Nokia G50 review: A capable budget phone, but uninspired

When the Nokia G50 arrived at my door, I was overcome with a feeling of déjà vu, which is strange, because I haven’t reviewed that many Nokia products over the years. Then I realized what it was: I had already checked the almost identical name moto g50 earlier this year, and it was a very good phone too.

However, the similarities don’t just end in name. Both devices are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 480, both have 4GB of RAM, both support 5G, both have very clean Android installs, and both cost £200, although the Moto G50 can now be purchased for slightly less. So does Nokia’s phone do enough to make it worth buying?

Nokia G50 review: What you need to know

As I mentioned earlier, the Nokia G50 is a budget 5G smartphone powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 480, a 2GHz octa-core chipset, which is also found in not only the Moto G50, but three other recent Nokia phones. : the x10, X20 Y XR20all of which undermine between £50 and £200.

Here, the Nokia G50 is backed by 4GB of RAM, a chunky 5,000mAh battery, and 64GB of internal storage, which can be expanded up to 512GB with the appropriate microSD card. The curious-looking circular camera arrangement on the back consists of three lenses: a 48MP main, augmented by a 5MP ultra-wide, and a 2MP depth sensor.

Nokia G50 review: Price and competition

All of this comes in a not unreasonable £200. That’s a great start, because while it was easy to criticize the Snapdragon 480 in Nokia’s £250 (X10), £300 (X20) and £450 (XR20) phones, here it’s a reasonably good price for a decent chipset.

The Nokia G50’s main opponent is the similarly named Moto G50, which started life at the same £200 price point, but is now a bit cheaper if you shop around. Eclipsing the Moto G50 in my review was the Bit X3 NFC, which offers marginally better performance and a 120Hz screen for £200 too. There’s also the Poco X3 Pro, which we haven’t reviewed but offers a bit of a speed boost over the X3 NFC for less than £230.

If you have a little more budget, I described the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro as “midrange perfection” in June, and that will set you back £250.

Nokia G50 review: Design

There’s no getting around it: the Nokia G50 is a big boy. A 6.82-inch screen isn’t for everyone, and it certainly feels bulky in the hand, tipping the scales at 220g, which, to put it into perspective, is just over 25% heavier than the iPhone 13.

But while the thicker bezels and thick chin make this a phone unequivocally at the budget end of the market, it’s certainly not a frowned upon phone by any means. The bezel around the sides and top of the screen are still thick enough to warrant a small curved notch for the front-facing selfie camera, and while the back is clearly not premium metal, it has a nice two-tone blue glow. tones. . The circular camera array at the top also feels distinctive, and together with the Nokia logo it has a bold yet clean look that’s hard not to like.

These days, it’s often the budget phones that offer the legacy features we really want, but they’re omitted from more premium models for design reasons. So it’s nice to note that the Nokia G50 has a 3.5mm headphone jack and support for microSD cards up to 512GB, to complement the 64GB of onboard storage. There’s no word on water or dust resistance though, which is something to consider if you have butter fingers or like to walk in the rain.

Nokia G50 review: Display

The Nokia G50’s 6.82-inch display is an IPS LCD number, and it’s perfectly reasonable for what it costs, though it doesn’t particularly stand out. The 1,560 x 720 resolution is perhaps pushing it a bit for such a large screen, as it equates to just 252 pixels per inch. It’s also stuck at 60Hz in a world where even budget phones hit at least 90Hz.

In our tests with a colorimeter, we found that the Nokia G50 lacked a bit in terms of color accuracy, covering just 81.1% of the sRGB gamut, at 91.5% volume. Brightness could also have been better, as the screen reached 409 cd/m² in our test, although contrast was a very solid 1344:1.

This isn’t to say that it’s not practical in any way, just that you can do better somewhere else. The 90Hz panel on Motorola’s Moto G50 has a similar resolution but is slightly smaller, managing 269 pixels per inch. Xiaomi’s Poco X3 NFC fares even better, with a 6.67-inch 1080p display with an improved 120Hz refresh rate, for 395 pixels per inch. Both are more color accurate and a bit brighter too.

Nokia G50 review: Performance and battery life

The Nokia G50’s specs are, on paper, nothing we haven’t seen before at this price. Powered by the 2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 and backed by 4GB of RAM, the Nokia G50 has exactly the same specs as Motorola’s Moto G50, right down to the compelling 5G connectivity offering on a budget.

As you can imagine, that means performance is almost indistinguishable, but at least it makes the Nokia G50 look like a bargain compared to the company’s X10 and X20 phones, which use the same chipset but bafflingly cost £250 and £250. 300 respectively.

The only phone on the table that uses a different chipset with marginally better results is the Poco X3 NFC, albeit without 5G, which could be a drawback if the network is up and running in your neck of the woods.

At a glance, the Nokia G50 appears to be above its weight when it comes to graphical output, but in a sense this graph is an optical illusion – the reason those red bars are so far ahead for the Nokia G50 and the Moto G50 is because they both have 720p screens; the rest run at higher resolutions and thus frame rates suffer considerably.

These are evened out with the yellowish bar and of course all Snapdragon 480 powered phones are evened out at 41fps. This isn’t bad, but again it’s slightly worse than the frame rate offered by the Poco X3 NFC’s Snapdragon 732 chipset.

All the best phones in this price range are united by some pretty remarkable stamina, and the Nokia G50’s 5,000mAh battery is no exception, offering an impressive 20 hours and 33 minutes of battery life in our video test. in loop. Unfortunately, though, this is still around five hours behind the Motorola Moto G50’s superhuman output.

Nokia G50 review: Cameras

Inside the Nokia G50’s slightly unusual circular rear camera array are three lenses: a 48MP main camera backed by a 5MP ultrawide lens and a 2MP depth sensor.

All of that sounds good, and in fact, at a glance, images in good lighting conditions look decent, if not spectacular.

But edited to a tighter crop, you start to see quite a bit of noise.

That doesn’t give you much hope for how it’ll cope in trickier low-light conditions, but it’s actually pleasantly surprising. Here is a photo of Hamilton, a 12-year-old Tuxedo cat, with the lights on:

And here he is, slightly annoyed that I flipped on the light switch above his head.

A lot of detail is kept between the two, which is really impressive. You can still pick out individual fibers on the door mat (slightly dirty).

On the front of the phone, there is an 8MP selfie camera. I’m pleased to note that Nokia hasn’t put much effort into beautification, and the default no beautify feature is hardly any different from portrait mode with all the beauty sliders turned up.

In terms of video recording, both the front and rear cameras record in 1080p only, although the latter lets you choose between 30 and 60fps in a simplified settings menu. Both have electronic image stabilization to help smooth out the shock of shaky hands. Unfortunately, despite this precaution and the resolution, images are a bit grainy, even in bright light, and stabilization is far from a silver bullet against hand-shake.

Nokia G50 review: verdict

Without the camera array saving the day, it’s hard to say exactly what the Nokia G50 does better than its main rivals. I’d say, purely subjectively, that it looks a bit smarter than the Poco X3 NFC and Moto G50, but that’s probably where the advantages end. When it comes to display technology and camera quality, it falls a bit short, and it’s also essentially a draw in performance.

Add to that the fact that the Poco X3 NFC and Moto G50 are a bit older and therefore currently cheaper, and there’s not much reason to pick the Nokia G50, even though it doesn’t do much wrong.

If you see it at a decent discount, jump right in; otherwise get the Poco X3 NFC if you don’t need 5G, or the Moto G50 if you do.

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