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.


23 thoughts on “Nokia 230 Review: Nice looking, but an Engineering Breakdown

  1. I don’t even care
    I just wait for new iPhone model
    (Then my dad will buy the new one since he wants bigger storage and I get the old one which is 6s, I am using 4s now :P)


  2. It’s been 10 minutes since I finished reading

    I’m still laughing . Muahahahahana


  3. this reviewer is one heck of a crybaby..
    what a drama queen.. give me that phone then if you’re not happy ungrateful bastard..


  4. what do you expect from basic phone, this piece of shit you call is great for most , its just your a text maniac and trying to ask for more … remember , this is just an old fashion phone with just a little of new … stop comparing …..


  5. I just bought the Nokia 230 and man I wish I had read this review before buying. I thought this would be better than the previous Nokia I had – a 301 that broke down after four years. That phone was much better and also had lots of features like skins and themes to personify the look. The 230 has a nice body and feel – but that’s the only thing good about it. It’s just a basic phone with no features and no personality. And now I just learned about the 500 SMS limit. I’m an SMS guy and this is terrible news. Will definitely and finally buy a smartphone soon. Will most likely use the 230 for radio purposes. Thanks for the review.


  6. I also bought a Nokia 230 and discovered its “strangeness” and even told friends and family about it: It regularly asks me if I “want SIM to send this message?”, what message is it referring to?. Suddenly, my Displayed Contacts disappeared, so I had to import again from my desktop. Then messages started dissapearing within conversation threads which was quite annoying when it came to reviewing conversations. Since the Service Center usually takes weeks just to flash the same firmware, I went instead to the numerous mobile phone service stalls at the mall and was hoping for a quick reflash of the same firmware. The first repair person behind one of the stalls who saw my Nokia 230 quickly said: Ohh, a Nokia 230 from hell, the fw is lousy and suggested instead to flash fw from Nokia C3, a phone of the same caliber that was made in Germany, its firmware was also made there (?). So basically, another fw was going to be flashed in my Nokia 230, a tried and tested fw from the known C-series that was German-made. I immediately agreed and handed him my phone as I had no intention of going back home with a possesed phone. I paid the equivalent of 10USD for the exorcism and now am quite happy with my Nokia 230(modfwC3/C1).


  7. You forgot to mention the horrendous address book limit – only one number per contact (no fields for mobile, work, home etc… there is just ONE phone number field) and max. 16 characters for contact’s full name (first + last name, which is one common text field in Nokia 230 phonebook). Basic cell phones from more than 10 years ago didn’t have those limitations. Phonebook import from my father’s old SonyEricsson K610i to Nokia 230 miserably failed. Full contact names were stripped if longer than 16 chars. Also Nokia 230 imported one number per contact with other numbers ignored, and that’s not a bug, it is by design. So if you want to have three numbers for one person, you have to enter that same name 3 times with different numbers… with names for example:
    Michaela Strangeway HOME
    Michaela Strangeway CELL 1
    Michaela Strangeway CELL 2
    Oh no, wait… Michaela Strange is the only version allowed.

    Big display and nice design are Nokia 230 winning features, the screen size was the reason we bought it… but the mutilated phonebook issue is something you just can’t go around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also there are no additional contact fields (email, postal address etc.), just name and one number, nothing else. It’s possible to assign a picture to a contact, but only if you have microSD card installed.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. How can I import my contacts into the Nokia 230 Dual SIM? I don’t care about truncating long names.
    Can I import contacts from my iPhone? PC? I only need this phone for calls/SMS and mainly in Roaming
    using the Swiss Mobile SMS sim card.
    Thanks for any help,


    1. The easiest way to import contacts from iPhone to Nokia 230 is via Bluetooth, instructions are here:

      Another method is to copy all contacts from phone to SIM card, then insert the SIM card to Nokia, and move or copy contacts from SIM:

      But erm, if you have an iPhone, it’s not possible to copy contacts to SIM…

      The third way is import via .vcf or .csv file. I think you need to have microSD card inserted in Nokia 230 in order to do that. Instructions are in the link for the first method above.

      Or you can install free official Nokia suite on your PC:
      Then connect Nokia with PC via cable and manage your contacts in Nokia suite. You can drag&drop .vcf files to Contacts screen in Nokia suite, but it should be one .vcf file per contact, it won’t work if all contacts are bundled into a single .vcf file. If you have all iPhone contacts exported into one .vcf file, you can use .vcf splitter to break that to multiple files:
      iPhone contacts can be exported to VCF/vCard via iCloud or an app (eg. My Contacts Backup).


  9. i have this phone. i didn’t care about the other features since i just needed the phone to listen to podcasts but alas after using it for awhile, the sd card always broke – so far it’s been 2 cards. such thing would never happen to even dumbest nokia, and i’ve been using nokia since 2002.

    this phone is an insult to nokia brand. with nokia entering the phone marketagain, i hope they don’t make phone in vietnam like this shit cuz i heard in vietnam they paid everything using their dong!


  10. Isn’t it obvious, they want us all to use “smartphones” for stupid people. Stupid because we then use software / “apps” that may or may not be uploading some of our personal information.

    I don’t understand why there are virtually no options of smartphones with drawer-like physical keyboards or attachable keyboards at least (such as a book-like case with a keyboard on the inside). Instead I have to “slide” over the virtual keyboard to be reasonably fast and I can’t stop the damn auto-correct “feature” from typing all sorts of funny stuff which I once in a while miss and often sends the wrong message, no matter how hard I try to disable it from the settings or try new virtual keyboards.


  11. Hi folks,

    this phone is simply said: shit squared.

    Have you ever moved a calendar event to another day (maybe because it has to be shifted) … ?
    Of course, since it simply doesn’t work 🙂

    What a piece of shit.
    Really, NEVER by this phone, unless you wanna hurt yourself and waste money.


  12. I bought this phone a few days ago and I’m totally disappointed. I wish I have read this review BEFORE purchasing this huge pile of shit. I googled this phone a couple of times but there were no words about the terrible features:

    – maximum 25 (!!!) events in the calendar (in 2018!!!!)
    – moving a calendar event to another day is impossible
    – extreme stupid phone book (see above, only one number for a person)
    – no different ringtones (mp3) for different persons
    – mp3 is not available for the alarm clock
    – and some more smaller problems

    I had a Nokia 6300 from 2008 that was MUCH smarter than this catastrophic device. I feel cheated, this phone is a total waste of money, don’t buy it! I try to send it back and ask my money back.


  13. I made a mistake and bought this phone, knowing nothing about it. My old phone (which was a 14-years old Siemens C60) broke down, and I looked for a phone with good keyboard. This one seemed to have – and indeed has – a good one, but that’s almost the only good thing you can say about this phone.
    After I started to use it, I immediately ran into some of it’s stupid limitations:
    – max. 16 characters per contact name (it truncated most of my contacts from the previous phone stored on the SIM card)
    – virtually any telephone service provider makes possible to send MMS messages to e-mail addresses (eg. to send a photo from the phone), however with this phone you can’t type non-digit characters in the MMS recipient field, you also cannot assign an e-mail address to a contact, so the possibility to send MMS to an e-mail address is effectively gone
    – and worst of all – NO WAY! to copy contacts and/or SMS/MMS messages to a computer. You can only copy files on the microSD card (photos, MP3s etc.)
    My 14 years old Siemens C60 was much better regarding to all these features (plus many more).


  14. This almost useless phone if you want to use instagram,whatsapp,twitter,MMS,youtube etc… this app or browser not working good in this phone. in this phone bluetooth is very wrost and it’s not connectivity with car bluetooth system of with home’s internet speed only about 1G or max 2G.


  15. This reviev is a complete bullshit! This phone is great. It basically has everything I need from a phone: Internet connection and Facebook. Accessing Facebook is very simple and efficient and I don’t know what you’re complaining about. Internet works great, almost no issues. App store is shitty, I have to admit that. Didn’t know about the sms limit, but then just erase old messages cos I bet you don’t ever reread them. You can’t have whatsapp, well why should I need that? We have Facebook. There’s no GPS, but you can still have Google Maps (you need some patience with this app though, but it doesn’t work bad). Overally, I am very content with this purchase. If you do not like modern touchscreen smartphones for whatever reason, then this phone is a perfect substitute. The comment was posted from Nokia 230 😉


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