Nokia G50 in the practice test: Future-proof middle class?

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For several years now, the trademark rights of the mobile phone division of Nokia have been in Finnish hands again. The company HMD Global secured this area and has since tried to plow a broad field. In addition to classic pushbutton telephones with modern features such as the Nokia 105 4G, smartphones are of course on the list. In 2021, HMD Global gave this segment a fresh name to emphasize the differences. The G series includes inexpensive models that are more suitable for beginners. Will that change with the Nokia G50? In a practical test, COMPUTER BILD took a first look at the latest model from the Finns.

Simple as usual: the design of the Nokia G50

Big surprises in the design of the Nokia G50 are not waiting for buyers. It comes across as plain and does without bright colors or other gimmicks. The smartphone fits seamlessly into the series of models that have appeared so far. At the front at the bottom of the display and on the back in the middle you can read Nokia. Apart from that, there is only one other detail that immediately catches the eye: the jack connector on the Nokia G50 is on the top of the smartphone and not, as usual, next to the charging socket on the bottom. The fingerprint sensor is located in the power button on the side – on the other side there is an extra button for the Google Assistant.

Top of Nokia G50

Surprising: The jack socket is on the top of the Nokia G50.

The company supplies a charging cable and a power plug in the box – the X-series models have to do without the latter at Nokia. HMD Global justifies this with the sustainability aspect, which should also play a role in the G50. However, this is more likely to be reflected in the long service life of this device and not in the addition.

Just an LCD

When it comes to the display, the Nokia G50 also lags behind: As with all other devices, HMD Global uses an LC display. This does not shine with high-contrast and rich colors. In terms of size, however, the Nokia is generous – the display is 6.82 inches and apart from the small notch for the front camera on top, it covers almost the entire front. HMD Global specifies the brightness with 450 nits. With a cloudy Hamburg sky, the brightness of the display was sufficient to see all the important information – but it can quickly look different in sunlight.

Display Nokia G50

The Nokia G50 only has an LC display – a shame, actually.

Camera with compromises

A front camera with 8 megapixels (MP) is hidden in the small notch on the front. On the back, HMD Global offers the familiar image of a circular arrangement of the built-in lenses. The main camera (48 MP) is on the top left, next to it is the ultra-wide-angle camera (5 MP). At the bottom left, the company installs the depth sensor (2 MP) and the flash. You will look in vain for a macro camera on the Nokia G50.

Can you take good pictures with this equipment? After the first test in practice, this is doubtful. Solid shots are possible in daylight, but they are not rich in detail. The pictures with zoom make this shortcoming clear: the picture is already muddy at double magnification – if you continue to turn the semicircle in the camera application, you will no longer expect a usable picture at the limit at the latest.

Hafencity Hamburg

Even with a double zoom, many details of the image disappear in the pixel mash.

The front camera was also not covered with fame in the practical test: apart from the personal problems such as an easily irritating focus, the recordings are not a feast for the eyes. Rather, the images appear pale and details are also lost here in the background. It works a little better with the portrait mode: There the Nokia G50 suddenly delivers richer colors – even if only in 4: 3 and not in 16: 9. The missing details in the background are then also no longer an issue, because it is blurred anyway.

Comparative selfie

No, the sun didn’t suddenly emerge from behind the hamburger gray – the portrait mode apparently simply has more saturated colors.

The night mode, which is shown separately, aroused interest in the practical test. This should make the pictures look better in dark light conditions. Pictures taken at a dimly lit S-Bahn stop are a matter of taste. It is quite possible that the slightly darker version gives the desired impression. The night mode does not offer high quality either.

Regional train stop

With the night mode (left) the images are brighter compared to the normal mode (right).

Nokia G50: Surprisingly Fast?

Inside the Nokia G50 4 gigabytes (GB) of working memory (RAM) work with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480. This surprised in the benchmarks: The Nokia G50 beat the top models Nokia X20 and Nokia X10 in almost all tests. It was probably not planned that way. After all, a look at the specifications, at least for the X10, brings light into the dark: Both devices use the same processor and similar RAM sizes. Therefore, the differences are only marginal here. It is much more unusual that the supposed entry-level device defeats the current top model from the manufacturer – the results definitely raise questions. Apart from that, the operation is reliable in everyday life: Even current mobile gaming hits like “Genshin Impact” can be played. The game warns of overclocking even with medium graphics settings – in the test, however, it also ran without noticeable stuttering on high graphics settings. The internal memory has a capacity of 128 GB. With a memory card, you can easily expand it by up to 512 GB.

From the factory, the Nokia G50 runs Android 11 – HMD Global guarantees new Android versions for two years. There are three years of security updates for the device. NFC for contactless payment is also on board, as is the new 5G cellular standard. So the Nokia G50 is ready for the future.

The battery is also generous compared to the X series: the manufacturer installs 5,000 mAh in the smartphone. It can be charged with the included power plug including a quick charge function with 18 watts. There is no wireless charging in this price range.

Nokia G50: price, colors, availability

The Nokia G50 is already on the shelves in Germany. It comes in the colors Ocean Blue (dark blue) and Midnight Sun (beige) and has a recommended retail price of 269 euros. This makes the smartphone the most expensive model in the G series and also catches up with the X series in terms of price.

Nokia G50 from behind

The Nokia G50 apparently inherits the Nokia X10.

Nokia G50: Conclusion of the practice test

The Nokia G50 does not fit the rest of the G-series models. Rather, it is an upgraded version of the Nokia X10, as a closer look at the specs reveals. However, that does not mean that the smartphone belongs to the upper class. The camera in particular attracted more attention in the practical test due to its weaknesses. The equipment is no fireworks for the price range up to 300 euros – 5G doesn’t help either. It is therefore difficult to say which strategy HMD Global is pursuing with the Nokia G50. It is currently overtaking the Nokia X10 in particular – possibly one of the reasons why this model is no longer available at least in the Nokia online shop.

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