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Nokia X30 5G Review

Everything nice....but should cost less


Nokia X30 5G is one of those devices from HMD Global that really caught my eye when the company first made it available in Kenya. The phone has been described as one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly smartphones around and we really like that. We love what HMD Global did from the packaging to even the overall design – the company has really not compromised on quality but should you really buy this phone? 

Let me take you back. The Nokia X30 5G was released in September 2022 and HMD Global only brought it to Kenya in May this year. 

At the launch, Gopher Oembo, Senior Business Manager, HMD Global said the Nokia X30 5G delivers the best Pureview photography ‘’It is also the best phone we have ever made.’’ he said. 

Notice the mention of Pureview? Well, the first time we actually got to hear of it was when HMD launched the Nokia 9 Pureview,  a flagship which we got a chance to actually interact with. The Nokia 9 PureView was actually the world’s first smartphone with a unique five-camera array but it didn’t really take off the way the company wanted it to, receiving its fair share of criticism. The Nokia X30 5G seems to be a comeback, featuring a very impressive design, solid and eco-friendly build, and of course the trust that comes with the Nokia brand. 

Priced at Ksh. 42,500 and available in Cloudy Blue or Ice White, the Nokia X30 5G is an all-rounder.  The phone isn’t really trying to compete with other flagships like the S23 for example but the classic Nokia design and longer battery performance should actually convince you to splash your money on one. 

How is the design and Display?

Nokia X30 5G Review

When it comes to the design, I mentioned this is one area that should convince you to buy the Nokia X30 5G.  The phone gives you a very lasting impression when you hold it in your hands. It’s tough with a thick frame made from 100% recycled aluminium and a nice back made of 65% recycled plastic. The back has a smooth, matte finish and despite being plastic, it actually gives the phone a very premium look. The phone weighs 185 grams. 

The back doesn’t seem to attract fingerprints so that’s good. There is also a solid metal camera island housing two camera lenses. The power and volume buttons are on the right.

On the front, you have the display with a centrally aligned hole-punch cutout for the front camera and Corning Gorilla Glass for protection. HMD has also added an in-display fingerprint sensor that is quite fast in unlocking the smartphone. Additionally, the phone gets an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance.

The display is a 6.43-inch full-HD+ (1,080×2,400 pixels) AMOLED with a 90Hz refresh rate and up to 700 nits of peak brightness. I wish the company gave us a 120Hz refresh rate as it did with the Nokia G60. Still, it’s smoother when scrolling and transitioning between apps or playing your games. 

Important to mention that the Corning Gorilla Glass Victus on the phone’s screen and back camera unit is strong and sturdy enough. Should you accidentally drop the phone from a reasonable height trust the phone to still remain intact. The overall build of the Nokia X30 5G really makes the phone a premium device. 

Things you also need to note – there is no headphone jack but you can opt for Bluetooth headphone connectivity instead. The device also uses a USB type-c to type-C cable but you will be required to get it separately, same as a charging adapter. They are not included in the box as HMD is trying to tackle e-waste

We have a separate article on what makes the Nokia X30 5G eco-friendly which you can read about here. 

How about the performance and battery life? 

Well, lets just say the Nokia X30 5G gets things done. The chipset might not be the strongest or excel in areas where a number of other latest flagships and expensive phones do but the phone really handles everything you put to it just fine without any struggles. This includes things like listening to music, reading your favorite blogs, and checking social media, we did not experience much problem or sluggishness. 

Nokia X30 5G runs on Android 13 as of August 1st and the company is promising three OS upgrades and three years of monthly security updates for the device.  It is powered by a Snapdragon 695 5G SoC, a mid-range 5G-capable chipset that was launched back in 2021. On top of that, there’s 8GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage.

It comes pre-loaded with a few apps like Netflix, Spotify and GoPro Quick: Video Editor which you can actually uninstall. You are also getting a very clean interface and OS updates which have been Nokia smartphones’ strong points. 

Do we like the battery life? Well, the battery life is decent at 4,200mAh battery with support for 33W fast charging. It should be able to last you an entire day on a single charge. But remember what we said, the USB-C and adapter are not included in the box.

How about the cameras?

Nokia X30 5G Review

Cameras have become a very important part of modern smartphones. The consumer has evolved and is always asking for more and quality camera performance and the Nokia X30 5G does exactly that. 

HMD Global has given as a 50MP PureView main camera with optical image stabilisation (OIS) and a 13MP ultrawide shooter with a 123-degree field of view. The dual rear camera setup also features an LED flash.  Remember we mentioned that the rear camera unit is protected by a Corning Gorilla Glass layer. The camera also supports different photography modes including AI Portrait, Night Mode 2.0, Dark Vision, Tripod Mode, and Night Selfie.

There’s a 16-megapixel front camera for selfies and video chats. The output is quite good with fairly accurate skin tones and facial detailing, especially with good lighting. 

The main camera works really well in well-lit conditions. The photos capture some good details so you can document to favorite moments without worrying about picture quality. 

The ultrawide camera does not disappoint. Although the phone takes a little bit longer to process photos and adding that little AI effect, the final product looks really good.

Check sample shots below

Verdict – Should you buy the Nokia X30 5G?

Nokia X30 5G
Nokia X30 5G [Photo/Nixon Kanali/TechTrends Media]
Here is what we think. Nokia X30 5G is a good phone delivering everything you need in a mid-range smartphone. This includes great battery life, manageable graphics, enough RAM and even for multitasking without having to worry about lag issues.

We love what HMD Global has done with this packaging. This newly designed Nokia X30 5G box is made of recycled cardboard covered with graphical representations of the products printed with vegetable ink.  The box is very small and can be recycled. This reduced packaging size has been made possible by HMD’s decision to remove chargers from the X-series to tackle e-waste – saves on transportation CO2 emissions. Using 100% FSC-certified and 94% recycled paper, the company is promoting responsible forestry and supporting circular economy. 

The Nokia X30 5G actually delivers the smallest eco-footprint of a Nokia phone to date. 

The asking price might be a little bit high But if you’re looking for a phone with a neat design, very solid build and clean software, the the Nokia X30 5G is indeed a good option. 

Have anything to add to our Nokia X30 5G Review?

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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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