Nokia XR20 review: A rugged and reasonably priced mid-range 5G phone Review

Nancy J. Delong

Rugged telephones have a tendency to be produced by professional handset makers, and are designed for use in environments in which they’re likely to get bashed about, dropped or if not mistreated. They could be tough, but the specs can be disappointing. Some of us want a cellular phone that is solid adequate to cope with tough use scenarios, with out searching as well ‘industrial’ and also packing fantastic specs. 

Nokia’s solution is the XR20, which also comes with 4 yrs of safety updates and a few yrs of OS updates. The entry-amount variant, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of inside storage, costs £399.99. Pay £50 much more and you get 6GB of RAM, even though an additional £50 provides 128GB of storage. My review unit was the prime-end 6GB/128GB design, which costs £499.99. In the US, the rate for the prime-end design is $549. 

The 6.sixty seven-inch rugged Nokia XR20 runs on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 480 5G chipset with up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of inside storage (expandable by means of MicroSD card at the price of a single of the two SIM slots).

Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The Nokia XR20 looks to some degree oversized, even for a 6.sixty seven-inch cellular phone. It measures 81.5mm extensive by 171.64mm deep by 10.64mm thick and weighs 248g. This excess bulk and heft is down to a thick all-close to bumper, which could not look particularly elegant but is a single of the explanations the handset meets the MIL-STD 810H ruggedness common. The monitor enjoys defense from Gorilla Glass Victus — the hardest presently offered from Corning. Really should it crack inside of a year of acquire, Nokia will deliver a substitute for totally free. 

The handset is also IP68 certified, meaning that it is ‘dust tight’ and can manage immersion in 1-3 metres of h2o. In point, Nokia claims on its Nokia XR20 web-sites that “If it will get filthy, you can just cleanse it with cleaning soap and h2o”. 

Rear cameras: 48MP f/1.eight extensive-angle and 13MP f/two.four extremely-extensive-angle (123˚).

Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet  

The rubbery backplate has a fairly intelligent stippled end that makes the cellular phone really tactile and really should help folks with smaller, cold or wet, or gloved arms.  

The aesthetics may well not be great, but Nokia has absolutely tried. The handset comes with possibly blue (Extremely Blue) or gray (Granite) sides and back. The prime edge carries the SIM caddy and a pink button known as the Crisis Important which can be programmed to call specified contacts. It has shorter- and long-push capabilities, and if a single of these is not essential for an unexpected emergency speak to then possibilities incorporate launching purposes, toggling the torch, activating factors like Bluetooth or the wi-fi hotspot, pause/participate in audio and much more. It can be a helpful function — much more telephones really should have a single.  

The pink Crisis Important can be programmed to call specified contacts.

Graphic: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet  

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There is a lanyard slot on the bottom edge of the cellular phone, just in circumstance you experience the need to have to tether it, alongside with a 3.5mm headset jack. On the suitable edge the power button incorporates a fingerprint sensor and the quantity rocker protrudes so it can be straightforward to come across in a pocket or with gloved arms. The Google Assistant button sits happy on the still left edge for the identical motive. 

The camera lozenge on the back of the chassis protrudes significantly, and much more than is strictly essential. That’s due to the fact there is a lip all close to its edge, presumably to help shield the lenses from scratching as the cellular phone tumbles close to in pockets, luggage or where ever else it will have to dwell. The lozenge is centrally found, resulting in least movement as the monitor is prodded when the cellular phone is sitting on a desk. 

Rugged telephones tumble shorter on efficiency, and the Nokia XR20 is no exception.  

I mentioned earlier that the base 4GB/64GB design is priced at £399.99. That’s a rather low specification, and my £499.99 6GB/128GB review unit is much more in line with today’s expectations. Out of the box, 18GB was previously applied, leaving 110GB totally free. The handset supports two SIMs or a single SIM and a MicroSD card, so storage enlargement is offered so long as you will not need to have to put in two SIMs. 

The Snapdragon 480 5G chipset is the identical as found in the Nokia X20, a non-rugged and much more very affordable handset. Although it brings 5G, the reasonably low-end Snapdragon 480 won’t shine as a performer. The Nokia XR20 returned average Geekbench 5 CPU scores of 507 (single main) and 1675 (multi main). This is just about equivalent to the 8GB/128GB Nokia X20 (510 and 1689), and nicely adrift of flagship-class telephones, which nearly double these scores.

The Nokia XR20 runs on Android 11 and there’s hardly everything additional to that. The My Applications folder contains just 4 apps: My Telephone Nokia (a help application), Amazon, Spotify and a 30-working day demo of ExpressVPN. Nokia gives a few yrs of OS updates and 4 yrs of safety updates. 

The 20:9 IPS monitor delivers 550 nits of brightness and sits inside of reasonably large bezels.

Graphic: Nokia

The monitor is a large 6.sixty seven-inch IPS panel with a resolution of 1,080 by two,400 pixels (20:9, 395ppi). It can be much less lively than an AMOLED, but delivers 550 nits of brightness, which really should help with out of doors viewing. There is a modest central punch-gap for the front camera and important bezels encompassing the monitor, which results in a moderate screen-to-overall body ratio of seventy six.7%.  

Nokia suggests the pair of speakers are ‘extra loud’ and they absolutely can make a racket. The top quality isn’t really all that great, nevertheless: if you depend on your handset to supply instructions even though biking you could come across the significant quantity valuable, but if you’re in search of loaded tonality you may be upset.  

Even though there’s a quite shut affinity between the Nokia X20 and the Nokia XR20, the camera setup is various. The X20 has a 32MP extensive-angle front camera, even though on the back the camera mix is a 64MP extensive-angle, 5MP extremely-extensive angle, 2MP depth-sensing, and 2MP macro. 

In this article we have an 8MP f/two.two front camera and just two rear cameras — a 48MP f/1.seventy nine extensive-angle camera and a 13MP f/two.four extremely-extensive-angle (123˚) camera. The camera lozenge is bulked out with a pair of LED flashes. Photographs are completely suitable, but not fantastic in any way. The setup appears to perform nicely for basic snaps, which is all many folks want from their cellular phone camera. Night time capturing is a little bit of a washout. 

Just one point rugged handset end users require is fantastic battery existence — looking close to for mains power or looking for a power pack when you’re on a long walk, bike journey, or are if not lively is a agony. The Nokia XR20 is geared up with a four,630mAh battery which isn’t really excess-capacious — five,000mAh is quite typical these times. The PCMark for Android Work 3. battery life test ran for 17 several hours and 9 minutes just before giving up the ghost in my exam, the handset missing 28% from a comprehensive demand when streaming a few several hours of YouTube video clip, which implies battery existence of just underneath eleven several hours. 

The Nokia XR20 supports 15W wi-fi charging, but Nokia won’t deliver an adapter for wired charging. This is common for the firm these times — most of us will previously have USB-C bricks, Nokia argues, so why cause environmental problems by supporting the manufacture of nevertheless an additional a single? It can be a reasonable issue. Employing a random charger from my desk drawer, the handset rose to 30% from 20% immediately after 15 minutes, reaching forty one% immediately after 30 minutes and 51% immediately after 45 minutes. 

Graphic: Nokia


Nokia has come up with a first rate rugged handset here: the XR20 really should be in a position to endure knocks, splashes and drops, and is even equipped with a totally free monitor substitute for a year immediately after acquire. The cameras, efficiency and monitor could be unremarkable, but the XR20 does give 5G connectivity, 4 yrs of safety updates and virtually no software bloat.

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