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Nokia C2-01 review: Nokia C2-01

The Nokia C2-01 is a simple, likeable and cheap phone. It also offers a surprising number of features that are normally absent at this price, including 3G connectivity.

Damien McFerran
Damien McFerran has more than a decade of experience in the interactive entertainment and technology sectors. He is also the Editorial Director of Nintendo Life and co-director of Nlife Ltd. Damien is a freelance writer and is not an employee of CNET.
Damien McFerran
3 min read

Nokia is hell-bent on dominating the budget end of the phone market. The Finnish firm is well aware that there are millions of people out there who crave nothing more than simple features in a phone. The C2-01 is aimed at such folk.


Nokia C2-01

The Good

3G connectivity; expandable memory; compact size.

The Bad

Keys feel cheap; screen could be bigger; poor video quality.

The Bottom Line

The Nokia C2-01 is a simple, likeable and cheap phone. It also offers a surprising number of features that are normally absent at this price, including 3G connectivity.

The C2-01 is available on pay as you go for around £50. Contract prices are similarly low, starting at around £10. It's also available SIM-free for about £80.

Humble pie

An evolution of last year's C1-01, this handset jettisons such smart-phone luxuries as a touchscreen, accelerometer, video-call camera and Wi-Fi. It's a pretty straightforward handset.

The C2-01 can be charged up using either the mini-USB port or the dedicated charging port.

With dimensions of 47 by 110 by 15mm and an overall weight of 89g, the C2-01 is pocket-sized in every sense of the word. Its refreshingly compact form factor makes it look positively tiny when placed alongside a big-screen behemoth like the HTC Desire HD.

Similarly, the C2-01's 2-inch, 240x320-pixel TFT display also looks rather feeble when compared to the 4-inch Super AMOLED screen of the Google Nexus S. But it performs its role admirably. Because the display isn't touch-sensitive, it doesn't have to be massive.

The alphanumeric keypad's buttons are comfortable to use but they do feel cheap and nasty. The direction pad, which is used to make menu selections, is similarly tawdry.

Care for some port?

On the top of the C2-01, you'll discover a pair of ports -- a 3.5mm headphone socket and a power input for the included wall charger. The wall charger is perhaps surplus to requirements, as the C2-01 also boasts a mini-USB connection, which not only supports data transfer but also allows you to charge the phone's battery via your computer.

Sadly, the C2-01 lacks a volume control. There's no way of altering the volume besides delving into the phone's options menu, which is a pain. Thankfully, the phone's built-in media player, which also supports video, allows you to use the direction pad to toggle the volume during playback.

The 3.2-megapixel camera is capable of snapping some decent still images, but its video quality is poor.

The C2-01 comes with a 3.2-megapixel camera for photo and video capture, although the latter is limited to a VGA resolution and a pitiful 15 frames per second. The movies you create with this handset look pretty terrible when viewed on a PC or television.

Photographic memory

The C2-01's still photos are slightly better, benefiting from Nokia's extended-depth-of-focus feature. The lack of an LED flash makes shooting in dark locations an exercise in futility, though.

With just 43MB of on-board storage, you won't be able to take many snaps without investing in some kind of memory card. The C2-01 supports microSD cards of up to 16GB.

Plenty in store

Running the Series 40 operating system, the C2-01 certainly doesn't have any pretensions of offering smart-phone functionality. But it does come with some neat features that aren't usually present on a budget blower of this type.

For starters, you can download apps and games from the Ovi Store. The phone also comes pre-loaded with a Facebook application that allows you to update your status and get reports from your friends. It's even possible to customise the layout of your home screen, albeit in a rather limited fashion.

Surfing the Web proves reasonably nippy, thanks to 3G connectivity, but the cramped 2-inch screen makes it pretty fiddly.

Most impressively for a phone of this price, the C2-01 features 3G connectivity. Although surfing the Web is rather difficult, due to the small screen, the 3G connectivity makes for pretty speedy surfing. Other tasks, such as downloading apps and checking your Facebook feed, also benefit.

Despite packing in more features than you might expect, the C2-01 is no slouch when it comes to battery stamina. The battery will easily outlast that of your average smart phone.


The Nokia C2-01 won't challenge the dual-core smart-phone monsters that are currently being unleashed by the likes of Samsung and LG but, in terms of value for money, it's one of the best phones we've seen this year. It's astonishing what your £50 will get you. If you're looking for more features than bargain-basement phones like the Nokia 1616 and LG GS101 can provide, but don't want to break the bank, the C2-01 is an excellent option.

Edited by Charles Kloet