Nokia X20 review: a solid but unspectacular mid-range 5G phone with good battery life

Nokia recently launched a range of new handsets including the 5G capable midrange Nokia x20. This 6.67-inch handset, which costs from £ 319.99 (with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage), leads the latest announcements from Nokia and is in a very crowded segment of the market. The competition includes capable phones like the £ 349 Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, the £ 329 OnePlus Nord N10 5G and the £ 270 Realme 7 Pro and the £ 299 Motorola Moto G 5G Plus. All are worthy adversaries, and there are many more in the same price bracket.

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Nokia X20: A 220g handset with a 6.67 inch IPS display, powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 480 5G chipset with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

When Nokia launched the X20, parent company HMD Global also announced it was becoming MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). the HMD Mobile The service will offer 5G at some point, but for now, anyone who buys the X20 through Nokia will receive a 90-day plan of 15 GB per month. But they won’t get 5G – it does happen, but the connection is currently 4G. It’s a shame, given that the X20 is a 5G handset.

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There are four rear cameras: 64MP (wide), 5MP (ultra-wide), 2MP (depth), 2MP (macro).

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

Buy through Nokia and your X20 will have 8 GB of RAM as well as this mobile plan. Although you pay £ 20 more than the entry-level 6GB handset without a plan, the price difference is negligible, and while you don’t want the 90-day mobile network offer, the increasing RAM should increase performance. I was sent the high specification device for review.

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The X20 is 9.1mm thick and has a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom edge.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The phone comes without a wall charger (just a USB-C cable) which shouldn’t be a big deal for most of us as we will already have wall chargers and there is no capacity to fast charging that requires a dedicated wall outlet. There is a biodegradable bumper case in the box. These features are part of the environmental offering, now adopted by HMD, which also includes – if you buy your device directly – a tree planting agreement. Different phones are “worth” different number of trees: the X20 is worth 20 trees while the new G10 and G20 are both worth 10 trees. Trees are planted on your behalf if you register your handset.

The Nokia X20 is well designed, with a solid feel in the hand and an attractive backplate. There are two color options. Midnight Sun is a bronze / gold finish, while my review handset was Nordic Blue, a dark shade of blue. Both options have a matte finish on the backplate which is less slippery than a lot, and the phone performed really well in my “ sofa test ”, gripping the arm quite well, although it did slip. when vibrating alerts have been activated.

There is a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom edge of the phone and a fingerprint sensor is built into the on / off button on the right edge. I have found the latter to be effective, although face unlocking is also an option. There is a dedicated button for calling Google Assistant on the left edge, where you will also find the SIM cart. The X20 accepts two SIM cards or one SIM card and one MicroSD card.

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The camera array sits in a circular housing in the upper center of the backplate. With the phone on a desk, tapping the screen on either side anywhere above halfway causes it to roll left or right, but the phone doesn’t move under light pressure.

While the Nokia X20 looks good and handles quite well, it is quite heavy at 220g. It’s quite big too, with a thickness of 9.1mm. The 79.7mm wide by 168.94mm deep desktop footprint houses a 6.67-inch IPS display with highly visible bezels all around and a small cut-out top center for the front camera. the screen / body ratio is only 79.7%.

The X20’s screen lags behind some of the similarly priced competitors. For example, the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G (75.1mm x 159.9mm x 8.4mm, 189g) has a 6.5 inch Super AMOLED 1080 x 2400, 405ppi display. The Nokia X20 has a larger 6.67-inch screen with the same resolution (and, therefore, a slightly lower pixel density of 395ppi), but the IPS technology isn’t as bright and punchy, and the refresh is set at 60Hz while the Galaxy A52’s 5G panel can be set to 120Hz.

The X20 runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G mobile platform with, in my review unit, 8 GB of RAM. He delivered on average Geekbench 5 CPU scores of 510 (single core) and 1689 (multi core), which is reasonable for a mid-range handset. There’s 128GB of built-in storage, with 18GB used out of the box, leaving 110GB for user storage. If this proves insufficient, you can increase the storage capacity with a MicroSD card in one of the SIM slots.

SEE: 5G Smartphones: Quick Reference (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Android 11 comes without any user interface overlay, which means that no third-party apps duplicate common Android functions. It also means there aren’t any fancy adjustments to the settings, so if you’re looking for a straightforward, out-of-the-box experience, you’ll get it here. You also get three years of guaranteed security updates.

The front camera is a 32 MP wide-angle unit that took reasonable, but not exceptional, selfies. There are four cameras on the back: 64MP wide angle; Ultra-wide angle 5MP; 2MP depth detection; and macro 2MP. The macro camera requires a distance of 4cm from the subject, so it is quite stiff and doesn’t really do justice to what can be achieved with macro on a mobile.

The highlight feature is probably Dual Sight mode, which allows you to capture videos from two different perspectives, such as a standard distance and a close-up image, each sharing a portion of the screen that you can set between half and half and about two thirds / one third. Overall, however, the X20 has a separate one-off camera setup.

Battery life, on the other hand, is impressive. Under the PCMark for Android Work 2.0 battery test, the 4470mAh battery ran for 16 hours and 40 minutes, and many users should be able to get a day between charges. Neither fast charging nor wireless charging is supported.

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Image: Nokia

Conclusions

The Nokia X20 is a reasonably well-designed handset with good battery life, dual SIM support, 5G, and a no-frills Android 11 installation, with three years of guaranteed security updates. However, this is not really enough to win the first place in the competitive segment of the mid-range 5G. The screen is an IPS panel with 60Hz refresh, the cameras are average, and there is no fast or wireless charging. Unfortunately, Nokia’s eco-credentials alone are not enough to get a recommendation from the X20.

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