The Nokia XR20,introduced in August 2021, marks the beginning of a new chapter of toughness and durability in the mobile world. Yes, we all know the  memes of the legendary Nokia devices like the Nokia 3310 , where mobile toughness gets the definition. But the truth is, do we actually need one? The prospect of having a durable device that could withstand the test of time and clumsiness sounds promising. But slapping a bumper case and a tempered glass  on just any  device might do the trick. Or do they?

The Nokia XR21 is finally here with a more streamlined design while attempting to up its predecessor with newer, more potent hardware.

Where it started

To appreciate the changes in Nokia XR21,  we need to understand what it is replacing. Truth to be told, I initially had little interest on the Nokia XR20 and I only purchased it because it was offered at half the price for the loyal owners of Nokia 9 Pureview, though both are entirely a different class of devices.

And, shockingly, the XR20 was among the longest primary usage device I have had in a long time. And, the XR21 is here, to finally replace my Nothing Phone 1.

So, was the XR20 any good? While the pricing might have been something difficult to digest with, given the below average processor and less enticing hardware, the Nokia XR20 really stood up for what it was meant to be.

The XR20, powered by SD480  5G platform was adequate to run vanilla Android smoothly without issues. The 6GB RAM with an expandable 128GB storage was just nice, but it would have been sweeter if HMD Global could have inked some deal to allow the XR series to at least upload images to Google photos for free( at least the compressed version).  The XR20 with its larger than life dimension may not be friendly for single handed interaction and at 248g, it certainly is on the heavy side. The 1080p LCD display is OKAY for the most part and the battery life was acceptable, but nothing close to more than a single day use.

But, here is where the XR20 shined, which sort of differentiate it from the other devices. This device is indeed built like a tank, feels like a tank and behaves like a tank. I have had multiple drops of this device and not even one was I worried or over reacted trying to slow the fall and what not. I just let it be as it is , knowing nothing would happen. You certainly would react differently for other devices.  When it comes to daily tasking, it was more than adequate to do what you need to do without any stuttering or crashes, but I have a feeling that the SD480 processor is stressed out here to allow smooth operation, which might explain its battery life which is no where to 2 days, despite using 4G only!

The wirelss charging function is welcomed though I barely used them as wired charging was more efficient. And then there is the imaging , which if I recall correctly, is the last Nokia device with Zeiss branded optics. I was not a fan of its imaging capabilities, it was adequate ,but not something that I would be using for serious photography. The colours were off, the images tend to be on a warmer side and details could have been better.

AND, my absolute favourite feature of the device is the customizable red button which is really handy, and I programmed it to screenshot for reading on the go. Certainly a handy feature.

The XR21

The XR21 with its slimmer and lighter profile but at the same time maintaining the same toughness is really remarkable in that sense. It feels nicer in the hands, and the edges of the device are subtle and less intrusive. It retains much of its predecessor, the 3.5mm head jack, stereo speakers as well as 2 customizable buttons.

The display , still LCD gets a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate and is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. The slightly smaller display is also a tad sharper on the XR21. The stereo speaker is probably the loudest on any Nokia device, but it is way beyond what I would prefer as the whole chassis seems to vibrate from its loudness! Battery life should be better, thanks to the more efficient SD695 5G platform with its 6nm technology and a larger battery at 4800mAh. The omission of wireless charger may not be a deal breaker, but for the asking price, it would have been nice to have.

Probably what I am more excited about is the imaging capability. Not only it gets a larger primary sensor at 64MP, it also utilizes the new and powerful image algorithm and judging by the way its implemented, it might give the Nokia X30 , a run for its money.

You can catch my full initial review here:

You can also check on the display quality comparison here:

You can appreciate the audio quality here:

And, unfortunately, the loudest speaker till date has its own issue as you can see here:

As usual, do hit me up on twitter for up to date updates or just to say hello!

Stay tuned for the much awaited camera comparison.

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