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Nokia G21 Review

Nokia pushes the envelope with an affordable phone that impressed us.

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The Finnish HMD Group has really gone from strength to strength since buying back parts of Nokia from Microsoft and for me, whose first three mobile phones (almost 30 years ago) were all Nokia models, this review opportunity felt extra fun. The newly released G11 and G21 are both affordably priced budget handsets, the latter of which we here at Gamereactor have been using for about three weeks now, and are thoroughly impressed with pretty much everything it has to offer.

The first thing that impresses about the G21 is the battery. I've easily squeezed three full days out of each charge, which is better than my iPhone 13 Pro Max in particular, which houses Apple's biggest and best mobile battery. Three days without needing to charge up the Nokia feels almost bizarre, which is a feeling that extends to the screen, which is infuriatingly good for this frighteningly low price. The G21 has an IPS screen running at 90Hz and at 1600 x 720 pixel resolution with 270 PPI and it's brilliant. The touch functionality is superb, contrast likewise, as is colour neutrality and brightness. Would a 1080p panel have been nice here? Yep. Is it needed on a 6.5" phone in the £150 price range? Absolutely not.

The processor is a Unisoc T606 and while it's hardly an industry best-in-class, the phone feels snappy, fresh and fast all the time, no matter what you're doing with it. Sure, the apps don't launch blisteringly fast like in my nearly ten times (!) as expensive iPhone 13 Pro Max but there's nothing about the processor chip in the G21 that doesn't feel new, or more than adequately quick. The phone ships with Android 11 out of the box and it doesn't come with a ton of Android-related bloatware as Samsung's models, among others, often do, but instead feels stripped down clean and free of much that I dislike about Android as an operating system, and of course that's also something that I want to applaud Nokia for.

Nokia G21
Phones like this will undoubtedly change the product segment and the pricing that currently prevails. In a good way, of course.

The design is also brilliant. The G21 looks good and feels good in the hand. No part of either the basic shape, the material choices or the ridged back feels "cheap" (which this phone certainly is) but rather like something that could perhaps cost three times more than it really does. I like the grey-blue colour tone too, and the grey-brown second colour that's also available. The sound system also does its job, even if the mono sound is a bit pale. Of course, I would much rather have seen (heard?) stereo sound via more lavish speakers, but again, let's not forget that this phone costs £149.99 - about as much as the shell of Apple's latest phone or the charging cradle for Samsung's foldable flagship model.

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The camera is probably the best part here, along with the battery. There's a 50 megapixel sensor in the G21 that impresses. Everything from the portrait mode to the soft zoom function works brilliantly and the pictures are really good. Clearly comparable to phones for three times the price. I also find the camera here to be really applaudable in terms of shutter speed and capability of shooting in dark environments.

As for the very few negative things I have to say about this great budget phone, it's mostly that I would have liked to see a 1080p display and a battery that holds as much power but perhaps charges a bit faster. Otherwise, I really have nothing else to say about this phone other than Nokia just released the world's most affordable and stable budget phone right now.
To get so much for £150 in this product section seems almost bizarre.

09 Gamereactor UK
9 / 10
Good screen with 90Hz refresh rate. Fast and reliable processor. Enough memory and storage. Really good camera. Brilliant battery life.
Mono sound is a bit tinny. Battery charges slowly.
overall score
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