IT Pro Verdict
Excellent price for both Wi-Fi and 4G models
Good build quality and OS support
Enough performance for business apps
Screen looks a little drab and cold
Speakers lack depth
Back in the days before Y2K, the Nokia cellphone was an integral part of the executive armoury. That may no longer be the case, but with its new T20 Android tablet the Finnish brand is gunning to reclaim the role of business companion.
The price is certainly competitive. The Wi-Fi edition of the T20 costs just £150 exc VAT – more than £100 cheaper than an entry-level iPad. And the 4G model adds just £17 to the price, making it one of the cheapest LTE-equipped tablets around.
To get to that price, though, some compromises have inevitably been made. Let’s take a closer look at what makes this affordable tablet tick.
Nokia T20 review: Design
The T20 makes a great first impression. While most sub-£200 tablets are made of chunky plastic, this one has a solid aluminium back, in a tasteful greenish blue that Nokia calls Deep Ocean.
The shape of it is attractive too. The screen has a 5:3 aspect ratio that’s slightly squarer than the 16:10 format favoured by many other tablets – which in our view is no bad thing. The rounded corners look stylish, and the edges are also slightly rounded off, so it’s comfortable to hold. At 465g it’s not particularly light, but it feels well balanced in either portrait or landscape orientation, and the modestly-sized bezels keep the whole thing nicely compact.
As usual, there’s little in the way of physical controls – just a power button and a volume rocker set around one corner. At the bottom there’s a USB Type-C connector for charging, and a 3.5mm audio jack, so you can use any headset for video calls and entertainment without needing an adaptor. A microSD slot lets you add extra storage too, though the 64GB that’s included should be enough for an everyday business role.
Nokia T20 review: Display
The Nokia T20 has a 10.4in screen with a pixel density of 225 PPI. This means text and graphics look perfectly sharp; if you put the Nokia next to an iPad with its 264 PPI screen you might perceive that the iPad looks slightly cleaner, but it’s very marginal.
Brightness and contrast are good too. We measured a peak brightness of 440cd/m2, which is par for the course for an IPS panel, and the tablet’s contrast ratio of 1,903:1 is one of the best around – most Android tablets manage around 1,300:1.
We do have one big problem with the T20’s display, however, and that’s to do with colour reproduction. On paper, it does a fine job of accurately rendering colour tones: we measured an average Delta E of 0.67, indicating that any deviations are too subtle for the human eye to discern.
At the same time, though, the screen only covers 74% of the sRGB gamut, which means it simply can’t display the full rainbow of web colours. Indeed, with default settings we found the entire screen looked uncomfortably cold and blue; adjusting the colour balance in the Settings menu gave us more neutral whites, but reds and oranges remained flat and dull. Sadly, you’ll just have to accept that you won’t get warm, vibrant autumn tones out of this display.
Nokia T20 review: Specs and performance
As is traditional for Nokia devices, the T20 runs a very clean installation of Android 11. The standard Google apps and services are all present and correct, and the front end hasn’t been tweaked in any noticeable way. This is excellent news for businesses – it means you can be confident that your core apps will be available, and you won’t have to worry about support calls from staff battling with an unfamiliar interface.
They shouldn’t hit any problems with the hardware, either. With its eight-core Unisoc Tiger T610 CPU, the T20 isn’t as powerful as high-end tablets costing £300 and up, but it can easily handle things like Microsoft’s Office apps. In the Geekbench 5 benchmark it achieved an acceptable single-core score of 347 and a multi-core score of 1,165, and we found real-world multitasking was perfectly smooth thanks to the 3GB of onboard RAM.
The T20 works well for video calls and meetings too. The front camera points straight at you when the tablet is propped up in landscape orientation – the optional £33 case can help here – and it produces a nice clean image at full 1080p resolution. The integrated stereo microphones had no problem picking up our voice from a few feet away, and while the OZO-branded speakers are decidedly lacking in bass, they’re loud and clear enough for a comfortable conversation.
Nokia T20 review: Battery life
Nokia claims that the T20 will offer up to 15 hours of web surfing time on a full battery charge. We’re inclined to believe it: in our battery rundown test, with flight mode activated and the screen brightness set to 170cd/m2, the tablet played back full-screen video for 15hrs before shutting down.
That’s not quite as impressive as some rival tablets – the latest iPad lasted 16hrs 44mins, while Lenovo’s Tab P11 Pro managed 17hrs 5mins. Still, we’d say this definitely qualifies as all-day battery life. If need be, you can also speed up the recharge cycle by replacing the supplied 10W charger with a 15W model.
Nokia T20 review: Verdict
The T20 isn’t exactly an aspirational piece of hardware. Performance is fine rather than great; ditto the screen and speakers, which is a pity for anyone hoping to double up the T20 as an entertainment station. There’s also no official stylus or keyboard to grow the tablet’s capabilities, and if you already have an iPhone then choosing an Android tablet means you’ll naturally miss out on all the clever ways that iOS and iPadOS devices work together.
Even so, the T20 does everything most businesses need, and at this price it should be a breeze to get the purchase order signed off. It’s well built, and it comes with a promise of two years of OS updates plus an extra year of security updates, so you can expect a reasonable lifespan out of the hardware. In short, for anyone looking to roll out tablets to a mobile or remote workforce, the Nokia T20 is a very persuasive proposition.
Nokia T20 specifications
|Unisoc Tiger T610
|2,000 x 1,200 resolution (5:3) 10.4in IPS, 60Hz (440cd/m2 peak)
|5MP (1080p video)
|8MP (1080p video)
|Dust and water resistance
|3.5mm headphone jack
|USB connection type
|USB Type-C 2.0
|Memory card slot (supplied)
|158 x 8 x 248mm
Darien began his IT career in the 1990s as a systems engineer, later becoming an IT project manager. His formative experiences included upgrading a major multinational from token-ring networking to Ethernet, and migrating a travelling sales force from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95.
He subsequently spent some years acting as a one-man IT department for a small publishing company, before moving into journalism himself. He is now a regular contributor to IT Pro, specialising in networking and security, and serves as associate editor of PC Pro magazine with particular responsibility for business reviews and features.