Nokia XR20 5G rugged smartphone review
The legendary smartphone vendor launches its first true rugged handset
p>By Desire Athow last updated 12 November 2021 The display is very serviceable, lacking a bit of sharpness but otherwise handling media and games well for a budget phone. Like other LCD displays, the Nord N200’s screen struggles most with dark subjects. By David Lumb 15 July 2021 Androbench (sequential): 470 (sequential read); 459 (sequential write) On the downside, its middling specs sometimes lead to performance hiccups, and its cameras don’t have much variety, but this a great-value phone for anyone who can live without cutting-edge performance or refined photo capabilities.
You are after a recognized brand with guaranteed after sales support Also, we couldn’t find some basic settings, such as how to switch from 4:3 ratio to 16:9, leaving the camera experience feeling lacking compared to other budget phones. If several are adjacent, they won’t have great definition and they’ll usually meld into a vague black puddle. GPU: Adreno 619 The OnePlus Nord N200 5G launched on June 21, and went on sale on June 25 in the US and Canada. 3DMark Wild Life Vulkan: 983 The other two lenses – a 2MP f/2.4 macro and 2MP f/2.4 monochrome – don’t add much to the phone’s photo capabilities that we could tell. The OnePlus Nord N200 5G feels like a high-quality phone for a great price, but with a bafflingly limited release plan – it’s only being sold in the US and Canada at launch.
A successor to the N100, the new phone has a sleek design and a surprisingly great display for watching media, which you can do to your heart’s content thanks to the huge 5,000mAh battery. You want to run two SIM cards with a memory card The OnePlus Nord N200 5G feels like a high-quality phone for a great price, but with a bafflingly limited release plan – it’s only being sold in the US and Canada at launch. The left edge houses a dedicated, non-customizable Google Assistant button while the right side hosts a rocker volume button and a slight-depressed power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner. In the UK, the XR20 will be available in two configurations (4GB RAM/64GB storage and 6GB RAM/128GB storage) and two colour schemes (Ultra Blue and Granite). That’s on top of the three OS upgrades that Android One promises.
The XR20 uses a mature 5G modem, covering a wide number of bands, which will mean faster than average speeds where 5G is available. The Nord N200 5G has a triple rear camera array, although you won’t find an ultra-wide or telephoto camera here – like other budget phones, the N200’s extra lenses are more supplementary than serious photography tools in their own right: a macro camera and a monochrome sensor. You want the fastest network speeds When you switch on the XR20, a prominent Android One logo is displayed on the splash screen. Androbench (random): 173.14 (random read); 156.2 (random write) The front display’s bezel is pretty lean for a budget handset, while the punch-hole isn’t too big, and the plastic sides feel smooth, with an almost chromed metal feel. US consumers can buy the phone unlocked from OnePlus.com and online retailers (Best Buy, Amazon, and B&H) or with carrier support from T-Mobile and Metro.
The bottom of the phone has a USB-C slot in the middle, speaker to the right, and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left. Could it be down to Android One, maybe? Storage performance was unexceptional with random/sustained writes being the highlights. They both use the same display (6.67-inch, 1080 x 2400 pixels) and octa-core system-on-chip (Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G).
Years after Samsung with its Galaxy Active range and only a few weeks after the relaunch of the Motorola Defy range, HMD Global, which now owns the Nokia brand, finally woke up to the potential of that small but thriving outdoor market. On the downside, its middling specs sometimes lead to performance hiccups, and its cameras don’t have much variety, but this a great-value phone for anyone who can live without cutting-edge performance or refined photo capabilities. You want extra features Rear camera: 48MP, 13MP It supports 5G standalone (SA) networks and private LTE bands to enhance Industry 4.0 business critical applications within a company’s private wireless network, allowing for faster download speeds and low latency. Surely there are other regions that would appreciate OnePlus’ newest cheap phone. It does so in style with 5G connectivity, a large screen and a sleek design, miles away from traditional rugged smartphones.
There’s a 13MP main shooter that’s capable of taking decent photos, but the other rear shooters – a 2MP depth and 2MP macro camera – are less interesting, and considering that other budget phones are starting to feature ultra-wide cameras, it’s disappointing to see the limited variety here. There’s a tiny pinhole camera near the top edge, one where a red emergency button and the SIM slot are located. Nokia has confirmed that for each XR20 sold, a donation to a charity called ClearRivers will be made. The Ulefone Armor 11T 5G, for example, costs about the same but comes with a thermal FLIR camera, a bonus for those looking specifically for that feature.
The XR20 is a variant of the Nokia X20. HMD Global reached out to us with more details about the above "The ClearRivers donation is made for every Nokia charger sale (full amount is donated), since the plug has been removed from the sales box to reduce e-waste. The OnePlus Nord N200 5G is a refreshed version of the budget OnePlus Nord N100 that launched last year, with slightly better specs and, as the name tells you, 5G connectivity. They capture well-lit scenes and subjects well enough, but struggle with contrasting colors and brightness. The phone starts to show its limits with specs that are reasonable but not awe-inspiring: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G chipset and 4GB of RAM that together are able to play games and media reasonably well, though not without the occasional stutter.
Nokia hits the right notes with its attempt to bring rugged to the mainstream with the XR20. This is how the Nokia XR20 performed in our suite of benchmark tests: Android One is a revelation for those who haven’t tested it before. It’s pretty accurate and fast, too, with good placement close to where your thumb would naturally rest when holding the phone one-handed. As previously mentioned, the bezels aren’t too thick, giving the phone as sleek a look as could be expected for a budget device.
Should we be surprised that Nokia has finally launched its first true rugged smartphone? Not really. Oh and it does come with a one-year free screen replacement warranty.
Featuring a trim 10.6mm profile – the thinnest of its category – and a footprint of 171.6 x 81.5mm, it weighs a mere 248g. LinPack MFLOPS: 578 Don’t buy it if: Nokia claims that the so-called “3D nanotextured” rear back will provide better grip but unlike the Defy more pronounced ridges and narrower body profile, this one looks more like a marketing gimmick. While cheaper phones these days look better than they ever have – the Moto G9 series is a great example – this OnePlus handset still looks a cut above. As explained by our colleagues, Andrew Williams and James Rogerson, it is “the feature to look for if you want a phone with Android designed exactly as Google intended. But there’s more: Nokia will provide up to four years of monthly security updates, by far the most comprehensive upgrade schedule we encountered amongst rugged smartphones.
Passmark: 5459 The front of the device is covered with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus which Nokia says is the toughest screen yet on a Nokia smartphone. Compare that to the Oukitel WP10 for example, another rugged 5G smartphone, which is 50% heavier and 70% thicker. PCMark (Work 2.0): 7061 In the US, the phone will go on sale from August 24th for $550 in the US. And yes, you can even wash it with soap and water as it is an IP68 handset. Inside the chip is a Snapdragon X51 5G modem-RF system with Wi-Fi 6/Bluetooth 5.1, the Kyro 460 CPU cores and a Qualcomm Adreno 619 GPU https://jiji.ug/cell-phones-tablets-accessories/samsung-galaxy-tab.
Resolution: 2400×1080 CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 Storage: 128GB The phone’s 64GB of storage is fairly typical among budget phones, but the expandable storage limit – up to 256GB via microSD – feels arbitrarily low. The OnePlus Nord N200’s value is easy to appreciate: it’s a sleek, powerful phone with a great design that makes it feel more premium than its price would suggest. The 90Hz refresh rate is also a nice touch for a budget handset, providing a smoother browsing and game-playing experience than the 60Hz refresh rate of displays on most low-cost phones. If all you need is a phone for watching shows and doing basic tasks, this is a great cheap handset to pick.
RAM: 6GB The display is specifically great for watching media, with apps that allow you to control the resolution. The Nokia XR20 comes with the following hardware: The first model carries a £399 price tag (about US$549, AU$749) and the second will cost £449 (AU$839 and 499 Euros). The end product is the XR20, a Qualcomm-powered, 5G-enabled, shockproof and water resistant smartphone that aspires to be more than just a ruggedized device.
It uses a largely unmodified core interface, but with room to support a few little hardware extras.” Nokia hits the right notes with its attempt to bring rugged to the mainstream with the XR20. You want a hardy smartphone without the hardy look On the outside, the XR20 doesn’t seem as solidly built as some of the burlier smartphones we’ve seen over the past few months. In any case, the Nord N200 5G’s low price makes it good value for what it does offer: a great media-watching experience and 5G connectivity on the cheap.
The phone has a 13MP f/2.2 main camera with electronic image stabilization (EIS), which handles up-close photography and well-lit daytime photos fine, though it suffers in more challenging lighting conditions – in shots with bright backgrounds in dim foregrounds (like, say, a person sitting in the shade at a sporting event) the foreground tended to be underexposed while the background highlights were blown out. Overall, the OnePlus Nord N200 5G is a good budget phone for those who don’t mind its few but noticeable shortcomings, which we’d imagine is a good number of users – which is why we’re perplexed at the limited release plan. The N200 5G packs a 6.49-inch IPS LCD display with Full HD Plus (2400 x 1080 pixel) resolution.
The latter is built on an 8nm process which makes it run cooler and more power efficient. Dimensions: 171.6 x 81.5 x 10.6mm But sheer capacity doesn’t always translate into better battery life and here again Android One promises to get the best out of every mAh through clever battery optimization techniques. Don’t let the entry level hardware shock you though, there’s much more to it than just the specification sheet. When it comes to sheer performance, don’t expect miracles although we did notice that our browser-based tests produced the best scores amongst the 5G rugged devices yet, beating even mainstream Dimension 800 smartphones.
Simply put, the Nord N200 has one of the best non-OLED screens we’ve seen. There’s also a 16MP front-facing camera, which takes sharp photos of the main subject but suffers from the same exposure issues as the main camera, including blowing bright backgrounds. Weight: 248g Front camera: 8MP A successor to the N100, the new phone has a sleek design and a surprisingly great display for watching media, which you can do to your heart’s content thanks to the huge 5,000mAh battery. For every phone sold, customers can plant 50 trees via Ecologi in their name to help us reach our first milestone of planting 1 million trees together with our customers." Passmark CPU: 2372 The punch-hole for the selfie camera is reasonably-sized, and won’t block much of the screen.
The phone comes with a three year warranty in Europe and ANZ. But the display does wonders with color, presenting vibrant hues that don’t bleed into each other – an impressive feat for an LCD display. So Android 14, which should land in 2023, will be the last iteration that will run on the XR20.
Note that there’s no charger bundled with the device but you do get a SIM tray tool, a quick start paper guide and a Type-C USB cable. The display was usable in bright sunlight thanks to its rated 450 nits brightness. The cameras also leave a lot to be desired.
It brings real improvements, qualitatively and quantitatively, with confirmed OS updates to Android 14 and the purest form on Android, akin to Google’s own Pixel smartphone line. Buy it if: Nokia’s latest smartphone is a life-proof device without the sort of traditional utilitarian looks associated with similar devices. As expected from any rugged smartphone worth the label, the XR20 is MIL-STD-810 rated with a thick rubber protective bumper and a metal frame that should keep it functional in most environments.
The Nord N200 5G costs $239 (around £175 / AU$319), and comes in a single specs configuration – 4GB RAM and 64GB storage – and color – Quantum Blue, a pale-blue with a chromatic finish – and costs $239 (around £175 / AU$315). The Nord N200 5G feels more premium than it needs to be for a budget phone. Battery: 4.63Ah It stands out as a capable all-rounder with above-average after-sales support and warranty that should make it a firm favourite amongst those looking for a business smartphone that can withstand more than just the occasional knocks. Nokia was keen to highlight the fact that while it has business and enterprise credentials (it’s validated for Android Enterprise), it is equally at ease as a B2C device.
You can’t run two SIM cards and a memory card simultaneously, which may be an issue if you are a heavy smartphone user (in terms of storage that is, not usage time) and want to use two SIM cards. The opposite side is occupied by a lanyard attachment loop, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microphone, a Type-C connector and a downward firing speaker behind a grill. The Nord N200 5G’s plastic back feels more like glass, with a frosted finish of the kind we’d expect to see on a pricier phone.
While it’s no surprise that OnePlus would release another affordable phone to make a play for a lucrative segment of the market – it feels here like the brand is trying to return to the leaner, ‘affordable yet powerful’ style that made its early handsets so popular – it’s strange that it’s only (for now at least) selling this phone in the US and Canada. Two camera sensors (48-megapixel and 13-megapixel UW) plus two LED flashes are located on a raised bump on the textured plastic back. We’d just wish that it had a slight more palatable price tag. Although not explicitly mentioned, the device also includes wind-noise cancellation technology, 2×2 MIMO antenna technology (for better Wi-Fi reception), 15W Qi wireless charging technology and support for 18W fast charging for the 4.63Ah battery.
Screen size: 6.67-inch The N200 5G doesn’t have an in-screen fingerprint sensor, but it does have the next-best thing: an extra-large lock button on the right side that has a fingerprint scanner built in. OS: Android 11 When we watched Netflix, for instance, the picture was fine but not terribly sharp, but when we set the screen to 1080p on YouTube, the display was able to show content in great clarity, especially brightly-lit scenes. The remaining design is fairly perfunctory: thin volume buttons on the left side, a SIM slot above it, and nothing at the top but a microphone. You want the cleanest Android Don’t expect to get extra hardware features compared to some other heavyweights in the same price bracket. One of the most common issues with the majority of rugged smartphones on the market is the lack of long term commitment to security updates, something that the likes of Ulefone, Doogee, Blackview or Oukitel have yet to follow.
Doubtless consumers in other countries would appreciate the OnePlus polish in a more affordable phone. It does so in style with 5G connectivity, a large screen and a sleek design, miles away from traditional rugged smartphones. The battery is big by consumer standards but not by ruggedized ones where 8Ah – almost twice the size – models are common.
You won’t find many better phones at this price. As we’ve mentioned, the phone is only slated for release in the US and Canada, with no news on if or when it will be made available in other regions.