One of the key focus areas of Nokia Mobile is providing great value for money in the budget device segment. Probably the most important differentiating factor of Nokia devices in the budget segment is the promise of 2 Android upgrades, 3 years of security updates and solid design.
The Nokia 2.4 we got on review is the fourth device in the Nokia 2 series of phones started in 2017 and is the only series of Nokia phones that didn’t skip any decimal value, meaning we first had the Nokia 2, then the Nokia 2.1, Nokia 2.2, Nokia 2.3 and now we have the Nokia 2.4.
Nokia 2.4 comes in a nicely designed unibody, just like its predecessor 2.3, but brings some hardware upgrades and a slight evolution in the design. The device still comes with budget chipset and low-resolution screen, but it retains the affordable 119 euro price tag and brings 3 years of software support.
I used it as my primary phone for the last 10 days and you can read down below my experience from spending time with it and discover if the Nokia 2.4 is the right fit for you or someone you know as the next device.
Extras: FM Radio, 5W charger, Face Unlock, nano SIM, MicroUSB port
Color: Charcoal, Fjord, Dusk
Price: approx. €119
design and build quality
great battery life
good night mode camera
Timely updates and support to Android 12
no USB Type C
screen not bright enough for easy outdoor use
Just like with the rest of Nokia phones announced this year, Nokia 2.4 comes with the new box design that loses the iconic handshake recreation. The handshake on the front of the retail box was inspired by the iconic handshake animation from boot-up of old Nokia device. With this generation of smartphones, Nokia Mobile decided to put the device first, giving more visibility to the phone’s design. In offline market that makes sense if we assume that customers see the retail box and care enough to be swinged by the box, but a lot of vendors just put the smartphone name on the box and the devices sell.
Why I am spending so many words on the box design, you may ask? Well, I like clues and easter eggs, subtle triggers that remind me of some other things, maybe past events and the handshake on the box was that. My opinion is the looks of the sales package isn’t that relevant in customer purchase decision (it’s more about the content inside the box), but sometimes it is good to be reminded of the past and tradition. In other situation maybe it’s better to move forward and leave the past behind. In any case, I didn’t review a Nokia phone for a long time and this is my first encounter with the new box, so I had to give my 2 cents.
Inside the box, we find the device, legacy microUSB to USB type A cable, wall adapter, SIM trey ejection pin, paperwork like guides and warranty, and on some markets headphones. Our review unit, for example, didn’t have headphones, so it’s best to check the regional Nokia sites for that info. The retail package also has the Android One logo on the back, confirming that the 2.4 is part of Google’s Android One program.
The design and build quality
Nokia 2.4 really stands out with its design and material decisions. Nokia Mobile decided for a texture plastic back on the Nokia 2.4 (just like the predecessor) and also used a plastic frame around the device instead of opting for a housing that contains both the side frame and backside together, like it was with some previous Nokia 2 family members. This unibody approach looks better, but we lose the replaceable back cover option. The dimensions of the device are 165.85 x 76.30 x 8.69 mm with a weight of 195g.
On the front of the device we find the 6.5-inch display with a teardrop notch where the 5MP selfie camera is placed. The speaker grill is on the top and interestingly to note it is seems to be a metal/plastic grill, while previously we had seen some textile up there that could potentially be damaged. Below the screen there is a bit of chin where the Nokia logo is placed. I don’t mind a bit of chin on low end phones and understand that the Finnish brand is an important factor.
The left side of the phone contains the slot for two nano SIM cards and a microSD card. There is also the Google Assistant button below that you can turn off by going to Settings->System->Gestures->Google Assistant Button. While there, you can also switch from the gesture navigation to the 3-button navigation. On the right side we have the volume up and down buttons. Actually, it’s technically a single button that registers the clicks on each side and bellow it is the power button. The buttons are clicky enough and easy to reach and recognize.
Something I noticed with the SIM tray, all Nokia devices (including the 5.3) have the hole from the pin outside of the actual tray plastic, while the 2.4 has the hole in the tray. I find that a great change because with the hole on the tray, you know right away on which side the tray goes back in.
On the top of the phone we find the noise cancelling microphone and the 3.5mm headphone jack. One the bottom we have the loudspeaker, second microphone and the microUSB port for charging the device and data transfer.
The Nokia 2.4 is coming in 3 attractive colors – Charcoal, Dusk and Fjord. That’s basically grey, purple and cyan, but based on how the light hits the backside, we can see different color range. The charcoal goes from light grey on the top to blackish on bottom and looks really good. The nanotexture makes the phone less slippery and feels nice in the hand. On the back we can also find the dual-camera with LED flash, a fingerprint sensor (first for the 2 series), Nokia logo and some legal info printed at the bottom, that is mostly gone now. I hope the Nokia logo will survive longer.
The fingerprint sensor lays very shallow on the surface and it’s hard to recognize if you are pressing the sensor or the backside. I needed a day or two to get used to it and be confident in my fingerwork, but some ring around the sensor or a rougher transition between the backside and the sensor would make it easier to find the sensor.
Overall, it’s a really well-made device with a design and build quality that stands out in the budget segment. The matt color finish, back texture, tightly coupled frame and solid weight make the 2.4 a comfortable device to hold and use for an extended period of time.
For the price category, Nokia 2.4 comes with an ok 6.5-inch LCD panel. The resolution is HD+ (720 x 1600 pixels), but more important than the resolution is that the colors feel a bit dull, white is bleeding out and the contrast isn’t that great. It’s hard to expect better for this budget and I still didn’t have trouble doing the usual stuff on the phone, watching video, etc., but I wouldn’t really use it for movies or longer content. In the context of its price, it’s a passable panel. For example, the Nokia 5.3 has a similarly sized display with same resolution, but the color reproduction is much better. In terms of sunlight visibility, the screen doesn’t get as bright as I would like it to. It’s usable outdoors, but I struggled at direct sunlight.
Looking at the Display settings on the phone, we can find options to adjust brightness, turn on the night light, dark theme, changing background, adjusting white balance, screen timeout, screen rotation, font and display size and lockscreen option. The 2.4 doesn’t have a Glance display, but there is an option to wake up the screen when notifications arrive and gesture option for waking the screen when lifting the device, which is neat as well.
The hardware and connectivity
As a budget device, it’s hard to expect some amazing performance from the Nokia 2.4. In fact, my expectation on the performance side were a bit lower than usual because of that fact that the 2.4 runs “normal” Android 10 and not the GO version optimized for budget phone. The reason for that is that the 2.4 does come with extra RAM (2GB or 3GB), that should be enough to power the full Android One experience.
The SoC of choice for the Nokia 2.4 is MediaTek’s Helio P22 built in TSMC’s 12nm FinFET production process. The SoC has a CPU with 8 Cortex A-53 cores clocked at a maximum of 2.0GHz and the PowerVR GE8320 GPU. The device is available in different memory variants with 2GB or 3GB of RAM, and 32GB or 64GB of local storage. Our review unit is the base model with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of local storage. The system on Nokia 2.4 takes 13GB, which leaves 19GB or 51GB of internal storage left for the customer, depending of the memory configuration.
Regarding performance, the Nokia 2.4 isn’t the ideal media consumption devices, so high-resolution video playback and great performance in games isn’t something you’ll get with the 2.4. The device can handle performance-intensive apps and games, but you can notice a slowdown and occasional lag. This isn’t really surprising for the hardware, but during the 10-days of using the 2.4 as my primary device, I only noticed a few app crashes (all times the Nokia mobile’s camera app), while other apps performed quite consistent – slower, but stable. Also, switching between apps in multitasking view is slowish, but overall acceptable for the price. In terms of gaming, I was surprised how good COD Mobile runs (low graphics, medium framerate), but I guess that’s more because of the well done job by COD devs.
My daily usage involves having a few mailboxes synced, email, lot of chat, some social media and web browsing. That’s a relatively demanding usage considering a lot of business and productivity mobile apps are quite heavy and I did use a flagship before the Nokia 2.4, so my perception of performance surely won’t be the same as someone’s that purchased the device knowing they will have a lighter usage.
Hardware and connectivity part where the Nokia 2.4 excels, is definitely network and calls. I didn’t experience any signal drops on WiFi or LTE, with a great signal reception for phone calls that is further improved with quite loud earpiece and good microphone.
Nokia 2.4 is a member of the Android One family. Android One is Google’s program for Android manufacturers that want to offer a clean, Google approved Android experience on their devices. This means that Nokia 2.4 doesn’t come with major UI customization and the software experience is pretty similar with stock Android. The advantage of that approach is less cluttered UI and probably better performance, but a disadvantage is the lack of some features other phones have built into their Android skin, which can still be accessible by some degree via a 3rd party app from the store.
On lower end hardware, my opinion is less is more, so I quite like how Android looks on the 2.4. I’m not a big fan of Google, their Assistant or news feed, but if that’s something you like, Nokia 2.4 has a dedicated button for calling the Google Assistant and you have the Google Now feed located left from the homepage. Both options can be disabled in settings.
Rest of the experience is mostly pure Android. Nokia Mobile did pre-load some useful gestures on the device, like muting calls on pickup, double-clicking the power button to open camera or swiping on the fingerprint sensor for notifications.
Only two apps Nokia Mobile pre-installs on their devices is the “My Phone” application and the camera application. The “My Phone” app, for which I recommend a change of name to “My Nokia”, is an useful application that offers warranty checks, options for insurance purchase, contacting support, accessing Community Forum, guides or different monitors for signal strength, RAM and memory usage, battery temperature, etc. What I am deeply disappointed in is the ads for “recommended” applications. Alongside the apps Nokia Mobile recommends you install, you can also find advertised applications and I firmly believe 1st party applications (everything that comes pre-loaded with the device) shouldn’t have ads.
The Nokia 2.4 comes with a 13MP primary camera on the rear, coupled with a 2MP depth sensor. The aperture of the primary camera is f/2.2 and there is a LED flash sitting below the cameras.
Overall, the 2.4 photos are ok for the price range. In conditions with enough natural light, the pictures turn out pretty good – good dynamic range, colors, sharpness, but with less light, starting indoors, a drop in details is noticeable, but nothing surprising. In poorly lit rooms the auto mode will struggle, so night mode might come in handy before the night falls.
Maybe the most impressive thing is the night mode, which is quite usable in lower light conditions, contrary to my expectation of the feature being just a gimmick for budget devices. It’s not nearly as sharp as night mode on higher end devices, but it pulls enough light to create decent photos.
The Nokia 2.4’s camera app doesn’t come with the “Pro mode” that allows the user to manually set different camera parameters, but Nokia Mobile did include some portrait bokeh options. I, quite frankly, struggle to see the physical and philosophical distinction between snowflake, start or butterfly bokeh modes, but I am aware that a lot of customers will enjoy using this and it is great of Nokia Mobile providing this option on a budget device, even for the front camera that uses AI to create bokeh (without the dedicated depth sensor). The front camera has a 5MP size and can produce decent selfies in good lighting conditions, but they won’t look near as good as on higher end phones (which is logical), but with some editing it is more than good for social media.
In terms of video, Nokia 2.4 capable of recording video of up to FullHD (1080p) with both the front and rear camera. There is also an option for extra video stabilization in settings. In the Camera UI, you can also find the handy Google Lens that has option for QR code recognition, photo translation or recognizing products, and there is also the Google Motion feature, which is basically Living Images from Lumia devices from 2013.
Overall, the Nokia 2.4 camera won’t impress and I would recommend pricier options if you are looking primarily for a solid camera on smartphones, but budget devices are a game in compromises and I would say the 2.4’s camera feels like it fits with the low end segment, with a better than expected night mode.
The Nokia 2.4 is excellent in terms of battery life. The phone has a big 4500mAh battery that can easily endure two days of usage. Thanks to the low-end hardware and low-resolution display, the 2.4 has excellent autonomy, but it takes around 3 and half hours to charge the device from 0 to 100%. The phone uses a legacy microUSB port and supports slow 5W charging. On one hand, the great autonomy will reduce the number of times you need to charge the device during a week, but on the other hand you have to wait a significant amount of time for today’s standards. Most users would probably pick a big battery instead of faster charging, and in the budget segment Nokia Mobile probably had to make a decision between the two to keep the price in check.
Making a budget smartphone is a game of compromises. You have to balance the design, materials, hardware and hit some sweet price point that should allow you to make money, but also give customers good value for their money.
The Nokia 2.4 fits the value spot in design, build quality, and battery life. While the camera’s aren’t spectacular the more than decent night mode and nice bokeh effect do add value, as well as Android One with promise of Android 11 and Android 12. In this price range, it’s hard to find a device that has guaranteed 2 years of software upgrades and 3 years of security updates.
I would recommend the 2.4 as the first smartphone for people entering the smartphone world or for folks that use their device more for communication than media consumption. I managed to get all my work done via the 2.4, which means few mailboxes, calendar sync, office apps, Slack, etc., and for such a workload, you should look for something more powerful. For basic social media use, light browsing and chatting apps, the Nokia 2.4 is a good choice for its price and it comes in a nicely crafted housing and good software support.