Nokia G10 review: A budget phone that’s also future-proof
- 3-year warranty
- Android One
- USB-C charging
- Fair performance for its price
- Only 720p display
- Average camera
- Doesn’t entirely live up to 3-day battery claim
|Launch price (RRP)||$0|
Since HMD Global took on the reins of producing Nokia-branded phones, we've seen plenty of iteration of Nokia number-based phones, including its budget-centric Nokia 1 series most recently represented by the Nokia 1.4.
The Nokia G10 is a budget handset by price, although it's in what Nokia calls its mid-range, with the Nokia C series phones taking the budget space on. Unlike some of HMD's earlier cheap phones, this is a phone that sells itself on assurances, with two years of OS upgrades and a three-year warranty making it stand out from the crowd.
- 6.5-inch display, but only 720p
- Night or Dusk finishes
- Side-mounted fingerprint sensor
HMD Global's cheaper Nokia phones have tended towards a very similar design style. While the G10 drops the straight numerical naming convention of its more recent handsets, it still looks rather similar.
What you get is a 6.5-inch LCD display with a 1,600x720 pixel resolution, pretty much expected for this price range, but not noticeably sharp. Viewing angles are acceptable but not stellar, again in line with what you pay for the Nokia G10. The screen features a teardrop notch at the top and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor.
That leaves the rear clear of anything but the circular camera sensor, with a plastic back in one of two colour choices. "Night" is a dark blue tone, while "Dusk" has a pink/purple tone. I'm not sure what that says about the skylines in HMD Global headquarters, but either is a quite striking colour choice. Like so many budget phones, you do get a simple clear plastic protective case in the box with the Nokia G10 as well.
- Average camera quality for the price
- 2MP macro lens is hard to use
- Capped at 4x digital zoom
The Nokia G10 features a triple-lens array at the rear with a rather familiar formula when it comes to budget phones. There's a primary 13MP sensor for most shooting needs, the near-inevitable 2MP macro sensor that every budget phone seems to sport this year and a 2MP depth sensor for creating bokeh effects.
Around the front in that teardrop notch, there's a single 8MP sensor, although the Nokia camera app does offer up a front-facing "portrait" mode, using AI to create fair-but-not-great focus blur.
The depth separation on the shoulder in that shot isn't spectacular, making it appear as though I might have been in front of a green screen rather than in the park that day.
Like every single other 2MP macro lens on every single other budget phone, it is feasible to get some interesting macro shots, but you'll need steady hands and a degree of luck not to end up with blurred shots or ones with questionable focus.
That leaves the primary 13MP lens to take the everyday shots, which is a fair but not great option. There's no dedicated optical zoom lens and only having 13MP means the Nokia G10 is capped at 4x digital zoom. That does help out with not creating blocky zooms, but it also means it's not a substantially useful zoom distance. In most cases, you're going to be better off taking the full shot and cropping with a dedicated app after the fact if you can't get closer to your photographic subject.
- Mediatek G25 performs well for its price point
- 2 years of OS upgrades
- 3-year warranty
- 32GB of storage is low
The Nokia G10 runs on the Mediatek Helio G25 platform with 3GB of onboard RAM and 32GB of included storage. That's a low figure for a 2021 handset, even in the budget range, although you can expand that with microSD storage. One nice touch here is the Nokia G10 features a triple SIM card tray, with dual nano SIM plus a separate microSD card slot.
Budget phones are never particularly quick, but it's always worth making the most out of your money in performance terms. Here's how the Nokia G10 compares against similarly priced handsets using Geekbench 5's CPU test:
The Nokia G10 fares a little better comparatively against the same handsets in graphics terms. Here's how it compares using 3DMark's Slingshot Extreme test:
While the naming convention is new, what remains from the older Nokia phones is HMD Global's adherence to the Android One program. This means the Nokia G10 will get two years of Android OS upgrades and three years of security upgrades to keep it fresh.
This has long been a big advantage edge for Nokia phones in this price range, because it also means the handsets aren't cluttered down with hefty launchers or apps that duplicate existing Android functions.
To further sweeten the deal, the Nokia G10 carries a three-year warranty on board, which is exceptional for a sub-$200 handset.
- 5,050mAh battery doesn't quite live up to 3-day claim
- USB-C charging is easy, but not fast
We've seen quite a few phones come through Finder's labs with 5,000mAh batteries of late and in a purely technical sense, the Nokia G10 outdoes them, albeit only slightly. It packs in a 5,050mAh battery that HMD Global says is good for up to three days of battery life. Any figure that's "up to" is clearly open to interpretation, so to get a first range feel of the Nokia G10's likely battery endurance, I ran it through our standard video streaming test.
That involves running a YouTube video at maximum resolution and brightness and moderate volume for an hour, then measuring the battery capacity remaining from full. What I look for here is above 90% battery life remaining, as it's typically a good sign for multi-day battery life.
Here's how the Nokia G10 compared to other phones in its price bracket:
That 92% figure remaining isn't great in terms of hitting that three-day goal reliably. More anecdotal testing suggests you're really only likely to do so if you're a very light phone user indeed. A day is no problem, two days is feasible, but three is a stretch.
The Nokia G10 joins the expanding array of budget phones that utilise the simpler USB-C standard for charging, which means there's no "wrong" way to plug the power into it. The included 5V charger will take a fair while to fully recharge the Nokia G10, but it's at least easy to do.
Should you buy the Nokia G10?
- Buy it if you want a budget phone with a long-term future.
- Don't buy it if you need fast performance or a sharp camera.
The Nokia G10 is, in many ways, just another Nokia handset at the affordable end of the budget phone space. Its core advantages are much the same as any other Nokia handset in terms of Android One, but the inclusion of a three-year warranty does up the ante in the low-cost arena. If your actual needs are modest but you're concerned about long-term durability, that's a peace of mind inclusion you won't find on many other handsets.
Pricing and availability
Power, storage and battery
Images: Alex Kidman
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