Quick ReviewsSpecifications

HMD Pulse Specifications Review and Pricing

HMD recently launched their own branded smartphones. They’re continuing the Nokia partnership, but they will now also sell HMD-branded devices. The first of these is the HMD Pulse series. Let’s take a look at the HMD Pulse

Where to buy HMD Pulse?

This is the crazy thing. Finding a way to buy this phone has proven very difficult. HMD has an Instagram page in Kenya – @hmdkenya – with a link in bio that leads to the HMD.com page. However, on the page, there’s no mention of pricing and availability. Or stores. Or anything. So we are only quoting pricing from other territories.

This phone, released in April 2024 is priced at €139.99 (about KES 20,000 + taxes). It is a new entrant in a very competitive lower-midrange segment.

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Essentials:

You get a 6.65 inch HD+ display. Take note that it is an IPS LCD panel supporting 90Hz refresh rates. While it may not compete with the higher resolution displays on the market, it is adequate for users who prioritise battery life and device efficiency over ultra-high definition clarity. The phone weighs 187 grams. HMD also reports that it IP52 rated.

Power:

Under the hood, the HMD Pulse is powered by the Unisoc T606 chipset, an octa-core processor that includes Cortex-A75 and Cortex-A55 cores. This configuration is paired with a Mali-G57 MP1 GPU, which is capable of handling moderate gaming and daily tasks efficiently. The device comes with options of either 4GB or 6GB of RAM, coupled with 64GB of internal storage, expandable via a microSDXC card, offering ample space and smooth multitasking capabilities.

The HMD Pulse offers midrange specifications, with a Unisoc processor, and a replaceable 5000mAh battery. Should you buy?

The Unisoc chipset is the biggest problem here. It is built on a 12nm process. It works only with eMMC storage, meaning you can expect slow read and write speeds that will affect phone response time. Also, at this price point, most of the competition is offering 128GB of storage.

Cameras:

In terms of optics, the HMD Pulse features a 13MP main camera with autofocus and an auxiliary lens for depth sensing, equipped with LED flash and HDR capabilities. It supports video recording at 1080p@30fps. The front-facing camera is an 8MP shooter, capable of capturing clear selfies and handling video calls.

These are decent numbers. However, we haven’t seen any reviews of the device locally, or tested the device ourselves so we cannot speak on the quality of the cameras.

Battery and Connectivity

One of the standout features of the HMD Pulse is its 5000mAh battery, which is removable and user-replaceable—a rarity in modern smartphones. This feature alone can be a significant selling point for users looking for a device with a potentially longer lifespan. The battery supports 10W wired charging, which is very slow charging in this modern era.

Other things:

Connectivity options are comprehensive, including Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, and NFC capabilities, making the device versatile in various usage scenarios. It also includes a USB Type-C 2.0 port with OTG support, allowing for data transfers and connecting external devices. Which is great. Micro-USB would be a no-no.

The HMD Pulse includes a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, along with other sensors like accelerometer, proximity, and compass, enhancing its utility and security. It also retains the 3.5mm headphone jack, catering to users who prefer traditional wired headphones.

Android Updates:

On the HMD website, the company is promising two OS Upgrades (with an asterisk that this is from Global Launch date). The company is also promising three years of quarterly Android Security Updates. It will be interesting to see how they keep these promises.

The phone comes running Android 14 out of the box.

Conclusion:

At its price point of over KES 20,000, HMD faces fierce competition from Samsung, Infinix, OPPO and Xiaomi. All these companies have serious devices at this price point that have something up the sleeve compared to the HMD Pulse – be it in camera, storage size, or fast charging. It will be interesting to see how HMD gets customers to pick their devices over other players in the market.

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