Nokia 230 Review: Nice looking, but an Engineering Breakdown

Being a long time Nokia feature phone user and fan, I was more than excited to get the new Nokia 230. This phone is priced at EUR 80 which is a reasonable price. I hate the “availability” that smartphones give you, and I love how feature phones take away just that. Nokia (or Microsoft) advertises the Nokia 230 as “sleek and stylish” and “more of what matters”.

Look And Feel

It’s true, it looks fantastic. For me, coming from the Nokia 110, the 2.8″ display is amazing and has sufficient size. I love the buttons, it allows you to type text messages without having to look, and the physical feedback helps. It’s very slim, light and feels great in my hand and pocket.

Battery: Yay!

Another reason I will wait for a better smartphone generation is my Nokia’s battery life. When using it for texting, some calls and internet access here and there, it doesn’t have to get charged in about 8 days. That’s great.

I don’t really use a feature phone for photos, I’ll spare the details about how “well, ok” the photo quality is.

The “App” Store: Are You Fuckin’ Serious?

You couldn’t be more wrong if you think the Nokia 230 is any helpful with “internet stuff”, though. Reminder: It is 2016. The 230 simply runs an Opera Mini browser which is basically unusable.

I can google, that’s great.

When trying to use sites like, that have lots of AJAX elements being loaded after the initial page is displayed, then, it simply doesn’t work. It’s impossible to make use of “modern” sites. When trying to fill out AJAX (dynamic) forms, the browser reloads the entire page for every form field. In other words: It’s completely rubbish and you have to ask an iPhone user for their phone.

The Facebook “app” is a fucking joke. I can’t believe this is what Nokia (or Microsoft) sells as an “app”. The Facebook page is simply loaded in mobile format. Scrolling works by moving the cursor with the phone buttons. It takes about 40 scrolls to get away from the navigation bar, notifications (that you can’t turn off) to see the feed, or someone’s profile – again, completely unoptimized for the small screen. I haven’t even attempted to use Facebook chat, since there ain’t no messenger app for me.

Whatsapp? Nope!

The “app” store is simply the Opera Mobile Store, or whatever this useless archive full of bullshit games is called. If you’re looking for apps like Whatsapp, you won’t find it.

Whatsapp simply does not work on the Nokia 230.

SMS: A Complete Engineering Breakdown.

Since Facebook is a very awkward navigation experience, and Whatsapp is not existent, you have to use the Nokia’s SMS/texting abilities to communicate. This is where I lost my patience and almost threw this piece of shit into the bin. Nokia, if you read this: Fire whoever designed the SMS components.

At first, I felt that the SMS interface has improved. It shows conversations in the modern callout bubble-style, and the “Reply” input box can be easily accessed by pressing the down button in the last message.

However, if you want to go to the first message, you can’t press down again, you have to scroll up through all messages in the conversation.

This is not a big deal, since, and now it comes, this ridiculous phone can only store 500 text messages.

That’s right, 500 text messages, then you have to start deleting conversations again.

Another reminder: It is 2016, and 64 GB memory cards are about $20. I’m not a permanent texter, but if you text, say, 50 messages a day (it is 2016), you have to start deleting after maximum 1 1/2 weeks. It’s the most annoying “feature” I’ve ever seen with a phone. Even my Nokia 110 from 19hundredsomething could store more messages.

SMS: Smoke Signals Work Better!

The Nokia 230 will allow you to reply to new SMSes without unlocking your phone, you jump into the SMS interface and start responding.

What the programmers didn’t take into account is: If one of the unreplied message is lucky number 500, you’re screwed. So you type this loooong response, say, 400 characters (again, we are in the 21st century), and you hit “Send” it will tell you: “Sending not possible, no space left!” and your entire message simply disappears. You have to go back, delete conversations, and re-type the response again, remembering all the things you’ve said in a hopefully funny way.

This is the opposite of innovative or user-friendly and makes me angry just by thinking about it.

A very interesting bug with text messages is: sometimes, the sorting doesn’t work correctly. Messages from one and the same person wouldn’t be sorted chronologically. No, there’s no timezone conflicts or whatever, it’s simply horrible programmed. Having some tolerance for a few of the above problems, a sorting bug is only ridiculous. Oh, and also might generate a weird interpretation of conversations. But, doesn’t matter, you have to delete them anyway soon, haha.

Multimedia Messages: The DO still exist!

My favorite kind of SMS is the MMS, that’s when friends attempt to send me photos embedded in a text message. First of all, the photo has to have a certain size, otherwise there will be an error message after trying to download the photo for about 2 or 3 minutes.

If you’re lucky, the photo will work. In my Nokia 110 (the super old one), it would show that actual photo in the text message, super small, but you could see it. The Nokia 230 doesn’t show any preview, you have to “download” the photo, store it on your phone, exit the SMS interface, go to Photos -> Albums -> Received, find it there, and then you can view it.

Whoever designed the SMS component – usually one of the three important phone features – has failed, big time.

GSM: The Poor Man’s Network

Also, I kept wondering why other people around me can do calls and surf the net while in tunnels in the metro. That must be because the Nokia 230 only does GSM nets. Be prepared that you won’t have any reception where others (3G, …) do.

Summary: Don’t Buy This Phone!

From the Nokia website:

The Nokia 230 has a built-in torchlight and FM radio.

Yay! Back to morse code or amateur radio hacking.

I can already hear my Apple fanboy friends: “We told you, get an iPhone!”.

The Nokia 110 was simple, cheap and useful. The Nokia 230 is the worst piece of technology I’ve ever purchased. Admittedly, I am no gagdet fan, but it looks as if I have to get one of those “real” phones now.

Nokia, sorry for all this ranting, but your Nokia 230 is a fucking piece of shit. Why? See above.

Don’t even think about buying it, you will regret it.