Nokia seems to be quietly making its name in the entry-level market for smartphones by making phones that tick both boxes of being affordable and having a good build quality. This method saw HMD Global, Nokia’s parent company, achieve its first profitable year in 2021.
To keep the momentum going, HMD Global has announced three new smartphone models, the Nokia C21, C21 Plus, and C2 2nd edition in their MWC 2022 event. All three smartphones will be running Android Go, a stripped-down version of Android specially developed for entry-level devices that are limited in RAM and processing power.
All the apps developed by Google like Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, etc are still present on the Android Go platform, but they are tailor-made to consume as little resources as possible to keep the phone from freezing or stuttering during day to day use.
Since these devices are designed for users who want to spend as little as possible, the design choices also echo this, as there are corners the Finnish company has cut to keep prices low. The most obvious one is that Nokia will not be offering OS upgrades across the three models. However, there will be quarterly updates for the next two years to keep your phone safe as it could be.
One interesting feature across the three phones is they have the ability to support FM radio without the need of plugging in wired headphones to be used as an aerial. This might not sound like a groundbreaking feature, but as a lover of radio, there are times I just want to have a way of listening to my favourite radio station without being bothered by my wired earphones.
Here is a quick rundown of the three models;
Nokia C2 (2nd Edition)
The 2nd edition of the Nokia C2 is supposed to be an improvement of the 2020 C2, but I am struggling to see where the improvements are. First, the display’s resolution has been reduced from 720p to 480p, as well the megapixel count for the selfie camera is reduced from 5 MP to only 2 MP.
The downgrades do not stop there, as the battery capacity has also been lowered from 2,800 mAh to 2,400 mAh.
The Nokia C2 2nd edition will be powered by an unnamed SoC at 1.5 GHz in addition to having either 1 or 2 GB of RAM depending on which variant you choose and internal storage of 32 GB which can be expanded by means of a microSD up to 256 GB.
Nokia C21 and C21 Plus
Both the base C21 and the C21 Plus will be powered by the Unisoc SC9863a chipset and either has 2 GB or 3 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal storage, which can be expanded up to 256 GB. However, the C21 Plus has a higher spec version that you can get with 4 GB of RAM and internal storage of 64 GB.
You also get bigger batteries with the C21 and C21 Plus rated at 3,000 mAh and 4,000 mAh respectively. The 4 GB/64 GB version of the C21 Plus has a slightly bigger battery at 5,050 mAh as well as faster 10W charging compared to the 5 W charging that is standard in the other versions.
Both devices support 4G connectivity, but camera setups are different, the C21 having a rear/front camera combination of 8 MP/ 5 MP while the C21 Plus has a 13 MP+2MP(for depth) at the rear with 5 MP at the front for selfie needs.
All three models have been announced for Europe starting the end of March, but I expect them to make their way to our Kenyan market before long. The C21 Plus, the most impressive of the three, is listed for £100 (Kshs 15,000), the C21 for an equivalent of Kshs 13,000 while the C2 2nd edition is available for Kshs 10,000 at current exchange rates.
I expect the pricing to be very similar when they are finally announced for Kenya, making all of them very competitive at this entry-level segment.