Meet the super tough Nokia XR21

Nokia Mobile has just announced its second rugged phone. Its name, Nokia XR21, was already known from an earlier leak, and the announcement confirmed all hardware specifications. The Nokia X21 may seem like an upgrade from the XR20, but in many ways, the old XR20 feels more complete and better thought out.

The phone looks like a mix of the XR20 and X30, and I have to say that it could have been done better. At least the chin should have been removed, but this phone is meant for those who want a more rugged phone, not the elegant but gentle smartphone. XR21 can withstand the pressure of a 100-bar water jet!

Here are the official renders

While the X21 has a better and brighter display (6.49″ FHD+ 20:9 (1080 x 2400), 120Hz refresh rate, brightness 550) and got the processor from the X30 (SD 695 5G), some things stayed the same or were downgraded. The biggest blow was the design, which made the X21 lose the character of its predecessor. Wireless charging is also gone, as are the ZEISS camera lenses. However, the chassis durability has been improved, as has the battery (4800 mAh) and the charging function (33 W fast charging support).

The memory arrangement of 6/128 GB is not that impressive, but you can expand it with various cloud storage. Nokia Mobile mentioned Google Drive but the subscription to that service doesn’t come with the device.

The Nokia XR21 has become more resistant. The phone is dust and waterproof and can withstand drops from up to 1.8 metres thanks to the MIL-STD -810H and IP69K standards, to which the casing has been certified.

The 6.49-inch display with a refresh rate of 120 Hz is still very sensitive and can even be operated with wet hands and gloves. The Google button has finally become the second programmable button and there is still the red top button for access to your favourite functions or apps. OZO playback is still present to give you great sound, and the speakers support Audio Boost mode, which is said to deliver 96 dB of stereo sound.

The Nokia XR21 comes with a three-year warranty, four years of monthly security updates and three Android OS upgrades. If the screen breaks within the first year, Nokia Mobile will cover the cost of replacing the screen in the EU and ANZ. The body is made of 100% recycled aluminium and the rugged Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus® protects the screen.

Battery capacity has been increased to 4800 mAh and should retain over 80% of its capacity after 800 charge cycles (60% more than the Nokia XR20).

The 64 MP main camera is supplied by Omnivision and uses AI to enhance features like Dark Vision and AI Portrait. The pixel size of the 1/2″ main sensor is a bit low at 0.7μm, but the f/1.79 aperture should compensate for that. The camera is also protected by scratch-resistant Corning® Gorilla® Glass with DX +, which allows 98% of light to pass through the lens.

The ultra-wide-angle camera is not impressive with its 8 MP main sensor, but the selfie camera has grown to 16 MP, which should guarantee better selfies than what the XR20 produced.

The Camera 2.0 app brings the new Flash Shot mode, which lets you sharply capture moving subjects like pets or children, and all the other standard software features like Night Mode 2.0, AI Portrait, UW Capture Fusion, SpeedWarp, Action Cam, and OZO Spatial Audio Capture with wind noise reduction are also present.

Here are the specs, but you can also download the NokiaXR21Datasheet:

  • Dimensions: 168.0 x 78.58 x 10.45mm | Weight 231g
  • Display: 6.49” FHD+ 20:9 (1080 x 2400) | 120Hz refresh rate | Brightness 550 nits with brightness boost | Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus™ | Wet hands and glove compatibility
  • Processor: Snapdragon® 695 5G
  • Memory and storage: 6/128GB8 | Google Drive
  • Cameras: 64 MP AF Main, f/1.79, 1/2″, 0.7μm + 8 MP FF Ultrawide, f2.2, 1/4”, 1.12 μm, 112°FoV | 2 sets of high luminosity flashes | Front: 16MP FF, f2.45, 1/3.06″, 1.0μm
  • Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n/ac/ax-ready | Wi-Fi dual-band (2.4GHz+5.0GHz) | Bluetooth® 5.1 | GPS (L1+L5); Galileo (E1+E5a), GLONASS (G1), Beidou (B1I+B1C+B2a), QZSS (L1+L5);,NavIC (L5), A-GPS/A-GLONASS | Type-C USB (USB 2.0)) | OTG | 3.5mm audio jack | Nano SIM + Nano SIM slot
  • Sensors: Ambient light sensor | Proximity sensor | Accelerometer (G-sensor) | Gyroscope | E-compass | Barometer | NFC | eSIM
  • Battery: 4800mAh | >80% after 800 charging cycles | 2-day battery life7 | 33W fast charging support (QC3.0 and PD2.0 compatible) (I/O:
  • Other: MIL-STD 810H | 1.8m drop protection8 | IP68/IP69K | -20 to +55°C operating temperature | 2x Quick access buttons | Biometric face unlock | Side fingerprint sensor | Stereo speakers (96dB) | aptX Adaptive, aptX HD, aptX Classic | OZO Payback | Android Enterprise Recommended | eMBMS
  • OS: Android™ 12 | three years of OS upgrades

Nokia XR21 sales package includes will be coming with “Quick Start” guide, Type-C to Type-C USB cable, SIM tray tool and the device. The charging brick is out, but at least I expect everything to be wrapped in paper instead of short-living plastic wrapping.

Pricing and availability

The Nokia XR21 is available in Midnight Black in the UK from today for £499.99 in 6/128GB configuration from Pine Green colour which I personally like will be available in June. The Nokia XR21. Available on Circular subscription for £22/month with £30 one-time set up fee.

The expected price in Europe is around €530.

Here is what our Abdulla had to say about it and how Nokia X21 compares with X20.

Nokia Phones