Nokia X20 review: 5G on a budget, but this sustainability-driven Android smartphone is not for everyone – Mark Kavanagh

Now run by HMD Global, Nokia recently announced a range of new smartphones promising long warranties and more sustainability including compostable accessories.

The X20 is what I would call a lower-mid-range priced device, at €329.99.

I’m being extra specific because it’s unfair to compare this to, for example, a much more powerful OnePlus device that might cost €699 yet is dubbed mid-price.

Nokia X20 comes with an extended warranty of three years and a free 100 per cent compostable case.

The case is designed to be tough on the ground but soft on the Earth and it is included with the phone instead of a charger.

The firm has promised to donate all the funds raised from selling separate chargers to environmental causes.

On top of all that, buyers of the Nokia X20 will be given the gift of 20 planted trees via Ecologi.

Nokia X20 has a large 6.67in FHD+ IPS LCD display that is bright and colourful

I like the case and I also like the large frame of the phone, but not everybody will.

Design and build

Nokia X20 is quite a large, wide and heavy smartphone that I would not recommend for anyone with small hands.

And bear in mind, I prefer larger handsets.

But it does look quite premium and stylish for the price even with the plastic rear.

My review model was Nordic Blue.

Display

The 6.67in full HD+ LCD display is bright and clear, even on sunny days and viewing angles are decent.

Colours are vivid and contrast levels are high. The 20:9 aspect ratio is good for watching movies.

But the 60Hz refresh rate is somewhat dated and it’s not a dazzling screen which is a shame given its size.

Cameras

There are four lenses on the rear camera mount, but only three of them can be used for taking pictures and only one is worth shouting about.

That’s the main 64MP primary wide angle lens which produces pleasing, if over-saturated, images especially in good light.

Nokia X20
There are four sensors on the rear camera mount but only the main wide angle camera is useful

It uses pixel binning to combine four pixels at a time into one pixel. This delivers more light.

The full 64MP resolution can be used if required but I didn’t get better results employing it.

Videos can be recorded at up to 1080p resolution with 60 frames per second (fps).

The Dual Sight mode allows you to capture videos from two perspectives, such as a wide angle and zoomed in, simultaneously.

Nokia X20
The Dual Sight mode on Nokia X20 video camera allows you to shoot from two angles simultaneously

And there is a 32MP selfie camera that uses pixel binning too and produces acceptable images in good light.

Performance

Nokia X20 is driven by the Snapdragon 480 5G processor which is employed as an SoC (system on a chip).

That chip includes the Adreno 619 as graphics processor.

Nokia X20
Nokia X20 has pure Android OS on board with no pre-installed third party apps

There was 8GB of RAM onboard too in the review model I tested.

The device was competent but not zippy by any stretch of the imagination. However, for the price point of the phone I would be pleased with its performance.

Pure Android 11 is installed on the smartphone and runs fluidly.

Battery life

The 4470mAh power pack does an admirable job on a device with such a large screen.

During my review tests, I had 20 per cent or more juice left in the tank at midnight from an 8am start.

A more casual user could quite easily get two days’ use out of the battery.

The phone supports USB-C fast charging up to 18W and takes almost between 90 and 100 minutes to fully recharge.

Other features

The handset has only one mono speaker, at the bottom edge. Thankfully there is a 3.5mm headphone port.

And it has a dual SIM tray and NFC.

Nokia X20 review: 5G on a budget, but this sustainability-driven Android smartphone is not for everyone - Mark Kavanagh

But there is no wireless charging support.

The phone carries an IPX2 rating which means it isn’t waterproof but can withstand light showers.

Verdict

The main camera is great, the battery life is excellent and 5G support gives you a bit of future proofing as does the three year programme of upgrades.

But the performance and display are only average, and the hefty frame will turn a lot of consumers off it.

The eco credentials are laudable but they are not going to make anyone choose the phone.

Pricing and availability

Nokia X20 costs €329.99.

Key specs

Dimensions: 168.9 x 79.7 x 9.1mm
Weight: 220g
Display: 6.67in IPS LCD, FHD+ (
1080 x 2400) resolution, 60Hz refresh rate, 395ppi
Processor: Snapdragon 480 5G
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB storage expandable via microSD
OS: Android 11 with 3 OS upgrades
Quad-camera rear: 64MP wide, 5MP ultra-wide, dual 2MP macro and depth sensors
Front camera: 32MP
Video: 1080p@60fps
Fingerprint scanner: side mounted