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

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It’s not daily that I come throughout a smartphone that may do one thing extraordinary. Most premium smartphones today look enticing and have an array of cameras on the again, however the buck just about stops there. So, when HMD Global launched The Nokia XR20 in India I used to be fairly , primarily as a result of I’m a dad to a 2-year-old who likes to torture check smartphones. It additionally seems and feels a bit completely different. So, once I acquired the evaluation unit I had two huge questions: Is the Nokia XR20’s robust and rugged exterior price its premium value, and would it not stay intact if I handed it over to my toddler? Read on to see how I discovered the solutions.

Nokia XR20 value in India

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

Nokia XR20 design

HMD Global pitches this cellphone in its promoting supplies as “designed for the long run”. Technically talking, which cellphone is not? Still you get a greater thought of its goal when you maintain this tank of smartphone. It’s loads bigger than I anticipated it to be, measuring 171.64mm (H) x 81.5mm (W). It’s additionally fairly thick at 10.64mm however surprisingly, not as heavy as I anticipated. Despite having that additional rugged exterior, the Nokia XR20 weighs solely as a lot as an iPhone 13 Pro Max (about 240g). While that is heavy by atypical smartphone requirements, it is not dangerous for a rugged machine. My private Google Pixel 4a appears like a mini smartphone subsequent to it, and this additionally implies that the XR20 shouldn’t be preferrred for one-handed operation.

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


In phrases of beauty design, the Nokia XR20 seems the half and seems as if it might take fairly a beating. While most rugged smartphones look chunky at greatest, with pseudo-military styling, HMD Global has made this cellphone look distinctive and trendy.

The exterior 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 also be fairly robust. I positioned the machine on every kind 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 it is 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 underneath working water. As anticipated, the decision was a bit too smooth, as a result of the receiver was flooded with water. Also, the show did not reply properly 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 ft), and I solely managed to get a tiny dent on the ring across the digital camera module. Indeed, utilizing this cellphone to its fullest potential requires a whole lot of unlearning of what we’ve 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 an everyday shopper would expose it to, together with the arms of my two-year-old toddler. So, if you’re a mum or dad and have gone by means of a number of damaged screens or telephones, this is perhaps an attention-grabbing possibility for you.

Nokia XR20 back half emergency button ndtv NokiaXR20  Nokia

The Nokia XR20 has an Emergency key (pink) which could be programmed to open apps or carry out preset features


There’s a Google assistant key on the left, an influence button with an embedded fingerprint reader on the proper, and a quantity rocker simply above it. There’s a fourth particular, pink key, which Nokia calls the Emergency key, and it’s totally programmable. I set it to alter the cellphone’s sound profile with a brief press and pull up the calculator with an extended press. These actions could be assigned to a wide range of features, and you may even use this button to open an app of your alternative.

The Google Assistant key felt abnormally smooth and spongy. I typically ended up activating the voice assistant unintentionally once I picked up the smartphone as a result of this button is situated a bit too low on the left aspect. Thankfully, I might 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 Global has used it in a whole lot of smartphones previously 12 months, however most of them never made it to India, and the XR20 is the primary to make it right here. The cellphone is offered in a single configuration with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It additionally presents exterior storage (as much as 512GB) because of a hybrid slot within the dual-SIM tray.

The Nokia XR20 helps a number of 5G bands and presents 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 it is 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’s part of the Android One programme, and HMD Global is promising three years of software program updates. The software program is nearly inventory in look with minor Nokia customisations. There’s a customized digital camera app with Pro picture and Cinema video modes. You can alter the color temperature of the show utilizing the white stability setting within the Settings app. While a lot of the preinstalled apps had been Google’s defaults, I did discover the Netflix and Spotify apps after organising the cellphone. These could be uninstalled if not wanted.

Nokia XR20 efficiency and battery life

The Nokia XR20’s show will get brilliant sufficient to sort out direct daylight, so outside visibility was not an issue. Viewing angles had been additionally fairly good. While the default color temperature was a bit too cool (or bluish) the cellphone permits you to change it to a hotter tone if wanted. Unlike most smartphones in and even under this value 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 a typical 60Hz refresh charge


The giant 6.67-inch full-HD+ LCD panel is sweet for watching films and taking part in video games on. HMD Global claims that it really works properly 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 Pro Max which was unusable in such a situation. 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 check 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 right 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 exams. The cellphone scored 59fps and 14fps in GFXBench’s T-Rex and Car Chase benchmarks respectively, and managed 3,413 and a pair of,403 factors in 3DMark’s Sling Shot and Sling Shot Extreme benchmarks.

Nokia XR20 back full IPrating ndtv NokiaXR20  Nokia

Nokia XR20 has an IP68 ranking for mud and water resistance and can also 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. In truth the software program expertise was fairly clean. However, gaming efficiency was properly under common. I attempted out Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9: Legends. Call of Duty: Mobile was set to the High graphics and body charge by default. The recreation was playable at these settings, however there have been a number of cases of lag and a few stuttering. Lowering the graphics to Medium didn’t appear to assist. Asphalt 9: Legends alternatively ran easily with the graphics set to Default. Most different smartphones on this value 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 check, which is properly under common for a smartphone on this value section. However, its 4,630mAh battery simply lasted a day and half with informal use, which did embody a little bit of gaming, taking some pictures, messaging, looking by means of social media apps, and video streaming. Charging was fairly gradual compared with equally priced smartphones. The bundled 18W charger managed to take the Nokia XR20 from a lifeless battery to a full cost in 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Nokia XR20 cameras

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

Nokia XR20 back half camera ndtv NokiaXR20  Nokia

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


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

Nokia XR20 daylight digital camera samples. Top to backside: Close-up, main digital camera, ultra-wide-angle digital camera (faucet to see full dimension)


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

There’s no macro mode like on most smartphones on this value 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 digital camera samples. Top: 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 every thing look very murky. I’ve seen higher low-light picture efficiency from way more inexpensive units. Switching to Night mode clears up the murkiness and brings out some element with extra distinction, however photographs ended up with a really noticeable watercolour-like impact and flat textures. If your topic or scene is flooded with gentle, the outcomes can be barely higher, however nonetheless simply passable at greatest.

Nokia XR20 low-light digital camera samples. Top: Auto mode, backside: Night mode (faucet to see full dimension)


The high quality of video recordings in daylight was strictly common, with low element. The digital camera additionally struggles to focus shortly when panning. While stabilisation was first rate when recording 1080p video at 30fps, 60fps video got here out fairly shaky and lacked any kind of stabilisation in any respect. Results from the ultra-wide-angle digital camera had been additionally under common. I received higher video high quality and stabilisation when utilizing the front-facing digital camera. 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 significantly 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 enchantment to a really area of interest set of consumers. You might slap a tricky case onto any of the above-mentioned premium smartphones, however that will not provide the peace of thoughts that the XR20 can. In brief, there’s nothing prefer it, if you’re particularly searching for a rugged smartphone that may tackle rather more than what most common shoppers can throw at it.

Whether you should purchase one, all relies on how a lot you normally torture your smartphone, how clumsy you’re every day, and whether or not you’re prepared to stay with its inconsistent digital camera efficiency. The different use case is clearly for adventurous customers who would possibly discover themselves open air for lengthy stretches, these working at building websites or different dusty and humid environments, these into journey sports activities, and even new dad and mom. Many folks will like the truth that the Nokia XR20 might be extra dependable and reliable than an everyday premium smartphone.

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