The Nokia G21 is a smartphone with just a few large weaknesses and solely actually its good endurance in its favour. The show has a excessive refresh fee however poor brightness and low decision, its processor struggles to maintain up, and its digicam produces poor outcomes.
- Nice battery life
- Lengthy software program updates
- Sturdy construct high quality
- Mono speaker
- Digital camera produces poor outcomes
- Underwhelming show
- UKRRP: £149.99
- USARRP: $319
- EuropeRRP: €184.99
Enormous batteryThe 5050mAh cell delivers robust endurance, particularly when paired with the low-end processor. There’s additionally 18w charging, in the event you present a charger
Clear software programNokia does little or no with Google’s model of Android, so don’t count on plenty of bloatware right here
The Nokia of 2022 is a unique beast than that emerged from the ashes of its predecessor in 2017. The place as soon as the agency was looking for to reclaim previous glories with flashy flagship gadgets, within the current the main target is squarely on worth choices, smartphones that don’t problem the pockets, or perceptions, in any means.
Inside this context, the G21 may be very a lot a Nokia cellphone of 2022 – which is to say that it boasts a well-known design, the promise of lengthy updates, a seemingly weak processor, and a comparatively low price ticket.
It arrives amid ever tighter competitors from the competing finest low-cost telephones and finest mid-range telephones, which all supply extra impressively kitted out choices for related or cheaper price factors.
Is Nokia’s components a profitable one? Does the G21 do sufficient to interrupt out and set up itself as worthy of a spot in your pocket? Learn on for our full evaluation.
Design and Display screen
- Thick plastic design
- Flat display screen with a notch
- Sturdy construct high quality
If there’s just one factor to remove from the design of recent Nokia smartphones, it’s the emphasis that the agency locations on utilitarian sturdiness. None of its current releases will win any awards for his or her appears to be like, however every appears to be like like a fall would dent the pavement reasonably than trigger any injury to the machine itself.
In comparison with the competitors, the Nokia G21 is just a little thicker and just a little grippier courtesy of a textured sample on its rear. It won’t really feel significantly premium within the hand, however that is definitely one of many few smartphones accessible at current that doesn’t really feel as if it requires a case.
It definitely doesn’t stand out towards the competitors, or certainly its brethren, nevertheless. Out there in solely two reasonably boring color choices, it misses out on the chance to point out any form of persona. Not like the likes of Realme with its GT 2, which is experimenting with new designs and textures, Nokia’s method is completely conservative.
The image sours considerably when wanting on the show. Because the competitors has raced in the direction of ever greater refresh charges, till just lately Nokia has doggedly caught to 60Hz panels; the G21 being the cellphone to interrupt its self-imposed mould. Its panel refreshes at 90Hz and feels easy consequently, however that is the place the optimistic parts finish.
Brightness is especially poor, with the G21 struggling to stay usable even in average sunshine, and at 720p the decision is just a little too low for the scale of the panel at 6.5 inches. Colors are washed out and distinction is poor – this is without doubt one of the lowest-quality shows I’ve seen in a smartphone panel in a while.
That is an space the place the competitors has solely upped its recreation, and as a consequence the G21 looks like an vintage, an anachronous entry from 5 years in the past, reasonably than a contemporary funds smartphone.
- 4 major digicam modules
- Predominant sensor has 50 megapixels
- Scene optimisation energetic by default
If there’s one space the place Nokias of yore have been really identified to excel, it was in digicam efficiency. The likes of the Lumia line blazed the best way with bigger sensors, optical picture stabilisation and extra in smartphones – and it’s unlucky to have seen the Nokia of the current day expend that legacy.
The G21 gives 4 digicam modules, to go for the all-important “Quad-cam” designation. Sadly, all of them produce poor outcomes.
The first sensor on the rear is a 50-megapixel effort, with an aperture of f/1.8. It’s flanked by a 2-megapixel macro sensor, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and a selfie snapper with fastened focus and eight megapixels to its identify.
As alluded to above, efficiency, on the entire, is awful. Photos from the primary sensor exhibit poor distinction, washed-out colors, egregious over-sharpening, ghosting from transferring topics, processing aberrations and a preponderance of noise. Once more, whereas the competitors solely improves, the G21 looks like a smartphone from years previous with its picture processing.
Notably regarding is the dearth of dynamic vary; highlights are blown with worrying regularity in even average situations. Understandably, this solely worsens at night time, with even the included Night time mode failing to assist fight grain and blurriness.
As is ever the case, the included fixed-focus 2-megapixel macro module produces outcomes match solely to be discarded instantly, whereas the selfie digicam suffers from lots of the identical points as the primary sensor, with its fixed-focus solely compounding its issues. In the event you worth digicam efficiency you’ll wish to pay a bit extra and go for the Pixel 4a.
- Runs a Unisoc T606
- Comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage by default
- Runs slowly
An attention-grabbing, clearly cost-saving, technique employed by Nokia throughout the previous yr has been to standardise the processors included in its smartphones. Many launched in 2021 employed the Snapdragon 490, which was a barely much less highly effective choice than the norm, however which saved up for essentially the most half whereas remaining pretty power-efficient.
Inside this context, the Unisoc chip within the G21 is an unknown entity close to efficiency. An eight-core processor made utilizing 12nm fabrication, it’s definitely comparatively fashionable in its design, and paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage by default, it has the identical assets at its disposal because the likes of entries from MediaTek and Snapdragon.
Regardless of the advantage of the doubt, the Unisoc proved to be a poor performer. Whereas it managed to energy via the sunshine Nokia interface with little discernible subject, the second something even remotely was demanded of it, issues started to chug. That is borne out in benchmarking. In Geekbench 5, the machine achieved a single-core rating of 312 and a multi-core rating of 1168, which locations it beneath the 2018 subject Snapdragon 660 by way of energy – not an inspiring efficiency.
This was extra noticeable in gaming, the place even much less intensive titles would often see skipped frames and stutters. Regardless of the subject is with the chip, there are clear issues of software program optimisation at play, too, so the issues could clear up with time.
That the interface doesn’t chug overly is partially as a consequence of Nokia’s chosen model of Android, which is gentle to say the least. However for the inclusion of some assist apps and the digicam app, there’s nothing else to bathroom down the machine. That is a minimum of just a little assist with the promise of years of software program updates; nevertheless, it does go away the machine missing persona considerably.
As ever, it is best to solely purchase a cellphone for what it’s reasonably than what it may be, and for the second the Nokia G21 feels sluggish and anaemic normally use. It’s nice for checking emails and taking calls, however not way more.
- 5050mAh battery
- Able to 18W quick charging
- No charger included
To date, the story of the G21 has solely been one in every of disappointment, so it’s nice then to report a specific success: battery life. A results of the 5050mAh unit included, a power-sipping processor and a low-resolution display screen, I often discovered that with gentle use, the G21 might make it into a 3rd day with out an excessive amount of subject.
That is with the continent-sized caveat that gentle use is all that may be achieved, given the dearth of energy accessible. Regardless, in the event you solely use your smartphone irregularly, it is a machine that may be capable of maintain going and going, and may be of explicit significance to those that journey often consequently.
As for charging, the machine can cost at as much as 18W however will often keep at 10W, not matching the likes of Realme with 30W+ charging as normal. Word, too, that there’s no charger included within the field, which is turning into more and more widespread throughout the sector.
Must you purchase it?
You want a multi-day battery life: One of many greatest causes to plump for this cellphone is the robust battery life.
You want good digicam high quality: As you’ll be able to see in our pattern pictures above, the talents of the digicam listed below are poor.
It’s been stated repeatedly, however solely turns into extra true with each passing month: the funds smartphone market is enormously aggressive. In 2022, it takes greater than ever earlier than to stay related and stand out – and on stability the Nokia G21 achieves neither.
Pairing a weak digicam, poor efficiency and an underwhelming show for the asking value of £149.99 leaves the G21 feeling like a time-traveller from years previous. Apart from its sturdy construct high quality, promise of lengthy software program updates and nice battery life, it has few qualities to its identify.
How we check
We check each cell phone we evaluation completely. We use business normal assessments to match options correctly and we use the cellphone as our major machine over the evaluation interval. We’ll all the time let you know what we discover and we by no means, ever, settle for cash to evaluation a product.
Examined as major cellphone for an prolonged interval
All digicam modes examined in quite a lot of conditions
Examined with artificial benchmarks and actual world use
Whereas the cellphone can cost at 18w, you’ll want to offer that plug your self as there’s not one included within the field.
It is a 4G cellphone, so it gained’t assist 5G networks or speeds.
Display screen Dimension
Rear Digital camera
Entrance Digital camera
50MP, 2MP, 2MP
164.6 x 75.9 x 8.5 MM
720 x 1600
USB-C, 3.5mm jack
Unisoc T606 (12 nm)
Nordic Blue, Nightfall
An abbreviation for milliampere-hour and a approach to categorical the capability of batteries, particularly smaller ones in telephones. Most often the upper the mAh, the longer the battery will final however this isn’t all the time the case.
The variety of occasions the display screen refreshes itself per second.