Sunday, June 23, 2024

The first HMD Android phones are here, and they’re super cheap

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Rear shell of HMD Vibe smartphone.HMD

Finnish company Human Mobile Devices is renewing its journey under the HMD branding, shedding aside the Nokia naming it used to use for all of its smartphones. The first handsets to bear the HMD branding are the HMD Pulse, HMD Pulse+, HMD Pulse Pro, and the HMD Vibe. All phones share similar aesthetics, with a few splashy colors thrown in for certain trims, and target the budget segment.

The HMD Vibe, for example, serves a 6.56-inch display with an HD+ resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 680 silicon runs the show, alongside 4GB of RAM and 128GB storage. Notably, there’s a microSD card slot that supports storage expansion up to 512GB.

HMD Vibe HMD

The build is IP52-certified, which means it can handle a few occasional splashes at best. Android 14 comes as a pleasant software surprise for a low-end phone like this one. A 4,000mAh battery keeps the lights on and enables 10W charging.

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There’s a 13-megapixel camera on the back, while a 2MP camera handles depth-mapping duties for portrait shots. Selfies are deputed to a 5MP main camera. Notably, the only biometric authentication system available on this phone is face unlock.

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Next, we have the HMD Pulse. This one makes a few changes compared to the Vibe, such as adopting a Unisoc T606 chipset, lowering the RAM amount to 4GB (a 6GB version is available, too), and bumping up the battery capacity to 5,000mAh.

This one has a fingerprint sensor and a brighter display. The HMD Pulse will be available in Dreamy Pink, Meteor Black, and Atmos Blue. Like its siblings, it will receive Android OS upgrades for two years and quarterly security patches for three years.

This one also upgrades the imaging hardware. There are two 13MP cameras on the back, complete with support for night mode capture, while the front camera relies on an 8MP sensor.

  • 1.
    HMD Pulse
  • 2.
    HMD Pulse+
  • 3.
    HMD Pulse Pro

The HMD Pulse+ takes things a notch higher by bumping the amount of RAM to 8GB and putting a 50MP sensor behind the primary camera. It also jazzes up the color options and will be available in Glacier Green, Midnight Blue, and Apricot Crush hues.

And finally, we have the HMD Pulse Pro. This one comes armed with a 50MP front camera and takes the fast-charging pace to 20W. Color options are Twilight Purple, Black Ocean, and Glacier Green.

The most alluring part, however, about these new phones is their modest asking price. The HMD Vibe can be purchased for just $39 when bought via Verizon and TracFone in the U.S. And you can get your hands on an unlocked version for just $145, which is a surprisingly good value for the hardware.

Unfortunately, the Pulse series is not coming to the U.S. market, but its sticker price elsewhere is unsurprisingly attractive. The baseline HMD Pulse starts at 139 euros and climbs up to 159 euros for the Plus version, while the Pro variant will go for 179 euros in European markets.

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