It’s been a while since Nokia launched a smartphone in India. The G20 was one of Nokia’s key products in 2021 that played in the sub-Rs 15,000 market, but a lot has changed in this price band in this one year. Budget phones have seen an upgrade in terms of design and functionality. The Nokia G21 is the brand’s latest addition to its India portfolio, and it is betting big on its monster battery and stock Android user experience. Is that enough ammo for the G21 to survive in this ultra-competitive segment?
Familiar Nokia Vibe
The minimalist design of the Nokia G21 allows it to stand out in a cluttered space. We checked out the ‘Dusk’ colour option — a beautiful shade, probably where copper meets chocolate brown. There are a couple of pleasing design elements that include the glossy cut-out for the triple cam that contrasts with the matte finish of the back. The back is textured and it doesn’t just give it a unique vibe but also repels smudges. We were also impressed with the 190gm weight of the device, considering the large battery under the hood. We’re not fans of the teardrop notch and that is probably the only dampener in a device that is elegantly designed.
Besides the design, the other big win is the stock Android experience. At a time when many device manufacturers still cling to clunky user interfaces and tonnes of bloatware, Nokia still sticks with an Android experience minus the extra layers of fat. It complements the minimalism of the design. The Nokia G21 is also part of the Android One platform that guarantees frequent OS and security updates. We would have liked to see Android 12 out of the box though. The G21 still runs on Android 11 but Nokia has confirmed that an update is coming soon.
The Nokia G21 is powered by the Unisoc T606 processor. We checked out the base variant – 4GB/64GB, there’s also a 6GB/128GB variant at a Rs 2,000 premium. The G21 is not the fastest in the segment, you might have to look elsewhere if gaming is your thing. Rivals like Redmi Note 11 and the Realme 9 5G have registered higher benchmark scores. The G21 clocked 1193 in our Geekbench (multi-core) benchmark test. Camera results were average. You get a triple rear cam with a 50MP primary lens, a 2MP depth sensor and 2MP macro cam. We would have preferred to see an ultra-wide lens in the mix. The macro lens produced some good results in our tests. While Nokia has added a 90Hz refresh rate to this display it’s still not a huge leap over last year’s G20. Visibility takes a slight hit under direct sunlight on the 6.5-inch (1600 x 720) IPS LCD display.
Nokia’s G21 scores with its design, Pureplay Android experience and battery performance. You should be able to stretch its use to close to two days with the 5050 mAh battery. So can Nokia make a serious impact at a
price point where buyers seek more for less? We’ll find out soon enough.
The Nokia G21 comes in Dusk and Nordic Blue and costs Rs 12,999 (4GB/64GB) and Rs 14,999 (6GB/128GB)