Nokia G20 REVIEW
If you’re after a budget phone with loads of battery power this Nokia might fit the bill. PAT PILCHER puts it through his testing regime.
Another day and another affordable phone from Nokia! This time, it’s the creatively named G20. Priced at just $279, the big question on my mind was what’s been chopped to make it so wallet/purse-friendly?
Part of the G20’s super affordable price tag comes down to the choice of materials used in its construction. Where glass and alloy are the order of the day with most flagship and mid-range devices, Nokia opted for Tupperware for the body. Available in metallic white (Glacier) or blue (Night), both colours have a metallic iridescent sheen which adds visual interest to its otherwise generic design. Unfortunately, only the night colour is available in New Zealand…
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Spinning the G20 around reveals a 6.52-inch IPS LCD 720 x 1600 display and a teardrop design for the front shooter (more on this later). Overall, the screen is a pleasant surprise. Slim bezels and a vivid and bright output help it bat well above its ultra-affordable sticker price. While there is no under-screen fingerprint sensor, Nokia has put one in the power button, which handily allows you to switch the G20 on and log in with one seamless movement.
Under the hood, the areas where money was saved more become apparent. The G20 comes with 64GB of storage. While this would have been a flagship spec a few years back, it’s smallish by today’s standards and will soon fill up with media and apps. Thankfully, the storage is expandible via MicroSD card support.
Powering the G20 is a MediaTek Helio G35 Octa-core processor. Its GPU is a PowerVR GE8320 along with 4GB of RAM. While this spec is more than ample for browsing, email, maps and social media, gamers might find it lacks the raw horsepower for demanding games and other apps. In use, the G20 worked fine for basic chores and tasks, but a lag was noticeable with multiple apps running or more than a few browser tabs open.
One feature that caught my eye was the G20’s quad-camera setup, which consists of a 48MP wide shooter, a 5MP ultrawide camera, a 2MP macro snapper and a 2 MP depth sensor. Around the front, there’s also an 8 MP sensor with a wide-angle lens camera. Such quad-camera setups are usually the fodder of significantly more costly smartphones, so I was curious to see how they performed.
The camera app sports plenty of shooting modes, including a night mode, and most performed reasonably well. While the camera isn’t up to the same level of performance as the Huawei/Leica combo, the photos captured were of acceptable quality, especially considering that they were taken using a camera on a $270 smartphone. About the only real exception to this was the night mode. It struggled, unable either to get a focus lock or deal with pixel noise. Both front and rear shooters can capture video at 1080p at 30FPS, and the results are not too bad, but video footage eats storage like crazy. Still, for the price, the G20’s camera setup doesn’t feel too budget.
Another positive was the huge battery kick. Nokia makes the bold claim that it can go for three days between charges. In use, this almost proved to be the case with heavy to moderate use, giving me just over two-and-a-half days of run time (which is still impressive regardless of price). Your mileage will vary depending on how you use the G20. Either way, the non-removable Li-Po 5050 mAh battery seems to run on the smell of an oily rag and just goes and goes.
Last but by no means least is the G20’s ace card. Like other Nokia Android One devices, it lacks the tacky and frustrating custom launchers and skins that bedevil most other Android phones (yes, even flagship devices). With the G20, you get a vanilla Google-flavoured Android 11 launcher. You also get three years of monthly security updates and two years of software updates, so you’ll also get Android 12 once it becomes available.
So, who is the G20 aimed at? Gamers and power users might want to look elsewhere. For anyone on a tight budget, the G20 isn’t half bad, especially once the sticker price is considered.