Nokia X100 review: Familiar face, new smile

HMD Global’s budget Nokia phones have followed a familiar pattern for a few years. You can expect a circular camera bump, a matte plastic build, and a clear Android skin. Now, it brings affordable 5G from T-Mobile to the Nokia X100 mix. Are you ready to take on models like the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G? Find out in our Nokia X100 review.

See also: The best Nokia phones available

What you need to know about the Nokia X100

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Ryan Haines / Android Authority

  • Nokia X100 (6GB / 128GB): $ 252 at T-Mobile

The Nokia X100 was launched as a T-Mobile exclusive that promises affordable 5G. It falls just below the Nokia G50 in terms of price, although it does pack quite a few improved specs. The X100 is also just above the G300, the most affordable 5G option under Nokia’s banner. If you are not a T-Mobile subscriber at this time, you can also check out the Nokia X100 at select MVNOs such as Metro by T-Mobile.

The X100 keeps things pretty simple with just one configuration to choose from, and it has 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. If you need more space, HMD Global added a microSD card slot just in case. Qualcomm’s 5G-ready Snapdragon 480 also keeps everything moving under the hood. You will only find one color option to choose from; a striking Midnight Blue that seems to transition between blue and dark gray in the light. There is no official IP rating mentioned, not a surprise at this price, so be sure to stay out of puddles.

See also: The best budget phones

A 6.67-inch Full HD + screen tops the package, and it’s made from tough Gorilla Glass 3. There’s a 16MP punch-hole selfie camera along with four cameras in total on the back. You might recognize the camera’s circular bump right away, and a 48MP wide lens serves as the main attraction. It’s backed by a 5MP ultra-wide lens, a 2MP depth sensor, and a 2MP macro option. The cameras use Zeiss optics, which puts a whole host of portrait mode settings at your fingertips.

Our Nokia X100 came with Android 11 out of the box, which is good for now. However, we asked HMD Global about future support and they confirmed that they are not planning any Android version updates and will only offer two years of security patches.

The Nokia X100’s closest rivals also fall into T-Mobile’s 5G budget sphere. Samsung’s Galaxy A32 5G will set you back $ 282 on the Un-Carrier, but it comes with a Dimensity 720 chipset and a more robust upgrade program. You can also see the OnePlus Nord N200, which matches the X100’s Snapdragon 480 but only promises a new version of Android. It is the most affordable alternative for only $ 216.

What is good?

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Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Nokia X100 is designed to be an affordable media streaming powerhouse and for the most part it delivers. The Full HD + screen is sharp and the 20: 9 ratio was specifically chosen for video. It gets impressively bright as long as it’s not in direct sunlight, and the headphone jack means you can still enjoy your wired headphones. If you’d rather skip the headphones, the X100 includes a single down-firing speaker that’s surprisingly loud and clear at full volume.

Overall, the Nokia X100 packs some pretty impressive cameras. The 48MP main shooter is sharp and you can snap between the default 12MP shots or take advantage of full resolution. The 2MP macro lens is mostly there for more fun, but you can occasionally get great results like the Dodge hood ornament seen below. I also like the Zeiss portrait options, especially the bokeh effects. Essentially, you can change the background blur to include shapes like stars or hearts in addition to the basic circles.

The 48MP main camera beats the $ 252 price, especially when you add the Zeiss portrait options.

The hardware configuration gives you good performance for not much money, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage more than enough for most tasks. I didn’t have too many lag issues, even when bouncing between apps quickly. Nokia’s Android skin is one of the lightest we’ve seen in a long time, and it feels pretty close to being available with just a few amenities.

I had no trouble getting the 4,470 mAh battery to last more than a day of constant use, occasionally getting close to a full second day before charging. The 18W wired charge recovered 39% in 30 minutes and took about 75 minutes to return to full charge. The side-mount fingerprint reader is reliable and the software-based Face Unlock works well in bright, clear conditions.

What is not so good?

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Ryan Haines / Android Authority

I don’t love that the Nokia X100 is exclusive to T-Mobile. While you can take it on one of the Magenta MVNOs, I’d rather see budget phones come with universal functionality. However, the X100 is also available as the X10 in markets outside of the US, so that’s your best option for a truly unlocked version.

HMD Global went to great lengths to make the X100 a solid streaming companion, but it falls short in one key way: the bezels. It has sizable bezels around all four sides, as you can see above, and the pierced selfie camera also has a relatively large ring around it. I would almost have preferred a small notch if it meant smaller bezels overall. The screen is bright in most conditions, but it struggles with sunlight, which can make it difficult to browse social media or stream your favorite shows.

Nokia’s 6.67-inch screen falls short in sunny conditions.

Many inexpensive phones adopt the plastic lifestyle; look at Samsung, Motorola, and OnePlus, for example. HMD Global did the same with the X100, but the plastic doesn’t always feel better. The Gorilla Glass 3 display feels sturdy enough, but the plastic back lets it down. I don’t think the plastic will break off with a few drops, but it does give a bit when I press the back.

The Nokia X100 launched with Android 11 built in, which is good. However, HMD Global confirmed to us that they have no plans to update it to Android 12 yet. Unless that changes, you will be stuck with Android 11 from the moment you open the box to the moment you buy a new phone, and only two. Years of security patches severely limit the long-term value of the phone. Even OnePlus tends to find a way to bring a single Android update to its inexpensive Nord options, while Samsung goes much further. This is especially strange given the fact that previous Nokia X-series phones have been promised three years of updates.

Nokia X100 camera samples

Nokia X100 Specifications

Nokia X100
Display6.67 inch
Gorilla Glass 3
1,080 x 2,400 (20: 9)
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G
Storage128 GB
CamerasQuadruple rear camera:
48MP main
5MP ultrawide
2MP depth
2MP macro

Front of:
16MP wide

Battery4470 mAh
18W wired charging
IP ratingNone
softwareAndroid 11
Dimensions171.4 x 79.7 x 9.1 mm
ColorsMidnight blue
SecuritySide mount fingerprint reader
Face unlock

Nokia X100 : Should You Buy It?

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Ryan Haines / Android Authority

If you’re a T-Mobile customer looking for a cheap 5G device, the Nokia X100 is a solid choice. It contains quite a few Nokia trademarks and is designed to keep up with your favorite shows and social media accounts. The software update situation is a bit irritating considering Nokia’s slogan of “Love it, trust it, keep it,” but the overall camera experience and large 6.67-inch screen outweigh its price. The X100 is a classic Nokia design, with many updated specs for just over $ 250.

See also: The best T-Mobile phones

Those of you looking for another affordable option from T-Mobile can’t look any further than the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G ($ 282). Swap Gorilla Glass 3 for Gorilla Glass 5, with a sleek design that looks more like glass than plastic. You also get a full 5,000 mAh battery for your money. The best budget alternative is the OnePlus Nord N200 ($ 216). It is one of the cheapest 5G devices and has the Oxygen OS lightweight skin on top.

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Nokia X100

5G from T-Mobile and its MVNOs became more affordable thanks to the Nokia X100. It includes a Snapdragon 480 chipset and a 6.67-inch Full HD + screen that is ideal for streaming media.

Above article first published by . We curated and re-published.

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