Nokia’s Overhauled Budget Phone Lineup Has Something for Everyone

Nokia’s Overhauled Budget Phone Lineup Has Something for Everyone
Image: Nokia/HMD

Sometimes it just makes sense for companies to rethink their entire portfolio instead of churning out another generation of the same old devices, which is exactly what Nokia is doing with its new X, G, and C-series phones.

By shifting to a new naming scheme that seems loosely inspired by big name German automakers, HMD (who owns the branding rights for Nokia phones) is looking to move away from its previous one, which had become completely opaque with phone names like the Nokia 2.4, Nokia 3.4, and so on.

Nokia’s new C-series handsets are the cheapest of the bunch, and the star of the show is the Nokia C10, which costs as little as 75 euros ($116) and comes with a 6.5-inch HD+ display, 1GB or 2GB of RAM, and up to 32GB of storage. There will also be a Nokia C20 that costs 89 euros ($138), which has the same basic design and specs, but comes with front and rear LED flash modules to help you shoot better photos.

Nokia's new C-Series phones.  (Image: Nokia/HMD) Nokia’s new C-Series phones. (Image: Nokia/HMD)

HMD said the C-series will get two years of OS updates and two years of quarterly (not monthly) security patches, with all of Nokia’s new phones slated to run the Android One version of Android 11.

Moving up one tier is the G-series, which consists of the G10 and G20 (see the pattern?), with the latter offering a faster MediaTek G35 chip, 48-MP main cam, 4GB of RAM, 64 or 128GB of storage, and a larger 5,050 mAh battery that HMD said lasts up to three days on a charge — all starting for just 159 euros ($247).

The G20 in Night.  (Image: Nokia/HMD) The G20 in Night. (Image: Nokia/HMD)

As for updates, the G-series is expected to receive two years of OS updates and three years of security patches.

Finally we have the new X series, which isn’t exactly flagship level, but does include support for sub-6Ghz 5G. The 309 euro Nokia X10 and the 349 euro Nokia X20 follow the same naming pattern — the X20 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G processor, a 6.67-inch FHD+ screen, a quadruple rear camera module with a 64-MP main cam, and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor. The X20 also has the most RAM and storage of Nokia’s new phones with either 6GB/64GB or 8GB/128GB configs.

As the most expensive tier of Nokia’s new phones, the X series will get three full years of OS and security updates.

The X20 in Nordic Blue.  (Image: Nokia/HMD) The X20 in Nordic Blue. (Image: Nokia/HMD)

Nokia’s new lineup brings solid additions to its portfolio, with its three new tiers offering something at practically every budget price range. On top of that, Nokia is also planning on releasing a new pair of wireless buds called the Nokia Lite Earbuds for 39 euros ($60), and in the U.K., Nokia is even launching new wireless plans under the HMD Mobile name, which is a new MVNO for the European market.

HMD said the real goal is for Nokia to continue pursuing open-channel sales that aren’t reliant on deals and partnerships with big carriers, which seems like a decent strategy, especially for the European market. But I’m not sure that even with the device overhaul, Nokia’s strategy is going to be all that successful in the U.S., where as many as 90% of all smartphones are sold through carrier channels. And unfortunately for right now, Nokia has yet to provide specific info on U.S. pricing or availability for any of its new devices around the world.

So in the end, it’ll be up to the devices to prove themselves worthy or not, and at least to start, Nokia’s new C, G, and X-series phones definitely seem to deliver on value, which is promising.