Nokia XR20 Review: Strong Yet Price-Sensitive

Nokia would possibly simply have hit the ‘reasonably priced rugged phone’ candy spot with the Nokia XR20. It’s a quite priced, super-tough phone that isn’t terrible to make use of.

That would possibly sound like I’m damning it with faint reward, however I’m actually no longer. Rugged telephones are in most cases excellent on the ‘rugged’ bit and no longer so just right on the ‘phone’ bit, and with excellent explanation why.

As a rugged phone producer, the sheer funding required to make your smartphone atypically drop, warmth, mud and water resistant is strangely excessive. That implies it’s a must to reduce corners with the interior specs, no less than if you wish to have your rugged phone to come back in at a value that hard-working individuals are prepared to pay.

Living proof: the new Motorola Defy. Constructed like a tank and competitively priced at £279, it however plays about in addition to a standard phone value lower than part that quantity. Its first line of defence towards harm is that you simply don’t need to use it a lot.

Nokia has elected to bump the entirety up a notch. At a rather upper value of £399/€499, it keeps its affordability. However a reliable processor, show, and digital camera, in addition to one or two sudden luxuries, make certain that it near to passes muster as a contemporary smartphone.

Design & Construct

I’ll handle the Nokia XR20’s rugged credentials within the subsequent phase. What’s maximum hanging about it, despite the fact that, is that it’s moderately delightful to care for.

At 10.6mm thick and 248g, it’s no person’s thought of a narrow and pocketable fashionable smartphone. It’s a tad slimmer than the Defy, but in addition 16g heavier. For additional context, even the monstrosity that’s the Xiaomi Mi 11 Extremely weighs an insignificant 234g.

In spite of this, the Nokia XR20 doesn’t really feel like a war-ready instrument. The color of my Extremely Blue type (it additionally is available in Granite) serves to melt that military-industrial vibe, whilst the edges of the phone see cast, angled steel breaking during the not easy plastic casing.

Nokia XR20 design

There’s slightly splash of color at the height of the phone within the form of slightly purple programmable ‘emergency key’. I set this to show at the phone’s torch serve as, however you’ll be able to decide to characteristic any serve as to it.

Turn over to the ground of the phone and also you’ll discover a 3.5mm headphone jack, correct in between a lanyard connection level and the USB-C port. All welcome, if no longer sudden on this rugged smartphone class.

The left-hand edge incorporates its personal bonus button, within the type of a textured Google Assistant button. I’m by no means satisfied that the sort of factor is wholly important, however I assume I might be satisfied that some type of fast hands-free operation comes in handy in a gloved or dirty-handed situation.

At the right-hand edge, you’ll in finding the standard quantity and gear buttons, albeit with added tactile heft due to the tough metal fabrics used. The facility button is recessed in slightly alcove, which is helping steer your thumb into position for the integrated fingerprint sensor serve as. It really works reliably, if no longer specifically rapidly, however that’s extra all the way down to the tool’s efficiency shortfall.

Nokia XR20 fingerprint scanner

The again of the phone sees the digital camera module sticking out, which turns out like a much less sound resolution than the Motorola Defy’s recessed similar. However it’s no less than surrounded by means of a thick steel body, and it remained scuff-free in my drop check.

Rugged options

The entire level of the Nokia XR20 is that it will possibly take way more of a battering than a standard phone may just take. To that finish, it’s been qualified with a MIL-STD–810H ranking.

That’s in truth a rather extra up to the moment checking out same old than was once hired for the Motorola Defy’s MIL-STD–810G, despite the fact that this shouldn’t essentially be observed because the Nokia XR20 being any more difficult. It simply won a extra up to the moment, and thus thorough, going over.

In the long run this ranking signifies that it’s been put via a an identical attack process thermal shocks, excessive temperature exams, tumble and vibration gauntlets and publicity to more than a few fluids. The entire stuff that guarantees a tool can reduce it in a real warzone.

In my very own much less militaristic checking out, I dropped the Nokia XR20 onto a concrete slab from a top of one.2m, simply as I did with the Motorola Defy earlier than it. The consequences have been extensively an identical, with the Nokia XR20 coming away with a slight dink at the plastic nook that bore the brunt of the affect and a few very gentle scuffing at the rear duvet.

Nokia XR20 rugged features

Crucially, there was once no structural harm, and the show remained totally unscathed. That latter level is in part because of the supply of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, which is the high-grade glass subject matter that’s in most cases simplest utilized in top-end flagship telephones.

Certainly, so assured is Nokia in its show power, it’s promised a 1-year unfastened display screen alternative. No longer simplest that, however it supplies a longer three-year guaranty for the XR20.

The phone is IP68 qualified too, so it’ll rise up to complete water immersion. It’ll additionally rise up to scorching liquids, which isn’t one thing your moderate smartphone can boast.

I ran the similar ‘espresso spill’ check that I uncovered the Motorola Defy to, which concerned pouring a number of huge glugs of 60°C water instantly from a temperature-controlled kettle onto the tool. After a snappy towel down, the XR20 ran completely.

Show & Audio system

As you could have guessed from the identify, the Nokia XR20 is mainly a rugged model of the Nokia X20, and also you’re necessarily getting the similar underlying display screen. We discovered the X20’s show to be “brilliant and detailed” in our evaluate, and the similar holds true right here.

When you get previous that impressively tough Gorilla Glass Victus masking, you’re browsing at a reassuringly unusual 6.67in IPS LCD with a 1080 x 2400 (Complete HD+) answer. It’s no longer particularly colourful – that is no OLED panel – however it hits a degree of naked minimal competence that the Motorola Defy’s show in large part fails to succeed in.

The important thing spec here’s that Complete HD+ answer, which guarantees that each one varieties of content material glance great and sharp, even thumbnail photographs and tiny internet browser textual content. Nonetheless, it’s no longer distinctive amongst rugged telephones, with each the CAT S62 Professional and the Doogee S88 Professional going with the similar answer.

Nokia XR20 screen

Some other vital issue here’s a respectable 550 nits of brightness, which guarantees that the phone keeps viewability outdoor. That’s an important in a phone constructed for use in contemporary (and possibly no longer so contemporary) air.

One spec that doesn’t reasonably stay tempo with fashionable non-rugged telephones is the Nokia XR20 show’s 60Hz refresh fee. It was once disappointing to not get 120Hz and even 90Hz within the Nokia X20, and it’s nonetheless slightly disappointing right here – despite the fact that in fact, stamina concerns play a extra distinguished section with such an outdoorsy tool.

Even so, the media playback revel in is strangely respectable at the Nokia XR20. Accompanied by means of a couple of stereo audio system that get masses loud, if no longer particularly detailed, it makes viewing video content material viable even with a good quantity of background hubbub.

Specifications & Efficiency

We’re all used to being underwhelmed by means of the efficiency of rugged telephones, and the Nokia XR20 doesn’t throw up any surprises. Once more, that is the Nokia X20 at middle, so that you get the exact same Snapdragon 480 5G chip beating at its middle.

That is in truth a moderately contemporary provision from Qualcomm, constructed to a quite environment friendly 8nm manufacturing same old. But it surely’s nonetheless modest in relation to output, particularly when subsidized by means of an insignificant 4- or 6GB of RAM slightly than the X20’s 6- or 8GB.

At the plus aspect, the Snapdragon 480 5G packs 5G connectivity (the clue’s within the identify). At the adverse aspect, it’s no longer going to be atmosphere any velocity information.

Nokia XR20 specs

A mean Geekbench 5 multi-core ranking of 1642 would possibly height rugged competitors just like the Motorola Defy (1401), the Doogee S88 Professional (1347), and the CAT S62 Professional (1310), however it will get nowhere close to in a similar fashion priced non-rugged telephones. The OnePlus Nord 2, to call the latest excessive profile instance, scored 2694.

It’s a an identical tale in relation to GPU efficiency, the Nokia XR20 has a tendency to attain 1- to 2fps quicker than Motorola Defy throughout a number of of our GFXBench exams, and tops the Doogee S88 Professional and CAT S62 Professional in numerous spaces, however it will get trounced by means of the Nord 2.

Relating to gaming, PUBG Mobile defaults to HD graphics and a Top body fee, beneath which it runs properly. Simply as with the Nokia X20, unsurprisingly. However if you wish to push issues additional for an identical cash, you’re going to must drop the ruggedisation and cross with a Poco F3 or the Nord 2.

Basically daily use, the Nokia XR20 runs alongside simply nice. But it surely lacks the smoothness and the responsiveness of even non-rugged telephones promoting for part the cost. A part of this is all the way down to the modest processor, and section is all the way down to the 60Hz display screen refresh fee.

This height type comes with 128GB of inside garage, slightly than the moderately slight 64GB provided with the access type. There’s a microSD slot provision if you wish to increase that, despite the fact that.


I’ve discussed a couple of occasions that the Nokia XR20 is in accordance with the Nokia X20, however reasonably interestingly that doesn’t observe to the cameras. Nokia has long gone with a rather other, more effective dual-sensor provision. You get a 48Mp broad sensor and a 13Mp ultra-wide, and that’s your lot.

We’re by no means disillusioned at dropping the Nokia X20’s 2Mp macro and intensity sensors, that have been lovely needless if truth be told. It’s a disgrace there’s nonetheless no telephoto lens, despite the fact that.

Nokia XR20 cameras

In combination, this simplified gadget is in a position to getting cheap effects. The principle 48Mp sensor captures slightly balanced, natural-looking pictures in just right lights, with auto HDR stepping in properly to rescue probably over or under-exposed pictures.

The ultra-wide loses a specific amount of distinction, element, and color pop, with a extra light and cushy glance in comparison to the principle sensor. But it surely’s significantly better than many decrease to mid-priced equivalents we’ve used.

Portrait mode works reasonably properly to isolate the topic with an exaggerated bokeh impact, however the tone of the outside and the overall point of publicity turns out to undergo as opposed to merely capturing with the default auto mode. After checking out, I left the mode properly on my own.

Ditto the 8Mp selfie digital camera, despite the fact that on this case, the tendency to over-expose in selfie-portrait mode appeared to lend a hand inject some much-needed existence and dad into the another way uninteresting common pictures.

Night time mode no less than avoids the lazy tendency to easily observe a faux brightening impact, however that does additionally imply that very low gentle pictures glance slightly murky. There’s no OIS (optical symbol stabilisation) to stay issues crisp right here.

Nokia XR20 camera test

Video is somewhat of a write-off too, with the potential for an insignificant 1080p at 60fps.

All in all, you’ll be able to get a a lot better digital camera gadget if you happen to’re prepared to forego that rugged construct. The OnePlus Nord 2 packs in a flagship symbol sensor, whilst the Pixel 4a advantages from Google’s symbol processing wizardry.

Within the restricted phrases of a rugged phone, then again, the Nokia XR20 digital camera will get near to first rate effects.

Battery Lifestyles & Charging

The Nokia XR20 packs in a 4470mAh battery, which is a good measurement, despite the fact that a long way from massive. The Motorola Defy includes a 5000mAh battery, by means of comparability.

Nonetheless, it is greater than as much as the duty. You’ll have the ability to get via two days on a unmarried rate if you happen to don’t push issues too demanding with motion pictures, video games and the like. A PC Mark battery check ranking of 18 hours 48 mins is actually superb, and very easily beats the Motorola Defy’s 17 hours 27 mins.

18W stressed charging is supported, which actually isn’t all that rapid for an ostensibly mid-range phone. Even the Motorola Defy packs in a 20W charger.

Nokia XR20 USB-C

What’s extra, you don’t get any charging brick provided within the field of the Nokia XR20 – only a USB cable. After I did hook up a suitably meaty charger, I used to be ready to get it from 0 to 35% in part an hour. No longer precisely rapid, however a smidgen quicker than the Motorola Defy no less than, courtesy of that smaller capability.

Refreshingly, despite the fact that, the Nokia XR20 does strengthen wi-fi charging. That is sudden for the reason that the Nokia X20 on which this phone is in large part based totally doesn’t come with it.


One power the Nokia XR20 stocks with the Motorola Defy is its dogged adherence to a natural strand of Android, with few of the customized UI distractions produced by means of maximum different producers.

Certainly, the Nokia XR20 technically wins out right here, with Android 11 slightly than Android 10 at its core. What’s extra, Nokia’s commendable center of attention on legacy strengthen signifies that you’re assured 3 years of OS upgrades and 4 years of per month safety updates.

Nokia XR20 software

There’s so much to be stated for this Android One way, with a lot of the heavy lifting achieved by means of Google’s superb suite of pre-installed apps. You don’t get any complicated secondary internet browsers, no gaudy theme shops, and no reproduction media apps.

You do get a couple of preinstalled third-party apps, then again, equivalent to Spotify, Amazon, ExpressVPN, and Nokia’s personal My Phone customer support app. However no less than they’re all stashed away in one, separate folder.

Worth & Availability

The Nokia XR20 is to be had now in the United Kingdom and make a selection Ecu international locations. It rolls out in the USA on August 24.

It’s priced at £399/€499, which is a complete £100/€100 greater than the Nokia X20 on which it’s loosely based totally. That is for the 4/64GB access type, however there’s additionally a 6/128GB iteration available in the market for £449/€569.

You’ll be able to simplest purchase it from Nokia or Amazon nowadays.

That would possibly sound dear for a phone with entry-level specs. As we’ve mentioned, then again, ruggedising a phone prices some huge cash – there’s a an identical value hole between the Motorola Defy and the in a similar fashion specced (however non-ruggedised) Moto G9 Play.

Certainly, the Nokia XR20 occupies one thing of a pricing candy spot in between the aforementioned Motorola Defy and the costlier CAT S62 Professional.

Take a look at our charts of the most efficient rugged telephones and absolute best mid-range telephones to peer what different choices you may have.

Nokia XR20 price


As rugged telephones cross, the Nokia XR20 is likely one of the maximum balanced and extensively interesting we’ve used. It’s not easy in all of the correct puts, however it’s additionally quite painless to make use of.

Make no mistake, this isn’t a specifically well-specced phone. But it surely has a sufficiently brilliant and sharp show, and its digital camera isn’t a complete write-off. You even get wonder little luxuries like wi-fi charging and stereo audio system.

The design, whilst rarely slinky or downright sexy, isn’t a complete eye-sore, with appealingly business uncovered steel facets and a pleasantly non-utilitarian color of blue. There’s additionally get the safety of a longer guaranty, a yr’s unfastened display screen alternative scheme, and an admirably lengthy device replace dedication from Nokia.

No longer that the corporate has hit a house run right here. Efficiency is slightly mediocre, and we might have favored to peer slightly extra oomph within the CPU division. Somewhere else, a rather upper display screen refresh fee would cross a protracted method to making the XR20 really feel slightly extra present, whilst the advances made by means of reasonably priced ‘customary’ telephones make us suppose there’s nonetheless room for growth within the digital camera division.

However if you happen to’re available in the market for a if truth be told not easy phone that received’t cost a fortune, and that may rise up to house existence in addition to excessive environments, that is near to as just right because it will get at this time.


Nokia XR20: Specifications

  • Android 11
  • 6.67in, FHD+, LCD, 60Hz, flat show
  • Gorilla Glass Victus (entrance)
  • Facet-mounted fingerprint sensor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
  • 4/6GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • 64/128GB garage, microSDXC slot
  • 48Mp, f/1.8 primary digital camera
  • 13Mp, f/2.4 ultrawide digital camera
  • As much as 1080p @ 30fps rear video
  • 8Mp, f/2.0 front-facing digital camera
  • Stereo audio system
  • Twin-SIM
  • Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • 4630mAh battery
  • 18W rapid charging
  • 171.6 x 81.5 x 10.6mm
  • 248g
  • MIL SPEC 810H, IP68
  • Extremely Blue, Granite

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