Nokia is a household brand name when it comes to phones. it is that name that has given the Finnish phone brand under the ownership of HMD Global a much-needed push in the competitive smartphone market. With some consecutive releases, Nokia has offered a diverse portfolio in India without giving the premium range a try, at least in India. Keeping in line with its focus on budget and mid-range phones, the company recently launched the G20 smartphone and here's the review.
Nokia G20 is available in India at an affordable Rs 12,999 price for 4GB+64GB configuration. There are Glacier (white) and Night (blue) shades to choose from, but no options in configuration which in a way eliminates any confusion while buying the phone. But the bigger question is if the Nokia G20 is worth buying amidst a plethora of options from Xiaomi, Samsung, and others.
Design and Display
Nokia G20 has a signature look akin to other Nokia phones, which isn't a bad thing. The handset looks premium even though it has a plastic back. The fine lines on the rear panel gives it a sense of grip and look good too. The circular camera module and the Nokia branding on the back is something minimalists will enjoy.
On the right side of the phone is a power button with an integrated fingerprint scanner. Just above that is the volume control, which is easily reachable. On the left, there's a dedicated Google Assistant button, which when invoked works precisely as intended. Keeping up with the current trend, the USB Type-C port sits at the bottom along with the speaker and there's even a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is placed on the top, which is more convenient positioning.
Overall, the design elements of the Nokia G20 is bound to leave you impressed. It's also light enough to be used with a single hand, and the engineers have done an excellent job at evenly distributing the weight across the device. The physical buttons even offer good feedback.
But moving on the display, things get a little disappointing. For starters, Nokia went with an LCD panel with HD+ resolution. Given the competition in the market, a 1080p display would've been more accepting. The 6.52-inch display has a sufficient screen real-estate - suited for multimedia streaming and playing games. But those with an eye for detail will notice the lower resolution. The adaptive battery is on the sensitive side to light and gets really dim even in a fairly lit room, forcing us to manually adjust the brightness. Under direct sunlight, the display may require you to cover the screen to read some fine text or view images.
While the design of the Nokia G20 is winning, the below-average display holds back.
The four sensors inside the circular camera module on the back instantly grab attention. The primary sensor is a 48MP shooter, which is paired with a 5MP sensor, a 2MP macro shooter and a 2MP depth sensor. The abundance of lenses doesn't necessarily mean great camera performance. Nokia G20 can shoot average photos, but it is the primary sensor that does all the heavy lifting.
The UI is kept simple for anyone to just start shooting as you open. But we experienced lags only after a few minutes of shooting stills, which is a remark on the phone's performance. As for the camera results, the best results can only be expected from the main sensor in ideal daylight setting. In low-light or dark settings, photos were disappointing. Ultra-wide shots in daylight lacked details and the colours were all over the place, but the results were worse in the night. The night mode did little to help in any mode.
Portrait shots were decent at best, there were inaccuracies in edge detection, but the bokeh effect was good. Even then, rear camera picked better portraits than the front camera.
Overall, photos shot with the main sensor are decent and the rest of the sensors appear to be just filling the spec-sheet.
This is one area where Nokia G20 suffers the most. The phone is powered by a MediaTek G35 chipset, and with this, even day-to-day tasks seemed to suffer at times. For instance, shooting with the camera for long would freeze up the viewfinder. Multitasking was done with little effort as long as you switched back and forth between 2-3 apps.
If you do not have any demanding tasks, the Nokia G20 will work fine. Things like social media browsing or internet browsing beside the regular tasks like calls, IMs, etc, should be fine but playing graphics-intense games will put a lot of strain on the phone and the experience won't be enjoyable.
Nokia G20 is just not the smartphone that comes to mind if optimum performance, even from a mid-range standpoint, is your priority feature.
Saving the day on the performance is the UI, the stock Android One, which guarantees big updates till Android 13 and security updates through 2024. The software is the cleanest there is - no bloatware and a familiar interface for everyone to use.
The fingerprint scanner also works efficiently and it is extremely fast at scanning the registered print. However, accidental touches are common with side-mounted fingerprint scanners.
The performance may be a letdown, the battery on the Nokia G20 compensates. There's a large 5,050mAh battery onboard, which guarantees two days of use on a single charge. Given the limitations of the device on more demanding tasks, we even managed to save some juice at the end of two days. But charging that huge battery is only supported by 10W adapter, which is included in the box. It takes over three hours to fully charge the phone. Even if you leave the phone for charge for a good hour, the battery won't be half full.
Weighing the pros and cons of the device, Nokia G20 does a balancing act. The battery and the software are the biggest USPs of the phone. The attractive design is just a bonus. But the phone tends to suffer in the performance aspect and the slow-charging can test your patience if you've used faster-charging phones. Finally, the camera setup has limitations and demanding too much from it will only leave you disappointed, especially in low-light and night.