Want 5G on a budget? Nokia's new phones might be for you

With 5G and a low price tag, Nokia's X20 is an affordable way to put super fast data in your pocket.

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Andrew Lanxon headshot
Andrew Lanxon Editor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
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Andrew Lanxon
3 min read

Having failed to make any waves in the premium Android phone market, Nokia's new range is aimed squarely at the more budget end of the spectrum. Its ultracheap C and midrange G series come in between $100-$200 and pack enough for the everyday basics, while its higher-end X series offers an extremely affordable entry to 5G. 

Each series is launching with two phones under it (the C10 and C20, for example) offering slightly different spec combinations, although Nokia has only given details on the 20 version in each range so far. All models will go on sale later this month in the UK and Europe, with most models being available in the US via Nokia's online store and Amazon. Australian availability isn't known at the time of writing. 


The Nokia X20.


At the top of the new lineup is the Nokia X20, which has a large 6.67-inch display, 6 or 8GB of RAM (depending on variant) and an improved rear camera setup that bears the Zeiss Optics name. It also uses Qualcomm's 5G-enabled Snapdragon 480 5G processor, which, with the X20's price tag of 349 euros (around $415, £300 or AU$540 converted) makes it an affordable entry to 5G. 

But affordable 5G is a hotly contested arena and Samsung's new A32 5G undercuts Nokia's effort at $280 or £229. Both phones have multiple rear cameras and large screens, although the X20 has more RAM and a Qualcomm, rather than MediaTek, processor. How these two phones stack up against one another in real-world use remains to be seen. 

The X20 will also get three years of security updates and while it doesn't come with a charger in the box (for environmental reasons), it does come with a bundled phone case, which is compostable at the end of its usable life. A nice touch. 


The Nokia C20.


The C20, with its extremely low price of 89 euros ($105, £75, AU$140 converted) has a 6.51-inch screen, an octacore processor with 2GB of RAM and either 16 or 32GB of storage. It'll use the lightweight Android 11 Go, which is designed to offer a smoother experience on lower-end hardware. It's 4G (not 5G) and has a single 5-megapixel rear camera. 

This won't be a phone for those of you into mobile gaming or photography, but should offer a decent experience for calls, texts, and a spot of emailing and podcast listening. 


Nokia G20


Stepping up in the range is the G20, with a 6.5-inch screen, MediaTek octacore processor with 4GB of RAM, multiple rear cameras and full-fat Android 11. Nokia says its capacious 5,050-mAh battery will last for three days of mixed use. It'll receive two years of Android upgrades and three years of ongoing security upgrades, keeping it safer for longer. It'll cost 159 euros ($190, £135, AU$245 converted).

None of Nokia's new range will thrill those of you looking for the best phone tech around (you should check out the Galaxy S21 Ultra or iPhone 12 Pro Max) but they do offer fair specs for very reasonable prices. I look forward to seeing just how well they perform when I get hold of them for review.