Nokia returns to rugged with new XR20, launching next month

The XR20 is a Nokia phone like the indestructible bricks we remember — with a modern twist.


Nokia is not the brand it used to be, but after changing hands a couple of times, it seems like it’s back to doing what it does best: making indestructible phones at an affordable price. The phone manufacturer has been producing smartphones since 2017, but its latest device is a phone built for hard use.

The Nokia XR20 will launch in the U.S. on August 24 for $550 and comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, though it has support for a MicroSD card up to 512GB. It will be available in two colors: Ultra Blue and Granite Grey. Features include a 6.67 FHD display, a programmable top button, a dedicated Google Assistant button, fingerprint and face unlock, a 3.5mm jack, and more. Nokia is doing the right thing when it comes to Android support, promising three years of upgrades up to 2024. Apart from that, users will also receive monthly security updates for four years.

The XR20 has an IP68 rating, meaning it can withstand being dunked in water.

How tough is it? — Confident that the XR20 can stand up to almost anything, Nokia is offering an extended two-year warranty. The XR20 can withstand temperatures up to 55 degrees C (131F) and as low as-20 degrees C (-4F). Since it’s designed for use anywhere, it can be cleaned with soap and water. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus and can be used with wet or gloved hands. The IP68-rated phone has drop protection up to 1.8 meters and can be submerged in up to 1.5 meters of water for an hour, though the fine print on the spec sheet puts the ratings at slightly lower, with 1.5 meters of drop protection and a max of 30 minutes submerged at that depth. It’s a confusing hiccup, which Nokia should clear up.

Mid-range features — The rugged design isn’t the phone’s only feature. On the inside, the XR20, which runs on Android 11, isn’t housing the latest in smartphone technology, but it’s not bad for the price. It runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, a chip built on the 8nm process that was released earlier this year for mid-range offerings. The chip has a Kyro 460 Octa-core CPU with a max clock speed of 2Ghz, and an Adreno 619 GPU. Powering the phone is a 4,630mAh battery, which Nokia claims has a two-day battery life. The phone supports 15W Qi wireless charging as well as 18W fast charging — fast charger and cable are included.

The XR20 rear camera hub is equipped with two cameras and two flash LEDs. Nokia

For snapping photos and videos, Nokia placed a dual-camera array featuring a large 48-megapixel camera and 13-megapixel ultrawide camera. Bundled with the dual-camera setup are two distinct LEDs for flash. An 8-megapixel selfie camera is located on the top left of the punch-hole display. The XR20 uses OZO spatial audio to capture and playback sound. The 96dB stereo speakers are apparently “mighty enough to hear over a crowd at a BBQ this summer.” When shooting video, the phone has a wind noise cancellation feature that, if it works as intended, should be great for shooting in windy conditions.

The XR20 is tough, but how tough, exactly?Nokia

Grain of salt — For $550, the XR20 is not a bad deal, especially for those who tend to break their phone often. Nokia could have leaned solely on how tough the phone is, but the Snapdragon processor, cameras, and fast charging prove that the phone isn’t just some gimmick. While Nokia makes a lot of claims over how resilient it is, it’s worth taking it with a grain of salt. Features such as battery life, drop protection, waterproofness, and max temperatures need to be tested. We’re very much looking forward to putting it through the Input smartphone boot camp.