Something to look forward to: In the age of $1,000 flagships, it's always refreshing to see budget phones catering to the demands of what most people actually need from a smartphone. Nokia's budget 2.2 model announced in June for international markets is now finally available to buy for consumers in the US. It ships with Android One (based on 9.0 Pie) out of the box that ensures the latest OS updates for two years and security patches for three years.
HMD continues to churn out Nokia phones targeted at the lower- and mid-tier market. There is also the Nokia 9 PureView with its five rear cameras, but coming in at under $700 means it's still a budget alternative to most modern flagships. While making standout features in expensive phones gets harder with each generation keeping in mind even loftier consumer expectations, budget phones usually delight when they punch above their weight with neat little touches, like the Nokia 2.2 does with its removable 3,000mAh battery.
Available at Amazon and Best Buy, the super cheap 4G LTE smartphone isn't going big in the processing department, but that's expected. It's powered by the MediaTek Helio A22 SoC, featuring 4 Cortex A53 cores running at 2Ghz, as opposed to the 1.4Ghz cores that come with the mid-tier Snapdragon 425. While the latter is made on a 28nm lithography process, the MediaTek chip is built on a more efficient 12nm process. There's also 3GB of RAM with 32GB of on-board storage and a microSD card slot for expansion.
The front rocks a 5.71-inch, 1570 x 720 IPS LCD display above which sits the 5MP front camera for your "selfie esteem" and a notch with rounded corners topping off the design. A 13MP camera on the rear uses advanced low-light imaging technology for better night-time photos.
There's no fingerprint scanner to be found on the phone, but the aforementioned selfie cam uses 2D face-unlock with machine learning for secure biometric logins. Instead of a USB-C, the phone has a microUSB 2.0 for interfacing and also features a 3.5mm headphone jack. It supports NFC for mobile payments and file sharing and there's also a dedicated physical key to activate Google Assistant.
The Nokia 2.2 running Android One is promising the upcoming Q update, with Best Buy to soon start physically selling the phone in its select "Big box" stores from August 4.