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Nokia X20 5G detailed camera review & comparison vs Nokia 8.3, 5.4 & Google Pixel 3XL

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In this article we bring to you the detailed camera review of Nokia X20 5G. We are also comparing Nokia X20 5G camera samples against the samples from Google Pixel 3X, Nokia 8.3 5G and Nokia 5.4 for evaluation.

The Nokia X20 has a quad camera system over the rear complimented by Zeiss branded optics. It has a 64MP primary sensor, 5MP ultrawide, 2MP macro and a 2MP depth camera. Over the front , it has a 32MP camera module. The primary sensor is rumored to use a Samsung Isocell sensor with Tetrapixel technology .

Nokia X20 5G user interface:

Nokia X20 5G vs Nokia 8.3 5G vs Nokia 5.4 camera user interface is shown below in screenshots.

Upon launching of the camera app, there are some differences seen in the Nokia X20 in comparison to Nokia 8.3 5G and Nokia 5.4. In the main area, the macro camera is replaced with a 2X zoom option and the wide camera has been labelled as 0.6X zoom instead.

Various Modes in Nokia X20 5G camera:

Under the MORE option, you will get access to the macro camera, PRO mode, and the others. The cinema mode is only available for the primary sensor, unlike on the Nokia 8.3 5G which allows the ultrawide camera to utilize the cinema mode algorithm for more versatility.

Gone is the option to record videos using the macro camera which is a bummer considering both the Nokia 8.3 5G and the Nokia 5.4 has this option. If you fancy shooting in 64MP mode, the Nokia X20 allows you to do just that, however do remember that the amount of noise will be higher and the file sizes will be larger.

The omission of 4K video recording is baffling , both in the normal and cinema recording mode, considering the older SD660 processor found in midrange devices such as Nokia 7 plus is able to record at UHD resolution. The Nokia 8.3 5G however, is able to record in 4K for both this modes and it also offers HDR video recording which is only the second device from HMD Global to offer that after the Nokia 9 Pureview. Unlike the Nokia 8.3 5G, there is no option to simultaneously capture what is being recorded in the video mode.

Nokia X20 5G main Camera :

The Nokia X20 performs well in daylight with good details captured. Among the 4 devices above, the Nokia 7 plus manages to capture the most accurate colour, followed by the Nokia X20. In terms of HDR, the Nokia 8.3 5G takes the lead.

In the scene above, the Nokia X20 5G has the most accurate color reproduction, followed by Nokia 8.3 5G,Nokia 7 Plus and the Nokia 5.4 which messed up with an usual hue for the sky.

Cropped from the Images above:

In terms of details, the Nokia X20 5G performs well. The Nokia 8.3 5G has the sharpest image which some may enjoy but over-sharpening leads to more noise. The Nokia 7 plus did a fantastic job here for the oldest device in the comparison.

It has an accurate colour and images look less sharpen which may be what the purist might go for. The Nokia 5.4 also has a similar soft image here unfortunately the color reproduction is the least accurate with a pinkish tinge as shown above.

Wide angle:

The 5MP ultrawide sensor on the Nokia X20 has a different algorithm from the similar sized sensor of Nokia 5.4. it has a more accurate color reproduction although the HDR effect is better on the Nokia 5.4. However, both devices are no where near what the Nokia 8.3 5G can do with its above average performing 12MP ultra-wide sensor. To me, it is the closest sensor and algorithm of the good old Lumia days.

Cropped from the images above:

The bottom right image is from Nokia 7 plus which does not have a ultrawide sensor. Unfortunately, the ultrawide sensor of Nokia X20 is no where near the average. At 5MP however, this is expected. Image is noisy and colors are muted. Surprisingly the similar sized sensor of the Nokia 5.4 seem to have a better HDR output compared to the Nokia X20 5G.

In this scenario, the ultrawide sensor of Nokia 8.3 5G totally is a league of its own and even surpassing the primary sensor of the Nokia 7 plus with the least amount of noise, accurate color reproduction and balanced detail with no over sharpening noted. Kudos to HMD Global for getting it right with the ultrawide sensor of the Nokia 8.3 5G.

Nokia X20 5G 16MP VS 64 MP Output:

16MP:

64MP:

Cropped:

16MP:

64MP:

Cropped:

It is nice to see that there aren’t much difference in terms of colour reproduction and HDR between the 16MP output and the 64MP output unlike on the Nokia 8.3 5G. The 64MP output simply gives a more detailed image with not much noise to compromised with.

Nokia X20 5G Macro mode:

Nokia X20 5G sample:

Nokia 8.3 5G sample:

While both the Nokia X20 5G and Nokia 8.3 5G has a 2MP macro camera, it is surprising to see that the algorithm on the Nokia 8.3 5G produces sharper image with better details preserved. While the output of both this macro camera are good, you are probably better off to get an additional macro lenses if you are into macro photography.

Nokia X20 5G sample:

Nokia 5.4 sample:

In comparison, the macro output of Nokia X20 5G is better than the one on Nokia 5.4 with a brighter image and slightly better detail.

Nokia X20 5G Night Mode:

Set 1:

Set 2:

Its impressive to see how the current Nokia devices perform in low light imaging. From the comparison above, the Nokia 5.4 has the brightest image whereas the Nokia X20 5G has the darkest image. The night mode algorithm on both these devices leads to grainy images with noise. The Pixel 3XL is the reference device here. It is not the brightest, nor the sharpest but it’s a benchmark reference to how a night mode should be, preserved details with low noise.

The Nokia 8.3 5G here surprisingly produced the best image here, surpassing even the mighty Pixel device, famed for their most impressive low light algorithm. However, this test shows that HMD Global needs to improve the low light algorithm for the Nokia X20. There are enough pixels in the main sensor to produce a better low light image, one with less noise and more preserved detail.

Video:

Below are samples of video, uploaded directly from each device to minimize compression. Videos are shot handheld, but the ambient sound may differ due to vehicles passing by.

Nokia X20 5G 1080p 60 FPS:

Nokia X20 5G 2K Cinema Mode:

Nokia 8.3 5G 1080p 60 FPS:

Nokia 8.3 5G 2K Cinema Mode: 

Nokia 5.4 1080p 60 FPS: 

Nokia 5.4 2K Cinema Mode: 

The Nokia X20 does have a respectful video output quality and in this test it sits below the Nokia 8.3 5G but above the Nokia 5.4. Its surprising to see how differently the ambient sounds are captured by each device from the same given distance. The Nokia 8.3 5G captures an amazing range of sounds ,followed by Nokia X20 5G. The Nokia 5.4 however barely manages to capture any ambient sound from this distance. Now, all 3 has OZO audio recording in it. Each of this device are equipped with 2 microphones yet each produce different results. Each videos are also captured handheld as steady as possible. In terms of stability, the Nokia X20 5G again sits below the Nokia 8.3 5G but does better than the Nokia 5.4.

More photo and video samples from the Nokia X20 5 G : 

Summary:

The Nokia X20 5G is a very compelling device, one that has the potential to become better if HMD Global continues to polish its software. The 64MP sensor used is adequate for most imaging enthusiast. While its not as great as the Nokia 8.3 5G which is the older brother here, it still manages to hold on its own. The video recording at 1080p 60FPS is adequate for most casual users, with respectable stability and rich audio capture. However, the omission of 4K recording might be a deal breaker for some. Especially if ones considers this as a midrange device. One area that I hope to see improvement is the night mode output. It seems like a lazy job just to boost the ISO to capture bright image at the expense of more noise and less detail. If the Nokia 8.3 5G with a similar 64MP sensor manages to pull ahead of the famed Pixel device, there is nothing preventing the Nokia X20 5G from doing the same given the right software update.

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