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Nokia X20 Review: Should you really buy it?


Nokia X20 Review: The Nokia X20 is one of those devices that HMD Global unveiled into the Kenyan market back in May. It’s a mid-range device that HMD Global is selling at Ksh.40,900 making it one of the most affordable 5G devices currently selling in the local market.

With the Nokia X20, HMD Global says it is pushing the boundaries of the mid-range, providing experiences and quality far above the price tag. The Nokia X20 is powered by the latest Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 480 5G Mobile Platform which HMD says delivers series-defying performance and truly global 5G. But should you really buy the device? 

I have been using the Nokia X20 for about two weeks now as my primary phone and one thing was clear, the phone fits right into this segment, although it faces some serious competition. Everything about this phone feels budget – from the chipset, to the design and even battery life. Mmmmh

Well, that said, there’s still some things that make the phone a good buy. For example, HMD Global promises the Nokia X20 will get three years of Android updates. This is much more than we can say for many other Android phones. The screen size is also quite big and pretty good and of course 5G support although we didn’t really get a chance to experience it because of coverage issues. Here is our Nokia X20 Review. 

Nokia X20 Design and Display

I need to mention that we did not get a chance to do an unboxing video for this device because the review unit we got from HMD’s local office was an already-used unit. Still, we are getting a premium design with this device. Nokia tends to stick to the same design with almost all its phones so if you were expecting something different with the Nokia X20 you might be a bit disappointed. That does not however mean the design on this phone is not good.

The Nokia X20 sports a reflective matte finish on the rear that looks premium. The phone also feels great in the hand. The phone feels pretty big mainly because of its huge 6.67-inch display. The body is made of plastic with a circular camera bump at the back, something we have seen in most Nokia phones, with the Zeiss logo in the middle. 

Nokia X20 Display

The phone also features a side-mounted fingerprint scanner embedded in the power button on the right edge, with the volume rocker located just above it. At the bottom there’s a USB-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, some speakers, and on the left edge there’s a Google Assistant button. 

The display is huge so if you’re someone who loves big-screen phones then Nokia X20 is the phone for you. It’s 6.67 inches with a punch-hole cut-out for the front-facing camera, and surrounded by a relatively thick bezel. The resolution is 1080 x 2400, with a 60Hz refresh rate. Well, a 60Hz refresh rate is quite disappointing for that price but still, the display looked pretty good and detailed – images were relatively sharp, the max brightness was not bad making the phone good for scrolling through socials or watching your favorite videos on YouTube or TikTok. 

Nokia X20 Specs Performance and battery life

As we mentioned earlier, powering this device is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 480 processor paired with 8GB of RAM and some 128GB of internal storage. There is also a 6G variant but the variant we had was an 8GB one.  With that chipset, Nokia X20 faces some serious competition. Not sure why HMD decided to go with it but again it comes with its some benefits – 5G connectivity.

Remember I mentioned we didn’t get a chance to really experience 5G though as Kenya is currently really not well covered. Someone whispered that I will need to visit Two Rivers Mall to experience it. Safaricom launched its first public 5G network trials in select parts across the country. Kenya’s largest telco Safaricom launched 5G in March in Nairobi, Kisumu, Kisii and Kakamega in the first phase of trials but we’re still yet to actually enjoy it.  

Even with a cheaper chipset, the Nokia X20 is fine for daily use. The phone is able to handle basic tasks like social media use, and small gaming just fine. Apps open fast without stutters.

We are also getting stock Android 11 which offers quite a cleaner experience. Remember Nokia has also committed to three full OS upgrades and three years of security updates as well. 

For the battery life, the Nokia X20 sports a 4,470mAh battery that should get you around a day and a half of use with average use. You can also stretch it to two days with light use. The phone also supports 18W charging and you can fully charge the phone from 5% to 100% for around 90 minutes. Interesting that our box did not contain a charging brick begging the question, is Nokia going the Apple or Samsung way? 

Nokia X20 Camera Review

As for the cameras, Nokia X20 features a rear quad-camera setup consisting of a 64MP primary camera, a 5MP ultrawide camera, a 2MP macro camera, and a 2MP depth sensor. There’s also a 32MP front camera for taking your favorite selfies. This camera set-up is pretty standard. You also get a number of camera modes including Night, portrait, cinema among others. Check some sample shots below. 

The main camera captures some decent photos. Images produced are quite detailed, especially with some good lighting. The selfie camera does not disappoint either. 

One key highlight feature is the Dual-Sight mode, that lets you capture videos from two different perspectives. When you activate it each video will share a portion of the screen which you can set between half-and-half and about two-thirds/one-third. You can also shoot your videos at 1080p, with a choice of either 30fps or 60fps recording. 

Should you buy the Nokia X20?

The Nokia X20 is a pretty good and well-designed phone offering an amazing battery life,5G  support, among other interesting features. Nokia also promises three years of software upgrades, security updates and an extended warranty for the X20. 

There are things that we feel Nokia should have done better like using a more powerful chipset, better cameras, and faster charging.  However, if you’re working with a tight budget and looking for a 5G device the Nokia X20 is a phone we would recommend. 

The phone is currently available for purchase in Kenya for Ksh.40,900 and you can grab one from Nokia recommended retailers across the country or e-commerce platforms like Jumia.

Nokia X20 Specs

Display Size 6.67 inches, 107.4 cm2 (~79.8% screen-to-body ratio)
Dimensions 168.9 x 79.7 x 9.1 mm (6.65 x 3.14 x 0.36 in)
Resolution 1080 x 2400 pixels, 20:9 ratio (~395 ppi density)
OS Android 11
Chipset Qualcomm SM4350 Snapdragon 480 5G (8 nm)
CPU Octa-core (2×2.0 GHz Kryo 460 & 6×1.8 GHz Kryo 460)
RAM 8GB 
Internal Storage 128GB
Rear Cameras (Quad) 64 MP, (wide), PDAF

5 MP, (ultrawide)

2 MP, (macro)

2 MP, (depth)

Video: 1080p@30/60fps

Selfie Camera 32 MP, (wide)

1080p@30fps

SIM Single SIM (Nano-SIM) or Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
Battery Li-Po 4470 mAh, non-removable

18W Fast charging 

Features Fingerprint (side-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity
Price Ksh.40,900
Availability Available
Colours Midnight Sun, Nordic Blue

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I write about tech, business and African startups. Founder and Editor For TechTrendsKE. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to nkanali@techtrendske.co.ke.

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