Nokia 2.3 – it just keeps getting better (as it should)
4.2Overall Score
Name: Nokia 2.3
Price (RRP): $199
Manufacturer: Nokia

The Nokia 2.3 marks the beginning of the Nokia ‘.3-series’, in fact, the fourth generation under the brands’ new owner’s HMD global.

The Nokia 2.3 follows the 2, 2.1, 2.2 and sits one step above its 1-series and well below its top-end 9-series.

At $199 the Nokia 2.3 occupies an increasingly competitive space with the likes of Nokia 1 Plus ($169), Nokia 2.2 ($149 on run-out), Mintt Coolmintt Duo3 ($179), Mintt Coolmint A3 ($199), realme C2 ($199), Aspera Gem ($149), LG K8 ($139), LG K9 ($179), Alcatel 1S ($199), Motorola e6 ($197) – not to mention pre-paid ‘burners’ from about $90.

The hard thing in reviewing all these cheap phones is to declare a ‘winner’ because all have specs to match the price and all make a range of compromises to do so. And what is interesting is how fast technology changes. What was a 5/5 a few months ago is hopelessly outclassed by a new comer – rinse and repeat!

These compromises include lower-powered MediaTek Helio processors, less/slower ram/storage, 720p screens, Wi-Fi single band, lower-res cameras, plastic chassis….

Yet none of the competitors admits this, all promising fabulous AI photos, significant battery life, pro cameras… Yes, I believe in Santa too but for $199 all you can expect is a basic phone with a social media camera.

For once – it would be nice if phones under $199 (well under $399) stopped all the marketing BS and told it like it is. Nokia is not too bad here, but we strip away the fancy faux metallised plastic paint job and get to the heart of the matter.

Nokia 2.3 TA-1211 SS 2/32

  • Australian website here
  • Price: $199
  • From JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Big W, The Good Guys and Officeworks and soon to Telstra

First look is ‘nice.’

A faux metal ‘sand’ textured/coloured plastic back, teardrop screen with broad chin and bezels (lowish 80.7% STBR), Android One 9, micro-USB port (so yesterday!), and a dual-camera on the back. If anything, it has slightly more squarish and conservative looks than the competitors with their outlandish vacuum electrostatically deposited ‘deep purples’ etc!

Note: Do not buy models TA-1194, TA-1206, TA-1209, TA-1214, TA-1216 as they are not AU certified.

Nokia 2.3 – base specs

  • MediaTek MT6761, Helio A22 four-core A53 2.0Ghz + PowerVR GE8300 (same as the 2.2 it replaces)
  • 2GB LPDDR3-933 single-channel RAM, 32GB eMMC, microSD to 512GB
  • 6.2-inch, teardrop, 1520 x 720, 19:9, 271ppi, 80.7% STBR, IPS
  • Single Sim, Cat 4 150/50Mbps LTE 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40, 41, VoLTE
  • Wi-Fi N, BT 5.0, AGPS. FM radio (no NFC), 3.5mm audio, earpiece speaker/mic/bottom speaker (mono)
  • 13MP, f/2.2, 1.12µm, 69.7°, PDAF + 2MP, 1.75µm, depth sensor, [email protected]
  • 5 MP, f/2.4, 64.9° selfie
  • 4000mAh battery and 5V/1A (5W) micro-USB charger
  • Ambient light sensor, Proximity sensor, Accelerometer (G-sensor)
  • 2D Face unlock (no fingerprint sensor) or use PIN
  • Android One, Android 10 ready. Dedicated Google Assistant button
  • Cyan Green, Sand, Charcoal 157.69 x 75.41 x 8.68mm x 183g
  • Missing: Any IP rating, e-compass, expandable storage is for data only, notification LED
Nokia 2.3

Screen – PASS

The 6.2” screen is 720p, so pixelation is slightly noticeable on text. Auto-brightness can reach 500 nits, but it is closer to 400 (auto-off). There is some unevenness as well – bright in the centre and nearly 10% less at the edges. Black levels are weak (.35) and contrast is about 1200:1. There are no gamma adjustments.

It is not overly bright, contrasty or colour accurate (it is cool). There is no screen protection, and it will scratch.

Nokia 2.3

Some reviews mention ‘Always on Display’ – it does not have that or a notification LED.

Processor – PASS

It is an entry-level (lower-mainstream) Helio ‘A’ processor whereas many in the <$199 bracket use the faster ‘P’ series. Paired with the 2GB (790MB free) single-channel LPDDR3-933 ram it is slow, choking at any attempt to multi-task. There is 16GB free of the 32GB storage. MicroSD storage to 512GB is only for data – not apps.

CPU Throttle – PASSable

Our 15-minute test reveals it is capable of over 44,000GIPS, but every two minutes, it needs to take a big breath and drops back considerably until it cools again and back to top speed. It is not really an issue as this is no use case for this phone to be 100% stressed.

GPU – PASS

The GPU encodes H.264 and will decode H.264/HVEC/VP8/9 content. It is not a gaming device.