Nokia G10 review: a 3-day battery life phone and a box of compromises

You can get the value-packed Nokia G10 32 GB variant for as low as ₦85,000 and the 64 GB has a starting price of ₦100,000.

Nokia G10 review: a 3-day battery life phone and a box of compromises
Nokia G10 in Dusk and Night

HMD Global, the company behind Nokia phones, introduced the G-series in April 2021, promising longer software support for budget-friendly Android devices. The first arrivals, the G10 and G20, aim to redefine expectations in this price range.

Traditionally, affordable Android phones come with limited software support. Often, you'd get infrequent security updates and a single, if any, OS upgrade. The G10 breaks this mould by guaranteeing two years of OS updates (Android 12 and 13) and three years of security patches, ensuring your phone stays protected and up-to-date for several years.

Beyond its attractive price, the G10 packs a triple-camera system (13MP main), a massive 5,050mAh battery with USB-C charging, and convenient features like a dedicated Google Assistant button and side-mounted fingerprint sensor. The design echoes Nokia's C-series with a small notch for the 8MP front camera and a 6.5-inch 720p display. Running Android 11 with two future upgrades promised, the G10 offers a clean Android experience at an incredible value of ₦100,000/$67. But can it live up to the hype? We'll find out in this 5-minute review.

Unboxing the Nokia G10 phone

The Nokia G10 keeps things simple in the box. You get the phone itself, a 10W AC adapter for charging, a USB-C cable, and a clear jelly case. While the case is a welcome bonus, it's slim and might not offer significant drop protection. The phone also comes with a pre-installed screen protector, saving you an extra step.

Nokia G10 box contents | Sypnotix

Nokia G10: Design and Display

Building on the C-series' practicality, the Nokia G10's design offers a familiar 6.5-inch display and a small front camera notch. But when you look closer, you'll see hints of the X-series' sleekness, reflecting Nokia's unified design across budgets.

The centrepiece is a large 6.52-inch display with IPS technology, offering a captivating viewing experience for videos despite the 720 x 1600 pixel resolution.

Moving beyond the screen, the G10 sheds its budget phone label with a surprisingly sleek design. Inspired by Nordic aesthetics, the phone comes in two colour options–-Dusk and Night–-and boasts a splash-proof build for added peace of mind. Unlike most fingerprint sensor placements, the G10 opts for a side-mounted sensor for easy access, while the rear houses a circular camera module.

While the phone utilises a plastic build typical of budget devices, the G10 feels surprisingly solid. The textured matte finish on the back provides a comfortable grip and a distinct look. The display itself is a 6.52-inch IPS LCD with a teardrop notch for the front camera. Although the bezels are minimal, the bottom houses a small Nokia logo. While colour reproduction is decent and viewing angles are good, the display's resolution falls short at 1600 x 720 pixels (269 ppi). This translates to a less-than-ideal experience under direct sunlight due to limited brightness.

Flipping the phone over, we find the circular camera module nestled at the top and the prominent Nokia logo etched in the centre. The top edge houses the headphone jack, while the cUSB-C charging port and speaker grille reside at the bottom.

Nokia G10 design and display

Nokia G10: Performance and Battery life

The Nokia G10 runs on the MediaTek Helio G25 processor with 4GB of RAM. While stock Android 11 with future updates sounds promising, everyday tasks can feel sluggish, especially with multitasking and demanding apps.

For casual gamers who enjoy a bit of "crush the candy" action, the G10 might suffice. However, prepare for extended loading times and the occasional hiccup, even with less graphically intensive titles. For those who crave the thrill of MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) titles like Mobile Legends Bang Bang or League of Legends: Wild Rift, the G10 might struggle. Expect sluggish performance, especially on minimum settings, and the notch might become an unwelcome guest during intense battles. While the phone itself doesn't overheat during gaming, the frustration of slow loading times and potential stutters might leave you feeling a little hot under the collar.

The G10's saving grace is its impressive 5050mAh battery. While the 3-day claim might be a stretch for heavy users, it can last a full day on a single charge with moderate use. However, the lack of fast charging means long waits to top up the battery.

Be aware that the G10 skips on some features often found in budget phones. You won't find NFC for contactless payments, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are limited to older standards. As a small perk, the G10 offers a built-in FM radio for those who enjoy traditional radio broadcasts.

The Nokia G10 notch can become bothersome during intense battles

Nokia G10: Camera

The Nokia G10's triple-camera system might look impressive at first glance, but its true capabilities are more modest. The main 13MP sensor captures decent photos in good lighting conditions but struggles in low-light or mixed-lighting scenarios.

The 2MP macro lens and depth sensor are largely marketing gimmicks. Macro shots are challenging to capture on a budget phone, and the low resolution makes them unusable for most purposes. The depth sensor doesn't translate to reliable performance in portrait mode, often blurring the background inaccurately.

Moving to the front, the 8MP selfie camera falls short, especially in low-light situations. For social media enthusiasts, don't expect exceptional results.

The camera app offers a variety of shooting modes like portrait, night, macro, and video recording up to 1080p. While not outstanding, 1080p video recording is a decent feature at this price point.

Overall, the Nokia G10's camera system is a reminder that you get what you pay for. It can capture basic photos in good lighting, but serious photographers or social media addicts should look elsewhere.

The main camera on the Nokia G10 will automatically optimise brightness, colour, and white balance, according to the shooting environment, you will quickly get the best picture without having to adjust complicated parameters. |

Nokia G10: Software Overview

The Nokia G10 ditches the carrier bloatware and unnecessary pre-installed apps in most budget phones. As part of the Android One program, it runs a near-stock Android 11 experience which translates to a clean interface.

Security is a highlight, with two updates received during testing and a promise of bi-monthly updates from Nokia. This surpasses most competitors and positions the G10 for extended software support. Plus, there's talk of the G10 getting Android 12 and even 13 down the line. That's a rare commitment in this price range, where phones often turn into glorified paperweights after a year. 

One caveat is the slow and unreliable facial recognition feature which is best avoided. Stick to the fingerprint sensor for a frustration-free unlocking option.

Reasons to buy

  • Clean Android Experience plus Nokia promises consistent updates for at least two years, ensuring your phone stays secure and gets new features.
  • Long-lasting battery lasting up to 3 days on a single charge (depending on usage).
  • Splash Protection
  • Expandable Storage
  • Side-Mounted Fingerprint Sensor.
  • Budget-friendly Price

Reasons to Consider

  • The MediaTek Helio G25 processor struggles with multitasking and demanding games. Expect occasional sluggishness.
  • The speaker quality is below average, not ideal for media consumption.
  • No NFC for contactless payments, and older Wi-Fi and Bluetooth standards.
  • Don't expect mind-blowing photos, but it'll handle everyday captures.
  • Slow charging with a USB Type-C 2.0 port can be a pain point.

Is the Nokia G10 a good buy?

Yes, if you’re looking for a phone that delivers on the essentials: clean software, a long-lasting battery, and a decent price tag. It'll handle calls, social media, and casual photos without breaking a sweat.

However, its budget limitations become apparent in sluggish performance, especially with multitasking or demanding apps. This can be frustrating for users who rely on their phones constantly.

At this price point, competitors like the Xiaomi Poco M2 Pro offer a smoother experience with a more powerful processor and better camera capabilities. If raw performance is a priority, the Poco M2 Pro might be a wiser choice.

Pricing and Availability in Nigeria

The Nokia G10 is a practical choice within Nigeria’s budget smartphone segment with prices starting from ₦85,000. This price applies to the 3GB + 32GB model. For those looking for more storage, the price begins at ₦100,000 for the 4 GB RAM capacity with a 64 GB storage configuration. 

You can find the Nokia G10 at various mobile retail outlets across Nigeria, including Jumia and other renowned retailers across the country. Remember, prices may vary slightly based on location and depending on the seller, so it's always wise to compare prices from different sources to find the best deal available.

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