Nokia T20 Tablet Review: HMD’s Winning Formula

Ever since HMD Global took over the manufacture over Nokia Mobile devices in 2017, the company has had a fairly simple formula – create affordable offerings that deliver solid performance and run an undistllled version of Android.

This formula has served it will over the past few years as we have become big fans of its entry-level and mid-range phones. But what about tablets, will the same formula translate to the recently launched Nokia T20?

To gauge whether that is the case, we spent the past couple of weeks with the company’s first tablet and this is what we found out.

Function first

Starting with the looks and the Nokia T20 isn’t necessarily pushing the boundaries here. In recent years HMD Global has always cited Scandinavian design for its Nokia Mobile phones and while we are not experts on Nordic design, the look of the Nokia T20 does not stand out in that department.

As such the only real element that distinguishes it from the swathe of affordable Android tablets in the market is the Deep Ocean colour option.

That said, given the device retails for R3 999 (RRP) the scope for adding design flourishes is small. Either way, the T20 is relatively standard fare in this space.

We also need to talk about the target market for this device.

At the time of its global reveal, the enterprise market was touted with the Nokia T20 potentially being a complement to a Chromebook for multiple screen use or for those in need of a portable Android device with more screen real estate (10.4″ 2000×1200).

Since launching in SA, another segment has been added to the mix – education. Here you can setup the device for younger users via Google’s Kid’s Space. This is certainly aimed at the early grades of Primary School age bracket, so if you are intending for this to be used by someone in their teens or older, Kid’s Space is a bit of an afterthought.

For our review purposes we steered clear of this area, but are mentioning here for anyone looking to buy an Android tablet for their kids.

The Nokia T20 does not ship with many accessories apart from charger and USB Type-C cable. As such, regardless of who will be using the device, a cover of some kind is needed.

This can present a bit of an issue, as official Nokia accessories are a little limited locally, so you’re only real option is this Rugged Cover for R959 (RRP). If you plan on using the T20 as a second screen or simply want to prop it up to watch content on, a flip cover of some kind is essential, not to mention needing to protect the device in general.

Pure Android on a larger scale

Shifting to what’s on screen now and as we mentioned, most new Nokia Mobile devices are sporting a pure form of Android.

On the T20 it is powered by Android 11 and the promise of two years’ worth of OS updates from HMD. Supporting devices pos-launch is something that HMD has built its version of Nokia Mobile on, so those using this tablet can be safe in the knowledge that it is sorted for the next two years at least, which is something not all affordable Android tablets can say.

In terms of the actual UI, those who have used other Nokia Mobile devices should be at home here. If you make use of a bevy of Google-made applications, the ecosystem on offer for this tablet has a high degree of functionality and is quite intuitive. You also don’t need to worry about bloatware or duplicated apps.

Something to make note of though, is that you are pushed to a lot of Google services on this device. As such, if your technology experiences are not routed in the Google ecosystem, the experience can prove a little difficult.

That said, given the lack of support you sometimes experience on other Android tablets, the fact that HMD is so deeply embedded with Google, brings with it a certain peace of mind.

As for the actual performance, the tablet is solid and showed no signs of struggling while web browsing with multiple tabs open or indeed switching quickly between apps and media.

Speaking of the latter, the 10.4″ display on offer is solid when it comes to viewing videos and movies and on par with most budget-friendly notebook experiences. The same goes for the 5MP selfie camera which is decent enough for video calling, should you need. As for the 8MP shooter on the rear, while we are loath to use a tablet to snap pictures, it too is a decent performer that may not wow, but certainly gets the job done.

Should you be concerned with the benchmarking performance, the octa-core UNISOC T610 processor and 4GB of RAM yielded respectable results, with the respective 346 and 1 254 single-core and multi-core scores on GeekBench being close to 2022 mid-range smartphone.

We try not to put too much weight on the scores, as the performance in-hand was solid and never warranted questioning.

Final verdict

At R3 999 the Nokia T20 is a great all-around and affordable Android tablet. Its design is simple, build quality is solid and performance good enough for use as an enterprise, education or entertainment focused device.

Added to this is a pure version of Android that should pass muster with most people, with the added bonus of being well supported by HMD and delivering as clean an experience as possible.

This is where the T20 tablet really shines, as you may certainly be able to find less expensive devices that are similarly specced, but they do not come with the same promises that HMD has shown capable of delivering on.

If you need an affordable Android tablet, the Nokia T20 should be one of your first port of calls.


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