Our Nokia 2.2 review sheds light on the capabilities of this budget Android One smartphone from the stables of HMD Global. How well does the Helio A22 processor handle stock Android 9 Pie? What delights and niggles does the Nokia 2.2 have hidden under its plastic body?

Nokia 2.2 Review: Quick Specs

  • Body: Plastic;
  • Screen: 5.71-inch, 720 x 1520 pixels, 19:9 apsect ratio, IPS LCD with a notch.
  • Rear Camera: 13MP, f/2.2 auto-focus lens; LED flash; video recording,
  • Front Camera: 5MP fixed focus lens;  video recording
  • Chipset: Mediatek Helio A22, quad-core CPU clocked at 1.8 GHz, PowerVR GE8320 GPU
  • Memory: 2/16 GB or 3/32 GB, plus dedicated microSD slot for up to 400GB expansion
  • OS: Pure Android 9 Pie;
  • Battery: removable 3,000mAh.
  • Connectivity: Dual SIM (4G), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS/GLONASS, Wi-Fi b/g/n, FM radio, microUSB 2.0
  • Colors: Black; Steel.
  • Misc: Physical Google Assistant button.

Nokia 2.2 Review: In the box

Nokia 2.2 review: Inside the box
Nokia 2.2 review: Inside the box

Opening up the box, we find the following items inside:

  • the Nokia 2.2 phone itself (our review unit is the 2GB/16GB model in colour black)
  • 3000mAh battery.
  • pamphlets, including Quick Start Guide.
  • 3.5mm audio headset.
  • USB cable.
  • 5V/1A wall charger.

Nokia 2.2 Review: Quick Pros And Cons

Before we dive into the review proper, starting with the major pros and cons of this device.

  • loudspeaker is quite loud and of good audio quality
  • pure Android 9 software
  • guaranteed software updates for 2 years and monthly security updates for 3 years
  • available internal storage is low

Nokia 2.2 Review: The Hardware And Design

Nokia 2.2 review
Nokia 2.2 review

Being a budget smartphone, the Nokia 2.2 has a plastic body and the back cover is removable. Both SIM card slots and the dedicated memory card slot are underneath the cover. A user replaceable battery is there as well. The volume and power buttons are on the right edge. There is a hardware Google Assistant button on the other side. Both the power and Google Assistant buttons are asymmetrical in position.

Unlike the Nokia 3.2, there is no LED light incorporated into the power button here. A 3.5mm audio jack slot is positioned at the top right edge. At the bottom edge of the phone area microphone hole and USB port. The loudspeaker grill is on the back cover.

Nokia 2.2 Review: The Software

The Nokia 2.2 runs pure Android OS – Android the way Google wants it. There is no custom user interface here. And it works as efficiently as it can.

Smartphone users who are used to all the bells and whistles of various custom UIs may not like the simplicity of stock Android, but then that is a personal thing. The bottomline is that it works efficiently.

The Nokia 2.2 has no bloatware. The only pre-installed apps are Google apps. As a matter of fact, using it is like using a Google Pixel. It also means that it will get 2 major Android updates. That means the Nokia 2.2 will get Android Q this year and Android R in 2020. In addition, it will get monthly security updates for 3 years, so your Nokia 2.2 will stay secure till 2022. Our review unit got the July 2019 security update while with us.

As part of Google’s Digital WellBeing suite, the Wind Down feature enables the user set a time when the phone automatically turns off notifications and changes the screen to grayscale for that period each day.

I also like how Android 9 is able to adapt to my notifications preferences. For example, if I constantly swipe away notifications from a certain app, the software will ask me if I want to stop seeing that particular notification, and take action depending on my response. The option to set time limits on individual apps is also available as part of Android 9’s Digital WellBeing suite.

Nokia 2.2 Review: Network And Telephony

Nokia 2.2 with waterdrop notch

This is a Dual SIM phone, with both SIMs supporting 4G networks. However, you can have 4G active on only one at a time. And, yes; it supports Glo’s LTE band 28(700), though the network is currently rolling out 4G on band 3(1800) also.

Call quality is good, and the phone holds on to network signals well, as far as I can see.

Nokia 2.2 Review: Playing Music and Video

The Nokia 2.2’s 5.71″ LCD display with a waterdrop notch isn’t groundbreaking in any way, but it is smooth and of good quality compared to most of the competition.

The loudspeaker is quite loud and of good quality for this class of device. There is no built-in music player, though you can play music through Files. Google’s default file manager. It offers you Play-Pause-Skip controls, but that is all. If you want more control over your music play, you can download and install a music player of your choice.

The same goes for video: there is no dedicated video player, but you can play them through Google Files. This gives you limited control too, so you will need to visit the Play Store for a video player of your choice should you want more features.

We are hazarding a guess that this lack of dedicated media players is to keep app storage space down and let users decide whether or not they really need dedicated players.

There is an FM Radio pre-installed, and it requires a 3.5mm cable plugged in.

Nokia 2.2 Review: Photography

Nokia 2.2 back

How do the cameras on the Nokia 2.2 perform? We have samples for you to examine and draw your own conclusions. Don’t forget to click on them for larger samples. First, here are samples from the 13 MP rear camera:

Lagos State accident and emergency centre - shot on Nokia 2.2
Lagos State accident and emergency centre – shot from a moving car.
Nokia 2.2 camera low light no flash
Nokia 2.2 rear camera sample photo – indoors, low light, no flash
Nokia 2.2 camera lowlight with flash
Nokia 2.2 camera sample: indoors, lowlight, with flash
Galaxy - shot on Nokia 2.2 daylight

And it is time to check out the 5 MP, fixed focus selfie cam:

Nokia 2.2 selfie camera sample in daylight

Nokia 2.2 Review: Multitasking And Performance

Nokia 2.2 volume and power buttons

In regular use, the Nokia 2.2 runs fairly smooth, partly thanks to the fact that it runs pure Android OS without any extra layer of a custom user interface to impact performance. Using and switching between apps is a generally smooth experience but if you are familiar with better performance, you will notice the mild sluggishness of the Helio A22 processor. You will notice it during heavier tasks, e.g. while using the camera.

Out of the box, the Nokia 2.2 2GB/16GB has about 6GB storage free. The operating system and pre-installed apps take up a whopping 10.45GB of the 16GB specified space. A good micro-SD card alleviates the pain, but we would be much happier if the user got at least 10GB out of the box. Thankfully, you can use cards of up to 400GB storage capacity.

The hardware Google Assistant button is present on the Nokia 2.2. You can use it to launch websites, take pictures, and more. Instead of saying, “Hey Google” to activate Assistant, just push the button to do that. Press and hold it to have Google listen to you talk. Yes; like push-to-talk.

For example, I hold the button and say, “Take a picture”. It launches the camera app, and activates a 3-2-1  countdown, after which it takes a picture all by itself. And it understands the difference between asking it to take a picture and asking it to take a selfie. When I push the button and say, “Take a selfie”, it launches the selfie camera, counts down and shoots. The Google Assistant button is a cool and nifty feature.

For security, there are face unlock, PIN, and password as options.

Nokia 2.2 Review: Battery Life

Nokia 2.2 with removable back cover and removable battery

The Nokia 2.2’s 3000mAh battery is good enough to keep the lights on for most of the day if you do not stay on your phone all the time. if you do, be prepared to plug it to a wall socket at some point in time to top it up. There is no fast charging in here, so you are stuck with good old snail charging. The built-in Adaptive Battery feature is really useful and helps to keep power drain to the barest minimum.

And since the battery is replaceable, if you use it long enough for it to begin to degrade, you can always buy a replacement battery and pop it in. Why change the whole phone because the battery is bad? This is one of the advantages of a user-replaceable battery in a phone.

Nokia 2.2 Review: Why should you buy it?

So, why should you buy the Nokia 2.2? Like Nokia Android phones, it offers simplicity inside and outside, a smooth user experience, thanks to pure Android OS, the guarantee of software updates and security patches that is hard to find from competing brands, solid battery life, good photography, and hardware durability.

At a price of ₦30,000 (or about $85 internationally), it is a little pricier than competing products, but again, it offers performance and value that you won’t get from most of them, so it is fair game.

Gionee M7 LITE is available for roughly the same price. For a little more, you can get the TECNO Spark 4, or Infinix HOT 8 Lite, all of which have similar specs but a bigger battery and bigger storage.

Other Nokia 2.2 Resources

That is it on our Nokia 2.2 review, but we have more in-depth reviews and articles on the way.

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By Mister Mobility

Tech blogging since 2003, I have owned and reviewed hundreds of smartphones running EPOC, Symbian, Palm, PocketPC, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.

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