The Nokia T21 is the new tablet from Nokia Mobile which was announced together with Nokia X30 5G and Nokia G60 5G. As the model number suggests, this tablet is not much different from the T20, but it does bring some technical improvements. The main difference is the slightly more powerful 12nm Unisoc Tiger T612 processor (T610 in the T20) and the 8 MP camera on the front (5MP in the T20). Probably the biggest upgrade is stylus support, which the T20 lacks.
Our contributor Abdulla Zaki or MrNokia on Youtube had the opportunity to buy the device. I recommend you try it out if you want to buy a new, affordable tablet for basic things. This is the Nokia T21, so let’s unbox it and talk about everything you can expect from Nokia’s latest tablet.
When you open the box, you’ll immediately be distracted by the T21. Inside the box, you’ll also find all the safety brochures, a USB-to-USBC charging cable, and a sim slot tool. There’s no charger included with the EU device, but check your local Nokia website to see if you can get one
On the front, there is a 10.36-inch display IPS LCD with a resolution of 2000 x 1200 pixels. Although it’s called a 2K display, it’s a 1080p panel with a few extra pixels on each side. There’s also an 8-megapixel fixed-focus camera on the front for video calling. The tablet is equipped with two speakers, one on each side, which produce a volume of up to 96 decibels. The USBc port is in the center and the headphone jack is in the back corner. On the left side is the power button, which also serves as the button for Google Assistant, but luckily you can disable it and just use it as a good old power button
On the top, you’ll find the volume rocker, two microphone holes and the slots for the micro SD and SIM card. Yes, you can also use this tablet as a Wi-Fi-only device. On the back is an 8-megapixel camera with autofocus and a LED flash. The case of the T21 is made of aluminum and is coming in anthracite gray, which replaces last year’s blue. The back is presented in two shades that highlight the difference between plastic and aluminum, and the camera hump has been redesigned to emphasize this design.
The device feels good in the hand and exudes a certain quality, mainly thanks to the use of aluminum, which ensures durability. Nokia claims to have used tempered glass on the front, and the device has IP52 splash and dust protection – you won’t be able to submerge it in water fully, but it should survive a splash or two with ease. The only thing that gives away that this is a budget tablet is the bezels on the front, or their size. Otherwise, the device looks more expensive than it actually is.
As for the software, the T21 ships with stock Android 12, a true stock Android. Nokia promises two years of updates, so technically it should go up to Android 14, as well as three years of security updates. What I mean by “stock” is that it’s a fairly lightweight operating system that relies on Google services for all the basic stuff. You won’t find duplicate apps like two web browsers, etc. On the left side of the home screen is the entertainment center, where you’ll find some videos from the most popular streaming services, as well as a collection of games and other things you can install on the device. There’s also a Google Kid Space section that creates a safe environment for your kids to use the tablet without any problems.
As for performance, the T21 is powered by the Unisoc T612 CPU, an eight-core CPU processor with a clock speed of 1.8 gigahertz. It’s a budget-friendly processor that uses two A75 cores, which are responsible for performance, and six A55 cores, which are responsible for energy efficiency, and is manufactured using the 12-nanometer process.
Even multitasking and casual gaming are possible as long as you keep your expectations in check. A big reason why you should buy this device either for yourself or for your kids is for multimedia consumption, and the sharpness and pixel density of the screen which is great for viewing content up close. It’s a high-quality LCD panel, but it’s not as bright as an OLED display. One criticism is the fact that the display only reaches a maximum brightness of 360 nits, which means that you’ll have trouble seeing the content on the display in direct sunlight outdoors (set the brightness to 70 or higher).
The tablet is great for interacting with content in both portrait and landscape modes, depending on whether you want to watch or browse content. This means you can watch Netflix content or content from streaming services in HD quality, which was missing on last year’s T20.
The speakers on the T21 haven’t been significantly improved over the T20, and it would be better if they were a bit louder.
One great thing about this tablet is that you can connect it wirelessly to Xbox and play Xbox games on this device, which is pretty awesome. The T21 has some new features that weren’t included in last year’s T20 that improve the productivity of the device. If you get the LTE version, you can also use it to make phone calls, although it might look a little silly to use the tablet for that purpose instead of a smartphone
The T21 now supports a stylus. You can use any active pen that’s recognized by the display and take notes or draw with it if you want. However, there’s a lot of latency when writing and no hand rejection. Another cool feature is support for a second screen, so you can connect it to a Windows PC and use it as an additional screen if you need the extra screen reader.
As for battery life, the T21 has a fairly large 8,200 milliamp-hour battery that Nokia says will last up to three days on a single charge. If you assume that you’ll use the device for four to five hours per day, that equates to about two days of regular use. Reaching three days isn’t impossible, but you’ll have to be very frugal. If you plan to use the device intensively for a whole workday, it should easily last until the end of the day
The charging speed is 18 watts, but you’ll need to use a Power Delivery-compatible charger to get full speed.
Overall, the T21 is definitely a better productivity tool than the T20, even if not all of the features are as polished as I’d have liked. The new camera plate, for example, makes the tablet wobble on any surface, especially if you don’t have an extra case for it. The camera on the back does a good job if you want to use it to shoot documents or use apps like SmartScan, but ultimately remember that this is a tablet camera. So if you want to take photos with it, just whip out your smartphone.
One drawback is that it doesn’t have a magnetometer, so you can’t use compass apps. You can still use it for navigation when driving, as Google Maps works flawlessly with it, but if you’re on foot and want to use it as a navigation device, it won’t be as accurate
When you consider the price, which should be under $250, the T21 meets all the basic requirements you’d want in an Android tablet at a reasonable price. It’s a high-quality build, a nice screen, and good battery life. And then there’s the fact that it runs the stock Android operating system and gets two major updates OS and three years of security updates, which definitely makes it a pretty compelling package for people who want to keep their devices for an extended period of time. The new additional features like active stylus support are nice, but it just lacks the polish that would have made it exceptionally useful.
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