Nokia G21 review: Good budget phone for general use

Nokia G21 is a budget smartphone recently launched by HMD Global. It claims three days of battery life and promises to come with Android updates for the next two years. A high refresh rate display has also been provided on the phone, which is now becoming common in phones under 15 thousand. Competition in this segment from Redmi, Realme, and Samsung remains fierce, with companies competing to outdo each other by offering something better. The phone stands out in the market on the basis of Android One and battery capacity. So would you choose the Nokia G21 when shopping for a budget phone? Here is my review.

Nokia G21 price in India

The basic variant of Nokia G21 with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage has a starting price of Rs 12,999. Its second variant comes with 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, which costs Rs 14,999. The company has presented it in two finishes: Nordic Blue and Dusk.

Nokia G21 design

Where most smartphones try to have a glossy finish in the budget segment, the Nokia G21 looks a bit outdated here. It has a textured back panel that is made of plastic like the rest of the phone. But it prevents fingerprints. Along with the phone, the company also provides a case in the box. On the back panel, a square camera module has been placed in the upper left corner, which doesn’t feel too protruding.


In line with recent design trends, the Nokia G21 sports flat sides. The corners are rounded, so it does not prick your hand when holding it. The phone has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner that sits on the power button. There is a volume button slightly above this side.

The dedicated Google Assistant button has been placed on the other side and the SIM tray has been placed. Its 3.5mm audio jack sits at the top of the phone, while the USB Type-C port and speaker sit at the bottom. The Nokia G21 has a 6.5-inch screen with a 20:9 aspect ratio and has HD Plus resolution. It comes with a dewdrop notch which is common for phones in this price range. The screen is chin heavy at the bottom. In general, the phone seems to be quite strong.

Nokia G21 specifications and software

The specifications of the phone are quite simple. It is powered by Unisoc T606 SoC, which is an entry-level octa-core chipset. It has two ARM Cortex-A75 performance cores and 6 ARM Cortex-A55 efficiency cores. They are all clocked at 1.6 GHz. The Nokia G21 features an HD+ display with a 90 Hz refresh rate and a maximum brightness of 400 nits. To increase storage, it has also been provided with a dedicated microSD card slot.


For connectivity, this smartphone has Bluetooth 5, dual-band Wi-Fi ac, NFC and three satellite navigation systems. The battery capacity is 5050 mAh with support for 18W fast charging. The company provides a 10W charger with the phone.

The Nokia G21 runs Android 11 and comes with the Android One program. This means you’ll get the stock Android experience and Android OS updates for two years. The absence of Android 12 hurts here, as most phone manufacturers now offer only Android 12 devices. My unit had the May 2022 Android security patch. The UI is clean, but I still found apps like ExpressVPN, LinkedIn, Netflix and Spotify pre-installed. These can also be removed.

There are many gesture features available on the phone, so it works with firecrackers. For example, double tap to wake up the screen, flip the phone to reject a call, double tap the power button to turn on the camera. Apart from this, many other gestures have been given. It also has stock Android features like Digital Wellbeing that allows you to keep track of your usage habits.

Nokia G21 performance and battery life

Nokia G21 performs well according to the price. Handles casual games and applications without hiccups. However, heavier games and apps take time to load. Some multitasking can be done with the 6 GB RAM variant, but you don’t get the RAM extension feature that can be useful in the 4 GB variant. The side-mounted fingerprint scanner quickly unlocks the phone. HD+ screen quality is average. FullHD Plus screens are now coming to this segment, so some people may be disappointed.

Phone benchmark scores will give you an indication of the user experience. The phone scored 198,068 points on AnTuTu. In Geekbench 5’s single and multi-core test, it scored 306 and 1221 points respectively. It scored 34fps and 8.8fps on GFXBench’s T-Rex and Car Chase tests. These scores were on par with budget smartphones like the Redmi 10 Prime and Samsung Galaxy F22, which are in the same price range.


Speaking of gaming, the phone performed very well on games like Call of Duty: Mobile. By default, it was on the low and medium frame rate settings. The game took a while to load and I also noticed some issues with the rendering of things within the game. I played 15 minutes of gameplay and the battery only went down to 2 percent, which is great. When the gaming session ended, the phone got a bit warm.

Nokia G21 has come a long way in terms of battery level. Thanks to the affordable processor and great battery, the phone lasted two days with my moderate use. The phone ran for 20 hours and 4 minutes in the HD video loop test, which is a good time. It charges very slowly with the 10W charger and only managed to charge 23 percent in half an hour. It charged 45 percent in an hour. It took 2 hours to fully charge. Getting an 18W charger would be beneficial here.

Nokia G21 camera

Nokia G21 has a triple rear camera setup. It has a 50-megapixel main camera, a 2-megapixel macro camera, and a 2-megapixel depth camera. It has an 8-megapixel selfie shooter. The camera app is very basic and you can choose between different shooting modes. The 50-megapixel main camera clicks photos at 12.5-megapixels by default.

The main camera takes decent photos in daylight that look good on the phone’s screen. Details are reduced when zooming. In landscape mode, a watercolor effect was visible on the photo. When it’s brighter, the phone quickly enables HDR mode, which improves dynamic range.


Close-ups from the phone’s camera turned out pretty well. Portrait mode photos were not good. Here the camera was taking 5 seconds with each photo, so it was difficult to capture the photos of the pets. Photos with average details come from your macro camera.


The camera has average performance in low light conditions. Objects were recognizable but details were lacking in the dark parts of the frame. Night mode got a bit better, but it took 6 seconds to capture a photo, forcing me to hold still to avoid blur.


Selfies taken in daylight and low light with the selfie camera were good. Edge detection was good in portrait mode and blur in the background was handled well too.


Talking about video recording, Nokia G21 can capture 1080p videos from the rear camera. There is no stabilization in it, so the footage is recorded shaking. Overall, its camera performance is average. If there had been a wide-angle camera, a lot could have been done with it.

our verdict

The Nokia G21 is an Android One smartphone that offers a standard Android experience, with the promise of two-year software updates. Its build quality and battery life are good. It will be liked by the average user who wants a simple and clean Android interface. Power users probably won’t be impressed by its low power consumption. Camera performance was also less in my opinion.

If you ignore some of its flaws, the Nokia G21 is a reliable all-purpose device, not seen much in this price range. If you want more performance for the same price, you can look at the Realme 9i or the Moto G51. If you go for its 6 GB variant, you can also check out Redmi Note 10T 5G.

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