The Nokia G21 was launched in May by HDMI Global, the Finnish company that owns the Nokia phone brand.
The phone comes in two colours – Nordic Blue and Dusk and comes in two variants; 64GB with 4GB RAM retailing for Ksh. 19,999. The second variant is a 128GB 4GB RAM which retails for Ksh. 21,999.
Both variants feature a dual nano-SIM option with a tray that also has a dedicated microSDXC memory card slot.
The G21 measures 75.9 mm x 164.6 mm x 8.5 mm and weighs 190 grams. The back features a non-slip, textured polycarbonate cover that has a camera bump with the 3 rear cameras.
The front has the monolithic hardened screen that comes pre-installed with a screen protector. A tiny recess at the top edge of the screen houses the earpiece for phone calls. The front camera and a proximity sensor are under the screen for a minimalist finish.
The top edge of the phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack and a secondary microphone for ambient sound detection. The bottom edge has the main microphone and stereo speakers with OZO playback. Nestled between the two is a USB Type C 2.0 charging port.
The right edge has the volume rocker at the top and the fingerprint-integrated power button below it. The left features a dedicated Google Assistant button.
Save for the phone’s earpiece which can sound faint in noisy places, all other exterior features are conveniently placed.
Internal Hardware and Performance
The Nokia G21 runs on the Android 11 operating system and upgradable to Android 13 over the next two years. The OS is supported by a Unisoc T606 (12 nm) chipset. The Mali-G57 MP1 graphic processing unit delivers stellar visuals for the Nokia G21.
Everything from gaming to browsing the internet looks that much sharper thanks to the Mali GPU. To keep apps running, the G21 has an Octa-core with a pair of Cortex-A75 processors clocking 1.6 GHz each. The other 6 processors are the Cortex-A55 with each running a 1.6 GHz frequency.
You’d really have to push the G21 extremely hard to have any noticeable lag or subpar performance with this setup. Worth noting though is that fuller storage can have an effect on the smooth running of the G21. The monthly security patches also affect the performance of the G21. And these will be regularly available for up to 3 years. Best not to skip any of them as the phone’s safety could be compromised.
For connectivity, the Nokia G21 features a dual-band 802.11 Wi-Fi antenna with Wi-Fi Direct for compatible devices. It also acts as a hotspot should you want to tether other devices such as a laptop or a tablet. Additionally, the phone can connect to other devices through its 5.0 A2DP-enabled Bluetooth. Along with this the G21 also has GPS and FM radio, and for some markets, Near Field Communication.
Camera and Screen
The G21 features a total of 4 cameras, one at the front and three at the rear. The front-facing camera is a wide-angle 2.0 aperture 8-megapixel shooter which also captures 1080 progressive scan resolution videos at 30 frames per second. The trio of cameras at the back boast a main 50 mega-pixels camera with a 2 mega-pixels macro camera and another 2 mega-pixels depth camera. To add to the already wide 1.8 aperture of the main camera is a LED flash for that extra illumination.
With the 50-megapixel camera, the best results are attained when the optical zoom is used at a minimum. The 2-megapixel macro and wide-angle cameras deliver at every instance of asking. So you get crisp photos from up-close as well as a great wide field of view composition.
The Nokia G21 has a 6.5-inch screen which takes up approximately 82 per cent (screen-to-body ratio) of the entire phone. It also has a 720 by 1600 pixels resolution. This is a 20:9 ratio with a pixel per inch density of 270.
The screen is great real estate either horizontally or vertically. The ratio gives a great viewing and gaming experience as well as a great reading experience for your favourite e-books and blogs.
The Nokia G21 is powered by a 5050 mAh non-removable Li-Po battery that on standby can last for up to 72 hours. This is only true if one is not using it at all in the three days that it is on. Depending on background functions running on the phone at any given time, this duration is also slightly less.
None of the above takes away from how great a performer the G21 is under regular use. I got a day and a half of heavy use before needing to recharge the phone once more. Charging the phone from no power to fully charged is a dicey affair with the stock 15 Watt default charger that comes in the box.
This is perhaps one of the few drawbacks of the G21 which has a fast-charge capability of up to 18 Watts. Nonetheless, with moderate use, the phone gives a decent 48 hours of use.
After a fortnight of using the Nokia G21, my verdict is a shining three-and-a-half star out of five. It has a great camera, it is nicely sized and has great options for storage. The software updates and security patches make it a great phone to own long term.
One of the other drawbacks as I have mentioned is the fast-charging power brick that it comes with. It would be great for the next iteration in the G series to have a higher wattage for fast charging. Though great, the chipset could use an upgrade. This is especially for gaming apps that have to degrade the quality to run smoothly on the phone.
A personal peeve with the G21 is its tiny earpiece which would be mitigated by using headphones which unfortunately aren’t supplied with the phone.
For Ksh. 19,999 the Nokia G21 is a great purchase and continues a great heritage of world-class technological innovation.