Nokia X20: The new top model in the laboratory test

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The topic of sustainability has left its mark on the major technology manufacturers. In order to retain customers effectively, it is necessary to have this topic on the screen as well. The current method is to leave out accessories such as power plugs or headphones in the packaging. In addition, more and more companies are promising longer update cycles in order to extend the service life. HMD Global relies on this strategy for the Nokia models. With the new naming of the devices, the company is presenting a changed strategy. How well does the project work in combination with top models? COMPUTER BILD put the Nokia X20 through its paces in the laboratory.

Nokia X20: Sustainable Design?

Nokia X20 case
100 percent compostable: The cover of the Nokia X20 is biodegradable.

How can sustainability be implemented in design? It is sometimes not possible to dispense with some substances or this leads to a massive increase in prices. HMD Global has thought of something for this area: The enclosed cover is made of a compostable material. There is no power plug, there is a charging cable in the box next to the smartphone. If you can’t do without the power plug or other accessories, you can order them from Nokia. Apart from the special case, the design of the Nokia X20 is unspectacular. The tested version in blue lies comfortably in the hand due to the roughened plastic back. The device is therefore not scratch-resistant – but the display can withstand a lot, as the test showed. At 220 grams, the Nokia X20 is not a lightweight. The smartphone is not waterproof.

Dark display on the Nokia X20

The 6.67-inch display extends across the front of the Nokia X20. It uses 80 percent of the front surface and is home to a small hole for the front camera. But: It is an LC display that is not convincing in terms of brightness and color fidelity. The Nokia 617 creates candela in backlighting – it’s too dark in sunlight to see everything. The contrast was also not convincing in the laboratory and some deviations were noticeable in the color accuracy. These are all problems related to the LC display. It is surprising that HMD Global does not rely on AMOLED displays for its top models. Other manufacturers have integrated them into the price range as standard. In the screen category, the Nokia X20 only achieved a test grade of 3.2 in the laboratory test.

Camera with weaknesses

There are four lenses on the back of the Nokia X20. The main camera is a 64-megapixel quad camera that has a resolution of 16 megapixels (MP). It receives reinforcement from an ultra-wide angle sensor (5 MP), a depth sensor (2 MP) and a macro lens (2 MP). This means that the smartphone is well equipped for taking photos in daylight. It is more difficult as soon as the scenario changes: both in the low-light environment and when using the flash, the camera in the laboratory was not a hit. The zoom also quickly shows problems – the images are muddy, details are lost. The shutter release time is comparatively long, which in case of doubt leads to blurred images and makes it difficult to take quick snapshots.

Daylight Nokia X20
In daylight, pictures with the Nokia X20 are of good quality.

Zoom Nokia X20
The Nokia X20’s zoom did not convince in the test.

The selfie camera on the front of the Nokia X20 has a 32 MP sensor. This means that not only selfies are possible, but also simultaneous video recordings with the main and front cameras. The whole thing runs under the banner “Dual-Sight”. The level of detail was positive in the test – finally no soft focus that retouched all traces of life from the face. The Nokia X20 has another drawback: Incorrect colors result in a green cast in the pictures. This is even clearer on the smartphone display than in the recordings. Other than that, the selfie camera is good in daylight. The small weaknesses ensure that the Nokia X20 receives a test grade of 2.5 in the camera area.

Selfie Nokia X20
There is a veil of green over the images from the Nokia X20’s front camera.

How fast is the Nokia X20?

Inside the Nokia X20 is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G with 8 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. The operating system is Android 11 ex works. HMD Global promises security and software updates for three years. This means that there is at least one new Android version in it. The operating speed of the Nokia X20 is good in everyday use – apps open quickly. The working speed does not keep up. In Geekbench, the Nokia X20 is subject to a few competitors that are significantly cheaper, such as the Realme 8 5G. Gaming is possible with the smartphone, but stuttering occurs quickly. A 4K video also suffered this fate in the test. The internal memory is 128 GB and can be expanded with a memory card. The option does not apply if you want to use dual SIM – the hybrid slot only allows one option. After all: The Nokia X20 supports the new 5G cellular standard.

Long running and long charging times

The Nokia X20 has a 4470 mAh battery. It lasted nine hours and 28 minutes in the laboratory’s stress test before the juice ran out. Then it went to the charging cable for two hours and three minutes until the battery was full again. There is clearly room for improvement. Positive: After an hour, the display showed 79 percent. The Nokia X20 does not offer wireless charging.

Nokia X20: conclusion of the laboratory test

The Nokia X20 is a subdued top model. In particular, the display and the processor did not convince in the test. The camera also has some weaknesses such as a green cast or problems with zooming. The availability of 5G and the good battery life are positive. Charging is recommended overnight due to the long charging time. In the price range up to 400 euros, the Nokia X20 is a solid smartphone with a test grade of 2.7.

Nokia X20: price, colors, availability

The Nokia X20 has been available in Germany since May 2021 for 399 euros (RRP). HMD Global offers the smartphone in two colors: Nordic Blue (dark blue; tested variant) and Midnight Sun (bronze).

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