Nokia G21 Evaluation: A Monkey Paw

At first blush the Nokia G21 appears like a compelling possibility, with the promise of wonderful battery life and a predominantly inventory Android expertise. Its chipset, the Unisoc T606, appears to be a good workhorse, and it does provide a 50Mp lead digicam too, however it’s additionally pushing a decision of 720p.

That places it in an ungainly spot, particularly alongside the likes of the Redmi 10, which bumps up the decision to a significantly better 1080p in the identical type of worth bracket, so what else can this long-lasting reasonably priced blower convey to the desk?

Design & construct

Obtainable in each Nordic Blue and Nightfall (our assessment unit is the previous), the Nokia G21 appears as you’d anticipate a contemporary reasonably priced smartphone to look, however there are some good touches.

For one, the again panel has a matte end to extend grip, and whereas the development is plastic, the entire telephone feels sturdier than different units at this worth level. On the left, you’ll discover a Google Assistant button to match an influence button/fingerprint sensor on the best, with the SIM tray and quantity rocker reverse one another simply above. 

There’s a USB-C port on the backside, with a headphone jack connector on the high. On the again, the digicam module contains a regular large sensor, a macro digicam, and a depth sensor. In contrast to its predecessor, the G20, you gained’t discover an ultrawide digicam right here – however we’ll cowl that later. The entrance sensor is positioned simply on the high bezel inside the telephone’s 6.5-inch show, set right into a now rarely-seen dewdrop association.


As huge because the display screen of the G21 is, it’s instantly clear that compromises have been made to hit its worth level. Whereas the show is a big sufficient canvas for internet and social media looking, it’s 720p decision makes it really feel just a little such as you’re trying on the show by a further panel of glass.

It’s clear sufficient when navigating Android 11, however whenever you begin photographs they really feel just a little on the muted aspect. That’s partially the low decision however it’s additionally all the way down to using an LCD panel that feels 1,000,000 miles off of OLED expertise. Right here’s hoping the trickle-down of these panels arrives on reasonably priced Nokias prior to later.

On the plus aspect, the telephone boasts a 90Hz refresh charge, which means thumbing by pages of apps or scrolling your Twitter feed is extra responsive – it’s simply arduous to get enthusiastic about. Players will possible wish to look elsewhere for eye-popping particular results within the likes of League of Legends: Wild Rift, although.

There’s additionally no HDR on provide right here, so there are fewer colors that may be displayed. That’ll not solely have an effect on your newest Netflix binge, however may also imply an absence of accuracy in images taken, too.


The Unisoc T606 is working with 4GB of RAM, and in our testing meaning you may anticipate strong outcomes. Should you’re utilizing the Nokia G21 for e mail, scrolling social feeds and looking just a few webpages, you’ll be fairly happy with the telephone handles itself.

The truth is, whereas its single-core scores from Geekbench 5 are nothing to be too enthusiastic about, in multi-core it ever so barely trumps the equally priced Redmi 10.

As with the Redmi, meaning graphically intensive video games are virtually out of the query. Certain, you may run the likes of PUBG Cell, however you may anticipate finding loads of dropped frames and texture pop-in.

The excellent news is that the Nokia G21 is very happy to play properly with productiveness apps like Google Docs or Sheets. I used to be capable of flick between apps with little to no slowdown, though I did encounter a weird crash when attempting to reorient a photograph I’d taken.

Nonetheless, there’s rather a lot to love with what’s beneath the proverbial hood right here, and whereas 64GB of included storage is prone to be a lot for a lot of, there’s an SD card slot, too – so you may add as much as a further 512GB of storage right away.


Maybe no a part of the G21 signifies its “monkey paw” id than in its digicam setup. It gives a giant, 50Mp large sensor and a macro digicam, however lacks the ultrawide of its predecessor, the G20. We’d wager many would moderately have an ultrawide than the macro used right here, however when it comes to what’s on provide, the outcomes are just a little blended.

Nokia is touting AI imaging (it’s even on the field), and it undoubtedly has its moments. In Evening Mode, the identical shot appears noticeably sharper, for instance. In daylight although, photographs nonetheless lack element and vibrancy, with a muted palette that feels bland. Portrait mode is included, however the pure bokeh impact feels inconsequential due to how dulled foreground colors are.

The entrance sensor additionally lacks element, trying a bit smudged. Nonetheless, it’ll work effectively sufficient with video calls, for probably the most half.


One other factor Nokia is eager to impress upon potential consumers is the battery lifetime of the G21, and its proper to take action – though your mileage will range. We have been capable of eke out simply shy of three days with regular use, however our PCMark Work 3.Zero check supplied up some differing outcomes, with readings of round 12 and a half hours and 11 and a half hours of display screen on time.

That’s truly lower than the Redmi 10, regardless of Nokia’s claims on the contrary. Nonetheless, real-world utilization trumps these bespoke assessments, so we’re assured within the producer right here. As you may think about, it’ll all rely upon how typically you’re utilizing the machine, however the 5050mAh battery paired wit less-demanding {hardware} like tat 720p show ensures loads of longevity.

Whereas 18W fast-charging is supported, a suitable charger isn’t within the field. That’s a disgrace, as a result of after 15 minutes we have been solely capable of get the sizeable battery to 10% cost, with 24% after half an hour. Nonetheless, USB-C chargers are fairly common as of late, so that you could possibly juice the G21 up quicker with out having to fork out for a further energy adapter.

Software program & options

The G21 runs on Android 11, with Android 12 being the most recent model at present accessible. Google replace cycles generally is a little arduous to gauge, however Nokia is promising two years of OS upgrades – which means it must be lined as much as Android 13.

The corporate additionally guarantees twice as many safety upgrades because the competitors, with 36 the magic quantity listed within the small print.

So far as preinstalled apps, there are just a few however they’re not the most important offenders. You’ll discover Spotify preinstalled, in addition to LinkedIn and ExpressVPN – the latter of which comes with a free trial for 30 days.

Past that, we have repeatedly recommended the Nokia Android expertise, for its uncluttered and light-weight method.

Value & availability

Relying in the marketplace, the Nokia G21 comes with 4GB of RAM and both 64GB (i.e. UK and France) or 128GB (i.e. Spain and Germany) of storage, within the two colourways we talked about earlier. Availablility in markets just like the US and India does not look to be on the playing cards as but.

It’s prepared to purchase now and retails at £149.99 within the UK and from €189 in Europe (though double the storage for the same worth in Spain and Germany makes for higher worth in these markets). You should purchase the G21 from Nokia immediately (UK, France, Spain, Germany), in addition to the likes of Amazon, Argos and Very.

Xiaomi’s Redmi 10 is the obvious different however reasonably priced choices just like the Realme Eight and Motorola’s Moto G31 may also match the invoice for those who’d moderately a nicer design or show respectively, for round an analogous worth.

Take a look at our collection of the very best finances telephones accessible proper now, for a wider host of options too.


With three-day battery life, a balanced processor, and a giant display screen, the Nokia G21 looks like a strong smartphone on the finances finish – however it gained’t excite.

A restrictive 720p decision and a digicam that’s bought loads of megapixels however not rather a lot to indicate for it, nevertheless, render it a reliable work telephone that you just gained’t readily be reaching for after the day is completed.

Nokia G21: Specs

Android 11

6.5in, LCD, 720p, 20:9 facet ratio

Unisoc T606


64GB storage

microSD card slot

64Mp Most important digicam, f/1.8

2Mp Depth sensor

2Mp Macro lens

8Mp Entrance digicam

WiFi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5G twin band)

Bluetooth 5.0

4G/3G supported

Twin SIM




Launch colors: Nordic Blue, Nightfall

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