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Nokia T20 Review: A Decent Budget Tablet Under Rs 20,000

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The tablet market largely remains dominated by Apple iPads, but Android tablets are slowly catching up, and we continue to see notable launches each year. If we look at the high-end Android tablets, Samsung remains the leader, though brands like Realme, Nokia, and Motorola are battling to champion the under Rs 20,000-segment. End of last year, we saw the launch of the Nokia T20 tablet in India that features a fairly large 10.4-inch screen. Its price starts at Rs 15,499 (Wi-Fi only edition), almost the same as rivals from Realme and Motorola.

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We received the model with Wi-Fi and 4G support, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage for our review. This variant costs Rs 18,499, which is more expensive than the Realme Pad (Rs 17,999) and Moto Tab G20 Rs 10,999 – the latter only gets 3GB RAM + 32GB storage and only supports Wi-Fi. There’s also a Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 that costs Rs 18,999 on Flipkart; however, that only gets 3GB of RAM and 32GB storage (for both Wi-Fi + 4G edition).

Design: At first glance, Nokia T20 easily looks premium, and the large screen does get a lot of attention. In terms of looks, the tablet’s design won’t disappoint despite having considerable bezels on all sides of the screen, but that’s mainly to prevent accidental touches. Sadly, we get only a single Blue colour option that the company refers to as Deep Ocean. It definitely looks good on a large back panel, though I wish the company had introduced more colour options.

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But that does not mean Nokia did not put too much thought into the plain Blue finish, as there’s a subtle finish on the back panel to preserve its elegance. It comes in the form of a slightly darker finish near the left edge that elevates the overall design. Additionally, the tiny pill-shaped rear module on the top-left housing the single rear camera does not grab too much attention, which is again a clever design decision. The power button on the Nokia T20 tablet sits on the top, and there’s no fingerprint scanner.

The back panel on the Nokia T20 is made of metal that does not feel substandard at all. However, the matte finish still cannot repel fingerprint smudge, in case you’re wondering. We also get an IP52 rating for dust and water resistance and a 3.5mm audio jack that might not be easiest to locate at first. I prefer this placement (bottom left edge) on a large form factor, as it helps maintain a de-cluttered design. Overall, a very thoughtful design, especially at this price point.

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Display: If the design is something the Nokia T20 tablet champions, the display is one aspect that falls short on promises. We get a 10.4-inch screen with toughened glass protection, 2K (1200×2000 pixels) resolution and 400 nits of peak brightness, which on paper is not at all bad for this price range. However, the Nokia T20 only gets Widevine L3 DRM security that does not let the tablet play video content beyond 480p resolution (in most cases) on popular OTT platforms like Netflix, Disney Plus Hotstar, and Prime Video.

To be clear, the viewing experience as a whole isn’t poor as other apps do not need a Widevine DRM license. Plus, dual speakers are loud and deliver decent audio quality. However, the Nokia T20 is primarily targeted at users who want to enhance their portable (and personal) viewing experience. In that regard, there are options in the market like the Realme Pad tablet that gets Widevine L3 clearance for Full-HD streaming quality. But you can still use the app for reading, taking notes, and managing smart appliances – all at just Rs 15,499.

Performance and battery: Aside from the underwhelming video playback quality, I enjoyed using the Nokia T20 tablet for one thing mainly – clean software. In 2021, Nokia (brand licensee HMD Global) were among the few brands that offer an almost clean-Android experience. Of course, there are pre-loaded apps (bloatware) that you can delete, but you are not bothered by spammy notifications and ads. These are common among budget products by Realme, Xiaomi, and Samsung. That being said, the tab runs on Android 11 out-of-the-box with two years of guaranteed OS update and three years of monthly security patches.

Under the hood, the Nokia T20 packs the octa-core 12nm-based Unisoc Tiger 610 chipset paired with Mali-G52 GPU. In terms of numbers, the Geekbench performance stands at 345 points on the single-core test and 1247 points during multi-core tests. The frame rates on games are also low as the screen maxes out at 60Hz. But if we keep the benchmark aside, opening apps on the tablet is smooth with minor stutters while switching. I played Asphalt 9 and Wordle that run smoothly with good audio, again thanks to dual speakers with OZO Playback.

When it comes to the battery, it’s a mixed bag of feelings. We get an 8,200mAh unit that can easily last for days with standard usage. I noticed a drop of roughly 5 percent while watching a live football match on Hotstar (90 minutes + 20 minutes that includes extra time and half time break) that isn’t bad at all. However, the Nokia T20 supports 15W charging, and we get a 10W adapter bundled in the box with a USB-A to USB-C cable inside the package. Charging is painfully slow, and it takes roughly five hours to fully charge with the bundled adapter.

Shot on Nokia T20 vs iPhone 12
Shot on Nokia T20 vs iPhone 12

Speaking of the camera, we get a single 8-megapixel rear snapper (with auto-focus) and a 5-megapixel front camera (with fixed-focus) for video calling. Unfortunately, both cameras are underwhelming, especially for a company that was once known for its camera tech before iPhones even existed. Most photos captured by the primary rear camera are either hazy or lack clarity. The colour and contrast are decent; however, it is pointless if the images are blurry. The front camera is still comparatively decent and should do better than most laptop cameras during video calls. But if you want to take selfies for fun, don’t have high hopes.

Verdict: At this point, if I have to sum up everything that I’ve written, it would appear that Nokia T20 has 50-50 chances for recommendations. But here, I will say otherwise and still claim it is a decent budget device worth recommending.

First of all, one needs to figure out what a tablet is meant for and what to expect when it costs under Rs 20,000. Sure, when we get devices like iPads and Galaxy Tab S-series, the overall expectations are high, but we don’t need a powerful tablet if your work is limited to just surfing the web. A good laptop and phone will suffice. However, in this day and age, people have an urgent need to get rid of phone and laptop fatigue, and we seek alternatives – for reading, watching movies, or just decluttering smartphones apps. In that case, the Nokia T20 meets most of the expectations.

At last, if there are suggestions for Nokia T30 or T40, or whatever the company decides to call – I’d say give us more colours, more storage, and at least get Widevine T3 to offer a Full-HD viewing experience. Apart from that, if you want to de-clutter smartphone apps, read news on a larger screen, and control smart devices with a dedicated device – without spending a bomb, the Nokia T20 tablet is worth considering. The Nokia T20 is also a kids-friendly, no-frills tablet that looks premium and is easy to operate.

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