The budget smartphone market is continuously evolving, with newer phones offering great specs at highly competitive and inexpensive prices at a time when large flagship releases dominate all the news. The Nokia C21 Plus, the company’s most recent model, is no exception. The Nokia C21 Plus, which costs only Rs 10,299, may have been quietly released, but it has the potential to be very well received by those looking to get their first smartphone. Over the course of more than a week, we tested the Nokia C21 Plus extensively. Without further ado, please find our in-depth evaluation of the Nokia C21 Plus.
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Nokia C21 Plus review: Design and Display
The Nokia C21 Plus is by no means a small phone, to put it mildly. It certainly stands out with its 164.8 x 75.9 x 8.6 mm proportions and 6.52-inch screen size. It weights 191g, which is a little bit more weight than usual, but you’ll get accustomed to it and it won’t be a major deal. The C21 Plus has a textured plastic back and an aluminium frame. While the textured back panel helps in gripping the phone, some people who want a more premium feel may find it to be a deal-breaker.
The top-right rectangular area of the back panel houses the 13MP + 2MP dual camera unit, which really blends very well with it. At the centre of the panel, directly below the camera unit, is where the fingerprint sensor is located.
Given that Nokia’s competitors in the segment have already switched to Type-C charging, the phone’s micro USB charging connector at the bottom is a bit of a letdown. These little factors might have an impact on certain buyers’ choices. It’s a good thing that the headphone jack is located in the upper left corner of the phone.
The volume rocker and lock key are located on the right side of the phone, while the SIM and memory card tray is situated along its left side.
Many customers won’t like the speaker because it is hidden in the back panel. When you hold the phone and the speaker is squeezed or hidden against your palm or fingers, the sound frequently becomes muffled.
Moving on to the positives, the 720 x 1,600 IPS LCD screen offers a pleasant viewing experience. The C21 Plus would be a decent option for individuals wishing to switch to a smartphone primarily for watching video content. The C21 Plus handled streaming HD content from YouTube, Netflix, and Hotstar with ease and produced consistently high-quality visuals. When the speaker is not pressed against anything, it also offers a respectable audio accompaniment to the video.
While using the phone, the touchscreen can get a little smudge-prone. Have a microfiber cloth close at hand. We frequently found ourselves cleaning fingerprints from the screen. The scrolling experience wasn’t as fluid as we would have liked when it came to touch sensitivity, but that is to be expected with the majority of low-cost smartphones today. Although we realise it’s unreasonable to expect more from a smartphone in this category, a greater refresh rate would have been perfect. The screen’s brightness was not a problem at all because it easily adjusted to the bright outdoor lighting.
Nokia C21 Plus review: Performance and Cameras
The Unisoc SC9863A processor, which powers the Nokia C21 Plus, provides an adequate level of performance. Even while using multiple apps or streaming HD content, we didn’t notice any latency or speed degradation. We tested the 4GB RAM + 64GB memory variant for our assessment, and it demonstrated quick programme switching, quick boot-up times, and respectable speeds even when running background chores. We were surprised by how quickly the fingerprint sensor and face unlock functioned on a smartphone in this price range.
The C21 Plus also performed admirably in our gaming tests, but it suffered with first-person shooter titles that require a more powerful GPU and CPU. These games included Candy Crush, Subway Surfers, and Clash Royale. On the Geekbench 5 test, it received scores of 127 for the Single-core score and 476 for the Multi-core score.
On the C21 Plus, Nokia claims a 3-day battery backup. Yet, the C21 Plus lasted nearly a day and a half when used heavily, averaging roughly 5–6 hours of screen time each day. Despite being less than what Nokia promises, this is still quite impressive given the performance the smartphone offers. The C21 Plus took a while to fully charge because the USB micro-B charging port isn’t the best for quick charging. Given how long it takes to charge, even though the battery might last more than a day, you should still put it on charge every night.
About the operating system, the C21 Plus uses Android 11 Go Edition, which Google created specifically for smartphones in this class. The Google apps that come pre-installed bear the Go logo; they are lighter versions of the original apps meant to function well on entry-level handsets and also take up less storage. With a few exceptions, such fewer settings in the notification slider, the software is largely the same as Android 11. There has been no watering down of the security elements. With the C21 Plus, Nokia has also guaranteed two years of quarterly security upgrades.
Although the C21 Plus comes with bloatware apps like LinkedIn, Facebook Lite, Moj, Solitaire, and more, Android 11 Go Edition is simple and uncluttered. You can immediately uninstall these apps and make some much-needed storage space available.
A 13MP primary lens, a 5MP depth lens, and an LED flash make up the rear camera section of the device. Surprisingly, the 5MP selfie camera on the front of the device also has an LED flash. It is notch-positioned in the centre of the screen. Both the front and back cameras are capable of 30 fps 1080p video recording.
Outdoor images captured with the Nokia C21 Plus appeared to be a little bit overexposed and lacked the perfect colour balance. But, you may automatically alter the picture’s colours once it has been stored in the galley, and the outcomes are much better. There is also an HDR selection. Portrait and Panoramic modes are also supported by the C21 Plus. Moreover, timelapse videos can be recorded.
Indoors, the colour balance was far more pleasing, and portrait-oriented images produced respectable background blur. The selfie camera has a Beautify option that smoothes out the skin and gives the picture a glossy appearance while also removing any sharpness.
Overall, the camera unit of the C21 Plus is not the worst we’ve seen in this sector for Rs 10,299 in pricing. In fact, it is quite respectable. You must seek outside of this pricing range if you want better-performing cameras.
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We were happy with the Nokia C21 Plus’ performance after using it for a week; in several ways, it really outperforms its price. You don’t need to look past the Nokia C21 Plus if you want to switch from a feature phone and your top priority is binge-watching video content. We thought Nokia should have placed the speaker unit in a better location and included Type-C charging, but at Rs 10,299, the Nokia C21 Plus is more than a steal.
- Battery Life
- Speaker placement
- Lacking Type-C charging
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