There are only really a few highlights here. Nokia's operating system is close to stock Android, the screen is a shade above HD, and the huge battery and mid-spec hardware combine to give you something that will last for ages away from the power socket. If you're after a not-too-cheap entertainment device, you could do worse than to explore what the T20 offers.
If you’re younger than a certain age, you might not remember Nokia all that well. First the world’s leading purveyor of feature phones, it was later snapped up by Microsoft. After an ill-fated foray into Windows smartphones, the company resumed making devices for itself in 2017. A few short years later, we’re standing here, in front of the Nokia T20 tablet.
Which isn’t the first Nokia-made Android tablet Stuff has seen. But it’s certainly considerable slicker than anything that carried the Lumia branding back in the day. The Nokia T20 takes a page from its more modern smartphone designs by being a mostly understated budget slate. It’ll work best for entertainment. Or, you know, anything else that needs little more than a portable screen.
A clean slate
Which is basically all that you’re getting from the Nokia T20. The 10.4in 1,200 x 2,000 display is certainly bright enough (if you crank the brightness up). Adaptive brightness helps to keep it below eye-searing levels in darker environments. However, place it under bright lights and you’ll turn the upper surface into a bit of a mirror. The backplate is a very premium metal finish, with a thin plastic section along its upper edge.
The T20 is largely devoid of accessories along its edges. Along the upper edge is the SIM card slot and, on the left, a volume rocket. There are speaker vents left and right, with a power button on the upper left-hand side. In the lower right-hand corner, using very weird placement, is a 3.5mm headphone jack. It looks like you’ll insert your headphone connector diagonally. It’s just horizontal, and it looks like a weak point to us. Drop the tablet on that corner with some ‘phones plugged in and you’ll be sobbing.
There are cameras front and back (we’ll get to those, but don’t bother getting too excited). The Nokia T20 is powered by Android 11 out of the box, and there doesn’t seem to be an Android 12 upgrade ready for it just yet. It measures 7.8mm thick and looks a little like someone took a Nokia smartphone and just… stretched it.
The outer shell is competent but boring. If you happen to be a hardware nerd, then the interior is just as yawn-inducing. There are a few points worthy of notice, but not the ones you’re looking for. There’s a Unisoc T610 processor running this one. Don’t panic if you’ve never heard of it. We had to look it up. This lesser-known chipset launched in 2019 and is roughly comparable to one of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 665. Expect lower-to-mid-range performance from the Nokia T20 as a result.
And that’s with 4GB of RAM backing it. There’s noticeable lag when bringing up the login screen and the T20 will battle with processor-intensive tasks. A little light gaming is possible, but don’t expect to go trouncing many youngsters in Fortnite. We ran the T20 through Geekbench and came back with scores of 345 for single-core and 1,246 for multi-core performance. Those are strictly rookie numbers. Sadly, there’s not much you can do to pump them up.
No. But also, yes
Remember what tablet cameras used to be like? More or less pointless outside of perfect lighting conditions? Kinda fuzzy at every other point in time? Yeah, nothing much has changed here. There’s a single 8MP rear camera sensor that… takes photos. That’s the best thing we can say about it. There’s also a 5MP camera up front for video calls. You’re likely to get more use out of that one, but don’t expect much more than utility from the pair of sensors the Nokia T20 is packing.
The battery is another story. There’s an 8,200mAh lithium-polymer battery in the back of this thing. Paired with the Unisoc processor, which isn’t especially power hungry, and with just the display making major demands, you’re looking at a considerable amount of standby. You’ll also breeze all the way through load shedding (even Stage 4) without resorting to a wall charger. The fact that, in our review model, there’s 64GB of storage and a dedicated microSD card slot makes this the perfect time-waster when power is lacking.
Nokia T20 Verdict
The Nokia T20 isn’t going to displace Apple or Samsung’s headliners any time soon. If power is what you crave, you won’t find it here. But at 465 grams, it’s fairly easy on the wrists and the major high notes have all been hit. There’s plenty of battery headroom, even if you’re doing nothing but watching videos. The screen is fantastic for the same purposes, though it can become a bit of a mirror in the sun. About the only other negative thing we could possibly mention is that the metal backplate gathers fingerprints like a bouncer taking tickets at a music festival. At R4,000, the price we were given by Nokia’s local representatives, you’re paying mostly for the screen and battery in this 10-incher. But the premium finish is awfully nice to have too.