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Nokia T21 Review: A good all-rounder tablet

Story Highlights
  • Nokia T21 Tablet has quite a premium-looking design for a budget purchase.
  • The tablet is powered by a Unisoc T612 chipset which is a slight upgrade from its predecessor.
  • One thing is clear though, HMD Global really wants to be a champion of entry-level tablets. 

Nokia T21 Review: Remember when Nokia announced that it was returning to the tablet world in late 2021? Having used a number of Nokia phones I was pretty excited and that’s why when the company released the Nokia T20, I had to get myself one. I really never reviewed it but made it among the devices I carry around for my daily use.

The T20 was a budget 10-inch tablet with a stylish design the company was selling at Ksh. 29,700 locally. 

The tablet brought the classic Nokia phone quality to the big screen, with a range of versatile features and a long-lasting battery life. Other features included a 2K display and an 8-megapixel rear camera sensor. Just like what we have seen with Nokia phones, the tablet also came with three years of monthly security updates and two years of free operating system (OS) upgrades.

One thing I really didn’t like about the tablet though is the fact that it lacked L1 Widevine DRM certification. What this meant I could only play videos in a resolution of 480p on streaming services like Netflix. 

Fast forward, HMD Global, the makers of Nokia phones have now followed up with a successor, the Nokia T21. This tablet carries over similar looks to the T20 but has had a few upgrades. It features a slim build and a premium-feeling aluminum body. Something else, HMD Global has traded the blue color we saw on the T20 for a more understated charcoal grey shade which we really like.

HMD Global has also ironed out the certification I highlighted earlier and with the new T21, you can now enjoy YouTube, Netflix, and others in HD. 

We have a first impressions video up on our YouTube page. In case you missed it you can check it below.

If you’re in Kenya, you can buy the T21 Tablet now for Ksh 32,500. But is it really worth that price tag? Here is our Nokia T21 Review. One thing is clear though, the company really wants to be a champion of entry-level tablets. 

Nokia T21 Tablet Design, Display, and Build

 

One of the key plus points for the Nokia T21 Tablet has to be the great build quality and the high-quality-looking appearance. The tablet is 7.5mm thick and weighs just 471g, so it is perfect for slipping inside your bag and also doesn’t feel heavy in the hand. 

The tablet also comes with an IP52 rating, so it is protected against light dust and water spray. 

For the Display, we are getting a 10.36-inch screen in a 5:3 aspect ratio. The 2K IPS display is protected by toughened glass, which has some scratch resistance. This is a budget device so we’re getting a 60Hz screen, I wish we had it at 90Hz though. The peak brightness is 360 nits, a downgrade from the T20.

For indoor use, the tablet works quite well. You might however struggle a little bit when using it under direct sunlight, I find the glass quite reflective. 

There’s no fingerprint scanner but you can unlock the tablet via facial recognition. Important to also mention that the tablet has two speakers on either side, along with OZO Spatial Audio software. Playback is quite loud for streaming Netflix, your favorite podcasts, and some bit of music. 

Specs, Performance, and Software

Nokia T21 Display

The Nokia T21 is powered by a Unisoc T612 chipset which is a slight upgrade from its predecessor. This chipset is paired with 4GB RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage, but the microSD slot allows up to an additional 512GB.

Performance is actually better than what we get with the Nokia T20 and the tablet handles light tasks like browsing the web, reading e-books, and watching YouTube videos without any problems or lags. It also handles everything just fine with light multitasking. Heavy tasks like gaming in high graphics on the tablet might however disappoint you, so keep it light.

When it comes to the software, we’re getting pure Android and this is actually one of the biggest advantages of Nokia devices.  Nokia T21 comes with Android 12 out of the box and just a few apps come pre-installed ie Netflix and Spotify. It also comes with Google Entertainment Space preloaded which serves as your one-stop personalized home for all your favorite movies, shows, videos, games, and books.  For example. Google Kids Space is also on board – you can find suitable content for your kids here. Once you sign in to your subscription apps, Entertainment Space will show you your content in one place and tailored for you. And if you want to share your tablet, everyone in the family can have their own personalized profile.

Also,  HMD Global promises monthly security updates for three years and two Android operating system upgrades, another big advantage of going Nokia. So the tablet will eventually receive Android 13.

Something I also need to mention is that you can also use your Nokia T21 tablet as a second screen with a Windows device when connected to the same wifi network. You can access this feature in the drop-down menu and cast the tablet using the Windows and K keys on your computer. This came in handy for me considering my home office space is not that quite big to accommodate a second large monitor. Also quite good for productivity. 

Cameras and battery life

No one really uses cameras on their tablets, well, at least, not me. Nonetheless, the Nokia T21 cameras come with some improvements compared to the T20. 

Both the front and rear cameras are 8Mp and work just fine with the rear one capable of up to 8X zoom. In good lighting, you still get some usable snaps although they lack some sharpness. 

For the battery, the Nokia T21 has a 8200mAh battery, which the company claims is enough power to see you through up to 15 hours of web browsing, bingeing a whole TV series, and up to a whopping 7 hours of conference calls. On average I was actually able to go two days on moderate use which included some social media and reading e-books, so yea, that’s impressive. The company has also added an 18W fast charger and a USB Type-C charger in the box. 

Conclusion, Pricing, and Availability

Nokia T21 design

That’s it for our Nokia T21 Review. I am happy that Nokia has actually made some improvements to the Nokia T21. The tablet has quite a premium-looking design for a budget purchase. 

The battery life is also really impressive. That plus all the other specs we have highlighted in this review makes worth considering for anyone looking for a budget tablet. 

The tablet is available in Kenya in Grey 4/128GB option for Ksh 32,500. 

Have anything to add to our Nokia T21 Review? Follow us on TelegramTwitter, and Facebook, or subscribe to our weekly newsletter to ensure you don’t miss out on any future updates. Send tips to info@techtrendske.co.ke

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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