HMD Pulse trio unveiled: affordable phones with ‘Gen 1 repairability’


While the Nokia/HMD partnership still has some way to go, HMD Global is forging its own path with the launch of the Pulse phones – there are three models that fall in the €100-€200 price range.

HMD is betting that consumers are moving to more environmentally-conscious products and are placing an emphasis on repairability. HMD says the Pulse range is built to “Gen 1 repairability” and that users can pick up self-repair kits from iFixit. Repairs include changing the battery, but also swapping the screen.

HMD Pulse trio unveiled: affordable phones with 'Gen 1 repairability'

HMD Pulse

The HMD Pulse is the base model, but we should note that all three use the same chipset – the Unisoc T606. We’ll get to specifics, for now keep in mind that this model sells for €140/£100.

Also shared between the three models is the 6.65” LCD, a 720p+ panel (20:9) with 90Hz refresh rate. It’s nothing special with 600 nits peak brightness and 70% NTSC coverage.

HMD Pulse trio unveiled: affordable phones with 'Gen 1 repairability'

The cameras are what set the three models apart (at least they are the biggest difference between them). As the base model, the Pulse has a 13MP primary on the back (with autofocus and dual-LED flash). The second module appears to be a depth sensor. The selfie camera has an 8MP sensor, but at least it’s in a punch hole – in this price class it might have been in a notch.

The battery has 5,000mAh capacity and is listed as “QuickFix replaceable”. This doesn’t mean you can pop the back panel off and swap the battery, but it does mean that you can do a battery replacement at home in about 5 minutes with only basic tools.

HMD Pulse trio unveiled: affordable phones with 'Gen 1 repairability'

The battery is rated for 800 full charge cycles and the phone goes easy on it with only 10W charging. The phone is rated IP52 for dust and water resistance, which is more than we expected given the price and ease of disassembly. But maintaining that rating after replacing the battery will require that you follow the instructions carefully.

HMD Pulse in: Dreamy Pink
HMD Pulse in: Meteor Black

HMD Pulse in: Dreamy Pink • Meteor Black

Let’s go back to the Unisoc T606 for a moment. It’s an ancient 12nm part with two Cortex-A75 cores and six A55 cores, plus a Mali-G57 MP1 GPU and a 4G modem. On the Pulse, it is paired with 4GB or 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage, plus up to 256GB more in the form of a microSD card.

The HMD Pulse comes with Android 14 out of the box and the company promises 2 OS updates and 3 years of security patches. The same goes for the other two models.

HMD Pulse+

The HMD Pulse+ bumps the price up to €160/£130. It uses the same 6.65” 90Hz 720p+ LCD and Unisoc T606 like its sibling. It comes with an 8GB option for RAM (in addition to 4GB and 6GB) and has 128GB built-in storage with support for microSD cards up to 256GB.

What sets the plus model apart is the 50MP main camera on the rear. Unfortunately, HMD hasn’t given sensor or lens details, not even video capture specs. The chipset can’t do more than 1080p, so don’t expect 4K. The front camera remains at 8MP.

HMD Pulse+ with 50MP rear camera
HMD Pulse+ with 50MP rear camera

Like its siblings, the HMD Pulse+ has a 5,000mAh battery with 10W charging over USB-C (USB 2.0). The three phones also have 3.5mm headphone jacks. Wireless connectivity features include 4G, Wi-Fi 5 (ac), Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC, plus GPS/Galileo.

HMD Pulse+ in: Apricot Crush
HMD Pulse+ in: Midnight Blue

HMD Pulse+ in: Apricot Crush • Midnight Blue

HMD Pulse Pro

The HMD Pulse Pro is the top dog of the trio, but isn’t much more expensive at €180. Despite its “pro” moniker, it’s not much more capable either. You get the same 720p+ display, same Unisoc T606.

While the rear camera is the same as on the plus – 50MP plus a 2MP depth sensor – the front-facing camera is upgraded to 50MP. Again, no further details are given, but the difference in selfies should be notable.

HMD Pulse Pro with 50MP selfie camera
HMD Pulse Pro with 50MP selfie camera

Connectivity remains the same, except that the USB-C now charges the 5,000mAh battery at 20W instead of just 10W.

Like the plus, this one comes with 4/6/8GB of RAM and 128GB storage, plus a microSD slot (up to 256GB). The phone is in line for 2 OS updates and 3 years of security patches like the others. All three have a fingerprint reader built into the power button.

HMD Pulse Pro in: Glacier Green
HMD Pulse Pro in: Black Ocean
HMD Pulse Pro in: Twilight Purple.

HMD Pulse Pro in: Glacier Green • Black Ocean • Twilight Purple.

The HMD Pulse and Pulse+ are available from starting today, the Pro model will be available soon. You can find details on the self-repair kits for these phones here.

The company isn’t bringing the trio to the US, just one model and it will be called ‘HMD Vibe’. It will carry a $150 price tag, though it’s not a different device – HMD isn’t saying anything, but by the looks of it, it is based on the Pulse.



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