It’s been a while since I’ve tested a rugged phone, and it’s been a while since I’ve tested a Nokia phone. So the two come together today as we unbox the Nokia XR21. A phone “of the army“, judging by the resistance of its body and by the… shade. It costs around 2400 lei at evoMAG and resists spills on concrete, in water and also has a 3-year warranty.
what’s in the box
First of all, the box is made of recycled material, more precisely recycled cardboard. Then we find the cable from USB-C to USB-C, the key for the SIM, but also the manual and the warranty. We have no case, no charger. take away
Nokia XR21 It takes its rugged phone name seriously and comes with military certification MIL STD 810Hbut also certification IP68 and IP69K. It’s massive, it feels like a phone with a case already attached to it, and it’s very long. It took a while to get used to the buttons, especially the Power one, which is flat and recessed. The aluminum components here, those in the chassis, are 100% recycled.
In addition to the green shade “Army” that I see here, I also appreciate the metallic green gloss of the camera module, which is unexpectedly elegant. I was talking about massiveness, here are the dimensions: 10.5 mm in the waist and 231 grams. We have Gorilla Glass Victus protection on the front, back from plastic and plastic frame.
The terminal is water and dust resistant and can be submerged in water up to 1.5 meters deep for 60 minutes. It is possible to fall onto concrete from a height of 1.8 meters. It gave me the feeling of hardness and robustness and it’s extra grippy.
Display and hardware
The Nokia XR21 comes with a 6.49 inch screenan IPS LCD with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels, with a refresh rate of 120 Hz and aspect ratio 20:9. We can’t hide from the fact that it has thick edges. It has a processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 695, a 6-nanometer CPU with 8 cores and Adreno 619 GPU. The same processor is also found on the realme 10 Pro and the POCO X4 Pro 5G. He is accompanied by 6 GB of RAM, 128GB storagebut it doesn’t have a microSD slot.
What he has instead are two extra physical buttons, a red one at the top, which can have an SOS function or any other function and application we associate, plus one on the left. And to this we can associate anything to the press, double press or young pressed, from screenshot to flash and screenshot.
The battery is one of 4800mAhwhich charges over the wire at 33W. I am surprised to see that the phone does not have a Power Bank function, in general the robust ones do. We also get stereo speakers and audio jack, then two nano SIM slots. On the connectivity side, we have 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, dual band GPS, a USB-C 2.0 port at the bottom, but also NFC, which is surprisingly well hidden in the settings. It also has an FM radio. The fingerprint reader is in the Power button.
Let’s start with the selfie one 16 megapixels cropped in the screen, with F/2.4 aperture and Full HD recording at 30 FPS. In the back is a main room of 64 megapixels, with F/1.8 aperture and PDAF. She is accompanied by a 8 megapixel ultrawide camera, with an F/2.2 aperture, but also a very powerful dual LED flash, which also acts as a flashlight. The camera only shoots in Full HD at 30 or 60 FPS, CPU limitation.
The camera interface brings options such as Cinema shooting, Ultra Steady Video for slightly more advanced stabilization, but there is also the Steady option. We also have HDR, Portrait, Night (with Tripod sub-mode), plus Flash Shot (used to capture fast-moving objects). We continue with Time Lapse, Pro, Slow Motion, Dual Sight, Panorama, Speed Warp (a type of Hyperlapse).
It runs Android 13 with a stock UI and only a few pre-installed apps: Netflix, Spotify, Linkedin, Booking, GoPro Quik, ExpressVPN. We have 3 years of OS updates and 3 years of package warranty. I see that Android now also displays an option that alerts you when you have a new and unknown tracker in your area, and I mean an AirTag or SmartTag for example.
The Nokia XR21 is the kind of phone that is used by a forester, an oilman, maybe an army man. It is tough and resistant to “drone” and offers the bare essentials for everyday activities. I would like to know how the screen is used when it is wet and if it works with gloves (I will find out). I am also curious how well that plastic withstands a drop on a metal scaffolding, in construction.
And there are things that are hard to find out when it’s not your phone. And what conditions does the guarantee have? Otherwise, it’s the classic low midrange phone with Snapdragon 695, with extra buttons and robustness. We are back with a review.
Nokia XR21, updated prices: