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REVIEW: Nokia C21 – Budget on the go!

If you plan on getting a touchscreen budget-friendly phone for basic use, Nokia C21 offers good security software updates for two years, plus it has a nice looking design.

HMD Global introduced their budget-friendly phone in the market, the C21. It features a set of basic specifications and features. There is a sufficient 6.5-inch HD screen, fingerprint scanner, 13MP on the back, and 5MP on the front for selfies. The rest of the specs are quite standard, and it brings back the old fashion for a smartphone.


Opening the box, you will get the C21, the unit itself, a set of manuals, a micro USB cable, the charger, the battery, a free jelly case cover, and the headset.



The back of the phone can be removed for battery setup operation, and when uncovered, there is the fingerprint scanner and camera module in the middle. Then above it is the slots for two sim cards and a micro sd card. The back plate is made of plastic, but the texture resembles a matte finish look and feel. It is curved and patterned polycarbonate that is designed for greater longevity. There is a power and volume button on the right side of the device. On the bottom, there is the micro USB port and microphone hole. There is nothing on the left side, while there is the 3.5 mm audio jack port at the top.

There is a 6.5-inch screen size with a teardrop notch design (V-notch) on display with a Nokia logo below the chin. Flipping it on the back, the single-camera module and fingerprint scanner are in the center.

It weighs around 195g. It feels solid and comfortable to hold, and the buttons are easy to reach with one-handed usage. Navigating while swiping is convenient.

There are two color variants available on this device: Dark Blue and Warm Grey.


The phone comes with 6.5-inch screen size and HD+ resolution of 720 X 1600. It is an IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display. The side bezels and chick are thick. No high refresh rate. It lacks nits of brightness when outdoors under direct sunlight. Display quality is very standard though it is not sharp. There are pixelated elements when viewing on the screen and watching videos. Nevertheless, users will be happy to use this device for a big-screen purposes.


The device comes with a power-efficient Android 11 Go edition, a lighter version of Android. Nokia promises and provides the device with 2 years of security updates. There are no bloatware apps installed. It really looks simple and optimized for lower-performing processors and smaller amounts of memory. Android Go and lite apps run smoothly on this device.


The phone is powered by one latest chip called unisoc SC9863A, a high and budget quality chipset that has been introduced in different brands; it is a 1.6GHZ octa-core process with a PowerVR ge8322 GPU. It only has 2GB of RAM and 32GB of ROM for storage.

Opening apps that are designed for the Go version loads an instant; the regular version of the app takes some time to open, especially when there are many apps open. Multitasking is not the best since it experiences some stutters in animation when switching between multiple apps. Response time when interacting on the app is good. It doesn’t feel like lag.

Playing heavy games such as Call of duty mobile and Mobile legend can run on low settings. The graphics quality is not the best. Obviously, frame drops and stutters are always present, but the game is playable. Only lite games are recommendable to run on this device.

4G connectivity, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, ambient and proximity sensor, and an FM radio capable.

Audio quality is decent, it only has a single firing speaker but is loud.

For security, there is a fingerprint and AI face unlock technology that gives peace of mind by limiting who can access your device.


The device has a removable battery of 3000MAH capacity, It can provide you with all-day battery life from a single charge. The battery can give you a decent screen on time, depending on your usage. Sadly, there is no quick charge technology available. It has a super low charge of 5V1A watt, so charging the device may take you more than an hour to fully charge.


Nokia C21 has a single 8MP with flash on the back, and 5MP on the front for selfies. There are timelapse, simple beautification, and panorama available in the camera UI app. The device has a basic camera for quick capture. No portrait mode is available.

The camera output in the rear is standard, dynamic range is not present and shot details and quality needs to be improved. Selfie shots are not the best and can be improved; there are some blurry effects present.

Video recording can go up to 1080p resolution, but output quality can be improved.


If you plan on getting a touchscreen budget-friendly phone for basic use, Nokia C21 offers good security software updates for two years, plus it has a nice looking design. You can get the Nokia C21 in the Philippines for a price of Php5,490 via MemoXpress online and all Nokia physical stores nationwide.

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