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

Rugged phones have a tendency to be manufactured by specialist handset makers, and are built for use in environments in which they’re probably to get bashed about, dropped or otherwise mistreated. They could be rough, but the specifications can be disappointing. Some of us want a cellular phone which is sound adequate to cope with challenging use circumstances, devoid of on the lookout far too ‘industrial’ and also packing great specifications. 

Nokia’s resolution is the XR20, which also will come with 4 years of stability updates and a few years of OS updates. The entry-degree variant, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of interior storage, prices £399.ninety nine. Pay back £50 extra and you get 6GB of RAM, although a further £50 adds 128GB of storage. My evaluate unit was the top-close 6GB/128GB product, which prices £499.ninety nine. In the US, the rate for the top-close product is $549. 


The 6.67-inch rugged Nokia XR20 operates on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 480 5G chipset with up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of interior storage (expandable by means of MicroSD card at the expense of a single of the two SIM slots).

Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The Nokia XR20 appears considerably oversized, even for a 6.67-inch cellular phone. It actions 81.5mm broad by 171.64mm deep by 10.64mm thick and weighs 248g. This further bulk and heft is down to a thick all-all around bumper, which could not glance specifically stylish but is a single of the causes the handset meets the MIL-STD 810H ruggedness normal. The display enjoys security from Gorilla Glass Victus — the hardest currently out there from Corning. Really should it crack in a 12 months of acquire, Nokia will supply a alternative for totally free. 

The handset is also IP68 certified, indicating that it is ‘dust tight’ and can cope with immersion in one-three metres of water. In simple fact, Nokia promises on its Nokia XR20 internet sites that “If it receives soiled, you can just clean it with cleaning soap and water”. 


Rear cameras: 48MP f/one.8 broad-angle and 13MP f/two.four extremely-broad-angle (123˚).

Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet  

The rubbery backplate has a fairly sensible stippled complete that would make the cellular phone very tactile and need to assist people with smaller, chilly or soaked, or gloved hands.  

The aesthetics may possibly not be fantastic, but Nokia has surely experimented with. The handset will come with both blue (Extremely Blue) or gray (Granite) sides and back again. The top edge carries the SIM caddy and a pink button termed the Crisis Key which can be programmed to get in touch with specified contacts. It has limited- and long-push features, and if a single of these is not expected for an emergency speak to then possibilities contain launching purposes, toggling the torch, activating things like Bluetooth or the wireless hotspot, pause/perform audio and extra. It’s a handy characteristic — extra phones need to have a single.  


The pink Crisis Key can be programmed to get in touch with specified contacts.

Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet  

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There is a lanyard slot on the base edge of the cellular phone, just in case you come to feel the need to have to tether it, alongside with a three.5mm headset jack. On the correct edge the electrical power button incorporates a fingerprint sensor and the quantity rocker protrudes so it is really simple to find in a pocket or with gloved hands. The Google Assistant button sits proud on the left edge for the similar explanation. 

The digital camera lozenge on the back again of the chassis protrudes significantly, and extra than is strictly necessary. Which is mainly because there is a lip all all around its edge, presumably to assist safeguard the lenses from scratching as the cellular phone tumbles all around in pockets, luggage or anywhere else it will have to live. The lozenge is centrally situated, creating minimum amount movement as the display is prodded when the cellular phone is sitting on a desk. 

Rugged phones slide limited on performance, and the Nokia XR20 is no exception.  

I noted previously that the foundation 4GB/64GB product is priced at £399.ninety nine. Which is a rather small specification, and my £499.ninety nine 6GB/128GB evaluate unit is extra in line with today’s anticipations. Out of the box, 18GB was presently used, leaving 110GB totally free. The handset supports two SIMs or a single SIM and a MicroSD card, so storage enlargement is out there so long as you really don’t need to have to set up two SIMs. 

The Snapdragon 480 5G chipset is the similar as found in the Nokia X20, a non-rugged and extra inexpensive handset. When it delivers 5G, the somewhat small-close Snapdragon 480 does not shine as a performer. The Nokia XR20 returned average Geekbench 5 CPU scores of 507 (solitary core) and 1675 (multi core). This is almost equivalent to the 8GB/128GB Nokia X20 (510 and 1689), and well adrift of flagship-course phones, which approximately double these scores.

The Nokia XR20 operates on Android 11 and there is certainly barely something extra to that. The My Apps folder contains just 4 apps: My Cellphone Nokia (a assistance app), Amazon, Spotify and a 30-working day trial of ExpressVPN. Nokia gives a few years of OS updates and 4 years of stability updates. 


The twenty:9 IPS display provides 550 nits of brightness and sits in somewhat substantial bezels.

Picture: Nokia

The display is a substantial 6.67-inch IPS panel with a resolution of one,080 by two,400 pixels (twenty:9, 395ppi). It’s much less vibrant than an AMOLED, but provides 550 nits of brightness, which need to assist with out of doors viewing. There is a compact central punch-hole for the entrance digital camera and substantial bezels encompassing the display, which effects in a moderate screen-to-overall body ratio of 76.7%.  

Nokia suggests the pair of speakers are ‘extra loud’ and they surely can make a racket. The excellent isn’t really all that fantastic, while: if you count on your handset to deliver instructions although cycling you could find the large quantity beneficial, but if you are in search of loaded tonality you will be let down.  

While there is certainly a pretty shut affinity between the Nokia X20 and the Nokia XR20, the digital camera setup is different. The X20 has a 32MP broad-angle entrance digital camera, although on the back again the digital camera mix is a 64MP broad-angle, 5MP extremely-broad angle, 2MP depth-sensing, and 2MP macro. 

In this article we have an 8MP f/two.two entrance digital camera and just two rear cameras — a 48MP f/one.79 broad-angle digital camera and a 13MP f/two.four extremely-broad-angle (123˚) digital camera. The digital camera lozenge is bulked out with a pair of LED flashes. Shots are beautifully suitable, but not fantastic in any way. The setup would seem to get the job done well for common snaps, which is all several people want from their cellular phone digital camera. Night time shooting is a bit of a washout. 

Just one issue rugged handset end users have to have is great battery life — looking all around for mains electrical power or searching for a electrical power pack when you are on a long stroll, bicycle experience, or are otherwise active is a discomfort. The Nokia XR20 is geared up with a four,630mAh battery which isn’t really further-capacious — five,000mAh is pretty common these times. The PCMark for Android Work three. battery life test ran for 17 several hours and 9 minutes before supplying up the ghost in my test, the handset shed 28% from a whole charge when streaming a few several hours of YouTube movie, which indicates battery life of just below 11 several hours. 

The Nokia XR20 supports 15W wireless charging, but Nokia does not supply an adapter for wired charging. This is normal for the company these times — most of us will presently have USB-C bricks, Nokia argues, so why trigger environmental destruction by supporting the manufacture of however a further a single? It’s a truthful position. Working with a random charger from my desk drawer, the handset rose to 30% from twenty% right after 15 minutes, achieving forty one% right after 30 minutes and fifty one% right after forty five minutes. 


Picture: Nokia


Nokia has arrive up with a good rugged handset here: the XR20 need to be ready to withstand knocks, splashes and drops, and is even provided with a totally free display alternative for a 12 months right after acquire. The cameras, performance and display could be unremarkable, but the XR20 does give 5G connectivity, 4 years of stability updates and just about no software package bloat.

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