For years, I asked myself a question about the relevance of a tablet in the tech marketplace. While Apple somehow changed the narrative around iPads in the past few years, the existence of Android tablets has always puzzled me. But the pandemic put the spotlight back on “affordable” tablets and created a strong use case in the online education space.
The new Nokia T20 succeeds where it should make the most impact, while still keeping the price low enough for the masses to afford a device like this. I spent a week with HMD Global’s Nokia T20, and here is what I think about the device that fits more in the affordable end of the tablet market.
Nokia T20 price in India (as reviewed): Rs 15,499 onwards
Nokia T20 review: Design and aesthetics
HMD Global has given a modern look to the Nokia T20, making the design relevant at least for a few more years. The tablet is soft to touch, has curved edges, and is constructed out of aluminum. If you use a tablet as a consumption device – to read books, browse the web or watch Netflix, which I assume is the reason why you would want to pick up the Nokia T20 – it’s a great device, easy to hold with one hand.
It’s quite thin, so I can easily slide this into my bag. The power button is placed on the top and the volume rocker right next to it on the top of the right edge. This type of button placement works both in horizontal and landscape usage. HMD Global also minimises bezels to maximise the screen size. The gesture navigation works beautifully on the Nokia T20, as I felt the experience is similar to what you get on Android smartphones.
The back of the tablet is minimalistic, with just the Nokia branding adorning the rear. You also get a single 8MP camera, which is helpful in exploring features like Google Lens and educational apps that take advantage of augmented reality. The 5MP front-facing camera makes video calling easy and convenient.
Nokia T20 review: Display and speakers
The 10.4-inch screen has a pixel resolution of 2000 x 1200, with a maximum brightness rate of 400 nits. The display is certainly good for the price range. It’s not suitable for creative tasks such as photo editing but I had no trouble watching movies and reading e-Books on the Nokia T20’s screen.
My only issue with the display is the inconsistent auto-brightness feature. The tablet’s display keeps dimming even when the auto-brightness is turned off. I hope this can be fixed via a software update.
The Nokia T20 has two speakers that sound loud and clear. They aren’t as good as the ones on the iPad Air (2020). To most people, this isn’t much of a big deal since they can always plug in their regular headphones or wireless earbuds for superior sound quality.
Nokia T20 review: Performance and battery
Over the past years, HMD Global has abandoned the idea of using the latest chips in its devices. This hasn’t gone too well with critics calling out HMD Global for its business strategy.
The Nokia T20 is powered by the Unisoc T610 system-on-chip, which is equivalent to something like the Snapdragon 600 series. Performance-wise, I don’t see a huge difference between the Nokia T20 and other tablets running on a Snapdragon processor, which is impressive.
To my surprise, everything was snappy, from running the most used apps such as Facebook and Twitter to something like Khan Academy. The Nokia T20 has enough power to run anything you want to do on a tablet, be it emailing, running kids-focused apps, playing light games, or just browsing the web. Clearly, the tablet is not made for multitasking; rather it is a media consumption-only device.
The tablet is available in two configurations, one with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage and the other with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. The latter variant, which costs a little more than the base version, comes with 4G support. Both variants have a microSD card slot for memory expansion.
The battery lasted roughly about 7 hours on a single charge. This is nowhere close to 15 hours claimed by the company. I think the battery will last slightly longer depending on the usage which varies from person to person. The tablet takes over 3 hours to fully charge with the included 15W USB-C power adapter.
Nokia T20 review: Software
Android is not the most fluid operating system for tablets, and Google knows it well. With the Nokia T20, you are getting Android 11 with no customised touch added to improve the user experience. The software is essentially the same as that on other Android smartphones.
I wish HMD Global had thought of tweaking the interface aimed at kids, which made a lot of sense. However, the tablet does come preloaded with Google Kids Space, which opens a new way to experience content tailored for kids. As HMD Global always promises with its devices, you get 2 OS updates and 3 years of security updates included.
Nokia T20 review: Should you buy it?
Nokia T20 has been purposefully designed, and it reflects on the current landscape of e-learning, thanks to the global pandemic. The Nokia T20 may be a budget tablet but it feels right for the price. After a long time, I have seen a device from HMD Global that performs the way it has been advertised.