Last month Nokia added two new G-series smartphones to their mid-range – the G11 and G21. I’ve had many Nokia handsets over the years and haven’t tried one of their handsets since the Windows Phone Lumia range. I’ve spent a couple of weeks testing out the Nokia G21 to see if it’s worth the budget price point.
Coming in at just £149.99, the Nokia G21 is an affordable smartphone with some decent upgrades over the £119.99 Nokia G11. The price points of both put them at the cheaper end of mid-range smartphones. However, they both boast some impressive specs for the price.
Inside the box you’ll find the G21 handset, a 10W charger (the phone also supports an 18W fast charge), a USB-C cable and a standard SIM card ejector tool. Out of the box my first impression of the G21 was that it looks like a more expensive phone. In the hand it feels nice and solid with an aluminum frame and super tough polycarbonate back. The handset weighs 190g and measures 164.6 x 75.9 x 8.5 mm. My review handset was the Nordic Blue (navy) colour but there’s also a Dusk (dark taupe) colour if that’s more to your taste.
Despite the budget price the screen is huge at 6.5-inches with a slightly odd 20:9 aspect ratio. The screen resolution is 1600×720 with a density of 270 ppi and brightness of 400 nits. Considering the price I was actually quite pleased with the screen performance. It doesn’t come close to the top of the range phones but that’s fine. This means you’re not going to get the best viewing angles, scrolling isn’t always as smooth as you’d like and it can be a bit of a struggle to use in bright sunlight. As is common there are no face buttons and small notch at the top for the front camera.
The Nokia G21 comes with Android 11 installed and all the normal Google Apps. It also comes with LinkedIn, Netflix, Spotify and Amazon installed as well as a 30-day trial of ExpressVPN. Connectivity-wise, this is a 4G handset with 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5G dual band) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC and GPS.
The right side of the handset features volume up and down buttons as well as a power button that is also a fingerprint reader. On the top you’ll find a 3.5mm jack, which will delight some users, and a USB-C charge port on the bottom edge. The left side has a button that brings up the Google Assistant and there’s also a dual-sim card tray that also has room for a microSD card to expand the included 64GB storage.
The front camera is 8MP with the rear featuring a 50 MP triple-camera, including main, depth and macro lenses. Photos from the main camera feature plenty of detail and should satisfy most users who take occasional pics. I found the cameras to work well enough in a variety of situations including low-light thanks to the inclusion of AI imaging. The front camera can also be used for Face Unlock and even works when wearing a face mask.
Two areas that Nokia seem to be really pushing with the G21 are security and battery life. Nokia are promising to rollout twice as many security updates to the G21 as the competition. There’s also a promised 2 years of OS upgrades. The handset features a 5050 mAh battery that they claim can last you for 3 days. This is based on around 5 hours of usage per day. Most users should find the battery easily lasting a weekend, with heavy users getting through an entire day without worrying about charging. At the end of a week, with an hour or two of use per day, I still had over 40% charge remaining!
Overall I’ve been really impressed by the Nokia G21. It can’t compete with the top end phones in performance but then it’s not supposed to. If you’re after a handset on a budget with a big screen, decent camera, capable of casual gaming, plenty of storage and great battery life then I think most people would be absolutely delighted with the Nokia G21. It makes an incredible first smartphone and would also be perfect as a backup phone, for those occasions when you don’t want to risk taking an expensive handset out with them.
- Display: 6.5″ 20:9 1600×720 Adaptive 90Hz refresh rate and 180Hz touch sampling rate. 400nits
- Network: 4G
- CPU: Unisoc T606
- Memory: 4GB RAM
- Internal storage: 64GB Internal Storage, MicroSD up to 512GB
- Rear camera: 8MP
- Front camera: 50 MP Main 1/2.76“ CMOS, 0.64um, 5P lens, f/1.8 + 2 MP Macro + 2 MP Depth, Rear flash LED
- Battery: 5050 mAh
- OS: Android 11 (includes 2 OS upgrades)
- Security: Face unlock (including while wearing a face mask), Fingerprint sensor and 3 years of monthly updates.
- Colours: Nordic Blue or Dusk
Check out the Nokia website for full specifications.
The Nokia G21 was reviewed using a review unit supplied by Nokia.