Nokia XR20 Review: A Premium Rugged Smartphone for Those Who Need It

It isn’t day-after-day that I come throughout a smartphone that may do one thing extraordinary. Most premium smartphones today look engaging and have an array of cameras on the again, however the buck just about stops there. So, when HMD World launched The Nokia XR20 in India I used to be fairly , primarily as a result of I am a dad to a 2-year-old who likes to torture take a look at smartphones. It additionally appears to be like and feels a bit completely different. So, after I obtained the evaluate unit I had two massive questions: Is the Nokia XR20’s powerful and rugged exterior price its premium worth, and would it not stay intact if I handed it over to my toddler? Learn on to see how I discovered the solutions.

Nokia XR20 worth in India

The Nokia XR20 is priced at Rs. 46,999 in India. It’s obtainable in a single configuration with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There are two finishes to select from – Extremely Blue and Granite. I reviewed an Extremely Blue unit.

Nokia XR20 design

HMD World pitches this cellphone in its promoting supplies as “designed for the long term”. Technically talking, which cellphone is not? Nonetheless you get a greater thought of its objective when you maintain this tank of smartphone. It is quite a bit bigger than I anticipated it to be, measuring 171.64mm (H) x 81.5mm (W). It is also fairly thick at 10.64mm however surprisingly, not as heavy as I anticipated. Regardless of having that further rugged exterior, the Nokia XR20 weighs solely as a lot as an iPhone 13 Pro Max (about 240g). Whereas that is heavy by odd smartphone requirements, it is not unhealthy for a rugged machine. My private Google Pixel 4a seems like a mini smartphone subsequent to it, and this additionally implies that the XR20 shouldn’t be ultimate for one-handed operation.

Nokia XR20 back full Pixel4a ndtv NokiaXR20 Nokia

The Nokia XR20 (left) alongside the Google Pixel 4a (proper)

By way of beauty design, the Nokia XR20 appears to be like the half and seems as if it may take fairly a beating. Whereas most rugged smartphones look chunky at greatest, with pseudo-military styling, HMD World has made this cellphone look distinctive and fashionable.

The outside is made up of a polymer composite and aluminium. The inside as per Nokia, has an aluminium body. The show is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus, which is the corporate’s hardest present materials for smartphones. The polymer composite is simple to grip, however extra importantly, can be fairly powerful. I positioned the machine on all types of surfaces that I’d usually place a smartphone on, and it did not get a single scratch.

Nokia XR20 side full ports ndtv NokiaXR20 Nokia

The Nokia XR20’s physique is made up of a polymer composite and aluminium

Since this can be a rugged cellphone with an IP68 ranking, I took issues up a notch. I took it with me when having a fast bathe and even positioned a name below working water. As anticipated, the decision was a bit too gentle, as a result of the receiver was flooded with water. Additionally, the show did not reply nicely to the touch enter each time there was working water on it.

With the XR20’s rugged exterior, I felt assured that the cellphone was indestructible, which ought to give consumers some peace of thoughts. I even dropped the cellphone a number of instances from about 1.8m (5.9 toes), and I solely managed to get a tiny dent on the ring across the digicam module. Certainly, utilizing this cellphone to its fullest potential requires plenty of unlearning of what we now have gotten used to, pampering our smartphones with bumper circumstances and scratch guards.

The Nokia XR20 must be able to dealing with no matter my life as a daily client would expose it to, together with the arms of my two-year-old toddler. So, if you’re a guardian and have gone by a number of damaged screens or telephones, this is likely to be an attention-grabbing possibility for you.

Nokia XR20 back half emergency button ndtv NokiaXR20 Nokia

The Nokia XR20 has an Emergency key (purple) which may be programmed to open apps or carry out preset capabilities

There is a Google assistant key on the left, an influence button with an embedded fingerprint reader on the suitable, and a quantity rocker simply above it. There is a fourth particular, purple key, which Nokia calls the Emergency key, and it’s absolutely programmable. I set it to vary the cellphone’s sound profile with a brief press and pull up the calculator with a protracted press. These actions may be assigned to quite a lot of capabilities, and you may even use this button to open an app of your alternative.

The Google Assistant key felt abnormally gentle and spongy. I usually ended up activating the voice assistant unintentionally after I picked up the smartphone as a result of this button is positioned a bit too low on the left aspect. Fortunately, I may deactivate the perform within the Settings.

The Nokia XR20 contains a 6.67-inch full-HD+ LCD panel. It has a noticeably thick bezel on all 4 sides and the added safety from the cellphone’s physique makes it seem even thicker. There are stereo audio system, and a 3.5mm headphone jack is on the backside.

Nokia XR20 specs and software program

The Nokia XR20 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 processor. HMD World has used it in plenty of smartphones prior to now yr, however most of them never made it to India, and the XR20 is the primary to make it right here. The cellphone is obtainable in a single configuration with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It additionally provides exterior storage (as much as 512GB) due to a hybrid slot within the dual-SIM tray.

The Nokia XR20 helps a number of 5G bands and provides twin 5G standby. Communication requirements embody Wi-Fi ac/ax, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, and the same old satellite tv for pc navigation programs.

Nokia XR20 front half display earpiece ndtv NokiaXR20 Nokia

The Nokia XR20 contains a stereo speaker setup, so the earpiece doubles up because the second speaker

The cellphone has a 4630mAh battery and comes with an 18W charger within the field. Since this can be a premium smartphone, it additionally helps 15W wi-fi charging, which works with any Qi-compatible wi-fi charger.

This rugged smartphone comes working Android 11 out of the field. It is part of the Android One programme, and HMD World is promising three years of software program updates. The software program is nearly inventory in look with minor Nokia customisations. There is a customized digicam app with Professional picture and Cinema video modes. You’ll be able to modify the color temperature of the show utilizing the white steadiness setting within the Settings app. Whereas a lot of the preinstalled apps had been Google’s defaults, I did discover the Netflix and Spotify apps after establishing the cellphone. These may be uninstalled if not wanted.

Nokia XR20 efficiency and battery life

The Nokia XR20’s show will get vibrant sufficient to sort out direct daylight, so out of doors visibility was not an issue. Viewing angles had been additionally fairly good. Whereas the default color temperature was a bit too cool (or bluish) the cellphone enables you to change it to a hotter tone if wanted. Not like most smartphones in and even under this worth section today, the Nokia XR20 doesn’t have a high-refresh charge panel, however given the graceful and close to inventory Android software program, I didn’t miss this.

Nokia XR20 front full display ndtv NokiaXR20 Nokia

The Nokia XR20 has a full-HD+ LCD show with an ordinary 60Hz refresh charge

The massive 6.67-inch full-HD+ LCD panel is nice for watching films and taking part in video games on. HMD World claims that it really works nicely with gloves and moist arms. I examined this and I have to say that the show recognised swipes and faucets much more precisely with some water droplets splashed over it when in comparison with an iPhone 12 Professional Max which was unusable in such a state of affairs. The Nokia XR20 has stereo audio system which sound loud and clear whereas taking part in video games and watching films. There’s additionally a 3.5mm headphone jack which helps you to plug in a pair of earphones and use the FM Radio app.

As anticipated, its benchmark take a look at scores had been nearer to these of the funds Motorola Moto G51 than the extra intently priced Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G and that is primarily all the way down to Nokia’s option to go along with the Snapdragon 480 SoC. The Nokia XR20 scored 3,12,057 factors in AnTuTu together with 510 and 1,674 in Geekbench’s single and multi-core assessments. The cellphone scored 59fps and 14fps in GFXBench’s T-Rex and Automotive Chase benchmarks respectively, and managed 3,413 and a couple of,403 factors in 3DMark’s Sling Shot and Sling Shot Excessive benchmarks.

Nokia XR20 back full IPrating ndtv NokiaXR20 Nokia

Nokia XR20 has an IP68 ranking for mud and water resistance and can be MIL-STD-810 licensed

The Nokia XR20 performs extra like a funds smartphone and fewer like a premium machine, however that doesn’t imply that there is lag or stuttering. The truth is the software program expertise was fairly easy. Nevertheless, gaming efficiency was nicely under common. I attempted out Name of Responsibility: Cellular and Asphalt 9: Legends. Name of Responsibility: Cellular was set to the Excessive graphics and body charge by default. The sport was playable at these settings, however there have been a number of cases of lag and a few stuttering. Reducing the graphics to Medium didn’t appear to assist. Asphalt 9: Legends however ran easily with the graphics set to Default. Most different smartphones on this worth section can deal with most high-end video games at excessive settings.

The cellphone managed 11 hours and 42 minutes in our HD video loop battery take a look at, which is nicely under common for a smartphone on this worth section. Nevertheless, its 4,630mAh battery simply lasted a day and half with informal use, which did embody a little bit of gaming, taking some photographs, messaging, shopping by social media apps, and video streaming. Charging was fairly gradual as compared with equally priced smartphones. The bundled 18W charger managed to take the Nokia XR20 from a useless battery to a full cost in 2 hours and half-hour.

Nokia XR20 cameras

The Nokia XR20 contains a twin rear digicam setup which features a 48-megapixel major digicam and a 13-megapixel ultra-wide-angle digicam. Selfie duties are dealt with by an 8-megapixel sensor. The digicam interface is usually Nokia, however this cellphone additionally has a handbook mode referred to as Professional, and a Cinema mode which helps you to shoot movies within the H-Log format with excessive dynamic vary. This footage will have to be processed earlier than will probably be usable.

Nokia XR20 back half camera ndtv NokiaXR20 Nokia

Regardless of a number of drops from 1.8m, I solely managed to get a tiny dent on the ring across the XR20’s digicam module

Pictures taken with the first digicam in daylight got here out with good element and dynamic vary. Colors had been a bit saturated and sharpness was on the upper aspect. The general outcomes had been solely passable, and this was primarily as a result of luminance noise I seen in a lot of the photographs that I took in daylight. I used to be additionally removed from impressed with the standard of pictures captured by the ultra-wide-angle digicam. They lacked sharpness and in addition had some random blurred patches and loads of ghosting, making them unusable to me.

Nokia XR20 daylight digicam samples. High to backside: Shut-up, major digicam, ultra-wide-angle digicam (faucet to see full dimension)

The Portrait mode on the first digicam delivered blended outcomes. Pictures of individuals got here out sharp and clear with first rate edge detection, however this was not the case with objects. Extra importantly, taking a Portrait picture of an object could be a bit annoying as loads of adjustment is required earlier than the digicam approves your body and means that you can hit the shutter button. There have been a number of cases when the digicam instructed me to maneuver very far-off from small objects and the outcomes weren’t price it in any case the difficulty.

There is no macro mode like on most smartphones on this worth section, however close-ups got here out sharp and clear with common element. Selfies appeared surprisingly clear and sharp with good distinction, however edge detection was under common when utilizing the Portrait mode.

Nokia XR20 selfie digicam samples. High: daylight Portrait selfie, backside: low-light Portrait selfie (faucet to see full dimension)

After sundown, noise ranges crept up and the cellphone’s noise discount algorithms made all the pieces look very murky. I’ve seen higher low-light picture efficiency from much more inexpensive units. Switching to Evening mode clears up the murkiness and brings out some element with extra distinction, however pictures ended up with a really noticeable watercolour-like impact and flat textures. In case your topic or scene is flooded with mild, the outcomes will likely be barely higher, however nonetheless simply passable at greatest.

Nokia XR20 low-light digicam samples. High: Auto mode, backside: Evening mode (faucet to see full dimension)

The standard of video recordings in daylight was strictly common, with low element. The digicam additionally struggles to focus rapidly when panning. Whereas stabilisation was first rate when recording 1080p video at 30fps, 60fps video got here out fairly shaky and lacked any kind of stabilisation by any means. Outcomes from the ultra-wide-angle digicam had been additionally under common. I received higher video high quality and stabilisation when utilizing the front-facing digicam. Low-light video was very weak intimately. On the brilliant aspect, Nokia’s OZO audio recording tech did impress me, and sounded fairly immersive.


Priced at Rs. 46,999 in India, the Nokia XR20 has loads of competitors within the premium section that gives a lot better efficiency and high quality, in addition to higher options, such because the Realme GT (Review) (from Rs. 37,999) and the OnePlus 9R (Review) (from Rs. 39,999). There are even some well-rounded premium smartphones from Samsung such because the Galaxy S20 FE 5G (Review) (from Rs. 39,999), which have an IP68 ranking and wi-fi charging. Spend a bit extra, and you would additionally delve into the iOS aspect of issues with the Apple iPhone 11 (Review) (from Rs. 49,900).

The Nokia XR20 will attraction to a really area of interest set of consumers. You might slap a troublesome case onto any of the above-mentioned premium smartphones, however that will not provide the peace of thoughts that the XR20 can. Briefly, there’s nothing prefer it, if you’re particularly on the lookout for a rugged smartphone that may tackle way more than what most common shoppers can throw at it.

Whether or not you can purchase one, all is dependent upon how a lot you often torture your smartphone, how clumsy you’re each day, and whether or not you’re prepared to dwell with its inconsistent digicam efficiency. The opposite use case is clearly for adventurous customers who would possibly discover themselves outdoor for lengthy stretches, these working at development websites or different dusty and humid environments, these into journey sports activities, and even new mother and father. Many individuals will like the truth that the Nokia XR20 might be extra dependable and reliable than a daily premium smartphone.


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