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

Rugged telephones are likely to be generated by professional handset makers, and are made for use in environments where they are probably to get bashed about, dropped or usually mistreated. They could be hard, but the technical specs can be disappointing. Some of us want a cell phone that is strong enough to cope with hard use cases, with no wanting too ‘industrial’ and also packing excellent technical specs. 

Nokia’s resolution is the XR20, which also comes with four years of security updates and three years of OS upgrades. The entry-stage variant, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, expenses £399.99. Shell out £50 a lot more and you get 6GB of RAM, while a further £50 provides 128GB of storage. My critique device was the top rated-finish 6GB/128GB product, which expenses £499.99. In the US, the cost for the top rated-finish product is $549. 


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

Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

The Nokia XR20 seems relatively outsized, even for a six.sixty seven-inch cell phone. It steps 81.5mm broad by 171.64mm deep by ten.64mm thick and weighs 248g. This more bulk and heft is down to a thick all-close to bumper, which could not search especially elegant but is a single of the causes the handset fulfills the MIL-STD 810H ruggedness common. The screen enjoys defense from Gorilla Glass Victus — the toughest at this time obtainable from Corning. Need to it crack within a yr of acquire, Nokia will deliver a replacement for no cost. 

The handset is also IP68 certified, this means that it is ‘dust tight’ and can manage immersion in 1-3 metres of h2o. In truth, Nokia promises on its Nokia XR20 web-sites that “If it will get dirty, you can just thoroughly clean it with soap and h2o”. 


Rear cameras: 48MP f/1.8 broad-angle and 13MP f/2.4 ultra-broad-angle (123˚).

Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet  

The rubbery backplate has a somewhat wise stippled finish that tends to make the cell phone pretty tactile and should really assistance people with smaller sized, cold or damp, or gloved hands.  

The aesthetics could not be fantastic, but Nokia has surely attempted. The handset comes with possibly blue (Ultra Blue) or gray (Granite) sides and back again. The top rated edge carries the SIM caddy and a purple button identified as the Unexpected emergency Critical which can be programmed to connect with specified contacts. It has small- and prolonged-push functions, and if a single of these is not expected for an unexpected emergency get hold of then choices include things like launching programs, toggling the torch, activating factors like Bluetooth or the wi-fi hotspot, pause/play music and a lot more. It truly is a helpful aspect — a lot more telephones should really have a single.  


The purple Unexpected emergency Critical can be programmed to connect with specified contacts.

Picture: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet  

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There is a lanyard slot on the base edge of the cell phone, just in circumstance you experience the need to have to tether it, along with a 3.5mm headset jack. On the ideal edge the electrical power button incorporates a fingerprint sensor and the volume rocker protrudes so it really is uncomplicated to find in a pocket or with gloved hands. The Google Assistant button sits happy on the left edge for the same motive. 

The digital camera lozenge on the back again of the chassis protrudes significantly, and a lot more than is strictly needed. That is since there is a lip all close to its edge, presumably to assistance shield the lenses from scratching as the cell phone tumbles close to in pockets, bags or wherever else it will have to stay. The lozenge is centrally situated, triggering minimum amount movement as the screen is prodded when the cell phone is sitting down on a desk. 

Rugged telephones slide small on overall performance, and the Nokia XR20 is no exception.  

I pointed out before that the base 4GB/64GB product is priced at £399.99. That is a very small specification, and my £499.99 6GB/128GB critique device is a lot more in line with today’s expectations. Out of the box, 18GB was presently utilised, leaving 110GB no cost. The handset supports two SIMs or a single SIM and a MicroSD card, so storage expansion is obtainable so prolonged as you will not need to have to put in two SIMs. 

The Snapdragon 480 5G chipset is the same as observed in the Nokia X20, a non-rugged and a lot more reasonably priced handset. Although it provides 5G, the reasonably small-finish Snapdragon 480 doesn’t shine as a performer. The Nokia XR20 returned average Geekbench 5 CPU scores of 507 (one main) and 1675 (multi main). This is practically identical to the 8GB/128GB Nokia X20 (510 and 1689), and properly adrift of flagship-course telephones, which virtually double these scores.

The Nokia XR20 runs on Android 11 and you will find barely just about anything extra to that. The My Apps folder consists of just four applications: My Mobile phone Nokia (a support app), Amazon, Spotify and a thirty-working day trial of ExpressVPN. Nokia gives three years of OS upgrades and four years of security updates. 


The 20:nine IPS screen gives 550 nits of brightness and sits within reasonably significant bezels.

Picture: Nokia

The screen is a significant six.sixty seven-inch IPS panel with a resolution of 1,080 by 2,400 pixels (20:nine, 395ppi). It truly is significantly less vibrant than an AMOLED, but gives 550 nits of brightness, which should really assistance with outside viewing. There is a tiny central punch-gap for the front digital camera and sizeable bezels bordering the screen, which effects in a moderate screen-to-entire body ratio of seventy  

Nokia says the pair of speakers are ‘extra loud’ and they surely can make a racket. The good quality isn’t all that fantastic, even though: if you count on your handset to supply directions while biking you could find the higher volume helpful, but if you are searching for abundant tonality you are going to be dissatisfied.  

Although you will find a pretty close affinity amongst the Nokia X20 and the Nokia XR20, the digital camera set up is various. The X20 has a 32MP broad-angle front digital camera, while on the back again the digital camera blend is a 64MP broad-angle, 5MP ultra-broad angle, 2MP depth-sensing, and 2MP macro. 

Below we have an 8MP f/2.2 front digital camera and just two rear cameras — a 48MP f/1.seventy nine broad-angle digital camera and a 13MP f/2.4 ultra-broad-angle (123˚) digital camera. The digital camera lozenge is bulked out with a pair of LED flashes. Pics are perfectly enough, but not excellent in any way. The set up seems to work properly for typical snaps, which is all quite a few people want from their cell phone digital camera. Evening shooting is a bit of a washout. 

A single factor rugged handset people need is excellent battery everyday living — looking close to for mains electrical power or hunting for a electrical power pack when you are on a prolonged walk, bike trip, or are usually active is a ache. The Nokia XR20 is equipped with a 4,630mAh battery which isn’t more-capacious — five,000mAh is pretty widespread these times. The PCMark for Android Work 3. battery life test ran for 17 hrs and nine minutes prior to providing up the ghost in my check, the handset lost 28% from a total charge when streaming three hrs of YouTube movie, which suggests battery everyday living of just underneath eleven hrs. 

The Nokia XR20 supports 15W wi-fi charging, but Nokia doesn’t deliver an adapter for wired charging. This is common for the company these times — most of us will presently have USB-C bricks, Nokia argues, so why bring about environmental damage by supporting the manufacture of nevertheless a further a single? It truly is a honest level. Working with a random charger from my desk drawer, the handset rose to thirty% from 20% soon after 15 minutes, reaching 41% soon after thirty minutes and fifty one% soon after forty five minutes. 


Picture: Nokia


Nokia has come up with a good rugged handset listed here: the XR20 should really be in a position to stand up to knocks, splashes and drops, and is even provided with a no cost screen replacement for a yr soon after acquire. The cameras, overall performance and screen could be unremarkable, but the XR20 does provide 5G connectivity, four years of security updates and virtually no program bloat.

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