Nokia 216 Dual Sim - design miscalculations and severe flaws in usability

Bough a Nokia 216 Dual Sim as an addition / backup to my Android phone. I was aware of some limitations of the S30+ platform, but disappointment from the purchase outgrew even my humble expectations.

Here are some revealed, yet quite obvious, flaws:

{ ! } Not possible to change between languages in Phone book / Contacts (while adding, editing or searching for contacts). For that, it appears to be necessary to go to Phone settings and switch to desired language there! However, changing language while typing SMS or Notes is possible. An unbelievable blunder in design

{ ! } A definite bug with Speed dial function. If a SIM card has some contacts on it, and the Speed dial is activated, then all the keys, from 2 to 9, get automatically assigned to the contacts from the SIM card, in some strange order.

Keys then can be reassigned to desired contacts, but cannot be freed from the contacts. Once tried to set free from a contact, the key gets immediately assigned to another (seemingly random) contact from the SIM card.

It does not matter which memory is chosen in Phone book (Contacts) settings - Phone and SIM, Phone, SIM. The bug still persists.

However, if there are no contacts on a SIM card, Speed dial works properly.

• Can't redefine joystick keys for my personal preference (nowadays most of ordinary Chinese noname phones have such an option)

• Right upper key is strictly assigned to Selfie feature

• The only customizable key is the Left upper one - it's possible to set up a personal menu of shortcuts there. However, the choice of selectable options for that custom menu is badly limited. Here are a few things that miss from the list of options: Voice recorder (!), Block list (!), Sound profiles (although the profiles are available separately, the 'link' to Profiles sub-menu is absent), Call log (again, Missed and Received calls are there, but the 'link' to the Call log itself is absent).

An unbelievable blunder in design. In the old 6303 model, all the phone functions could be linked to from that custom Shortcuts menu

• On the main screen, day of the week is not shown (with most phones it's shown next to the date)

• In Notes section, in its Options, only 'Delete all' option is present. Therefore it's not possible to delete a certain single note. For a note to be deleted, it must be opened, and then deleted. On Nokia 6303, a certain note could be deleted without the necessity to open it

• Adding a number to Block list directly from Call log is ridiculously complicated. It goes like this: opening Call log, selecting a number, then Options > Details > Options > Add to Block list. Whereas it should be like: selecting a number in Call log > Options > Add to Block list. Unbelievable narrow-mindedness from developers, pardon me.

• Cyrillic languages (Russian, for instance), once set as Phone language in Settings, are rendered in smaller and far less legible fonts than English font. English and Russian contacts are shown in different fonts in Phone book! (For some people this even might be convenient. Nevertheless, old Nokia 6303, for example, did not have such font style differences.)

• Main Menu is overloaded and cluttered - the icons occupy 2 screens! It should have employed more sub-menus. The Internet, Facebook, Bing icons should have been packed into a single sub-menu. Same with the Notes, Calendar, Calculator - in most phones they live in an Organizer sub-menu

• No contact groups in Phone book (was aware of that prior to buying the phone)

• Only a single number can be assigned to a contact (was aware of that beforehand)

• In Phone book, the square colored icons (next to Contact names) shorten the visible length of Contact names. And those icons cannot be switched off

• Not possible to assign own ringtone for a contact

• No equalizer in Audio player

• Audioplayer occupies full screen while listening to tracks, thus hiding the battery indicator

• Although setting an own ringtone as phone ringtone is possible, it is done in a rather strange illogical way - via Audioplayer

• With Android-style SMS messaging in form of conversations, it's possible, within a conversation, to open a selected message in full screen mode. However, in this full screen mode, it's not possible to browse messages back and forth (within the same conversation), by using joystick keys

It's also not possible to access sent messages (by type), like it was on old phones, where messages were grouped as received, sent, drafts, etc. That'd be really cool to have an option to switch between the conversation mode and old-style sorting mode


Now, the drawbacks of the hardware design:

• Middle joystick button is flat and definitely awkward to use. In comparison with some old models like 6303, it's quite obvious. (Many people whose reviews I read complained about that, too.)

• Charger and audio jacks are placed on top of the phone, not the bottom. Even minor rain might be a threat to the phone

• No external dedicated volume key (probably ok for such an inexpensive model, but still)


In terms of personal customization and general usability, this phone is nothing but a sad miscarriage. Probably, most of the stuff written above applies to all of the S30 models aswell. I realize that button cellphones are in decline. Still, that's not a reason for releasing such a raw (mildly speaking) product, especially for a brand like Nokia.


  • Kartik Gada
    Kartik Gada Super User
    edited July 2019
    Very nice and detailed feedback. l never noticed so many issues with their current S30 feature phones. Yes it is not at par with S40 and lacks many things but I never needed all these features due to smartphones. I would like to ask you if Nokia 216 is your primary device?  You picked every minute missing option and this means you make full use of your Nokia 216. 😁

    I hope someone at HMD sees this. 😊
  • UnMike
    UnMike ✭✭
    Thanks for the reply.
    Nokia 216 is your primary device? You make full use of your Nokia 216.
    No. At the beginning I wrote that it was bought as an addition / backup to my smartphone.

    I just try to adjust phones, including this Nokia, to my personal preferences (not uncommon at all). I used to have an old Nokia 6303, which was like a different class phone from another manufacturer, comparing to this Nokia 216.
    It is not at par with S40 and lacks many things
    I myself was aware, prior to buying the phone, that S30 platform is no match for older S40, but nevertheless I was astonished by the overall half-bakedness of the product and negligent approach it was produced with.
    I hope someone at HMD sees this
    Hope so, too.
  • How I change selfie button functionality someting else?