The Nokia X20 is your chance to use a high end smartphone with many features that are likely to help with your content creation, gaming, and overall selfie experience.

Early in April, HMD Global announced the launch of six new Nokia Android smartphones. I got my hands on one of the phones in the X Series and explored some of its features. 

Its major selling points include 3 years worth of Android updates from Nokia, cinema mode and dualsight camera, 2-day battery life and a large screen that allows you to watch virtually anything in full HD+.

So let’s get into it.

What’s in the box?

The front of the box is branded with Nokia’s logo and a photo of the phone. The phone is available in both Midnight Sky and Nordic Blue.

The Nokia X20 retails for about $480.

On the box, there’s also a circle that tells you that you’ll be getting 3 years of Android updates but that’s for a different section of this review.

Finally, inside the box we have the following:

  • The Nokia X20: I mean, it would be extremely awkward if this was not in there.
  • USB-C Cable: It’s helpful to note that there is no wall charger. 

In a world that is currently piling up more and more e-waste, the makers of Nokia figured everyone already had some type of wall charger in their homes so they decided to not include them in the packaging. 

I for one know that I have enough standalone wall chargers as is so this was actually a welcome development.

  • Compostable case: Remember what I said about avoiding e-waste, well they also added a biodegradable phone case that shouldn’t be a menace to the environment if you were ever to throw it out.
  • Sim Slot Pin: personally I would really love it if more phone manufacturers imitate the Sony Xperia 1ii – which allows you eject your sim slot without a need for a very easily misplaced pin.

The Look, The Feel, The Heft

I will start by saying the Nokia X20 is a large phone. With a 6.67-inch screen, it is quite hard to operate it entirely with one hand – I couldn’t reach the top left corner with my thumb when I held it in my right hand.

The back of the phone is Nordic Blue and has four cameras (main – 64MP, ultra-wide – 5MP, macro – 2MP, depth – 2MP) surrounding the ZEISS logo that most Nokia users have come to know and expect on Nokia phones.

On the left, we have the sim slot which allows for two sims but if you only need one sim, you can also put a MicroSD card in the space created for the second sim.

There’s a dedicated button for the Google Assistant on the left of the phone as well. I think this button is overkill mostly because on the phone you have two other ways of accessing Google Assistant – you can click the actual Google Assistant app or you can swipe up from the bottom right corner. Thankfully this button can be deactivated in your settings.

Left showing sim slot and Google Assistant button

On the right side of the phone, there are volume control buttons. There’s also the fingerprint sensor (which is also the power button).

On the bottom of the phone, we have our old friend the 3.5mm headphone jack – it feels like more phones are leaving this guy out. We also have the USB-C port and mono speakers.

And finally, the screen. The first thing I notice is the pre-applied screen protector – good looking out, Nokia.

The screen has thick bezels and the manufacturers went for a hole punch (with a 32MP camera) instead of a notch. I’m yet to decide which of those I prefer.

At the bottom of the screen, we have some extra Nokia branding – just in case you forgot you were holding a Nokia phone.

The phone feels a bit heavy but not so much that it grows uncomfortable. I put the compostable case on almost immediately because I like my phones protected at all times.

Can we turn it on now?

Absolutely.

When you press the power button the screen goes white and you see the “AndroidOne” logo. The startup time is slow so you see that logo for a couple of seconds. By my count, I would say about 14 seconds of waiting before you hear the oh so familiar Nokia starting tune.

After that, the phone is on and you can set up your fingerprint AND face recognition. Both of them are quite responsive and don’t take long before your phone is unlocked.

X20 showing volume controls and fingerprint sensor

What’s under the hood?

The Nokia X20 is running Android 11, the latest version of the Android OS. 

Remember how I mentioned the 3 years worth of Android updates? Well, users of this phone do not need to worry about software or security updates for the next 3 years. This is probably one of its biggest selling points.

The phone comes with 128GB of storage but this is expandable (up to half a terabyte) through the MicroSD card slot I mentioned earlier. It also has 8GB of RAM.

Chipset for this gigantic phone? Qualcomm Snapdragon 480. The phone also allows 5G. I guess we’ll be patiently waiting till we get that now, won’t we?

Chipsets usually determine how fast your phone works and while the Snapdragon 720g (which can be found on other phones in this price range) has better CPU performance, the 480 uses less battery life.

The phone’s 60Htz screen and Snapdragon 480 chipset allow it not to use too much of its 4470 mAh battery (with 18W fast charging), thereby allowing you to use it for up to 2 days.

2-day battery life? For real?

Immediately I saw it on the box I knew it was something I had to check out so as soon as I got the phone out, I charged it fully – this was on Monday night.

I downloaded a few apps and just went to town – mostly watching Netflix and playing some Call of Duty.

I didn’t need to charge the phone till about Thursday night and even then the phone still had some juice.

So if you don’t use your phone for much more than texting and calling, you can very easily get more than 2 days out of it.

For you gamers and perpetual video watchers, you’ll probably get a full day’s use without frantically searching for your USB-C cable.

Display, Audio and Camera

The Nokia X20’s 6.67-inch screen’s resolution is 1080 x 2400 and it’s also full HD+. What this means is that you can very comfortably watch your favourite videos on YouTube or Netflix in great quality.

The phone’s sound comes from a mono speaker that is admittedly quite loud. However, because it’s not a stereo speaker, your audio experience can be a little one-sided when you use it but it shouldn’t affect your listening experience too much.

I did find something peculiar with the videos I shot on the phone’s camera. At full volume, I struggled to hear my voice in these videos. I don’t know if it’s the phone’s microphone or something else but it’s definitely not great to record videos and barely have enough audio coming from them.

Now that we are at the cameras, I will post two images I took in the different modes below. You tell me what you think. 

Two standouts for me are both video modes on the X20 – dual sight and cinema

  • Dualsight: This feature allows you to record a video with both your front and back camera at the same time. I find that this will be extremely useful for vloggers who want to be able to capture an event and their reactions to the event at the same time.
Still from dualsight video
  • Cinema mode: This feature can only be used in landscape mode and basically allows you to turn yourself into an amateur filmmaker with access to settings and filters that help give your video a cinematic feel.
Still from video shot in cinema mode with filter

The phone delivers on many promises but could do better with some of the things I pointed out. Overall, if you’re looking for a phone with a large screen, interesting camera features, Android updates till Android 14, and long battery life, this is definitely a phone for you.

Until our next review.

Edwin Madu | Author

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