Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Nokia’s new phone is so tough, you can almost pressure wash it


The Nokia name has long been associated with tough phones, but HMD Global’s new Nokia XR21 goes a step beyond what we’re used to seeing. It has an IP68 water and dust resistance rating, which joins a MIL-STD-810H toughness rating, but it also adds IP69K to the list. This unusual rating, which we can’t recall seeing on another phone, means the phone can resist very high-pressure jets of water, dust, or steam coming at any angle.

How much pressure are we talking? The company says you can hit it with a 100-bar pressure stream of water at up to 80 degrees centigrade, and it’ll carry on working. To put that into context, most home pressure washers operate at around 100 bar, so you should be able to give it a very thorough cleaning under a tap without concern.

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Otherwise, the XR21 mostly looks like a regular Android phone, but it’s properly tough on the outside with its aluminum chassis and durable rear panel, plus it has Gorilla Glass Victus over the 6.49-inch screen too. Should the worst happen, the phone comes with a one-year screen replacement guarantee (in particular regions), and the whole phone gets a three-year warranty as standard too. There’s plenty of peace of mind in the Nokia XR21.


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However, while it looks like a hardwearing thing, the technology isn’t all that exciting. An aging Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor powers the Android 12 operating system, which isn’t a very modern combination, although three Android operating system updates are promised. It’s just a shame one of those will be wasted on Android 13, which should really have been installed now.

The 6.49-inch screen has a 120Hz refresh rate, which is good news, and there’s a 64-megapixel main camera on the back. It’s joined by an 8MP wide-angle camera, but in our experience, these aren’t usually very good. Set at the top of the screen is a 16MP selfie camera, and inside the phone is a 4,800mAh battery with 33W fast charging. On the body is a 3.5mm headphone jack and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor.

The successor to the Nokia XR20, released in 2021, the Nokia XR21 comes in either Midnight Black or Pine Green colors. It has been announced for the U.K. at the moment, where the black model will be available from May 3 for 500 British pounds or around $625, and the green version will follow in June. There’s only one configuration, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage space. Nokia has also added the XR21 to its Circular subscription service, where it costs 22 pounds per month, which is approximately $27.

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