Notebookcheck

Nokia 2.1 Smartphone Review

Mike Wobker (translated by Alex Alderson), 12/03/2018

Budget 2.1. The Nokia 2.1 succeeds the Nokia 2 and manages to be both cheaper and more powerful than its predecessor. The amount of RAM and flash storage are still meagre though, but the device runs Android One Oreo Edition, which should mean that it remains updated with the latest security patches. Find out in our review for whom the Nokia 2.1 is suited and what buyers can expect from the device.

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Nokia 2.1

HMD Global, the Finnish company that  revitalised the Nokia brand, has started bringing Android One to its mid-range and budget devices. The company started by shipping the Nokia 3.1 and Nokia 7.1 with Android One and has now consolidated its Android One offering with the Nokia 2.1. Android One promises to keep smartphones updated with the latest Android security patches, while also being free of any third-party apps among other features.

The Nokia 2.1 is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 SoC that integrates an Adreno 308 GPU, 1 GB and 8 GB of eMMC flash storage. The device does not have much space for user apps or data out of the box, but it does support up to 128 GB microSD cards for additional storage. Nonetheless, the Snapdragon 425 SoC is only powerful enough for basic tasks and will not provide the Nokia 2.1 with a noteworthy system performance.

We have chosen to compare the Nokia 2.1 against other budget smartphones that are similarly priced. We will compare our test device against the Gigaset GS100, the Honor 7A, Nokia 2 and the Wiko Jerry3.

Nokia 2.1 (2 Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
1024 MB 
, LPDDR3
Display
5.5 inch 16:9, 1280 x 720 pixel 267 PPI, Capacitive, IPS, Corning Gorilla Glass, glossy: yes
Storage
8 GB eMMC Flash, 8 GB 
, 6 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm jack, Card Reader: Up to 128 GB microSD cards, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, micro USB
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.2, GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz. 3G/HSPA: B1, B5, B8. LTE: B1, B3, B5, B7, B8, B20, B38, B40., Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 9.7 x 153.6 x 77.6 ( = 0.38 x 6.05 x 3.06 in)
Battery
4000 mAh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Android 8.1 Oreo
Camera
Primary Camera: 8 MPix
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: Stereo front-facing speakers, Keyboard: Virtual keyboard, Keyboard Light: yes, USB charger, USB Type-A to micro USB cable, headphones, Android One, 24 Months Warranty, SAR values: Head - 0.793 W/kg, Body - 1.427 W/kg, fanless
Weight
174 g ( = 6.14 oz / 0.38 pounds), Power Supply: 58 g ( = 2.05 oz / 0.13 pounds)
Price
100 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The Nokia 2.1 has a plastic case with a contrasting colour stripe that runs along the sides of the device. The same colour has also been used for the camera housing, the physical buttons and the Nokia branding on the back of the device. The company currently sells the Nokia 2.1 in blue with copper or silver accents and in grey with a silver accent.

Our test device is well-built with even and tight gaps between materials. The base case is also detachable, behind which sit the nano-SIM and microSD card slots. The battery is not swappable though.

The Nokia 2.1 is larger than all our comparison devices, primarily because of its 16:9 aspect ratio display and its rather large display bezels. Moreover, it is the joint heaviest alongside the Gigaset GS100 in our comparison table at 174 g (~6.1 oz). By contrast, the Nokia 2 is 13 g (0.46 oz) lighter, 0.4 mm (~0.016 in) thinner, 6.3 mm (~0.25 in) narrower and 10.1 mm (0.4 in) shorter than its successor.

Size Comparison

Connectivity

HMD has equipped the Nokia 2.1 with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 SoC that integrates an Adreno 308 GPU, 1 GB of RAM and 8GB of eMMC flash storage. In short, the device should be powerful enough for simple applications such as WhatsApp or undemanding games. In our experience, more computationally intensive applications will not run at all or are plagued by frequent stutters with long load times.

The Nokia 2.1 has a micro USB port that operates at the USB 2.0 standard for charging the device or for wired data transmission. There is also a headphone jack and Bluetooth 4.2 support.

Software

The Nokia 2.1 ships with Android One Oreo at the time of writing, while our test device arrived with Android security patches dating June 5, 2018. Google provides security and system updates directly, so we would have expected our test device to have a more recent security patch installed than one which is almost six months old. The Nokia 2.1 has no third-party apps pre-installed though, which is a bonus as there is no bloatware to slow down the system. Android One Oreo also supports multiple user accounts should more than one person need to use the device.

Default home screen
Default home screen
Quick Settings
Quick Settings
Quick Settings customisation options
Quick Settings customisation options
Storage information
Storage information
Device information
Device information

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Communication & GPS

The Nokia 2.1 supports GSM, 3G and LTE networks. The device uses LTE Cat.4 for up to 150 MBit/s download speeds and up to 50 MBit/s upload speeds.

The device also supports up to IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and can connect to 2.4 GHz networks. Our test device averaged around 50 MBit/s in both iperf3 Client Wi-Fi tests, which puts it behind the Gigaset GS100 and Nokia 2 in our comparison table. Moreover, all our comparison devices and the Nokia 2.1 scored well below average in both tests. Overall, the Nokia 2.1 has ok Wi-Fi performance for a smartphone around that costs around €100 (~$114).

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.9 - 939, n=306)
211 MBit/s ∼100% +333%
Gigaset GS100
PowerVR GE8100, MT6739, 8 GB eMMC Flash
97.9 MBit/s ∼46% +101%
Nokia 2
Adreno 304, 212 APQ8009, 8 GB eMMC Flash
55.4 MBit/s ∼26% +14%
Nokia 2.1
Adreno 308, 425, 8 GB eMMC Flash
48.7 (min: 29, max: 54) MBit/s ∼23%
Honor 7A
Adreno 505, 430, 16 GB eMMC Flash
45 MBit/s ∼21% -8%
Wiko Jerry 3
Mali-400 MP2, MT6580M, 16 GB eMMC Flash
12.5 MBit/s ∼6% -74%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.4 - 703, n=306)
206 MBit/s ∼100% +291%
Gigaset GS100
PowerVR GE8100, MT6739, 8 GB eMMC Flash
99.6 MBit/s ∼48% +89%
Nokia 2
Adreno 304, 212 APQ8009, 8 GB eMMC Flash
54.2 MBit/s ∼26% +3%
Nokia 2.1
Adreno 308, 425, 8 GB eMMC Flash
52.7 (min: 27, max: 58) MBit/s ∼26%
Honor 7A
Adreno 505, 430, 16 GB eMMC Flash
46.7 MBit/s ∼23% -11%
Wiko Jerry 3
Mali-400 MP2, MT6580M, 16 GB eMMC Flash
14.6 MBit/s ∼7% -72%
0102030405060Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø48.2 (29-54)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø51.7 (27-58)
GPS test: Outside
GPS test: Outside
GPS test: Inside
GPS test: Inside

The Nokia 2.1 uses BeiDou, GLONASS and GPS including AGPS for location services. Using the GPS Test app, our test device achieved a satellite fix with up to 3 metres (~10 ft) accuracy outside. However, it could not find a Satfix when we tested it indoors. 

We also took the Nokia 2.1 on a compulsory bike ride to assess its navigational accuracy against a professional navigation device, the Garmin Edge 520. Our test device plotted a 300 m (~984 ft) shorter route than the Garmin, the reasons for which are demonstrated in the pictures below. In short, the Nokia 2.1 regularly cuts corners to keep up with us as we cycled. The device is more accurate on straighter roads, which makes the Nokia 2.1 only suitable for simple navigation tasks.

GPS test: Nokia 2.1 - Overview
GPS test: Nokia 2.1 - Overview
GPS test: Nokia 2.1 - bridge
GPS test: Nokia 2.1 - bridge
GPS test: Nokia 2.1 – Cycling through a grove
GPS test: Nokia 2.1 – Cycling through a grove
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Overview
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Overview
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Bridge
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Bridge
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Cycling through a grove
GPS test: Garmin Edge 520 - Cycling through a grove

Telephone Features & Call Quality

Dialler
Dialler

The Nokia 2.1 uses the standard Google suite of telephony apps. The Google Contacts and Phone apps function just as well as they do on other devices.

Calls sounded clear on our test device, but the volume was too low for our liking. The maximum call volume is so low that we struggled to hear our call partner when making a call next to a busy road. The audio quality is rather unbalanced too, which often dulled our call partner’s voice.

Cameras

Photo taken with the front-facing camera
Photo taken with the front-facing camera

The Nokia 2.1 has simple 5 MP front-facing and 8 MP rear-facing cameras, the former of which takes surprisingly good selfies, although fine details lack focus. Transitions between colours and objects are well demarcated though. Expectedly, the camera struggles in poor light. The default camera app includes options to adjust the brightness, exposure, and white balance. There is also a timer function should you need it.

The main camera takes passable landscape photos. While the object in focus is recognisable, transitions between colours and objects have noticeable image noise. Moreover, fine details look blurry, but photos generally look ok when they are not looked at closely. Macro shots look better though, with there being visible separations between colours and objects. Fine details lack clarity again with objects outside the area of focus often looking blurry in the resulting photo.

The 8 MP rear-facing camera takes surprisingly good low-light photos though. Colours and objects in focus are recognisable, although the latter is noticeably blurry. The rear-facing camera has the same camera options as the front-facing sensor.

Videos look as good as photos, but the image stabiliser ensures that videos track smoothly even in low-light. The default camera also has time-lapse and slow-motion features, but there are no image customisation options.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images
ColorChecker Passport: The lower half of each area of colour displays the reference colour
ColorChecker Passport: The lower half of each area of colour displays the reference colour

We also subjected the Nokia 2.1 to further camera tests under controlled lighting conditions. Generally, our test device reproduces colours too darkly, as demonstrated by the ColorChecker Passport chart to the right. The 8 MP rear-facing camera captures our test chart well though. Details and fine structures are reproduced clearly at the centre of the photo, but the chart looks visibly blurrier at the edges of the photo. Colours are also rather dark, while the bottom corners look paler than the rest of the image too.

A photo of our test chart
A photo of our test chart
Our test chart in detail

Accessories & Warranty

The Nokia 2.1 comes with a USB charger, a matching USB Type-A to micro USB cable and a set of headphones. Nokia sells cases and general smartphone accessories on its website too. The device comes with 24 months manufacturer’s warranty.

Input Devices & Operation

The Nokia 2.1 uses the Google GBoard as its default keyboard. The app works just as well as it does on other devices. The touchscreen on our test device reacted quickly throughout testing and accurately reproduced our inputs on-screen. The display finish is too rough for our liking though and makes repeated multi-finger gestures a chore. By contrast, we had no such issues with the accelerometer, which reliably adjusted the orientation of the display during our tests.

Using the default keyboard in portrait mode
Using the default keyboard in portrait mode
Using the default keyboard in landscape mode
Using the default keyboard in landscape mode

Display

Sub-pixel array
Sub-pixel array

The Nokia 2.1 has a 5.5-inch IPS display with a 16:9 aspect ratio that runs at a native 1,280x720 resolution. Our test device achieves an average maximum brightness of 327 cd/m² according to X-Rite i1Pro 2, which is well below that of our comparison devices including its predecessor. Moreover, it also has an 82% evenly lit display, which is noticeably lower than our comparison devices too. We doubt whether most people would notice the difference in brightness uniformity between the Nokia 2.1 and its predecessor in daily use, but it is unimpressive nonetheless. The display also uses pulse-width modulation (PWM) to regulate brightness, which can cause some people to experience eye strain and headaches. We measure PWM at 2,273 Hz on our test device, which should be high enough not to trouble most people. Those who are PWM sensitive should bear this in mind though when deciding whether to buy the Nokia 2.1, as it could still cause some people issues.

341
cd/m²
316
cd/m²
288
cd/m²
348
cd/m²
338
cd/m²
312
cd/m²
341
cd/m²
350
cd/m²
305
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 350 cd/m² Average: 326.6 cd/m² Minimum: 13.3 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 82 %
Center on Battery: 338 cd/m²
Contrast: 1252:1 (Black: 0.27 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 5.36 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 6.2 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
94.3% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.345
Nokia 2.1
IPS, 1280x720, 5.5
Gigaset GS100
IPS, 1440x720, 5.5
Nokia 2
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Honor 7A
IPS, 1440x720, 5.7
Wiko Jerry 3
IPS, 960x480, 5.45
Screen
-17%
-7%
18%
-28%
Brightness middle
338
442
31%
527
56%
417
23%
370
9%
Brightness
327
446
36%
503
54%
395
21%
367
12%
Brightness Distribution
82
86
5%
91
11%
88
7%
90
10%
Black Level *
0.27
0.35
-30%
0.68
-152%
0.18
33%
0.4
-48%
Contrast
1252
1263
1%
775
-38%
2317
85%
925
-26%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
5.36
8.03
-50%
5.3
1%
6.46
-21%
8.58
-60%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
9.77
15.81
-62%
9.2
6%
10.72
-10%
16.5
-69%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
6.2
10.4
-68%
5.8
6%
5.8
6%
9.3
-50%
Gamma
2.345 94%
2.02 109%
2.12 104%
2.423 91%
2.083 106%
CCT
8460 77%
10070 65%
7894 82%
7839 83%
9315 70%

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 2273 Hz

The display backlight flickers at 2273 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) .

The frequency of 2273 Hz is quite high, so most users sensitive to PWM should not notice any flickering.

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8931 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

Our test device has a commendably low 0.27 cd/m² black value, which helps it achieve an impressive 1,252:1 contrast ratio. The Nokia 2.1 is only beaten by the Honor 7A in our comparison table and has a visibly more vibrant display than its predecessor, the Nokia 2. We also analysed our test device with CalMAN analysis software, which demonstrated that the display has a blue tint to it. Unfortunately, there are no display colour modes or an adjustable colour temperature to mitigate the blue tint.

CalMAN: Colour Space
CalMAN: Colour Space
CalMAN: Colour Accuracy
CalMAN: Colour Accuracy
CalMAN: Colour Saturation
CalMAN: Colour Saturation
CalMAN: Greyscale
CalMAN: Greyscale

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
30 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 17 ms rise
↘ 13 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 73 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
42 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 23 ms rise
↘ 19 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 53 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

The Nokia 2.1 is usable outdoors, with the display being bright enough for use outside on cloudy days. However, we struggled to read the display in bright sunlight as it simply does not get bright enough to overcome any reflections that the glossy display finish attracts.

Using the Nokia 2.1 outdoors
Using the Nokia 2.1 outdoors
Using the Nokia 2.1 outdoors
Using the Nokia 2.1 outdoors

Our test device has stable viewing angles, thanks to its IPS display. We noticed no colour or image distortions even at acute viewing angles. Reflections can obstruct what is being displayed onscreen, but the Nokia 2.1 is largely usable from any angle.

Viewing Angles
Viewing Angles
Viewing Angles
Viewing Angles

Performance

The Nokia 2.1 is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 SoC that integrates an Adreno 308 GPU, 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of eMMC flash storage. The hardware combination is basic and struggles with running numerous background apps or those which are computationally intensive. The Nokia 2.1 performed well overall during testing, but oddly the system performed noticeably slower after we rebooted it and the device would occasionally reboot if we pushed it too hard.

Moreover, some of the benchmarks that we usually subject our test devices to did not work on the Nokia 2.1. Our selection of comparison tables is therefore rather sparse. However, our test device frequently finished second to the Honor 7A in those that did work. The Nokia 2.1 resoundingly beat its predecessor too.

Geekbench 4.1/4.2
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
1405 Points ∼31%
Honor 7A
2127 Points ∼47% +51%
Wiko Jerry 3
875 Points ∼19% -38%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (1113 - 1460, n=9)
1337 Points ∼30% -5%
Average of class Smartphone (836 - 21070, n=197)
4524 Points ∼100% +222%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
1602 Points ∼37%
Gigaset GS100
1418 Points ∼33% -11%
Nokia 2
1118 Points ∼26% -30%
Honor 7A
2820 Points ∼65% +76%
Wiko Jerry 3
1136 Points ∼26% -29%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (883 - 1939, n=11)
1753 Points ∼41% +9%
Average of class Smartphone (883 - 11598, n=247)
4308 Points ∼100% +169%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
636 Points ∼50%
Gigaset GS100
579 Points ∼46% -9%
Nokia 2
423 Points ∼33% -33%
Honor 7A
675 Points ∼53% +6%
Wiko Jerry 3
431 Points ∼34% -32%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (541 - 692, n=11)
657 Points ∼52% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (394 - 4824, n=248)
1270 Points ∼100% +100%
PCMark for Android - Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
3146 Points ∼69%
Gigaset GS100
2630 Points ∼58% -16%
Nokia 2
2304 Points ∼51% -27%
Honor 7A
3892 Points ∼85% +24%
Wiko Jerry 3
0 Points ∼0% -100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (2829 - 3629, n=11)
3272 Points ∼72% +4%
Average of class Smartphone (3146 - 9868, n=255)
4555 Points ∼100% +45%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
885 Points ∼52%
Gigaset GS100
611 Points ∼36% -31%
Honor 7A
1285 Points ∼76% +45%
Wiko Jerry 3
Points ∼0% -100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (375 - 902, n=10)
814 Points ∼48% -8%
Average of class Smartphone (375 - 4493, n=292)
1689 Points ∼100% +91%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
250 Points ∼12%
Gigaset GS100
131 Points ∼6% -48%
Honor 7A
530 Points ∼26% +112%
Wiko Jerry 3
Points ∼0% -100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (118 - 250, n=10)
235 Points ∼11% -6%
Average of class Smartphone (131 - 14951, n=292)
2068 Points ∼100% +727%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
297 Points ∼17%
Gigaset GS100
159 Points ∼9% -46%
Honor 7A
610 Points ∼35% +105%
Wiko Jerry 3
Points ∼0% -100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (145 - 298, n=10)
278 Points ∼16% -6%
Average of class Smartphone (159 - 7856, n=293)
1734 Points ∼100% +484%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
892 Points ∼58%
Gigaset GS100
532 Points ∼35% -40%
Nokia 2
539 Points ∼35% -40%
Honor 7A
1259 Points ∼82% +41%
Wiko Jerry 3
Points ∼0% -100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (622 - 907, n=11)
862 Points ∼56% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (532 - 4215, n=384)
1540 Points ∼100% +73%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
46 Points ∼3%
Gigaset GS100
104 Points ∼6% +126%
Nokia 2
120 Points ∼7% +161%
Honor 7A
535 Points ∼33% +1063%
Wiko Jerry 3
Points ∼0% -100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (31 - 55, n=11)
45.2 Points ∼3% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (46 - 8312, n=384)
1632 Points ∼100% +3448%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
58 Points ∼4%
Gigaset GS100
127 Points ∼9% +119%
Nokia 2
120 Points ∼9% +107%
Honor 7A
613 Points ∼44% +957%
Wiko Jerry 3
Points ∼0% -100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (39 - 70, n=11)
57.3 Points ∼4% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (58 - 6454, n=392)
1387 Points ∼100% +2291%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
10427 Points ∼81%
Gigaset GS100
9159 Points ∼71% -12%
Nokia 2
7150 Points ∼56% -31%
Honor 7A
9249 Points ∼72% -11%
Wiko Jerry 3
8065 Points ∼63% -23%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (3958 - 10556, n=11)
9501 Points ∼74% -9%
Average of class Smartphone (3958 - 37475, n=539)
12880 Points ∼100% +24%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
5487 Points ∼30%
Gigaset GS100
2878 Points ∼16% -48%
Nokia 2
4150 Points ∼23% -24%
Honor 7A
9684 Points ∼54% +76%
Wiko Jerry 3
2465 Points ∼14% -55%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (2546 - 5547, n=11)
5222 Points ∼29% -5%
Average of class Smartphone (2465 - 162695, n=539)
17994 Points ∼100% +228%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
6133 Points ∼41%
Gigaset GS100
3395 Points ∼22% -45%
Nokia 2
4577 Points ∼30% -25%
Honor 7A
9584 Points ∼63% +56%
Wiko Jerry 3
2915 Points ∼19% -52%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (2951 - 6186, n=11)
5748 Points ∼38% -6%
Average of class Smartphone (2915 - 77599, n=540)
15114 Points ∼100% +146%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
7.6 fps ∼24%
Gigaset GS100
5 fps ∼16% -34%
Nokia 2
5.4 fps ∼17% -29%
Honor 7A
16 fps ∼51% +111%
Wiko Jerry 3
4.4 fps ∼14% -42%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (3.4 - 7.8, n=11)
7.29 fps ∼23% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 251, n=564)
31.4 fps ∼100% +313%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
14 fps ∼52%
Gigaset GS100
8.2 fps ∼30% -41%
Nokia 2
9.6 fps ∼36% -31%
Honor 7A
27 fps ∼100% +93%
Wiko Jerry 3
12 fps ∼44% -14%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (6.4 - 14, n=11)
12.9 fps ∼48% -8%
Average of class Smartphone (6.9 - 120, n=567)
25 fps ∼93% +79%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
2.7 fps ∼16%
Nokia 2
1.6 fps ∼10% -41%
Honor 7A
7.1 fps ∼42% +163%
Wiko Jerry 3
fps ∼0% -100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (1.3 - 2.8, n=11)
2.65 fps ∼16% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (2.2 - 132, n=486)
16.8 fps ∼100% +522%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
6.1 fps ∼38%
Gigaset GS100
4.4 fps ∼28% -28%
Nokia 2
4.4 fps ∼28% -28%
Honor 7A
14 fps ∼88% +130%
Wiko Jerry 3
fps ∼0% -100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (3.7 - 6.4, n=11)
5.65 fps ∼35% -7%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 115, n=489)
16 fps ∼100% +162%
AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
37484 Points ∼49%
Gigaset GS100
30702 Points ∼40% -18%
Nokia 2
24924 Points ∼33% -34%
Honor 7A
46126 Points ∼60% +23%
Wiko Jerry 3
23916 Points ∼31% -36%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (30924 - 39106, n=12)
36655 Points ∼48% -2%
Average of class Smartphone (23275 - 254229, n=389)
76442 Points ∼100% +104%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
649 Points ∼92%
Gigaset GS100
10 Points ∼1% -98%
Nokia 2
9 Points ∼1% -99%
Honor 7A
705 Points ∼100% +9%
Wiko Jerry 3
10 Points ∼1% -98%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (616 - 802, n=11)
694 Points ∼98% +7%
Average of class Smartphone (7 - 1731, n=499)
698 Points ∼99% +8%
Graphics (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
428 Points ∼25%
Gigaset GS100
149 Points ∼9% -65%
Nokia 2
251 Points ∼14% -41%
Honor 7A
739 Points ∼43% +73%
Wiko Jerry 3
145 Points ∼8% -66%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (428 - 447, n=11)
439 Points ∼25% +3%
Average of class Smartphone (18 - 15969, n=499)
1737 Points ∼100% +306%
Memory (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
502 Points ∼40%
Gigaset GS100
431 Points ∼35% -14%
Nokia 2
233 Points ∼19% -54%
Honor 7A
1209 Points ∼97% +141%
Wiko Jerry 3
373 Points ∼30% -26%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (502 - 1372, n=11)
778 Points ∼63% +55%
Average of class Smartphone (21 - 6283, n=499)
1244 Points ∼100% +148%
System (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
1228 Points ∼49%
Gigaset GS100
1115 Points ∼44% -9%
Nokia 2
901 Points ∼36% -27%
Honor 7A
1962 Points ∼78% +60%
Wiko Jerry 3
963 Points ∼38% -22%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (1043 - 1477, n=11)
1297 Points ∼52% +6%
Average of class Smartphone (369 - 12202, n=499)
2512 Points ∼100% +105%
Overall (sort by value)
Nokia 2.1
643 Points ∼51%
Gigaset GS100
162 Points ∼13% -75%
Nokia 2
149 Points ∼12% -77%
Honor 7A
1055 Points ∼84% +64%
Wiko Jerry 3
150 Points ∼12% -77%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (371 - 891, n=11)
712 Points ∼57% +11%
Average of class Smartphone (150 - 6097, n=503)
1255 Points ∼100% +95%

Legend

 
Nokia 2.1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917), Qualcomm Adreno 308, 8 GB eMMC Flash
 
Gigaset GS100 Mediatek MT6739, PowerVR GE8100, 8 GB eMMC Flash
 
Nokia 2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 APQ8009, Qualcomm Adreno 304, 8 GB eMMC Flash
 
Honor 7A Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 (MSM8937), Qualcomm Adreno 505, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Wiko Jerry 3 Mediatek MT6580M, ARM Mali-400 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash

The Nokia 2.1 also finished on par with our comparison devices in the browser benchmarks. Our test device even finished top of our Mozilla Kraken 1.1 benchmark, although it is still below average and the average of Snapdragon 425 powered devices that we have already tested.

Our test device loads websites quickly in daily use and scrolling felt smooth throughout testing. Media content sometimes needs a few moments more to load though.

JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Average of class Smartphone (10.8 - 273, n=422)
36.7 Points ∼100% +132%
Honor 7A (Chrome 67)
18.394 Points ∼50% +16%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (15.9 - 18.7, n=10)
17.6 Points ∼48% +11%
Nokia 2.1 (Chrome 70)
15.853 Points ∼43%
Gigaset GS100 (Chrome 68)
13.378 Points ∼36% -16%
Nokia 2 (Chrome 65)
11.607 Points ∼32% -27%
Wiko Jerry 3 (Chrome 67)
10.829 Points ∼30% -32%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Average of class Smartphone (1506 - 43280, n=558)
5562 Points ∼100% +122%
Honor 7A (Chrome 67)
3389 Points ∼61% +35%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (2503 - 3289, n=11)
2953 Points ∼53% +18%
Nokia 2.1 (Chrome 70)
2503 Points ∼45%
Gigaset GS100 (Chrome 68)
2093 Points ∼38% -16%
Nokia 2 (Chrome 65)
1948 Points ∼35% -22%
Wiko Jerry 3 (Chrome 67)
1645 Points ∼30% -34%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Wiko Jerry 3 (Chrome 67)
19458 ms * ∼100% -41%
Nokia 2 (Chrome 65)
19274.5 ms * ∼99% -39%
Gigaset GS100 (Chrome 68)
15962 ms * ∼82% -15%
Honor 7A (Chrome 67)
14709 ms * ∼76% -6%
Nokia 2.1 (Chrome 70)
13821 ms * ∼71%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917) (10742 - 16192, n=11)
12977 ms * ∼67% +6%
Average of class Smartphone (603 - 59466, n=578)
11474 ms * ∼59% +17%

* ... smaller is better

The Nokia 2.1 came out on top of our comparison devices in our memory performance tests. However, the 8 GB of eMMC flash storage does not offer much space for user apps or data, so we would recommend using a microSD card where possible.

HMD Global states that the Nokia 2.1 supports up to 128 GB microSD cards. Unfortunately, we could not format our Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 reference card as internal storage, which meant that we could only save apps to the paltry 8 GB of internal storage. The microSD card reader is on par with our comparison devices though, and is well above average. 

Nokia 2.1Gigaset GS100Nokia 2Honor 7A Wiko Jerry 3Average 8 GB eMMC FlashAverage of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
-40%
-27%
-2%
-50%
-57%
-2%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
61.9 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
61 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-1%
61.18 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
-1%
65.4 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
6%
7.4 (Kingston 32GB)
-88%
27.4 (11.2 - 61.9, n=20)
-56%
45.5 (3.4 - 87.1, n=318)
-26%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
79.4 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
79.5 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
0%
81.93 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
3%
84.9 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
7%
16 (Kingston 32GB)
-80%
41.1 (16.3 - 81.9, n=20)
-48%
63.8 (8.2 - 96.5, n=318)
-20%
Random Write 4KB
13.45
6.2
-54%
8.1
-40%
9.4
-30%
11.23
-17%
5.22 (1.08 - 14, n=50)
-61%
16.1 (0.14 - 164, n=607)
20%
Random Read 4KB
50.46
17.6
-65%
17.44
-65%
39.2
-22%
24.18
-52%
17.5 (8 - 50.5, n=50)
-65%
38.3 (1.59 - 173, n=607)
-24%
Sequential Write 256KB
51.18
24
-53%
50.77
-1%
72.5
42%
50.81
-1%
21.4 (6.22 - 51.8, n=50)
-58%
79.9 (2.99 - 246, n=607)
56%
Sequential Read 256KB
288.26
97.2
-66%
131.15
-55%
254.8
-12%
117.14
-59%
126 (38.1 - 288, n=50)
-56%
230 (12.1 - 895, n=607)
-20%

Games

The Adreno 308 GPU is powerful enough for some games, but only older titles or those with low graphics requirement. Complex games such as "Asphalt 9: Legends" are out of the question, with graphics errors occurring at the start of the game. The game subsequently crashed too. "Arena of Valor" worked well though with relatively short load times and a smooth gaming experience at low graphics.

Asphalt 9: Legends
Asphalt 9: Legends
Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor

Emissions

Temperature

The Nokia 2.1 is a comparatively cool device, with surface temperatures reaching only a maximum of 30 °C (~86 °F) at idle and 33 °C (~91 °F) under load. Our test device never felt overly warm during testing regardless of how hard we pushed it. In short, the Nokia 2.1 should not thermal throttle in daily use.

Max. Load
 31.5 °C
89 F
29.4 °C
85 F
30.4 °C
87 F
 
 32.3 °C
90 F
29.8 °C
86 F
30.8 °C
87 F
 
 33.5 °C
92 F
29.8 °C
86 F
29.8 °C
86 F
 
Maximum: 33.5 °C = 92 F
Average: 30.8 °C = 87 F
28.2 °C
83 F
28.3 °C
83 F
29.4 °C
85 F
27.8 °C
82 F
28 °C
82 F
31.2 °C
88 F
28.8 °C
84 F
28.7 °C
84 F
31.5 °C
89 F
Maximum: 31.5 °C = 89 F
Average: 29.1 °C = 84 F
Power Supply (max.)  39.9 °C = 104 F | Room Temperature 21.5 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(+) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 30.8 °C / 87 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 33.5 °C / 92 F, compared to the average of 35.7 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 31.5 °C / 89 F, compared to the average of 34.2 °C / 94 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27.7 °C / 82 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
Heatmap of the front of the device under load
Heatmap of the front of the device under load
Heatmap of the back of the device under load
Heatmap of the back of the device under load

Speakers

Speaker characteristics
Speaker characteristics

The Nokia 2.1 stereo front-firing speakers get relatively loud, but provide an unbalanced sound. The speakers under-represent mid-high tones as demonstrated by our speaker graphs, while mid and ultra-high tones dominate audio playback. Overall, we would recommend using the speakers only for occasional audio playback and would suggest using external speakers or headphones for prolonged listening sessions. The integrated 3.5 mm jack delivers clean audio and grips inputs tightly.

The included headphones sound rather bass-heavy for our liking, but they are good enough for listening to music. The over-representation of bass tones makes voices sound noticeably dampened though.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2036.9392536.539.63137.235.24037.640.45031.737.16323.830.38024.43110023.626.912519.922.616023.325.520018.43225018.238.831515.843.440014.651.450015.556.16301360.480012.364.1100012.166.3125011.964.8160010.765.5200010.762.7250010.557315010.353.5400010.758.8500010.560.9630010.563.4800010.665.81000010.663.61250010.564.21600010.657SPL52.561.424.174.7N8.214.50.633.2median 11.9median 58.8Delta3.410.642.646.338.438.734.231.337.326.53031.826.62823.222.421.221.12121.616.326.416.636.715.841.213.546.312.251.61252.611.75510.558.79.661.69.563.6965.38.567.48.569.28.371.38.269.38.167.68.165.18.162.38.264.48.353.38.235.265.451.721.959.978.619.17.10.31239median 9.5median 58.72.812.1hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseNokia 2.1Honor 7A
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Nokia 2.1 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (74.7 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 27.2% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.1% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.7% away from median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (22% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 25% of all tested devices in this class were better, 11% similar, 65% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 55% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 38% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Honor 7A audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (78.6 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 26.5% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (5.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 8.4% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (4.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (25.3% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 53% of all tested devices in this class were better, 12% similar, 36% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 73% of all tested devices were better, 6% similar, 21% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Battery Life

Power Consumption

The Nokia 2.1 is a comparatively frugal device like its predecessor. Our test device consumes a minimum of 0.7 W at idle and a maximum of 4.8 W under load, which makes the Nokia 2.1 the most energy efficient device in our comparison table. The Nokia 2 consumes a minimum of 22% less at idle, but it consumes a maximum of 5.32 W under load and averages 1.28 W more under load too. Moreover, our test device achieved 57% lower power consumption across all our tests than the average of Snapdragon 425 powered devices that we have currently tested.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0 / 0.2 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.7 / 1.2 / 1.9 Watt
Load midlight 3.2 / 4.8 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Nokia 2.1
4000 mAh
Gigaset GS100
3000 mAh
Nokia 2
4100 mAh
Honor 7A
3000 mAh
Wiko Jerry 3
2500 mAh
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 (MSM8917)
 
Average of class Smartphone
 
Power Consumption
-52%
6%
-44%
-35%
-57%
-24%
Idle Minimum *
0.7
1.3
-86%
0.55
21%
1.3
-86%
1
-43%
1.245 (0.54 - 4.02, n=11)
-78%
0.88 (0.2 - 3.4, n=636)
-26%
Idle Average *
1.2
2.1
-75%
1.02
15%
1.6
-33%
1.5
-25%
2.43 (1.2 - 6, n=11)
-103%
1.719 (0.6 - 6.2, n=635)
-43%
Idle Maximum *
1.9
2.9
-53%
1.09
43%
2.9
-53%
2.3
-21%
2.79 (1.62 - 6.64, n=11)
-47%
1.998 (0.74 - 6.6, n=636)
-5%
Load Average *
3.2
4.4
-38%
4.48
-40%
3.7
-16%
5
-56%
4.44 (2.9 - 9.6, n=11)
-39%
4.04 (0.8 - 10.8, n=630)
-26%
Load Maximum *
4.8
5.3
-10%
5.32
-11%
6.4
-33%
6.3
-31%
5.58 (4.3 - 7.34, n=11)
-16%
5.75 (1.2 - 14.2, n=630)
-20%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The Nokia 2.1 has a 4,000-mAh battery that lasted an impressively long 13:29 hours in our Wi-Fi battery life test. Our test device finished well ahead of the Honor 7A, Gigaset GS100 and Wiko Jerry3, but it fell just short of the Nokia 2, which lasted for an extra 21 minutes with its 100 mAh larger battery. Overall, the Nokia 2.1 should easily last a full working day’s use.

The included 10-W charger takes around four hours to fully recharge our test device. The charger is also powerful enough to keep charging the device even when we subjected it to a stress test.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
13h 29min
Nokia 2.1
4000 mAh
Gigaset GS100
3000 mAh
Nokia 2
4100 mAh
Honor 7A
3000 mAh
Wiko Jerry 3
2500 mAh
Battery Runtime
WiFi v1.3
809
532
-34%
840
4%
657
-19%
394
-51%

Pros

+ simultaneous dual-SIM and microSD functionality
+ well-built
+ long battery life

Cons

- low RAM and flash storage
- the system is jerky after a reboot

Verdict

The Nokia 2.1 smartphone review. Test device courtesy of:
The Nokia 2.1 smartphone review. Test device courtesy of:
notebooksbilliger.de

The Nokia 2.1 is a budget smartphone with a great battery life and a lean operating system. The device is powerful enough for most everyday applications such as WhatsApp and even some light gaming. However, buyers should be aware that there is only 8 GB of internal storage and apps cannot be stored on a microSD card. This means that people will only be able to install a few apps before the Nokia 2.1 runs out of space.

The Nokia 2.1 is good value for money and is a strong performer for the money. In short, it is an ideal entry-level smartphone. 

The device has dual SIM functionality and has a dedicated microSD card slot and has surprisingly good cameras. However, the display is rather disappointing. Overall, the dual SIM functionality opens up the possibility of adding in the SIM from your main device for situations when you would prefer to use a cheaper secondary smartphone.

Nokia 2.1 - 11/29/2018 v6
Mike Wobker

Chassis
72%
Keyboard
62 / 75 → 82%
Pointing Device
78%
Connectivity
35 / 60 → 59%
Weight
90%
Battery
96%
Display
82%
Games Performance
6 / 63 → 10%
Application Performance
23 / 70 → 33%
Temperature
94%
Noise
100%
Audio
59 / 91 → 65%
Camera
44%
Average
65%
75%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Nokia 2.1 Smartphone Review
Mike Wobker, 2018-12- 3 (Update: 2018-12- 4)