Nokia XR20 evaluate: A wonderful beast that’s constructed to final

MSRP $550.00

“Do not let the great appears 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 robust physique

Software program updates for three years

Prolonged guarantee (location dependent)

Wi-fi charging


Poor digital camera

Mediocre efficiency

60Hz refresh price display

Robust doesn’t must 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, hardly ever very enticing case.

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


The Nokia XR20 successfully straddles the world of robust 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 a substitute of a black or yellow shade scheme that simply screams “hazard!” Whereas it’s clearly not a mainstream cellphone just like the OnePlus Nord 2, it gained’t solely have a look at residence coated in mud and thrown haphazardly within the cab of a bit of heavy equipment both.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

Simply check out a number of the particulars. I just like the uncovered aluminum metallic chassis down the aspect of the cellphone and the straightforward X sample on the digital camera module, for instance. However Nokia hasn’t forgotten what the cellphone is actually all about, regardless of these neat visible parts, 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 unimaginable you probably have small fingers.

It’s a chunky beast at 10.64mm thick and 248 grams. A slender plastic shell covers the cellphone, successfully wanting like an ergonomic robust case on a slimmer cellphone and offering it with “navy specification” MIL-STD-810H certification and an IP68 ranking. This implies it has survived drops from 1.Eight meters and being in water right 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 huge cellphone, and one-handed use is virtually unimaginable you probably have small fingers, but it surely’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, but it surely’s not so excessive that you simply really feel it every time you swipe by way of menus.

Unusually for a cellphone evaluate, I’ve intentionally dropped the XR20 and put it in water, too. It’s nonetheless working as you’d count on after numerous dunkings and drops from waist top onto quite a lot of surfaces from grass to gravel. The exhausting plastic shell has picked up a scuff already, although, suggesting that whereas it appears 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 boldness to have the ability to give it a fast, mildly soapy scrub down, although.

The Nokia XR20 isn’t a catwalk mannequin, but it surely’s not made just for the constructing website both. It positively 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 sweetness 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 matches the invoice. Not likely as a main cellphone, however definitely as a second “lifestyle-friendly” cellphone.


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

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

The rear twin 48MP important digital camera and 13MP wide-angle digital camera setup means the XR20 is rarely going to be a digital camera famous person, and positive sufficient, it may possibly’t compete with telephones designed with digital camera efficiency in thoughts. Shade stability, white stability, and dynamic vary are all over, and infrequently do two pictures have the identical tone. Inconsistency continues once you swap to the wide-angle.

It could put on the Zeiss title, however the Nokia XR20’s means doesn’t stay as much as it. It’s not price judging it too harshly as a result of Nokia actually isn’t promoting the cellphone as a prime digital camera performer, and the pictures it does take are largely acceptable in first rate lighting, however if you happen to’re in any respect taken with taking actually good pictures and having some inventive enjoyable with a digital camera, this isn’t the cellphone for you.


There are numerous 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 positively 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 a protracted press. It’s nearly flush with the physique, so it’s unlikely you’ll do that by chance.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

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 selecting 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 once 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 way of Google Uncover, and modifying pictures. The distinction between it and extra highly effective telephones is usually present in total pace when performing duties like beginning up the cellphone and apps or gaming. In these situations, the XR20 is a little bit slower to react. It’s not annoying in most conditions, however it may be once you wish to multitask or simply get issues executed rapidly.

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

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

Watching Carfection’s Ferrari Portofino M evaluate reveals good viewing angles and a lovely shade palette. It’s a superb display for a midrange cellphone, but it surely’s not very fashionable and plenty of mainstream telephones have the extra fascinating larger refresh price. 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 probably not the perfect video or gaming companion, and the Snapdragon 480 lacks the heart to impress.

Battery, software program, and connectivity

Android One is neatly designed and specified by the identical method 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 offered you will have protection in your space and NFC for Google Pay, plus there’s a three.5mm headphone jack, however the Wi-Fi connection struggles to take care of a weak sign in comparison with different telephones.

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

Andy Boxall/Digital Developments

The four,630mAh battery may be very robust and returns two days of life even once you’re enjoying video games or watching movies, in addition to making a couple of calls. It’s nice to see 15-watt wi-fi charging included, plus there’s 18W Fast Cost wired charging, too. Nevertheless, there’s no charger included within the field, so the precise cost speeds will rely on the charger you find yourself utilizing.

Worth and availability

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

Our take

An uninspiring digital camera, a 60Hz refresh price 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 robust telephones, it’s nonetheless a tricky cellphone — and a superb one — at coronary heart, and also you’re paying for the engineering and certification that goes into making it so, moderately than a camera- and processor-centric spec listing.

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

The story typically ends right here, that means the ruggedness is actually the one motive 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 alternative assure. Guarantee particulars for the U.S. differ, and HMD World signifies it’ll include a two-year prolonged guarantee.

Mix this with the robust physique, Gorilla Glass Victus, and IP68 water resistance, and also you’ve obtained a cellphone made to final till 2024 and past. The efficiency might 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 definitely outlast telephones that price half as a lot, and nonetheless look first rate once 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 price extra however function Flir’s thermal digital camera know-how and a much more historically rugged design. The Cat S48c is older however could be discovered for a far cheaper price, 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 constituted of plastic so it must be reasonably hardwearing, however the display and digital camera are superior to the Nokia XR20’s.

How lengthy will it final?

As talked about above, the Nokia XR20’s Android software program might be up to date for 3 years, and the safety updates will proceed on for one more yr after that. The guarantee interval varies relying on the place you purchase the cellphone, however it’ll probably be coated for as much as three years. Which means it is best to safely be capable of personal and use the cellphone till no less than 2024, plus it has 5G so you may reap the benefits of the quickest connection speeds as properly.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure, however provided that “wants to resist harsh remedy” is on the prime of your want listing.

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