The Nokia G50 is a sub-$300/£200 phone and makes 5G accessible to even more people, while still providing solid build quality and clean software. However, like most phones at this price point, it has to make some compromises to get the next-gen speeds. With 5G networks being such a hot topic right now, you need to ask yourself how much it’s worth to you and what benefits it will provide as well. If 5G is worth it, we recommend the Nokia G50.
The Nokia G50 is a 5G-ready smartphone at a very good price. It can be considered a good deal for the price you pay. The compromises made to accomplish the specific and low cost are negligible, but we still think you get more than you bargain for.
Some compromises do exist. For instance, there’s an LCD that can only manage 720p resolution and 60Hz refresh unless you use their scaled-down Windows version.
While the 5G capabilities sound good, they don’t come into their own unless other aspects are in place too. There will always be a use for affordable phones which allow accessing fast speeds of broadband.
It would help if these people have the kind of data allowance that permits them to make the most of 5G’s network attributes.
While a Snapdragon 480 5G chipset might not prove to be much of a hindrance when performing general tasks, it is likely the bottleneck here when you’re accessing a top-notch 5G connection.
The Nokia G50’s camera is quite decent and can take high-quality photos. The downgraded sensors are the only thing you should be worried about, especially at this price point.
One area in which the Nokia G50 excels, however, is battery life. With a 5,000mAh cell and relatively frugal components (5G modem aside), you can expect two days of usage out of a single charge under normal or moderate conditions.
It’s a shame the promise of 18W charging support isn’t matched by the charger bundled into the box, which somehow feels a little deceptive. But it’s tough to pick a hole in the phone’s stamina all the same.
This is also a well-built phone, with a metal frame and a luxurious smooth-touch plastic rear cover. This comes at the expense of easy portability, however, with a thick and unusually heavy body.
Nokia’s solid software offering is always much-welcomed. You get a typical Nokia UI and (with the G50) a two-year Android update pledge. That guarantees that you’ll enjoy all the new features of Android for years to come, no matter what glorious launcher customizers like Samsung decide to use for their devices.
Ultimately, the Nokia G50 is a solid choice for anyone seeking to prioritize 5G connectivity on a $300/£200/AU$450 budget. But it’s far from alone in this specific sub-category, and it doesn’t stand out from its similar spec’d rivals.
Nokia G50 release date and price
- $299.99/£199/AU$449, with differing storage provisions
- Out now in the US, UK, and Australia
The Nokia G50 is out now in the UK for £199, which will give you 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Over in the US and Australia, there’s a model with 4GB of RAM and 128 GB for $299.99/AU$449
Either way, this is very cheap for a 5G smartphone. It’s not uniquely cheap, however.
The Realme 8, Redmi Note 10 5G, and Moto G50 all have the same trick in common – they’ve come onto the scene in 2021. If you’re looking to prioritize 5G but don’t want to spend a lot of money, then you’ve got plenty of choices.
- Thick, heavy chassis
- Relatively premium materials
The Nokia G50 from HMD Global is a solid, dependable smartphone. It maintains the brand’s reputation for reliability and solid design which was the core principle behind HMD Global taking over the business.
The Mate 20 Pro is beautifully designed and constructed, while also at a very high quality. It has a metal frame and plastic rear cover which feels soft to the touch and features curved edges.
As great as our cover looks & feels right out of the box, it’s prone to smudges and fingerprints. The Ocean Blue color with its subtle sheen, only makes matters worse – so we recommend picking up a can of “our colorful budget-friendlier version” in midnight sun or another color.
One of the most notable things about the Nokia G50 is its size. It’s got a hefty footprint of 173.8 x 77.7mm and may seem quite heavy at 220g.
For those of you who want an idea of how light it is, the Nokia 9 PureView weighs 180g. That’s compared to the Realme 8 5G (185g), Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G (190g), and Moto G50 (192g). It’s worth mentioning that the weight difference isn’t as noticeable.
The phone may not be the most exciting to hold, but it is well-built. The manufacturer took care to put the buttons in the ideal spots.
The power button is right on the edge of the device, making it easy to reach. It’s in a slight dip which makes it even easier to find. It also has a fingerprint sensor, so there’s no need to type your password again before unlocking your phone.
HMD Global has once again placed a dedicated Google Assistant button on the opposite edge. Although it is still as useless as ever, the one nice thing is that they have included a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top edge.
- 6.82-inch LCD is large and bright
- 720p resolution isn’t optimal
- Only a 60Hz refresh rate
Nokia has a new phone available. The G50 has a massive 6.82-inch display which is about the size of an average person’s hand.
These are the first and last times we could compare such phones to the Nokia G50 in all good conscience. Aside from brightness, where the Nokia G50 hits a respectable 450 nits in typical usage, it’s found quite wanting in all the ways that matter.
This is an IPS LCD and not a very vibrant example of that. Content viewed on the Nokia G50 has a slightly washed out, faded look and slightly orangey reds and pale greens when compared to an OLED.
The not-so-sharp display of the device, which is accentuated by its huge canvas, is a big letdown. With its 720 x 1560 resolution, It barely produces 252 pixels per inch.
Another retrograde step is the inclusion of a mere 60Hz refresh rate. Scrolling through content feels sluggish and blurry here.
These phones you mentioned also have great 5G packages that are similarly priced. For example, the Realme 8 5G and the Redmi Note 10 5G both come with 90Hz refresh rates, as well as other groundbreaking features.
If you’re not looking for a 5G-enabled phone, the Poco X3 NFC is also available with 120Hz and offers an OLED panel for great viewing.
Elsewhere with the Nokia G50, you get a fairly regular 19.5:9 ratio, so widescreen movie content fits quite well in the landscape. You’ll have to make do with a teardrop notch eating into the top of the screen though, which seems rather dated in these times of punch-hole cut-outs.
- 48MP main sensor does an adequate job
- 5MP ultra-wide is way off on tone and detail
Here’s something we were hoping for! Nokia has delivered a better-than-expected phone feature with the G50, giving us a dual-camera setup and a long-awaited selfie 3D depth camera.
The package is led by a respectable 48MP wide sensor with an f/1.8 aperture. This is backed by a much lesser 5MP ultra-wide and a 2MP depth assistant. The latter isn’t a camera in its own right.
Selfies are taken using the 8MP camera in front of your device.
The 48MP sensor has excellent image quality and detail. 12MP shots come out crisp and bright, while HDR gives the whole picture some balance. Colors look natural, with the auto function getting them right most of the time.
The Nokia G50 is quite a mixed bag when it comes to performance and picture quality. Take it into more challenging surroundings and expect the grain to kick in. It also doesn’t do well shooting in low-light conditions, even though the night mode shots can get bright enough.” Optical image stabilization is key for capturing action shots, which is something most affordable phones don’t offer.
Overall, that 48MP sensor bears all the weight of the Nokia G50. Besides regular shots, it’s also pressed into action when taking 2x zoom snaps. These simple crops carry evident amounts of grain, but at least you get some form of tonal consistency.
The same can’t be said for ultra-wide shots, which utilize a much more modest 5MP dedicated sensor. It’s immediately apparent that such snaps are using inferior hardware, with a drop in vibrancy, detail, and contrast.
Selfies don’t look too sharp at all, with smudged skin tones and a general lack of pop. But selfie portrait mode is worse, smudging edge detail on your subject (that’s you) whilst dropping the ball on HDR.
The Nokia G50’s camera is fine for the basics, but again, you can get a slight performance bump by shopping in the non–5G market.
Specs and performance
- Snapdragon 480 5G chipset
- 4GB of RAM
- Clean Android One software
The Nokia G50 uses the same entry-level Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 chip as the Moto G50 and various other smartphones.
The low price makes it a great option for people who want to purchase on a budget. It may not offer the same features as rivals, but for the price, it is worth considering.
As demonstrated by the Geekbench 5 test, we had a Nokia G50 score of 1,560 in our multi-core CPU benchmark. That compares to 1,677 for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G and 1,765 for the Realme 8 5G. They both run on a MediaTek MT6833 Dimensity 700 5G
Even the Oppo A54 5G, which runs on the same Snapdragon 480, scores 1,664, though it scores about the same as the similarly equipped Moto G5.
You get 4GB with all of the models we’ve seen, though there’s a model with 6GB out there. It’s unlikely to make a massive difference to day-to-day performance, which is adequate.
With this configuration, gaming on this phone is possible. However, if gaming is your main priority, we suggest that you consider the Poco X2 or the Nokia G50 which come with a faster processor and NFC.
The game defaults to high graphical settings, which are higher quality than what’s offered at the entry level. With these and the HD texture package installed, we achieved a smooth frame rate.
On the storage front, UK users currently get 64GB, while US and Australian users get 128GB. Whether there’ll be wider availability in each of the territories through Nokia or third-party retailers remains to be seen. Either way, there’s a microSD card slot for expansion purposes.
One of the key advantages of Nokia phones today is their commitment to Android One, Google’s mobile OS. It has a clear interface and contains no unnecessary features.
The A17 does not have an overbearing custom UI like the Oppo A15 or Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G. It runs on pure Android and sports Google’s stock apps & widgets that allow you to do things like email, photo editing, file management, or music playback.
There are a few other apps that come pre-installed with Android devices, but for the most part apps like Netflix and Spotify are obvious inclusions. You’ll find them in their separate app folder.
The HTC One M8 has the latest Android version. That’s a great asset for this device.
- 5,000mAh battery for genuine two-day stamina
- 18W support, but only a 10W charger in the box
The battery life of the Nokia G50 is its most significant feature, with a large 5,000mAh cell. It manages to adjust that battery such that it is working at full capacity on regular usage as well.
Together with the phone’s low-res display and low-power processor, we were able to get a full two days of moderate usage out of the G50, just as Nokia claims.
To put it another way, when you use the phone for 3 hours with 2 hours of light to moderate use, there will still be about 70% of battery left over. That’s a great parameter to have and should last for multiple days if you’re used to shutting down your phone at the end of every day.
Though generally great, the Nokia G50 suffers from low-budget problems when it comes to media consumption. The TechRadar battery test, which involves a 90-minute looping 720p video with screen brightness capped to 200 lux and all other radios disabled except Bluetooth, sees the G50 getting less than.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G, with a similar hardware setup, lost 10% in the same test.
When it comes to recharging, the Nokia G50 supports 18W fast charging just like the Realme 8 5G & the Redmi Note 10 5G. However, unlike those rivals, you only get a 10W charger in the box
Both the Nokia X20 and the Nokia X21 have a bona fide brick, but it’s still slightly misleading.