Nokia XR20 Review: A Lovely Beast of a Cellphone

Nokia XR20 review: An attractive beast that’s constructed to final

MSRP $550.00

“Do not let the nice seems idiot you, the Nokia XR20 is a rugged cellphone through-and-through. It would not have the specs to match most different mainstream telephones, however its worth comes with spectacular longevity.”


  • Engaging but powerful physique
  • Software program updates for 3 years
  • Prolonged guarantee (location dependent)
  • Wi-fi charging


  • Poor camera
  • Mediocre efficiency
  • 60Hz refresh fee display

Robust doesn’t need to imply ugly anymore now that HMD World has launched the Nokia XR20 smartphone, which it says “can stand up to something life throws at it and look nice doing it.” That’s fairly a daring declare when, by necessity, rugged telephones normally appear like they’re hidden inside a chunky, not often very enticing case.

However does this imply the XR20 is a troublesome cellphone for everybody, no matter whether or not you spend time in conditions the place a lesser cellphone can be pulverized in moments or not?


The Nokia XR20 successfully straddles the world of powerful telephones and chunkier mainstream fashions by avoiding protruding bumpers and slash cuts on the rear panel to represent ruggedness. It additionally sports activities a refined blue hue as an alternative of a black or yellow coloration scheme that simply screams “hazard!” Whereas it’s clearly not a mainstream cellphone just like the OnePlus Nord 2, it received’t solely take a look at dwelling coated in mud and thrown haphazardly within the cab of a bit of heavy equipment both.

The Nokia XR20 in Ultra Blue color, seen from the back.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Simply check out among the particulars. I just like the uncovered aluminum metallic chassis down the aspect of the cellphone and the straightforward X sample on the camera module, for instance. However Nokia hasn’t forgotten what the cellphone is admittedly all about, regardless of these neat visible components, by together with a cutout for a lanyard strap, a textured polymer rear panel for extra grip, and a programmable emergency button, too.

One-handed use is virtually unattainable when you have small arms.

It’s a chunky beast at 10.64mm thick and 248 grams. A slender plastic shell covers the cellphone, successfully wanting like an ergonomic powerful case on a slimmer cellphone and offering it with “army specification” MIL-STD-810H certification and an IP68 score. This implies it has survived drops from 1.8 meters and being in water all the way down to a depth of 1.5 meters for as much as an hour, together with resisting publicity to mud and lots extra. It has Gorilla Glass Victus over the display.

It’s a really broad cellphone, and one-handed use is virtually unattainable when you have small arms, however it’s comfy and pure to carry because it doesn’t have any protrusions or guard sections on the physique. There’s a refined raised lip across the display to guard it when positioned facedown, however it’s not so excessive that you just really feel it every time you swipe by means of menus.

Unusually for a cellphone review, I’ve intentionally dropped the XR20 and put it in water, too. It’s nonetheless working as you’d count on after varied dunkings and drops from waist peak onto a wide range of surfaces from grass to gravel. The laborious plastic shell has picked up a scuff already, although, suggesting that whereas it seems fairly now, it could not for that lengthy if it will get actually abused. That’s the worth you pay for the XR20 wanting vaguely regular. I do like the arrogance to have the ability to give it a fast, mildly soapy scrub down, although.

The Nokia XR20 isn’t a catwalk mannequin, however it’s not made just for the constructing website both. It undoubtedly needs to cross into each worlds, however as soon as we get into the remainder of the cellphone, it turns into clear that whereas it’s all dressed up, the wonder is simply pores and skin deep. It’s not a criticism, simply don’t mistake it for one thing it isn’t. If I used to be a surfer, weekend hiker, or somebody who labored in environments that didn’t favor electronics usually, it actually suits the invoice. Probably not as a main cellphone, however actually as a second “lifestyle-friendly” cellphone.

Digital camera

The camera module could appear like it comprises three or 4 camera lenses, however in actuality, it has two, with the opposite two spots taken up by two flash items — a dual-tone LED and a single LED. Inside a hole-punch cutout on the high heart of the display is an 8-megapixel selfie camera.

Nokia XR20 camera module.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

The rear twin 48MP primary camera and 13MP wide-angle camera setup means the XR20 is rarely going to be a camera famous person, and certain sufficient, it might probably’t compete with telephones designed with camera efficiency in thoughts. Coloration steadiness, white steadiness, and dynamic vary are in every single place, and infrequently do two photographs have the identical tone. Inconsistency continues while you change to the wide-angle.

It could put on the Zeiss title, however the Nokia XR20’s means doesn’t dwell as much as it. It’s not value judging it too harshly as a result of Nokia actually isn’t promoting the cellphone as a high camera performer, and the photographs it does take are principally acceptable in first rate lighting, however for those who’re in any respect occupied with taking actually good photographs and having some artistic enjoyable with a camera, this isn’t the cellphone for you.


There are a number of buttons on the Nokia XR20. The Google Assistant button on the left of the chassis is giant and simple to find, which additionally means you’ll undoubtedly press it by chance. There’s a programmable button on the highest of the cellphone that may be set to carry out a single motion like turning on the flashlight or dialing an emergency contact after an extended press. It’s nearly flush with the physique, so it’s unlikely you’ll do that by chance.

Fingerprint sensor on the Nokia XR20.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

The fingerprint sensor is inside the ability key and is centered on the right-hand aspect of the physique. Annoyingly, I discover my finger naturally presses the amount down key above it when choosing up the cellphone, one thing not helped by the small sensor being flush and never having any texture to assist find it. It’s dependable while you do discover it, and a speedy face unlock system is there as a backup.

It has sufficient energy for common duties.

A Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 processor with both 4GB or 6GB of RAM makes the XR20 a midrange cellphone. It has sufficient energy for common duties, and I’ve had no issues searching, utilizing social networks, swiping by means of Google Uncover, and enhancing photographs. The distinction between it and extra highly effective telephones is generally present in general pace when performing duties like beginning up the cellphone and apps or gaming. In these cases, the XR20 is a bit of slower to react. It’s not annoying in most conditions, however it may be while you wish to multitask or simply get issues performed shortly.

You’ll additionally discover the ability shortcomings when watching video and taking part in video games, the place there are typically a number of stutters when watching 1080p motion pictures. The 6.67-inch, 20:9 facet ratio, 1080 x 2400 LCD display has sizable bezels round it, and it sadly solely has a 60Hz refresh fee. The display sits “beneath” the bezel, making the design look a bit of antiquated. The 550 nits brightness doesn’t sound like a lot, however it’s legible in daylight.

Nokia XR20 screen.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Watching Carfection’s Ferrari Portofino M review reveals good viewing angles and a delightful coloration palette. It’s a superb display for a midrange cellphone, however it’s not very fashionable and plenty of mainstream telephones have the extra fascinating increased refresh fee. There are two audio system, however the stereo separation is minimal, with many of the quantity — of which there’s lots — coming from the speaker on the underside of the cellphone. The cellphone performs Asphalt 9: Legends comparatively easily and doesn’t get scorching. The general weight of the Nokia XR20 means it’s not likely the best video or gaming companion, and the Snapdragon 480 lacks the center to impress.

Battery, software program, and connectivity

Android One is neatly designed and specified by the identical manner as on a Google Pixel cellphone, so it’s very simple to make use of and I haven’t skilled any reliability points.  HMD World guarantees three years of model updates with the cellphone, and 4 years of safety updates, which is superb. It has 5G supplied you’ve protection in your space and NFC for Google Pay, plus there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, however the Wi-Fi connection struggles to take care of a weak sign in comparison with different telephones.

Emergency button on the top of the Nokia XR20.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Google Assistant button on the Nokia XR20.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

Nokia XR20 charge port.Andy Boxall/Digital Traits

The 4,630mAh battery could be very robust and returns two days of life even while you’re taking part in video games or watching movies, in addition to making a number of calls. It’s nice to see 15-watt wi-fi charging included, plus there’s 18W Fast Cost 4.0 wired charging, too. Nevertheless, there’s no charger included within the field, so the precise cost speeds will depend upon the charger you find yourself utilizing.

Value and availability

The Nokia XR20 prices $550 is obtainable for pre-order at B&H Picture now, and can seemingly be obtainable from different shops. Within the U.Okay. the XR20 is obtainable now and prices 399 British kilos/$552, or 449 kilos/$621 for the 6GB/128GB mannequin. It’s obtainable in both Extremely Blue as seen in our photographs, and in Granite Grey.

Our take

An uninspiring camera, a 60Hz refresh fee display, and a Snapdragon 480 processor is a recipe for a cellphone that prices $250, however the Nokia XR20 prices $550. Whereas it could look higher than the vast majority of powerful telephones, it’s nonetheless a troublesome cellphone — and a superb one — at coronary heart, and also you’re paying for the engineering and certification that goes into making it so, reasonably than a camera- and processor-centric spec record.

The XR20 will nearly actually outlast telephones that value half as a lot, and nonetheless look first rate while you take it out in town.

The story typically ends right here, which means the ruggedness is admittedly the one purpose to purchase, however that’s not fairly the case with the XR20. It’s not simply the physique that makes it constructed to final — there’s actual longevity elsewhere, too. HMD World guarantees three years of Android model updates and 4 years of safety updates. It’s additionally coated by a three-year guarantee if bought within the U.Okay. or Europe, full with a one-year free display substitute assure. Guarantee particulars for the U.S. differ, and HMD World signifies it can include a two-year prolonged guarantee.

Mix this with the powerful physique, Gorilla Glass Victus, and IP68 water resistance, and also you’ve bought a cellphone made to final till 2024 and past. The efficiency could not ship a lot worth, however the updates and guarantee do a much better job. As a second cellphone to make use of when issues get muddy or rocky, the XR20 will nearly actually outlast telephones that value half as a lot, and nonetheless look first rate while you take it out in town.

Is there a greater various?

The Nokia XR20’s rugged nature places it up towards the Cat S61 and Cat S62 Professional, each of which value extra however characteristic Flir’s thermal camera technology and a much more historically rugged design. The Cat S48c is older however could be discovered for a far lower cost, as can the latest Motorola Defy.

If you wish to spend round $500 on a cellphone with out the rugged design, we advocate the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G. It does have water resistance and is created from plastic so it must be reasonably hardwearing, however the display and camera are superior to the Nokia XR20’s.

How lengthy will it final?

As talked about above, the Nokia XR20’s Android software program shall be up to date for 3 years, and the safety updates will proceed on for an additional 12 months after that. The guarantee interval varies relying on the place you purchase the cellphone, however it can probably be coated for as much as three years. Meaning it is best to safely be capable to personal and use the cellphone till no less than 2024, plus it has 5G so you’ll be able to make the most of the quickest connection speeds as properly.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure, however provided that “wants to face up to harsh therapy” is on the high of your want record.

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