The Nokia G21 arrives rather less than a yr after the G20 got here on the scene. As with different makers, the G-series is residence to mid-rangers that target reasonably priced pricing and providing a dependable product reasonably than going after gimmicks.
The G21 is a herald for a brand new design language for the corporate. Earlier fashions featured a centered round digicam bump, what was as soon as affectionately referred to as “Oreo”. This mannequin shifts to a rounded rectangle bump that’s tucked into the nook.
It’s not a completely revolutionary design, but it surely does really feel like a contemporary take after a few years with the Oreo look. Sadly, the “let’s strive one thing new” angle doesn’t fairly carry over to the remainder of the telephone.
Earlier than stepping into that, we should always give the telephone kudos the place it deserves. HMD has been fairly conservative with its chipset choice. Even the Nokia X100 and G300, that are as excessive as Nokias go as of late, use a Snapdragon 480 chipset. The G21 opts for a Unisoc T606. Whereas Unisoc chips don’t benefit from the hype of, say, a Dimensity, this one is kind of competent.
Admittedly, a part of what makes it stand out is that the Nokia G20 had a Helio G35 chipset with eight Cortex-A53 cores. For context, the A53 was introduced in 2012 and was changed by the A55 in 2017. The 2 Cortex-A75 cores within the T606 are additionally from 2017, however they’re “massive” cores, providing a lot greater efficiency. Even the six A55 cores which might be paired with the A75s are quicker and extra energy environment friendly than their predecessors.
One other optimistic is that the 6.5” LCD was upgraded to 90 Hz refresh fee. It does make the UI smoother, which is vital for how briskly a smartphone feels, no matter what benchmarks say. Additionally, the telephone comes with the mandatory Widevine stage to stream Netflix movies in HD, so you must see a noticeable enchancment in picture high quality whereas binge watching a brand new present.
We additionally commend HMD for utilizing a triple card slot – that’s sufficient for 2 telephone traces and a reminiscence extension. Plus, there’s a 3.5 mm headphone jack, which makes high-quality, low-latency sound reasonably priced on a budget.
That is the place we begin to run out of compliments. The 6.5” show has 720p+ decision, similar as on the G20. A 1080p+ show would have been an excellent motive to suggest this telephone – such shows are all that widespread on this value vary, however there are just a few choices.
Talking of value, the Nokia G21 begins €170, €10 greater than the G20. This can be a precarious spot as solely €10-30 extra may purchase you a extra succesful telephone. For instance, a Redmi 10 is €10 extra and it does 90 Hz at 1080p+. A Moto G31 and a Galaxy M21 2021 are in the identical value class they usually have 1080p+ AMOLED panels. You may even purchase a 5G telephone for €200 or a bit much less and that’s past the capabilities of the Unisoc T606.
You could level out that the Nokia comes with a clear Android, in contrast to the Galaxy and Redmi (however not in contrast to the Motorola). Positive, however HMD determined to pre-install ExpressVPN and Spotify, which isn’t a terrific look should you’re after purity.
An even bigger concern is that the telephone arrives with Android 11. HMD does promise 2 years of OS upgrades, so this could see Android 13. For instance, the Nokia X10 and X20 launched in June 2021 with Android 11 and had been up to date to 12 in December. If HMD retains up that tempo, the G21 will probably be working Android 12 by the tip of the yr. After which Android 13 subsequent yr after which that’s in all probability that. Okay, most telephones on this value vary aren’t working Android 12 but both, but it surely doesn’t really feel like HMD has a bonus right here both.
The brand new 50MP digicam is a spotlight function of the telephone, but there are surprisingly few particulars in regards to the sensor and lens. As an alternative, HMD targeted on the Tremendous Decision and Night time Mode options. We’ll check for ourselves how effectively these work, however that may’t distract us sufficient to note what’s lacking.
The Nokia G20 had an ultrawide digicam – with a 5MP sensor, it wasn’t nice or something, but it surely was there. The Nokia G21’s digicam solely contains a macro cam and a depth sensor subsequent to the principle module. We’d take an ultrawide over both (or each) of them any day of the week.
One other not-quite-upgrade is the battery. The 5,050 mAh capability is plentiful and HMD guarantees 3-day battery life. That sounds nice – and it’s, however the G20 had the identical capability and similar promise of lasting 3 days between expenses.
The precise improve is that the telephone helps 18W quick charging now (USB Energy Supply 3.0). Nevertheless, it solely ships with a 10W charger, so that you’ll have to provide your personal. It’s fairly probably that you have already got an 18W charger, however then the 10W one will simply sit within the drawer. And should you don’t have an 18W charger, then this isn’t an improve for you (not a free one, anyway).
Relying on the place you reside, the Nokia G21 might look underspecced for its value or it is perhaps one of many few sub-€200 telephones with a strong battery and precise dedication to software program assist from the producer. If that’s the case, come again in a bit to see how effectively it carried out in our checks.