HMD Launches the Pulse Series, the First Phones Under the “HMD” Branding

Just as pricey as ever, with no real explanation as to why.

HMD is a brand that you may have never heard of but they are the Finnish company responsible for marketing and branding all Nokia phones since their transition to Android back in 2016. However, it seems that Nokia is having a bit of an existential crisis these days and their offerings aren’t exactly the best. They offer phones that do not stand out from the competition and are priced questionably. For example, The Nokia X30 is a phone priced at PHP 29,990 but at that range, you can get a OnePlus Nord 3 or Xiaomi 12T and you’re better off with those.

It seems like even HMD is losing confidence with the Nokia brand and sought to sell phones under their own name. “HMD” stands for “Human Mobile Devices” and the phones they have released, the Pulse series, is very human in design indeed. There are three phones in HMD’s first lineup. These are the Pulse, Pulse Pro, and Pulse Plus. All three are not exactly that exciting, apart from the HMD branding. Just like Nokia, these phones offer easily repairability, possibly another niche that Nokia is trying to get into, if there are people willing to sacrifice everything they love about a phone for sustainability. Even Fairphone kept both sustainability and fun at the same time.

The thing with having good repairability, while the intentions are good-willed, its execution could not have been better. See, HMD has a long partnership with iFixit but iFixit is North American and European centric so us Southeast Asian peasants would just have to make do with our local technicians.

HMD Pulse/Pulse Plus/Pulse Pro

We got to compliment the web design here. We like the choice of colors HMD put out, as well as the illustration used for the Pulse Pro. It’s pleasing. In the Philippines website (surprisingly, they offered their phones in the Philippines of all places), only the Pulse Pro is listed but the Pulse Plus is also available through Nokia’s Shopee page. HMD’s new phones are entry level. What a shock. All of them are not that different to each other apart from some minor alterations with the cameras (the Pro and Plus have a 50MP camera vs the vanilla’s 13MP) and storage options. All three are equipped with the most head-scratching chipset for its price, the UNISOC T606 which is not a chipset you would see beyond the sub-5K price range.

To expand upon the UNISOC T606, this chipset is old, like MediaTek Helio G35 old. It uses the same ancient 12nm process as that chipset and comes with the same architecture and cores. Those are the 2x Cortex-A75 main cores clocked at 2GHz and six Cortex-A55 efficiency cores at 1.5GHz. It also uses a Mali-G57 MP1 GPU for handling graphics, so you can probably tell which games can run tolerably at it, and those that can’t, or worse yet, cannot be installed due to compatibility issues.

On the bright side, at least the phones look original and have a dot notch, so they look modern. Starting with the HMD Pulse Plus. The phone has 4GB RAM and 128GB storage, and 50MP camera. There is a second camera at the bottom but judging by its market positioning, that’s more likely a depth sensor. At the front is an 8MP camera. HMD has not revealed any features or specifications about this 50MP camera and the video caps at 1080p even though most phones, even at the budget level, can do 4K.

As for the display? Well… it’s a 6.65″ HD+ IPS LCD with 90Hz refresh rate. When you read our article about the Itel RS4, you know how we feel about the display at its current pricing.

The HMD Pulse Plus has a 5000mAh battery with disappointingly only 10W of charging wherein its competitors would have opted for at least 18 or 33W. Because the phone uses an older chipset, it lacks any 5G connectivity. The Pulse Plus has a 3.5mm jack, 4G LTE, side-mounted fingerprint scanner, and Wi-Fi 5 connectivity as well as Bluetooth 5.1.

The phone’s battery is “QuickFix replaceable” which doesn’t mean you can pop the back like the old days, but instead, you can easily repair the phone at home in five minutes using only basic tools which you probably already have.

On Shopee, HMD has the audacity to value this phone at PHP 10,199 (4/128) but fret not, the phone is currently discounted to PHP 6,899. Of course, it also lists virtual RAM, up to 8GB.

HMD Pulse Pro

We have been absolutely destroying the HMD Pulse Plus from the very beginning of this article. Some readers say we’re harsh but our point of view is that we have to reinforce our criticisms and critiques to the brands so they improve better. If a company dies out because of a bad review, then maybe it’s time to rethink your decision as a company. Bad reviews are like bad customer experiences but that should not dent a brand out, but instead learn from it.

Now, with that out of the way, what does the Pulse Pro offer that the Pulse Plus doesn’t and what does it offer that differentiates it from the competition and making its valued PHP 11,899 price tag worth it? Surprisingly, this phone is the better choice because between this and the Plus, the price is not that far off.

Aside from the questionable chipset, the phone compensates users better with a 50MP selfie camera, bigger storage (8/256), and faster 20W charging. Features that are finally competitive with the price it is asking for. Both phones by the way, have a MicroSD Card slot in case you run out of internal storage. Both phones also run Android 14 fresh out of the box. Yes. Clean, unmodified Android 14, just like every Nokia phone. HMD guarantees users longevity with a 2+3 software update scheme. That is, 2 years of Android upgrades and 3 years of security. For a budget phone, this is more than enough.

Comparing it to your mainstream brands like Tecno, Xiaomi, and Honor. We’d say the HMD Pulse Pro has a fighting chance, especially for users who just want a simplified Android experience that can last, or those looking for a phone that isn’t Chinese. Wiko has sadly faded away from existence and most Samsungs are just too expensive. HMD should be the balancing factor for the non-Chinese brands. Well, also, its biggest threat is the Nubia Neo 2 5G even though these two are targeting different market segments. That phone has an even better chipset with 5G (UNISOC T820), better cameras, and an even better display. So, with all these harshness we mentioned, we’d say try HMD out. Just don’t mind the chipset, okay?

Like the Pulse Plus, the phone is available in Nokia’s official Shopee page.


  • 6.65″ HD+ (1612x720px) IPS LCD, 90Hz
  • UNISOC Tiger T606 (12nm)
    • 13MP (Primary) (HMD Pulse) or 50MP (Primary) (Pulse Plus, Pulse Pro)
    • 2MP (Depth)
    • FRONT: 8MP (Pulse Plus and Pulse) or 50MP (Pulse Pro)
  • Android 14, Stock Android
    • 2 years of Android upgrades
    • 3 years of security updates
  • 5000mAh
    • 10W Charging (HMD Pulse)
    • 20W Fast Charging (HMD Pulse Plus/Pro)
  • USB-C, 3.5mm jack, Side-mounted fingerprint scanner, Easy repairability, MicroSD Card Slot, Virtual RAM
  • 4G LTE, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, Dual-band Wi-Fi
  • Black, Green, Brown (Pulse Plus) or Black, Green, Purple (Pulse Pro)
  • PRICE:
    • 4/128 (Pulse Plus): PHP 10,199 DISCOUNT PRICE: PHP 6,899
    • 8/256 (Pulse Pro): PHP 11,899 DISCOUNT PRICE: PHP 8,399

Source: Nokia, HMD