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For those who remember the feature phones in the early 90s or the early 2000s, there is no way that you haven’t noticed the sheer elegance of Nokia phones back then. In many countries around the globe, Nokia was the face of mobile phones. But after the Nokia N series just before the rise of Android, Nokia started to become almost a forgotten name like BlackBerry. One reason was that Nokia had their own Symbian OS and BlackBerry had BlackBerry OS that were not timely. Yes, they eventually did switch to Android but it was too late, it was too mediocre to fit the class of Nokia that once ruled the phone industry.
We have seen comebacks from Nokia but we haven’t seen a real comeback from those who really know phones deeply and are nostalgic about it. Now, the time has arrived. Yes, Nokia has made a “real comeback” after about 15 years when at the end of 2008 its market share fell by 40.8%[Wiki]. It’s the fall (autumn) of 2023 and Nokia XR21 Limited Edition is the answer. The price is set at €699 for Germany, Austria, France, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Finland. For the UK it costs £599. Only 50 pieces were made though and from them, only 30 pieces were for sale which are already sold out. Can you find one from the collectors? If not, there is also a XR21 regular version which is very similar to this one.
XR21 LE represents all the aspects of Nokia that make the brand Nokia. It used to be a Finnish brand but then it switched hands here and there. But then the Finnish company HMD Global bought it which is run by former Nokia executives. It was still not being sufficient. Now, they have given a made-in-Europe (Hungary) phone (assembled and tested in Europe), rugged and tough, solid, minimal, right to the point what really matters and they have shown it off, with class.
Nokia XR21 Limited Edition comes with MIL-STD-810H certification which means it’s a military-grade smartphone when it comes to durability and some features. It had to undergo 28 different tests and survive them to get the certification which included extreme temperature (high and low), moisture, heavy dust, contamination, even solar radiation and so on. The phone also comes with the highest water-resistant certification IP69K which is seen very rarely in smartphones. It has three years of manufacturer’s warranty.
We should have mentioned the design first. The color is called Frosted Platinum. The body is made of toughened plastic The backside is made of “Impact protected polycarbonate” and the frame is made of “Impact-absorbing TPU bumper. There is a Gorilla Glass Victus on the front. It’s like the Aston Martin of phone lovers and we couldn’t resist but put on some photos to show what we really mean by that.
Of course, the rugged material and its features do match that level of style. It’s pure branding, pure quality with no compromise at all.
But let us also check what’s inside. It has a 4800 mAh 2 days battery life according to Nokia with a 33W fast charger with a durable and optimized battery and charging system. According to their tests, it Maintains 80% of its original battery capacity even 800 full charging cycles. It uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G chipset which is known as battery friendly as well. It might not be that premium of a chipset. It’s really just a mid-range 5G chipset. If you even compare it with a Snapdragon 778G chipset slightly more premium and not a flagship chipset at all, you’ll see the Snapdragon 695 used here is way low in terms of especially gaming performance or even the CPU performance is also very “mid-range”. But it’s a durable chipset for the long-term and the phone is still affordable compared to a flagship device so some adjustments needed to be made.
The same goes for its display. It’s a nice 6.49″ Full HD+ 120Hz refresh rate display with a typical 450 nits and 550 nits sunlight brightness. Then look at its 64 MP camera + 8 MP ultrawide and the 16 MP front camera. These are not for professional photographers, they are more practical in terms of day-to-day usage with a cost cut. For example, the back camera flash has 2 sets of high luminosity flashes with integrated flashlight and SOS light signal function. There are features such as Flash shot mode, Night mode 2.0, Action cam, OZO Spatial Audio capture with wind-noise cancellation etc.
We are glad to see a 3.5mm headphone jack. There is 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage with Google Drive cloud storage. It comes with Android 12 out of the box and we were a bit concerned when Android 14 is supposed to come out today on 4th October. But Nokia confirmed 3 years of OS upgrades which means you’ll get till Android 15 and there will be four years of security updates. So, if you could get it now, you’re good with it till the end of 2027.
The phone also features 96dB @10cmmax loudness, OZO Playback and Audio capture with audio boost mode. There is a secondary noise cancellation mic, 2 loudspeakers, 5G support, USB Type-C and dual Nano / eSIM options. The fingerprint sensor is side-mounted and the top button can be set as an emergency button or quick access button. it has an E-compass, Gyroscope and Barometer sensors.