android Oreo update as that would include most of the optimizations meant for devices in the Android Go programme.
I don’t know if that has since come to pass but I do know that the Nokia 2 has had a successor for 3 months now that, according to its makers, delivers “a massive 50% performance boost on its predecessor”. Now, that successor, the Nokia 2 (2018) aka Nokia 2.1, is available in the country.
According to a press statement from HMD Global’s local publicists, the Nokia 2.1 went on sale yesterday at a price of Kshs 11,500.
That price tag puts HMD Global’s second cheapest smartphone to go on sale this year in the same league as the Tecno Spark 2, a device that managed to impress me in the few weeks that I spent reviewing it, and just within the cross hairs of the Xiaomi Redmi 6A (32GB storage variant) that was launched in Nairobi yesterday.
Like the second generation Tecno Spark smartphone and the cheaper Nokia 1, the Nokia 2.1 is part of the Android Go programme as it runs Android 8.1, Oreo (Go Edition) and is set to get the Go edition of Android 9 Pie, which has feature updates, as well.
It keeps much of the Nokia 2’s feature set like the big battery (reduced to 4,000mAh from 4,100mAh), the 1 gigabyte of memory and the same 5-megapixel and 8-megapixel shooters on the front and back respectively. Other features have had a facelift. The processor has been bumped up to the respectable Snapdragon 425 from the entry-level Snapdragon 212 that failed its predecessor. The display has grown by 20% to peak at 5.5 inches and there’s some form of accelerated charging. The display is flanked on either side (top and chin) by dual front-facing speakers, a stark contrast to another device that is just Kshs 1,500 cheaper.
The Nokia 2.1 is available in Blue/Copper and Blue/Silver colours.