Nokia XR20 Review: Rough and characteristic

I will admit it. I was ready to rag on HMD Global’s new Nokia phone even before I took it out of the box. It costs 550, yet it uses a processor that you’ll find as cheap as 24 240 on the phone. And unlike the similarly priced Google Pixel 5A or Samsung Galaxy A52 5G, you won’t surprisingly get an OLED display for ink blacks. What?

It turns out that fixing those individual bugs actually goes away from a great Android smartphone. HMD has packed in other features like headphone jack, expandable storage, customizable buttons and wireless charging at a respectable price. It also channels the classic Nokia “brick” philosophy: it looks like a smartphone, but this thing is tough. If you tend to throw away your phone, you hate to use something that adds a lot, then don’t look anymore.

Tough love

Photo: Samsung

XR20 is a Rough Phone, but it doesn’t look like most rough phones. Don’t get me wrong; The XR20 is still heavy, thick and large. I wouldn’t call it beautiful. But it is much more clever than the usual rough design, which is often dense and unnecessarily ugly.

It has an aluminum core ded lai on the back of a grippy polymer compound. (The edges are also aluminum.) It is Feels The hard front screen is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus, the strongest glass you’ll ever find. No Android phone, and it is IP68 water- and dust-resistant, so it will survive drowning in 1 meter of water for 30 minutes.

On paper, this is some impressive protection for money. But just because the XR20 is using Gorilla Glass Victus doesn’t mean that this screen won’t be damaged. Prior flagship phones use the same material and crack when dropped. Fortunately, the lack of glass on the back of the phone means there’s less area you need to worry about.

It is very often a manufacturer advertising a phone drop. But on the XR20’s product page, HMD says you can “throw it away, soak it, and even record your kids’ football game in the worst weather.” So I dropped it. Three times, to be exact, on a sidewalk, about 6 feet above. The screen. Drum roll না Do not crack. There are a few minor shakes on the polymer casing, but the display is primitive. Obviously, this is not a guarantee that it will withstand your first drop, but the results are promising.

Other unusual features include a Leonard attachment spot on the bottom of the phone, if you want to hang the XR20 from your wrist or neck, and dual SIM support (this is a hybrid SIM tray, so the microSD slot is doubled as a secondary SIM slot). In addition to the power and volume buttons, there are two extras on the left and top ends. The first enables Google Assistant, but the second is configurable.

I set it to turn on the flashlight with a single press and launch an app with a long press. I’ve noticed that I use the flashlight more at night now that it’s much faster to access, and I use the Google Assistant button to turn on the air conditioner in my living room regularly before I get home.

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