The Nokia G21G20 is less than a year old. Like other manufacturers, the G-Series is home to mid-rangers who focus on affordable prices and offer reliable products instead of following the tricks.
G21 is a new design language herald for the company. The previous models had a central circular camera bump, once affectionately called "Oreo". This model moves on around a rectangle collision that tucks into the corner.
It's not a completely innovative design, but it feels fresh after a few years with the Oreo look. Unfortunately, the "let's try something new" attitude doesn't reach the rest of the phone.
Before we get into that, we should define the phone where it deserves. HMD has been very conservative with its choice of chipsets. Even the Nokia X100 and G300, more like Nokia today, use the Snapdragon 480 chipset. The G21 chooses the Unisoc T606. Although Unisoc chips do not enjoy one dimension, they are pretty capable.
Of course, part of what makes it stand out is that the Nokia G20 had an Helio G35 chipset with eight Cortex-A53 cores. The A53 was announced in 2012 and replaced with the A55 in 2017. The T606 also has two Cortex-A75 cores from 2017, but they are "big" cores, which offer a lot of performance. Even the six A55 cores paired with the A75s are faster and more powerful than their predecessors.
Another positive is that the 6.5" LCD was upgraded to a 90 Hz refresh rate. This makes the UI smoother, which is essential no matter how fast the smartphone feels, regardless of the standards. In addition, the phone comes with the Widevine level required to stream Netflix videos in HD, so you should notice a significant improvement in image quality when watching a new show.
Nokia G21 for review.
We also appreciate HMD for using a triple card slot - that's enough for two phone lines and a memory extension. In addition, there is a 3.5 mm headphone jack, which makes high-quality, low delay sound cheap.
This is where our definitions begin to run out. The 6.5" display has a 720p + resolution, as on the G20. A 1080p + display would be a good reason to recommend this phone - such displays are standard in the price range, but there are some options.
In terms of price, the Nokia G21 starts at € 170, which is € 10 more than the G20. This is a dangerous place because for only € 10-30 more you can buy a more capable phone. For example, Redmi 10 € 10 is higher, and it does 90 Hz at 1080p +. A Moto G31 and a Galaxy M21 2021 are in the same price category and have 1080p + AMOLED panels. You can even buy a 5G phone for € 200 or less, which is beyond the capabilities of the Unisoc T606.
You may notice that Nokia comes with a clean Android, unlike the Galaxy and Redmi (but not unlike Motorola). Sure, but HMD decided to pre-install ExpressVPN and Spotify; it doesn't look great if you are clean.
One big concern is that the phone comes with Android 11. HMD promises 2 years of OS upgrade, so it should look like Android 13. For example, the Nokia X10 and X20 were launched with Android 11 in June 2021 and updated to December 12. . If HMD maintains this momentum, the G21 will be running Android 12 by the end of the year. And then next year, Android 13 and then maybe the same. Well, most phones in this price range aren't running Android 12 yet, but HMD doesn't seem to have any advantage here either.
The new 50MP camera is a notable feature of the phone, yet surprisingly few details about the sensor and lens. Instead, HMD focused on the features of Super-Resolution and Night Mode. We'll see how well they work for ourselves, but it doesn't distract us from what is missing.
The Nokia G20 had an ultra-wide camera - with a 5MP sensor, it was fantastic or nothing, but it was there. The Nokia G21's camera has a depth sensor with only a macro camera and a central module. We will take Ultra Wide on any one of them (or both) any day of the week.
Another not much-upgraded battery. 5,050 mAh capacity is very high, and HMD promises 3 days battery life. This sounds great - and it is, but the G20 had the same capability and the same promise of running for 3 days between charges.
The main upgrade is that the phone now supports 18W fast charging (USB Power Delivery 3.0). However, it only ships with a 10W charger, so you must deliver your luggage. Chances are you already have an 18W charger, but then the 10W one will sit in the drawer. And if you don't have an 18W charger, this is not an upgrade for you (not free anyway).
Depending on where you live, the Nokia G21 may look low in price, or it may be one of the few sub-€ 200 phones with a solid battery and genuine software support from the manufacturer. Be committed. If so, come back soon to see how well he performed in our tests.