The Crazy Cheap Nokia 215 Does What the Smartphone Can’t

Microsoft Mobile’s new Nokia 215 does two things even the most advanced smartphone can’t. For starters it’ll only cost buyers $29 without a subsidy or two-year service agreement. Second, after being fully charged it can last in standby mode for a ridiculous 29 days.

Microsoft announced the Nokia 215 and Nokia 215 Dual-SIM on its Lumia Conversations blog this morning as other smartphone makers were preparing for big announcements at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.


According to the blog post, that 29 days of standby time is just for the Nokia 215 with a single SIM card slot. The Nokia 215 Dual-IM will last 21 days in standby mode before needing a charge. Talk time is about 20 hours, more than any mainstream smartphone running Windows Phone, Android or iOS has ever managed to hit. The Nokia 215 owes the ridiculous battery life to its operating system. Although it’s a Microsoft Mobile made phone, it doesn’t run the Windows Phone operating system.


Even though it’s not running Windows Phone the Nokia 215 is perfect for people that don’t need the latest features. For example, Microsoft says buyers in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe can expect around 50 hours of MP3 playback. The same goes for FM radio playback – the Nokia 215 includes a built-in FM Radio.


Both versions of the Nokia 215 include large number buttons and a directional pad. A rear-facing 0.3 megapixel camera. The display on the Nokia 215 isn’t spacious, it measures just 2.4-inch. That being said, it’s big enough to let buyers see the pictures they take and the Facebook messages that they’re sent by their friends and family. Microsoft says Bing Search, MSN Weather, and Facebook are among the apps included on the device. The Opera Mini web browser is also included, though it’ll take a longtime to load some web pages since the Nokia 215 only supports 2G data networks.


The Nokia 215 and Nokia 215 with Dual-SIM feature a polycarbonate shell with a removable battery. Colors include green, black and white.

It might sound totally illogical, but there’s a method to Microsoft’s madness. The company’s burgeoning Windows Phone operating system – and even the smartphone in general – aren’t a great fit for developing markets. Windows Phone and other operating systems allow for more software flexibility, at a cost. Battery life is the first thing to go as modern smartphones needed bigger screens with touchscreen hardware and other changes. The Nokia brand is strongest in developing countries where smartphones aren’t such a good idea. Microsoft Mobile itself notes that 20 percent of the world’s population doesn’t have access to power to charge a phone. Longer standby times makes the Nokia 215 a good move for these people.

No the Nokia 215 isn’t going to convince anyone considering purchasing an iPhone, Android device or Windows Phone to pick it up instead. That being said, it’s not meant to. The Nokia 215 is for a broad user base who doesn’t need the most advanced hardware and best software.


Microsoft Mobile’s blog post about the Nokia 215 only says there are plans to launch the device in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe for $29 in the first quarter of this year. Microsoft hasn’t revealed any plans to launch the Nokia 215 in the United States. That’s a shame, the Nokia 215 could make a great emergency phone for users in the developed markets.