Nokia T20 can stop the budget Android tablet market from drifting aimlessly

It has been a long wait of seven years for an Android tablet market that has shown little excitement and innovation in the interim
For a tablet with a 10.4 inch display, the Nokia T20 does have a rather well-in-check footprint. (Image-Nokia)
For a tablet with a 10.4 inch display, the Nokia T20 does have a rather well-in-check footprint. (Image-Nokia)
Published on Nov 30, 2021 04:09 PM IST
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It has been a long wait of seven years for an Android tablet market that has shown little excitement and innovation in the interim. When the last time Nokia made a tablet, the world had just been graced by the first-generation Apple Watch (we are now with Series 7) and social media was filled with videos of people participating in the ice-bucket challenge. Yes, it has been that long since the launch of Nokia N1 tablet.

Fast forward to 2021 and the Nokia T20 is here. The naming has nothing to do with the entertainment focused T20 cricket format. Neither do the specs tip a hat to the furious pace these cricket matches are played at. This is an Android tablet which, simply put, is made with a price tag in mind. That’s 15,499 onwards (depending on whether you opt for Wi-Fi only or Wi-Fi+4G) and this should shake up the price bracket, filled with unattractive tablets that are often dated and rough around the edges.

You have probably been convinced that affordable tablets and indeed phones must make do with a plastic build. Not the case with the Nokia T20 tablet, which has an aluminium body and a sandblasted finish apart from the Deep Ocean colour that gives it a fresh look.

At the front is toughened glass and we don’t know if this is the Corning Gorilla Glass. For a tablet with a 10.4 inch display, the Nokia T20 does have a rather well-in-check footprint. That’s also because the bezels around the screen are consistently slim, though one can always demand a few more millimeters to be shaved off. All in all, there isn’t any standout design element on the Nokia T20 tablet. That in a way makes the affordable tablet more appealing.

Speaking of the display, this 10.4-inch LED real estate does have a size advantage on most of its rivals, which are sized between 8 and 10.1 inch screens. The Nokia T20 gets the 1200 x 1200 resolution, simply called 2K. This isn’t the sharpest screen you’d lay your eyes on, something that shows up when you’re looking at photos or certain video content on streaming platforms. Yet, this is crisp enough most of the time for web browsing, emails, video calls and even some eBook reading on the Kindle app.

This screen tops out at 400 nits of brightness, which may not sound like much, but the Nokia T20 more than holds up even in the brightest of indoor lighting. This isn’t a phone, and the chances of you using this under bright sunlight while travelling are limited—but it may struggle to cope up in that situation. All said and done, you would probably be buying this for a variety of in-home use cases, such as for your child’s online classes or for your bedtime reading (and some Netflix binging as the night zooms past). And for those, the Nokia T20 more than stands up to be counted.

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Software is where Nokia products have an advantage from the outset, and the Nokia T20 adds to that. Android 11 is available out of the box—and while that isn’t Android 12 and can never be, it is a significant advantage over the likes of the Lenovo Tab M10 HD Gen 2 (around 13,999; runs on Android 10) and the TCL Tab 10 (around 13,999; runs on Android 10). Update roadmaps for these aren’t clear either, while Nokia commits to 2 years of Android updates including the Android 12 upgrade.

There aren’t any preloaded apps and the critical apps are the Google ones (Chrome and Gmail, for instance). But what really caught our attention is the Google Kids Space integration. This gets you a kid-friendly interface with content that’s curated in terms of apps and games, books and YouTube Kids content. You can tie this in with the Google Family Link app to keep a tab on what your child is up to with the Nokia T20—screen time limits, time spent on apps and more. The Nokia T20 is one of the very few tablets yet to have the Google Kids Space integration, globally.

The clutter-free software is always a good start, but that needs to be followed through on the spec sheet as well. The Nokia T20 runs a T610 octa-core processor made by Chinese company Unisoc. We have seen processors by Unisoc in phones before too, and specifically this T610 in the Realme C21Y smartphone. That phone sells for around 8,999. You can have the Nokia T20 in combination of 3GB and 4GB RAM along with 32GB or 64GB storage. We would urge you to splurge that little bit more on the 4GB RAM option. That performance headroom will be worth it in the long run, particularly when using multiple apps at the same time.

Nokia claims that the 8200mAh battery on the T20 can get you up too 15 hours of web browsing on a single charge. In our experience, this drains about 7% battery per hour when used for web browsing and reading, with the screen at a more than adequate (for most indoor use) 50% brightness level. That translates to a smidgen over 14 hours on a single charge. If you like your screen brightness a couple of notches higher, this number may fall further. Battery life is reliable, but this isn’t going to last any longer than this. Do keep the charger handy, if your child has an online class marathon lined up.

Speaking of which, Nokia bundles a 10-watt charger in the box. The tablet is compatible with fast chargers up to 15-watt, but that’s a separate purchase you would need to make.

It isn’t often that we say Nokia has priced a phone close to perfection (or any other brand for that matter—we aren’t easily impressed, and neither are the buyers). Yet, there is the undeniable feeling the Nokia T20 is priced exactly for what it delivers. This is an affordable Android tablet with significant advantages over its rivals (clutter free Android and better build, for instance) and yet you aren’t exactly paying a premium for the newer Android or the promise of regular updates or the robust battery life. Or for the fact this is one of the few Google Kids Space ready tablets.

If you need a screen at home for flexible use, the Nokia T20 can hop between online classes, back-to-back Zoom meetings and Netflix binging, all in a day, more comfortably than we had imagined. It is easy to get used to, and that is the ease of technology which a wide demographic would appreciate.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Vishal Mathur is Technology Editor for Hindustan Times. When not making sense of technology, he often searches for an elusive analog space in a digital world.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022