Since the relaunch of an invigorated Nokia brand, HMD Global has really strived to offer value for money and long lasting phones. That’s clear with the current trend in their mobile releases, including the Nokia G21 was launched earlier this year with 3 years warranty, 3 years of security updates and up to 3 days of battery life. 

Priced at $299 ($199 on Vodafone pre-paid), there’s plenty of competition at this end of the market but the Nokia G21 offers a decent hardware spec for the price with an octa-core Unisoc processor, 4GB RAM and 128GB of on-board storage (with microSD card slot). There’s a big 6.5-inch IPS LCD which runs at 90Hz and a 5050mAh battery. There’s also a triple camera array on the rear including macro and depth sensing, and a selfie camera on the front.

Nokia has always offered a pure Android experience using Google’s Android One offering, which for some offers an edge over some other phones running customised skins. The uncluttered Android offering allows for faster updates as well as we can see with the 3 year offering.

It’s a good package on paper, but is it worth your money? I used the Nokia G21 for the last week and a half and here’s how it went.

Hardware and Design

The Nokia G21 doesn’t venture far from traditional smartphone design with the big 6.5-inch display on the front including an 8MP selfie camera in a tear-drop notch on the front, and a textured Polycarbonate rear with triple camera array on the rear. 

The textured rear doesn’t show any fingerprints, and also makes it easier to grip when your hands are damp, though the phone itself carries no IP rating for dust/water resistance, so best you’re careful around water. There’s no TPU case included with the Nokia G21, so having that polycarbonate shell definitely made me feel more comfortable walking around without one.

The phone has a volume rocker on the right with a fingerprint sensor enabled power button below, and on the left you find a SIM tray and Google Assistant shortcut key – which I disabled after the 10th time I accidentally activated the Assistant while putting the phone into my pocket.

There’s still a headphone jack at the top of the Nokia G21, with a USB-C charging port and speaker on the bottom which offers a single channel audio line out. Audio isn’t bad on the G21, it’s just stereo piped through a single speaker which is a let down as there’s a nice speaker for phone calls above the display.

There’s a big 6,50inch HD+ resolution LCD display on the Nokia G21, with a small tear drop notch at the top for the 8MP front-facing camera. The Nokia G21 has the distinction of being the first in the G-Series to offer a 90Hz refresh rate, which makes for some nicely smooth scrolling, but it is HD+ (720P) resolution, which isn’t as crisp as I’d like.

The 400 nit brightness of the display works well inside, though you find it can be a little hard to read in full sunlight. There’s a pre-applied screen protector to keep the display free of scratches. The screen protector took a beating under my usage, but has definitely earned its keep with the screen still fresh underneath. 


The phone uses an octa-core Unisoc T606 processor, 4GB RAM and 64GB of on-board storage (with support for up to 512GB microSD cards) on the Nokia G21.

While the rather unknown Unisoc branded processor had me concerned at first, the performance of the processor is quite good. There’s certainly times when you feel the phone is lagging when loading an app, or waiting on search results, but it’s never to the point you feel the phone has crashed or locked up. 

The phone scores a 308 Single Core/1147 Multi-Core score on Geekbench. This score is similar to the scores from the Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 running a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor. 

Overall, it’s a decent compromise between speed, power, and cost, with the performance of the $299 phone on par with what you’d expect. 

Battery and Charging

The Nokia G21 includes a massive 5050mAh battery, which Nokia claims can last up to three days, with support for 18W charging through USB-C. 

The 3-day claim left me skeptical, though I have achieved it with careful management of the battery. Generally though, you’ll get a full solid day out of it, and well into Day 2.

To help achieve their excellent battery life, Nokia has included Battery Saver mode which restricts background activity to save battery, limiting things like visual effects, touch sounds, gestures vibrations and more. There’s also an extreme ‘Super Battery Saver’ which effectively turns your phone into a ‘dumb’ phone while active (you can turn it off any time). 

I was able to get to three days of battery life, but the 12 hours using Super Battery Saver mode wasn’t great for a smart phone users – but did leave the phone open for texts and calls, which is handy if in a pinch.

In terms of charging, the phone supports 18W wired (No wireless) charging, though there’s only a 10W charger included in the box, which takes almost 2 hours to charge the phone to full. Using the 18W Pixel charger from Google brought the charging time down to around an hour and a quarter.


There’s a 50MP  triple camera with AI imaging on the rear, and of course the 8MP selfie camera on the front. The triple camera includes the 50MP main sensor, with 2MP Macro sensor and 2MP depth sensor included. 

The rear camera system takes decent pictures in daylight with a less successful night time mode available as well. During the day, you can get a decent shot if you have time to aim and compose the shot. As usual, Macro is there and works, but personally I’d prefer an ultra-wide option like the Nokia G20 offered. 


While there’s no optical zoom included in the Nokia G21, there is a digital zoom that Nokia claims uses AI Super resolution to deliver a ‘striking result’. In practice, it’s fairly average, but offers an option if you need it.

Night photography is an option on the Nokia G21, however it’s not able to offer the higher end quality of flagship phones. Still, it does offer some ability to amp up the brightness for those low-light shots. 


The Nokia G21 runs Android 11 – specifically Google’s Android One implementation which is generally fairly stock Android. There’s a software update ready for you as soon as you turn the phone on, bringing the phone up to the 5 April 2022 security update and 1 May Google Play System update. 

Nokia has promised 3 years of updates – though this is only for security updates. There are two years of OS updates, including a promised update to Android 12 (launched last year) and presumably Android 13 when released later this year. 

I haven’t received the May or June security updates as yet which is a concern, with the fine print on the Nokia website promising “36 security updates from the global launch of the device”. Nokia normally has an excellent track record for updates the latest updates should be along shortly.

While the Android One experience is nicely stock, there are a couple of pre-installed apps on the Nokia G21. Nokia is proudly stating that Spotify and ExpressVPN come pre-installed on the phone. If you use these services that’s excellent, if you don’t then you can uninstall them quite easily.

As far as the OS is concerned, it’s mostly stock (apart from the two apps) and runs fairly well except for some pausing as the CPU attempts to keep up, but I’ve experienced far worse pauses using higher end phones. It’s a nice clean interface to start though, so most users will be very happy.

Should you buy it?

Overall, the Nokia G21 stands as a solid choice in the budget end of the market. There’s excellent battery life, a decent screen and the triple hit of three years warranty, up to three day battery life and three years of updates which is a massive bonus. 

There’s definitely room to improve on the camera and performance, but you would expect to pay more for the features. 

I’ve enjoyed using the Nokia G21 for the most part, and would happily recommend it as good budget option. 

You can get your hands on the Nokia G21 in either Dusk or Blue colour options starting at AUD$299 – or $199 in Blue on vodafone Pre-paid . Head over to the Nokia website to check out the options to buy.