HMD’s cheapest US phone gets an upgrade.

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  • The Nokia 2.3. For $130, this looks pretty good!
  • It comes in three colors, but it doesn’t sound like cyan is coming to the US.
  • The back of the gold one.
  • The back has this ribbed nano texture.
  • The front design isn’t too bad for a $130 device. It’s doing its best to ape recent flagship trends.
  • The lock screen, which, with no fingerprint reader, is looking for a face to scan.
  • Here you can make out the side buttons.

HMD’s Nokia 2.3 has been announced for sale in the US. This low-end phone is just $129 but still manages to look like a respectable device.
HMD is basically the only company selling viable low-end devices in the US. Despite only asking a bit more than a Benjamin, this phone still comes with three years of monthly security updates and two years of major OS updates, which is more than some flagship smartphones. Also better than many flagship smartphones: it runs stock Android with no crapware. It also looks pretty good for a cheap phone, with a big 6.2-inch 1520×720 IPS LCD dominating the front of the device.
The SoC is a Mediatek Helio A22a 12nm chip with four Cortex-A53 CPU cores running at 2GHz, with a PowerVR GPU. There’s 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and a 4000mAh battery. For cameras, you get a 5MP front camera, and, new for this year, a dual camera setup in the back, with a 13MP main camera and a 2MP depth camera. There are some nice extras here, too, like a micro SD slot, a headphone jack, FM Radio support, and a dedicated Google Assistant button on the side.
There are some downsides that come with the low price. First, there’s no fingerprint reader. The only biometrics are a selfie-cam-powered face unlock feature, which can’t be that secure since it only does a 2D face scan. Second, you’re getting the old micro USB port for charging, instead of the newer, reversible USB-C, which is a shame. This also means there’s no quick charging, and instead you get a pokey 5V/1A charger. Third, there’s no NFC, so you won’t be able to tap-and-pay at the register. Fourth, it only comes with Android 9 Pie, although an upgrade to Android 10 is planned at some point.
The back is a “3D nano-textured” piece of plastic, which seems to mean that there’s some kind of ribbing on the back to make it a bit grippier. The device should still feel pretty solid, though, thanks to an internal aluminum chassis.
The phone is supposed to be up for pre-sale at Best Buy sometime today (this link will work at some point), and should be compatible with your local GSM provider. It will arrive at Amazon next week and will ship “very soon,” according to HMD’s press release.