Hands on: IMO S2 review

A low-cost smartphone which offers a decent bang for your buck

What is a hands on review?

Early Verdict

The IMO S2 offers up a solid spec sheet and pleasing design at a price which makes it supremely affordable. We'll have to wait and see how it performs when it's loaded up with apps, but the initial signs are promising.


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    Low price

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    Up-to-date Android 7 Nougat

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    Fingerprint scanner


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    Unproven performance

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The IMO S2 isn’t the smartphone that's about to reshape the landscape of the mobile world, but what it does present is a low-cost offering which has a solid feature set – perfect for first-time users, kids and those wanting a cheap backup handset. 

It offers a 5-inch HD display, quad-core chipset, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, a microSD slot, 13MP rear camera, 5MP front-facing camera, 2,600mAh battery and Android 7 Nougat – a decent spec lineup for a low-cost mobile.

IMO S2 price and release date

The IMO S2 release date is slated for around September, but an exact date is yet to be confirmed. We do, however, know the IMO S2 price – it’s just £129. 

That puts it on a par with the Moto G4 Play – a handset that belongs to Motorola’s best-ever-selling range of phones – and the Honor 5C, which means the IMO S2 has its work cut out to prove itself among the more established names.

IMO S2 design and display

The IMO S2 comes with a solid design, featuring a metal rear and glass front that delivers a pseudo-premium finish. 

It’s not at the same level as the iPhones and flagship Samsungs, but considering the price point the IMO S2 provides a pleasing feel in the hand. 

There’s also the bonus of a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, giving you a secure biometric option which isn’t yet commonplace at this end of the market. There’s no NFC on board though, so you won’t be able to use Android Pay on the IMO S2. 

On the left edge of the S2 are the power/lock key and volume up and down buttons, which are easy to hit in one-handed use. 

The 5-inch display keeps the size of the IMO S2 compact at 142 x 72 x 8.2mm, which makes for an easy-to-handle handset. The HD (720p) display is bright and clear, with good viewing angles, and ensures that texts and images are crisp. 

IMO S2 performance and interface

With a 1.25GHz quad-core chipset and 2GB of RAM, the IMO S2 is well equipped under the hood for day-to-day tasks. 

During our brief hands-on time with the phone we found that apps loaded smoothly, and you won’t have any issues when it comes to web browsing, emails, social media and messaging.

We didn’t get a chance to try out gaming or movie playback on the phone, but it’s worth noting that the S2 may not be able to handle graphically-intensive tasks all that well – we’ll find out more in our full review. 

Another nice addition is the inclusion of the latest version of Google’s operating system, Android 7 Nougat – and Verve Connect (the company behind the IMO brand) has kept things very close to stock.

We were using development software and hardware, so the appearance of the interface may change a little before the phone launches, but we found the IMO S2 easy to use and mostly fluid on-screen.

IMO S2 battery and camera

The IMO S2 has a non-removable but reasonably sized 2,600mAh battery, which we expect will see you through a day of use on single charge – we’ll be sure to put this to the test during our in-depth review process in the coming months. 

On paper the IMO S2's cameras sound promising, with a 13MP rear snapper and a 5MP selfie option – and they both work well. You’re not going to get stunning shots from them, but during our brief time playing with them we found them to be more than acceptable considering the price of this phone.

Early verdict

The IMO S2 shows a lot of promise for its humble price tag, but the real test will be how it performs once you’ve stuffed it full of apps, connected it to a mobile network and taken a load of pictures.

We sometimes find that entry-level handsets from lesser-known brands begin to creak when you really start to push them, so it'll be interesting to see how the IMO S2 holds up when we get it in for a full review.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site. 

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.