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Nokia T21 budget tablet

I remember the days ... the good ole' days when Nokia ruled the world and brands like Samsung, Apple, and Huawei were not even something we thought about when it came to mobile phone technology. It's amazing to think that those infuriating days of T9 texing on a Nokia 6310 was 20 years ago. Somehow, the Nokia brand refuses to die, and despite being lost in the wilderness while owned by Microsoft ... Nokia is back, and it is now owned by a Finnish company dedicated to bringing back the stuff that makes me still fondly recall the brand ... two decades later.



Nokia Is More Than Just A Fond Memory From a More Simple Time

Gone are the days when Nokia was merely a nostalgic remnant of simpler times. The company was actually brought back to life several years ago, but it's only now that I've started to see the product being talked about. Unfortunately, it is far from the innovation leader that it once was. Instead, it is focused on the budget market - though delivering practical features like sturdy construction and long battery life that are sorely lacking in the space dominated by crappy Chinese tech brands.

Finnish Company HMD Global Oy Is The New Nokia

You might not be aware, but the Finnish company HMD Global Oy is the new driving force behind the Nokia brand. This is not just a change of hands from being a division of Microsoft, but rather it represents a rebirth of a much-loved telecom icon. HMD Global has acquired its arsenal of Finnish technology and has taken up the mantle to bring Nokia back into the smartphone and mobile device market.

This is a thrilling development, especially for those of us in our 40s and 50s who still remember the brand. When I first got the pitch, though, I was a bit skeptical. Was this going to be some faceless Chinese brand that acquired the branding assets only to slap the name on a cheap tablet that would break in a few months, or was this going to be something worthy of the Nokia name?

Thankfully it is more interesting than just a basic white-lable manufacturing situation ... Let's take a look ... 

3 day battery life

Review Of The Nokia T21

There are two things that the brand "Nokia" means to me ... quality construction and long battery life. To be fair, Nokia phones were never sexy, and despite their efforts at being innovative - looking at your Nokia 3650 and your weird circular keypad and N90 with its transformer-like twisting ability and, of course, who could forget the infamous N-Gage? While these were all innovative to say the least ... creativity isn't always a positive when you are trying to expand the market.

Today's Nokia T21 focuses on the two things that matter (and are missing in the budget tablet market), and they are leveraging the existing infrastructure created by Google to keep what already works without trying to innovate where it's not needed.

t21 built to last

Robust Construction and Long Battery Life

With its robust aluminum body and 3-days of battery life with it's 8200mAh battery and 18W fast charging using PD3.0. In comparison the Samsung Galaxy Tab A9+ that is priced almost the same price only has a 7040 mAh battery. While it is also lighter, I sort of appreciate the heft of Nokia's T21. It is the perfect tablet for keeping next to the couch or traveling with since I don't have to worry about it running out of juice in the middle of a flight or reaching for it while watching a movie and discovering that the battery is dead since I forgot to charge it the night before.


Performance analysis of this gadget reveals a decent 1.8GHz processor coupled with 4GB RAM, ensuring a smooth user experience. It's powerful enough to handle your daily tasks and fits right into your fast-paced lifestyle. Plus featuring Android 12 it has 2 years of OS upgrades and 3 years of security updates (from the date of the global launch).

Hands On Review Thoughts

The construction features an aluminum back and frame along with a 50% recycled plastic antenna cover. The front is listed simply as "Toughened Glass," so I'm guessing that it is something similar to Gorilla Glass but not made by Corning. I didn't want to risk scratching the screen by testing it's durability. Still, realistically, compared to the beating a phone gets in your pocket, even when this is shoved in my backpack for a weekend getaway it isn't going to get scratched by keys and coins or dropped on some gravel after slipping out of your pocket like a phone might.

Similarly, the water resistance rating is only IP52 but most folks are going to be using this inside and not taking it swimming with them or dropping it in the toilet. IP52 is sufficient for quick spills, such as when you are laughing at a movie and spraying some beer out of your nose or knocking over a glass of wine. However, you shouldn't plan to drop it in water the way I can with my IP68 S24 phone It is nearly impervious to everything, from dropping it into a hot tub or taking it on a hike through a sand storm.

t21 front and back

Compared To Other Budget Tablets

Over the past couple years I've bought several budget tablets from brands like Dragon Touch, who's K10 as similar specs (except the screen, battery, and build quality). While these tablets are typically in the $150 range vs Nokia's T21 which sits just over $200, the common theme with them is that I've bought a new one every 14-16 months because they break, get lost, or just simply stop working for some reason or anther.

While I can't promise you what the long-term testing will bring to this Nokia tablet ... what I can tell you is that it feels far more robust and less like a disposable product that you only use for a few months before buying a new one with slightly better specs. This is a key point for tablets since the market has plateaued and unless you are gaming - there's not a big need for the fastest processors, best camera, and other features the way we see on mobile phones.

As a perfect example of this, I still use my Samsung Galaxy Tab S2, which I got way back in 2015! For browsing the web and watching movies it still works great and so that's why (except for business use) I would never encourage someone to spend more than $300 for a tablet.

Conclusion: I'm Happy With The T21

In short, the Nokia T21 is a budget-friendly tablet that ticks all the boxes for most guys. Its user-friendly interface, solid build, and reasonable price make it a winner. So, if you're in the market for a tablet that doesn't break the bank, the Nokia T21 could be your best bet.

Buy the Nokia T21 on Amazon.