Nokia G50 evaluate: reasonably priced but awfully common

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Discovering a great funds 5G cellphone appears as elusive as discovering a unicorn as of late. Not solely do producers should maintain the value as little as doable, however the gadget additionally has to tug off some superior 5G-compatible applied sciences. No surprise cellphone makers are likely to compromise on different parts, and the general expertise takes a success because of this.

That is the place I discover the Nokia G50, the $300 cellphone that Nokia pitches as an reasonably priced 5G-phone different. Whereas the Nokia G50 is a solidly constructed cellphone with a minimalist, no-nonsense Scandinavian aesthetic, it has many flaws that I haven’t skilled in a contemporary smartphone in a very long time. Its entry-level 5G processor lags, its low-resolution touchscreen requires extra effort to make use of than others, and I even had some connection points with my 4G T-Cellular service on this cellphone.

These are important trade-offs for a tool that’s not the one $300 5G cellphone on the town, assuming you want 5G connectivity in any respect. There’s the $300 OnePlus Nord N10 5G that could be a T-Cellular unique, the newer and cheaper $239.99 OnePlus Nord N200 5G, in addition to the $279 Samsung Galaxy A32 5G. It’s onerous to see how the Nokia G50 might presumably stand out from this more and more crowded, funds 5G house.

Heavy. That’s the primary phrase that involves thoughts when holding this 6.84 x 3.06 x 0.35-inch cellphone that weighs 7.76oz (220g), which is heavier and taller than the Pixel 6 Professional (7.4 oz; 210g). Whereas I admire that its stainless steel-framed physique is a rarity in smartphones as of late (aside from the rather more costly Professional-model iPhones), this cellphone is simply too heavy to carry with only one hand for lengthy. Its sharp edges dig into my palms resulting from its heft and make me keen to place the gadget down.

As elegant as that Ocean Blue matte ombre seems to be, the G50’s clean polycarbonate coating is a sucker for finger smudges and makes the cellphone manner too slippery to make use of with out a case. I can’t inform you what number of instances the cellphone has slipped off a desk or countertop, because of a mixture of its slippery again and the vibrate mode. My evaluate unit solely survived the falls as a result of it’s constructed like an indestructible tank.

On its proper aspect, the Nokia G50 has a helpful fingerprint sensor embedded into its energy button.

Its sturdiness is unquestionably a plus since Nokia (and model licensee HMD World) expects you to maintain this Android 11-running cellphone for longer and is dedicated to offering two years of OS updates and three years of safety updates. This isn’t as spectacular because it sounds: the $279 Samsung Galaxy A32 5G gives 4 years of safety updates, which is the longest out of this class.

Like different Nokia Android telephones, the G50 has a non-customizable Google Assistant button and a mixture SIM and microSDXC tray on its left aspect, a quantity rocker, in addition to an influence button embedded with a fingerprint sensor on the correct. It has a 3.5mm audio jack on high to your wired headphones or mic, in addition to a USB-C port and a mono speaker on the backside. As a result of the speaker is situated on the underside proper nook, it’s straightforward to your hand to cowl the sound. When listening to the Succession theme track from the HBO sequence, the opening percussion observe sounds extra muffled and buzzy on the Nokia, whereas every beat sounds clear and distinct on the OnePlus 9 Professional.

One of many methods Nokia reduce corners with the G50 is by utilizing a 720p low-resolution show.

The Nokia G50 comes with a pre-applied display screen protector, which you’ll be able to really feel across the fringe of the show.

The G50’s 6.82-inch, 720 x 1560 LCD show is just too massive for thus few pixels to provide sharp, high-resolution content material. Though its IPS LCD panel does provide good viewing angles with vibrant colours, it doesn’t make up for its low-resolution or 252ppi pixel density. It’s a superb display screen for studying emails and social media posts, however there’s a noticeable distinction when taking a look at multimedia content material. The Verge’s tenth Anniversary picture with the stacked motherboards, for instance, seems to be pixelated and has blurred edges at most zoom on the Nokia cellphone, however traces nonetheless look sharp on the OnePlus 9 Professional, even when utterly zoomed in.

Not solely does the G50 have a low-resolution display screen, but it surely’s additionally not as touch-sensitive as different fashionable telephones, the place you solely must calmly brush the show to navigate the interface. After I was enjoying Pokemon Unite, for instance, I needed to exert extra power with every of my swipes to maneuver my character alongside the battlefield. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it surely makes this cellphone rather less pleasing to make use of.

The G50 comes pre-installed with a display screen protector, which explains the bizarre horizontal streaks that run throughout the display screen when the cellphone is off, in addition to the marginally raised edge across the show. The display screen protector seems to be invisible when the cellphone is on, however when you’re taking a look at a video with a major black body round it, random sightings of this layer will be distracting.

The Nokia G50 has a chrome steel framed physique and a polycarbonate coating in a matte, ombre end.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G processor could also be answerable for making the Nokia G50 one of many few $300 5G telephones round, but it surely may simply be too underpowered for its ambitions.

Regardless of the actual fact the processor is supported with 4GB RAM and 128 GB of inner storage, the G50 generally struggles with very fundamental duties. It could possibly take an additional second longer to open a hyperlink or an app, or an online web page would crash, and I’d should reload it. The G50 additionally appears to have bother multitasking when utilizing a resource-intensive app like Pokemon Unite. After I downloaded the sport, I couldn’t even open it till each single app I had working within the background was closed, and there have been solely three apps within the background. The sport is playable on the G50, however the mixture of its slower efficiency and fewer delicate touchscreen could make it really feel such as you’re shifting your character via molasses towards quicker opponents.

For a cellphone that’s purported to be future-proofed for 5G connectivity — a minimum of on sub-6Hz 5G networks on T-Cellular and AT&T and never Verizon’s mmWave community — the Nokia G50 I used to be testing had some bother connecting to 4G LTE mobile service. My T-Cellular SIM card labored superb till the someday I wanted mobile entry, and no quantity of restarting the cellphone would repair it. After talking with HMD World’s PR consultant, I noticed I used to be lacking an vital system replace however had bother putting in it till it simply put in itself on one other day. My G50 has had no drawback accessing my T-Cellular 4G service since then. It’s unclear whether or not my connection challenge is a recognized drawback with the {hardware}, or I simply bought unfortunate with an replace or simply this specific unit.

One place Nokia didn’t skimp on is the 5,000mAh battery within the G50. It’s a good luxurious to have a big capability battery in your cellphone, even for a $300 gadget. To check its battery life, I used solely Wi-Fi to actively put up on Twitter and Hangouts, learn on-line articles, take photographs, and test my two e mail accounts. All in, I used to be capable of get about 28 hours of energetic use out of the G50 over two days, which tracks with different telephones with 5,000mAh batteries just like the TCL 20S. The included 18W charging brick is unquestionably not a quick charger, although, as a result of it took virtually three hours to recharge this gigantic battery.

You possibly can inform it is a Nokia cellphone by its iconic round array of three rear cameras on the again of the cellphone.

You possibly can inform it is a Nokia cellphone by its iconic round array of three rear cameras on the again of the cellphone. This can be a funds cellphone, however Nokia didn’t compromise on pictures — a minimum of not on the principle 48-megapixel extensive digital camera. It additionally has a 5-megapixel ultrawide digital camera, 2-megapixel depth digital camera, in addition to a entrance 8-megapixel extensive digital camera embedded into the bezel of the show.

The primary digital camera, with its extensive lens, f/1.8 aperture, and auto section detection autofocus, can seize some detailed photographs in the course of the day, in addition to on clear nights. You possibly can nonetheless see the bubbles in my boiling-hot Korean stew and the distinct lamination layers within the pastry. I used to be significantly shocked by the night time picture of colourful graffiti towards the backdrop of an workplace tower. Utilizing the 5-megapixel ultrawide digital camera, I used to be capable of seize One World Commerce and the Oculus in a single shot, although, in fact, the lights from the towers are all blown out.

Pattern photographs from the Nokia G50.

The most important draw back to the ultrawide digital camera is that its photographs’ colours aren’t all the time correct. For instance, the pastries look considerably extra yellow within the ultrawide picture in comparison with the picture of the mini desserts from the principle digital camera. The picture with the 2 colourful doorways is one other instance of how the ultrawide digital camera skews yellow in deceptive methods. Whereas the 2 doorways appear to be they’re yellow and blue within the picture, in actual life, the doorways are literally orange and teal.

If it is advisable to seize something that’s far-off on a dim day, I wouldn’t hassle utilizing the cameras on this cellphone with digital zoom. I took some waterfront photographs on a cloudy night, and all of the photographs had been both blurry messes or manner too saturated with yellow lighting.

The Nokia G50 is a $300 funds 5G cellphone that works on the sub-6GHz 5G community.

The $300 Nokia G50 is neither the most cost effective nor the perfect funds 5G cellphone on the market, and you might be higher served by its opponents. For instance, the $239.99 OnePlus Nord N200 5G makes use of the identical Snapdragon 480 5G processor because the G50 however has a 1080p show with 90Hz refresh fee for much less cash. Or, when you’re already a T-Cellular buyer, the $300 OnePlus Nord N10 5G could be the higher selection, because it makes use of the quicker Snapdragon 690 5G processor and has the identical HD show as its sibling. The Samsung Galaxy A32 5G is one other fashionable selection at $279. It makes use of a quicker MediaTek Dimensity 720 5G processor, has 4 years of safety updates, and is appropriate with the newer 5G C-band.

But all these funds 5G telephones endure from the identical drawback: all of them needed to compromise in a roundabout way to make room for its dearer 5G parts. Since 5G isn’t ubiquitous but and is hardly important to our lives in 2021, I’m undecided it’s essential to restrict your self to 5G telephones when there’s a world of 4G telephones that already affords higher worth and consumer expertise. For round $300, you will get a Pixel 4a with a digital camera that can blow any funds 5G cellphone’s digital camera out of the water. Or you will get the TCL 20S with premium seems to be and specs for simply $250 and avoid wasting cash towards your future 5G cellphone — when the know-how matures.

Pictures by Amelia Holowaty Krales

Correction, November fifth, 2021 @ 10:15am ET: A earlier model of the evaluate incorrectly described HMD World because the mum or dad firm of Nokia, when it’s in actual fact a model licensee. We additionally spoke with a HMD World PR consultant somewhat than a Nokia spokesperson, as beforehand acknowledged. We remorse these errors.

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