Nokia

HMD Nokia launches a slew of budget 4G and 5G phones including a TWS headset and is even starting a 5G MVNO service in the UK

The Nokia X name has been associated with many different kinds of phones in the past – multimedia ones, a Microsoft-backed Android phone, then an HMD-made Android for China and now it is all about budget 5G smartphones.

Nokia made a comeback to the smartphone market four years ago. The brand inarguably lags far behind its former legacy as the world’s biggest phone brand, but its commitment to a bloat-free user experience has helped it maintain a distinct identity, especially in the entry-level and budget segments of the smartphone market. HMD Global, the company that revived the Nokia brand, is now launching six new smartphones across different price segments and a pair of wireless TWS earphones. With this launch, HMD is moving away from its conventional decimalized naming and embracing an alphanumeric naming with the new Nokia X series with X10 and X20, the G series with G10 and G20, and the C series with C10 and C20 that are launching today.

The new X series caters to users seeking a premium experience in the mid-range market with features like three years of Android version updates, ZEISS lenses to enhance cameras, and the promise of 5G connectivity. The G Series offers a more neutral mid-range experience extending a promise of three-day-long battery life and two platform updates. Lastly, HMD targets first-time smartphone consumers with the C series. The following parts of this article talk about all of these smartphones in detail.

Nokia X10 and X20

Nokia X20 with the Ziess branding on the camera housing

The two phones are nearly identical, differing mainly in the camera department. The Nokia X10 and X20 are the top-of-the-line models among the ones that HMD Global is launching today. The camera section is the highlight of the Nokia X20. It has a 64MP main camera on the rear – complete with ZEISS optics, of course, plus tools to color grade photos. The S480 chip tops out at 1080p video capture, so don’t expect anything more from this cam.

The Nokia X10 loses some ground here. Its main cam is based on a 48MP sensor, though it still gets the ZEISS treatment. The selfie camera has been demoted, however, down to an 8MP sensor. Besides the differences in the primary camera sensors, both phones feature a 5MP ultrawide camera, a 2MP macro camera, and a 2MP depth sensor. Both X-phones have 6.67” LCDs with 1,080 x 2,400 px resolution. These have average brightness (450 nits) and color gamut coverage (82% NTSC) and lack any fancy stuff like a high refresh rate or even strengthened glass. At least you get a screen protector with the retail package.

Nokia X20 as seen from the front

The new Nokia X series phones use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 chipset, which offers 5G connectivity in the budget segment. Besides, you get up to 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage that can be expanded to 512GB. Both phones use the same 4,470 mAh battery, which comes with HMD’s standard promise of two-day battery life. For charging they both support 18W. In some regions the X20 will get a charger in its retail package, the X10 will always come with a USB-C cable only.

Nokia X20 as seen from the rear

In terms of connectivity, both phones feature 5G, of course (dual-SIM), plus Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD/Adaptive and NFC. Wired connectivity includes USB-C (USB 2.0) plus a 3.5 mm headphone jack, complete with an FM radio receiver.

The Nokia X10 and X20 feature a dedicated Google Assistant button and come with NFC. Both of these devices also support AR Core for augmented reality applications and among the devices certified by Google for its Android Enterprise Recommended. The two smartphones run on Android 11 out of the box when it comes to software, and HMD has pledged full support for three years – this means three years of OS and security updates, but also three-year warranty. As part of HMD’s green initiative, the phones come with an included case that is 100% compostable.

Nokia X10 series

Here are a few final details. The two handsets will launch with close to stock Android 11 out of the box and you won’t have to worry about updates anytime soon. On their sides there are a fingerprint reader and a Google Assistant Button. The X10 has basic water resistance (IP52, i.e. you can take it out in the rain).

Nokia G20 and G10

Besides the 5G-enabled X-series, HMD also unveiled four entry-level Nokia phones – two G phones with full Android 11 and two C phones with Android 11 Go Edition. It’s important to note that the G-series will receive OS updates for two years.

Nokia G20
Nokia G10

 

The Nokia G20 and G10 are relatively less powered than the X series phones. The G series is equipped with MediaTek’s Helio G35 SoC and is, therefore, limited to 4G connectivity. You get a 6.5-inch HD+ display with a V-shaped notch.

Besides a 48MP primary camera, the Nokia G20 features a 5MP ultrawide, a 2MP macro, and a 2MP depth camera. The Nokia G10, on the other hand, only features a 13MP triple camera setup lacking the ultrawide camera that the G20 features. On the front, both phones feature 8MP cameras for selfies.

The G20 gets preferential treatment when it comes to performance. It powered by the MediaTek Helio G35 chipset (8x A53 @ 2.3 GHz, GE8320 @ 680 MHz). It always comes with 4 GB of RAM, storage is 64 or 128 GB. The G10 is powered by the Helio G25 instead (8x A53 @ 2.0 GHz, GE8320 @ 650 MHz) with 3/4 GB of RAM and 32/64 GB storage. Both have dedicated microSD slots and both start with Android 11.

Except for the color options, the rest is the same. This includes the 6.5” LCD with 720p+ resolution (20:9). Note that the G-series gets 2 years of OS updates, coupled with 3 years of monthly security patches.

The G10 and G20 have 5,050 mAh batteries, the largest of any Nokia so far. This extends the usual battery life promise from 2 days to 3 days. Both phones support – and come bundled with – 10W chargers.

Old-fashioned as that is, at least HMD used a USB-C port (USB 2.0). There’s a 3.5 mm headphone jack here as well with an FM radio receiver. More modern wireless tech includes LTE Cat. 4, Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth 5.0. On their sides, the phones have a fingerprint reader and a Google Assistant button. Also, both phones are rated IPX2 (rain resistance).

While there is a Google Assistant button on these smartphones, you also get NFC for contactless transactions in certain regions. Lastly, the phones are IPX2 certified, which means the device may survive after being splashed with water but only at certain conditions.

Nokia C10 and C20

If HMD’s re-imagined featurephone classics are not quite capable enough for you, but you don’t need full-blown Android, then the C-series is worth a look. Like the G-phones, these two are quite similar.

Nokia C10
Nokia C20

 

The Nokia C10 and C20 and the most affordable smartphones in the series. The Nokia C series isn’t new as HMD Global had launched the Nokia C3 previously. The new C series phones are designed to offer a pleasant experience to first-time smartphone users. While the Nokia C20 supports LTE connectivity, the Nokia C10 is limited to 3G+ or WCDMA.

The C10 and Nokia C20 use a quad-core and an octa-core chipset from Unisoc, respectively. They come with either 1GB or 2GB of RAM, which indicates the market that HMD Global wants to target with these devices. TBoth have a 6.52” LCD with 720p+ resolution (20:9). The Nokia C10 display is protected with Panda Glass and targets 400 nits of brightness, 70% NTSC coverage. The two phones have near identical camera setups, with single 5 MP module on the back and one 5 MP module on the front. The C20 can do HDR processing thanks to its fancier chipset (don’t get too excited, though).

The Nokia C20 is powered by the Unisoc SC9863a (28 nm, 8x A55 @ 1.6 GHz, IMG8322) while the C10 gets the Unisoc SC7331e (quad-core 1.3 GHz), the same chip used in the original C1.

As these are Android 11 Go Edition phones, they start with 1GB of RAM (with an option for 2 GB). Storage is similarly limited, 16 or 32 GB for both. If it’s any consolation, both have dedicated microSD slots. HMD promises two years of quarterly updates for the C-series duo.

The C10 and C20 have 3,000 mAh batteries with bog-standard 5W charging over microUSB. Yes, unlike the G-series, these two bring microUSB in 2021. At least HMD kept the 3.5 mm headphone jack with FM radio.

The Nokia C20 is a 4G phone (Cat. 4) with Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.2. The Nokia C10 actually drops to 3G-only connectivity.

Nokia Lite Earbuds (BH-205) TWS

Along with the smartphones, HMD Global has also announced a pair of TWS earphones called Nokia Lite Earbuds with Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity.  The Nokia Lite Earbuds is a TWS headset – here the lite refers more to the sleek, pocketable design than the price.

The Nokia Lite Earbuds have enough battery for 36 hours of total listening time

 

The earphones come with 6 mm drivers with a claimed frequency response of 20Hz-20KHz. Each earbud is equipped with a 40mAh battery with a promised battery life of 6 hours, while the carrying case has a 400mAh battery with a battery life of up to 30 hours. Therefore, the total battery life per full charge is 36 hours, which is excellent for TWS earphones. The carrying case features a USB Type-C port for charging.

You’d think that the Nokia Power Earbuds Lite would have the better battery life, but the Lite Earbuds actually beat them on both counts (5 hours for the buds, 35 hours total). That said, the case of the Power Lite buds is actually slightly smaller.

The retail package includes three pairs of tips (S, M and L sizes), so you can pick the ones that are comfortable. The buds themselves will be offered in Polar Sea and Charcoal.

Pricing & Availability

The Nokia X20 will be priced at €349 (~$415) and will be available in various markets starting May 2021. The X10 will be available at a starting price of €309 (~$368) starting June 2021.

The Nokia G20 can be bought for a starting price of €159 (~$189) in different markets globally from May 2021 onwards. The G10 will retail starting at €139 (~$165) from April 2021 onwards.

The Nokia C20 (~$106) will be priced starting at €89 and available from this month onwards. The C10 will be available starting June 2021 for €75(~$89).

The Nokia Lite Earbuds will be available starting mid-April for €39 (~$47).

Nokia MVNO in the UK

HMD Global, announces “HMD Mobile“, a disruptive mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). Ran independently by the Finnish smartphone manufacturer, HMD Global provides a simple one-stop-shop for reliable mobile connectivity. People can buy their device and their service from one place, the Nokia.com website. The company’s MVNO play builds on the HMD Connect global data roaming service unveiled in March 2020.

HMD Mobile is designed to bring simplicity and transparency to a fragmented market. Combining the value of a monthly subscription with the flexibility of subscription charging, HMD Mobile offers a new way of thinking about mobile connectivity.

HMD is launching a 5G MVNO in the UK later this month (a global rollout is on the drawing board)

 

Florian Seiche, CEO, HMD Global: “We are listening to our fans. We have seen how much they are responding to online shopping and wanted to go one step further. The result is our own independent mobile connectivity service which guarantees transparency, flexibility, and competitive tariffs. We want our customers to love their phone experience and we are proud to continue to offer a seamless experience to our fans.”

HMD Mobile is launching first in the UK, will roll out to other countries later.

Leveraging relationships with industry-leading partners, HMD Mobile guarantees reliable, fast, and secure network connection. In the UK, the service will launch on the EE network offering fast network speeds and the best geographical coverage across the country.

Omar Riaz, General Manager, UK, HMD Global: “When it comes to data and speed, reliability is critical to customers. Delivering on our promise to democratise mobile technology, we are now able to offer UK connectivity to mobile customers at a truly affordable price without long term commitments. This announcement will further cement HMD Global’s position within the telecoms industry as a company that delivers innovative solutions.”

HMD Mobile offers a customer experience that is simple and streamlined. Consumers only have to contact our team for a quick solution, ensured by HMD Global’s internal code of excellence.

Plus, the HMD Mobile app gives customers a simple management system. Developed for quick and easy access to support, the application offers everything you need to manage your plan within a clean and intuitive user interface:

  • Data usage tracking
  • Access to customer support
  • Plan management/upgrades
  • Monthly payments
  • Pricing and availability
  • Marking the beginning of a global roll-out, HMD Mobile launches in the UK on at the end of April 2021.
  • Bundles start from £6.50 per month for unlimited UK/EU calls and texts and 1GB data and go up to 25GB of data per month with full details will be available at Nokia.com/phones upon market availability.
  • The HMD Mobile app will be available to download from Google Play Store upon market availability.

You can read more about the Nokia NVMO Here: HMD Global

 

Kiran Fernandes

Kiran is your friendly neighbourhood tech enthusiast who's passionate about all kinds of tech, goes crazy over 4G and 5G networks, and has recently sparked an interest in sci-fi and cosmology.

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