Nokia C20 Plus Review: Can Brand Trust & Sturdy Design Save The Day?

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Nokia C-Series smartphones cater to price-conscious buyers seeking an Android device for bare basic needs. The latest to join the C-series portfolio is the C20 Plus. The handset features a 6.5-inch screen, runs on near-stock Android, and comes with a two-day battery life promise. Priced at Rs. 8,999 for the 2GB + 32GB variant, the smartphone has some big shoes to fill.

 

Rating:
3.0/5

Nokia C20 Plus Review

As it goes with most Nokia budget and mid-range smartphones, the C20 Plus also doesn't stack up against the rivals in terms of hardware and mostly bets on its clean stock software, robust build, and trusted Nokia branding, which seems to hold little ground in 2021 with so many good options in the market. That said, we tested the C20 Plus to find out where it lacks and where it shines if it does.

Nokia C20 Plus Design- Solid Build Quality

Nokia C20 Plus Design- Solid Build Quality

Nokia phones, irrespective of their price-point, maintain high durability standards to ensure longevity. The same is true for the C20 Plus. The phone is made up of polycarbonate and feels very sturdy. It could easily handle some drops and knocks in the daily routine. As for the screen durability, HMD has used ‘Sharp' glass as a protective layer that should offer some level of protection.

While the handset gets the Nokia's trusted durability, it skips on some must-have features that ensure good practicality. For instance, the phone has a textured back panel that offers a good grip and keeps the phone smudge-free; however, the device itself is pretty hefty and isn't an ideal one-hand fit. It weighs 204g and has a thickness of 9.35mm. The rounded corners ease up the handling to some extent.

Dated microUSB Charging Port & No Fingerprint Scanner
 

Dated microUSB Charging Port & No Fingerprint Scanner

There are some notable omissions. The handset comes equipped with a 3.5mm headphone jack and a dedicated microSD card slot for storage expansion but it lacks a Type-C USB port and ships with a dated microUSB charging port. There is no biometric scanner and you have to settle down with an inconsistent face unlock or the usual PIN security mode. It seems the handset is stuck between two generations and could have been designed better for better day-to-day tasks.

Nokia C20 Plus Display- As Basic As It Gets

Nokia C20 Plus Display- As Basic As It Gets

Nokia has once again offered a bare minimum display on its new handset. Like the number-series handsets (Nokia 2.4, 3.4, etc.) the C20 Plus also has a 720p LCD screen with the conventional 60Hz refresh rate. The screen is as basic as it can get on a budget phone, which is understandable for a phone that costs Rs. 8,999.

The 6.5-inch HD+ display is mostly good for browsing web pages, using social media apps, reading, and occasional video playback. It isn't the brightest screen outdoors and struggles to show content under direct sunlight. You can only enjoy SD video playback on OTT apps as the display has Widevine L3 support.

If you want a better display experience, you have to extend your budget to at least Rs. 1,500. One option can be the Redmi 9 Prime that now costs Rs. 10,499 after the increase in its price for the base model. The handset features a 6.53-inch 1080p display allowing for a comparatively immersive viewing experience, both for videos and other screen-dependent tasks.

Nokia C20 Plus Camera

Nokia C20 Plus Camera

The C20 Plus sports a dual-lens camera system comprising an 8MP primary sensor and a 2MP depth sensor. For selfies, the phone houses a 5MP front-facing camera. This is again a very basic camera setup that mostly serves basic photography needs.

Mostly Good For Basic Photography

Mostly Good For Basic Photography

The 8MP images fail to impress, both in natural light and indoors under artificial lighting. The pictures come out soft, lack details, and show boost up the contrast. The exposure and HDR performance are below average.

Decent Close-Up Shots

Decent Close-Up Shots

There's a dedicated portrait mode that gets the bokeh right for close-up shots bu the detailing and colors fail to impress. The same is true for the front camera. The overall camera performance is a notch below budget device standards in 2021.

Nokia C20 Plus Performance

Nokia C20 Plus Performance

The C20 Plus is powered by the Unisoc SC9863A octa-core chipset, based on the dated 28nm HPC+ fabrication process. The SoC has ARM Cortex-A55 architecture with a peak clock speed of 1.6GHz. The same SoC is being used in the recently launched Realme Narzo 50i that costs Rs. 7,499. You can read more about the entry-level chipset in our detailed story. We tested the 3GB variant running on the Android 11 Go edition (August security patch).

HMD smartly tweaked the windows and transitions animations to give you a feel of quick UI interactions; however, it just made things worse for the budget device. By default, the transitions and animations scale was set to run at 0.5x and felt very stiff. The UI felt a bit welcoming with animations set to run at 1x speed.

Mostly Serves Well For Basic Tasks

Mostly Serves Well For Basic Tasks

The C20 Plus's day-to-day performance isn't quite inspiring and the phone mostly serves well for basic needs such as calling, web browsing, using lite versions of most commonly used apps. It becomes sluggish when you shuffle from one app to another or fire up more than three apps back to back. Apps take up some time to get in action and we noticed consistent lags with the camera app. Even the Android Go edition apps were not free of issues.

Fair Share Of Bloatware

Fair Share Of Bloatware

On top of that, the phone ships with some bloatware including apps such as Moj, ShareChat, Josh, and apps like Dancing Road, Word Pearls, etc. Thankfully, these apps can be uninstalled from the system.

Battery Life & Connectivity

Battery Life & Connectivity

The handset is backed by a beefier 4,950mAh battery that lasted for a little less than two days on moderate to heavy usage with one full charge. When the video playback times were kept as low as possible, the handset easily logged the two-day battery promise. The charging times aren't impressive though. The phone ships with a 10W adaptor in the box that takes more than three hours to refuel the battery from zero to 100%.

The C20 Plus is a 4G phone with support for LTE networks. It comes with dual nano-SIM card support, FM, GPS/AGPS, dated Bluetooth 4.2, and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n. Lastly, you also get a dedicated microSD card with up to 256GB of external storage support.

Offers On Nokia C20 Plus

Offers On Nokia C20 Plus

HMD has unveiled the C20 Plus in India under an exclusive partnership with Reliance Jio. Customers with Jio SIM cards can enroll for the JioExclusive Program to get huge benefits with an upfront price support of 10% or Rs. 1,000, whichever is lower. Jio customers will also get access to benefits worth Rs. 4,000, as a part of the JioExclusive Program ahead of the festive season.

These offers can be availed at participating Retail stores or through the MyJio app. You must opt for the JioExclusive offer within 15 days of activating the device. As per HMD, the price support benefits would be passed directly to the customer's bank account via UPI within 30 minutes of successful enrolment.

HMD is also offering a one-year replacement guarantee on the C20 Plus. You will be eligible for the replacement if the service center is not able to fix the issue with the damaged handset. This is quite a lucrative offer and can be one reason to purchase the handset.

Verdict

Verdict

It is tough to recommend the Nokia C20 Plus despite its durable build and stock Android experience as the core user experience is unsatisfactory. You need more than just these two to sell a smartphone in 2021. If you are willing to spend Rs. 8,999, I would recommend you extend your budget by some hundreds and get a Redmi or a Realme handset for a better overall user experience.

Some decent options that can be considered are- the Poco M2 Reloaded (Rs. 9,999), Infinix Hot S (Rs. 9,999), Samsung Galaxy F02s (Rs. 9,499), Micromax IN 1b (Rs. 8,499), and the Redmi 9 Prime.

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