A decent budget tablet under Rs 20,000 | Tech Reddy

A decent budget tablet under Rs 20,000

 | Tech Reddy


The tablet market is largely dominated by Apple iPads, but Android tablets are slowly catching up and we see notable releases every year. If we look at high-end Android tablets, Samsung remains the leader, but brands like Realme, Nokia and Motorola are struggling to win the sub-Rs 20,000 segment. Late last year, we saw the launch of the Nokia T20 tablet with a 10.4-inch screen in India. It starts at Rs 15,499 (Wi-Fi only edition), almost on par with rivals from Realme and Motorola.

READ ALSO: The Nokia T20 tablet with a 10.4-inch display is now available in India

We received a model with Wi-Fi and 4G support paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for our review. This variant is priced at Rs 18,499, which is more expensive than the Realme Pad (Rs 17,999) and the Moto Tab G20 at Rs 10,999 – the latter has 3GB RAM + 32GB storage and supports Wi-Fi only. Flipkart also has the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 priced at Rs 18,999; however, it only gets 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (for the Wi-Fi + 4G edition).

Design: At first glance, the Nokia T20 looks effortlessly premium, and the large screen is a real eye-catcher. As for the appearance, the design of the tablet does not disappoint despite the presence of large bezels on all sides of the screen, but this is mainly to prevent accidental touches. Unfortunately, we only get one Blue color, which the company calls Deep Ocean. It certainly looks good on the large back panel, but I wish the company would have included more color options.

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But that doesn’t mean Nokia didn’t put too much thought into the plain blue color, as the back panel has a subtle finish to keep it looking classy. This comes in the form of a slightly darker finish near the left edge which elevates the overall design. Additionally, the small pill-shaped rear module on the top left doesn’t distract from the single rear camera, which is still a smart design decision. The power button on the Nokia T20 tablet is located at the top and there is no fingerprint scanner.

The back of the Nokia T20 is made of metal, which doesn’t feel cheap at all. However, the matte finish still won’t repel fingerprint smudges, in case you’re wondering. We also get an IP52 rating for dust and water resistance and a 3.5mm audio jack, which might not be easy to find. I prefer this placement (bottom left edge) to the large form factor because it helps keep the cluttered design. Overall, a very thoughtful design, especially at this price.

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Display: If design is the champion of the Nokia T20 tablet, the display is one aspect that falls short of promises. We got a 10.4-inch screen with tough glass protection, 2K (1200×2000 pixels) resolution and 400 nits peak brightness, which on paper isn’t bad at all for this price range. However, the Nokia T20 only gets Widevine L3 DRM security, which does not allow the tablet to play video content above 480p resolution (in most cases) on popular OTT platforms like Netflix, Disney Plus Hotstar and Prime Video.

Since other apps don’t need a Widevine DRM license, the overall viewing experience isn’t bad. In addition, the dual speakers provide loud and decent audio quality. However, the Nokia T20 is primarily aimed at users who want an enhanced portable (and personal) viewing experience. In this regard, there are options in the market like the Realme Pad tablet, which gets Widevine L3 clearance for Full-HD streaming quality. But you can still use the app to read, take notes and control your smart devices – all for Rs 15,499.

Performance and battery: Aside from the poor video playback quality, I enjoyed using the Nokia T20 tablet for one thing – pure software. In 2021, Nokia (brand licensee of HMD Global) was one of the few brands offering an almost pure Android experience. Of course, there are preloaded apps (bloatware) that you can remove, but you don’t have to worry about spammy notifications and ads. It is common among budget products by Realme, Xiaomi and Samsung. That said, the tab runs on Android 11 out-of-the-box, with a two-year OS update warranty and three years of monthly security patches.

Under the hood, the Nokia T20 packs an octa-core 12nm-based Unisoc Tiger 610 chipset paired with a Mali-G52 GPU. In terms of numbers, the Geekbench score is 345 points in the single-core test and 1247 points in the multi-core tests. The frame rate in games is also lower, as the screen is limited to 60 Hz. But if we leave the benchmark aside, opening apps on the tablet is smooth with minor stutters on the switch. I played Asphalt 9 and Wordle with OZO Playback running smoothly with good audio thanks to the dual speakers.

It’s a mixed bag of feelings when it comes to batteries. We get an 8,200 mAh unit that should last a few days with standard usage. I noticed a drop of about 5 percent while watching a live football match on Hotstar (90 minutes + 20 minutes, extra time and half-time break included), which isn’t bad at all. However, the Nokia T20 supports 15W charging and we get a USB-A to USB-C cable and a 10W adapter in the box. Charging is very slow and takes about five hours to fully charge with the included adapter.

Shot on Nokia T20 and iPhone 12
Shot on Nokia T20 and iPhone 12

Talking about the camera, we get one 8-megapixel rear camera (with autofocus) and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera (with fixed focus) for video calling. Unfortunately, both cameras are underwhelming, especially for a company known for its camera technology before iPhones. Most of the images captured by the main rear camera are blurry or blurry. color and contrast are decent; but this is pointless if the images are blurry. The front-facing camera is still relatively good and should perform better than most laptop cameras during video calls. But if you want to take a selfie for fun, don’t get your hopes up.

Verdict: At this point, summing up everything I’ve written, it looks like the Nokia T20 has a 50-50 chance for deals. But here I am going to say otherwise and still maintain that this is a budget device worth recommending.

First, it is important to understand what the tablet is meant for and what to expect when it is priced under Rs 20,000. Of course, when we get devices like iPads and Galaxy Tab S-series, general expectations are high, but if your work is limited to just surfing the web, we don’t need a powerful tablet. A good laptop and phone will suffice. However, in this day and age, people have an urgent need to get rid of the fatigue of the phone and laptop and we look for alternatives – reading, watching movies or eliminating smartphone applications. At this point, the Nokia T20 meets most expectations.

Finally, if there are proposals for a Nokia T30 or T40, or whatever the company decides to call it – I’d say give us more colors, more storage, and at least the Widevine L1 offers a Full HD viewing experience. Additionally, if you want to clean up smartphone apps, read news on a bigger screen, and manage smart devices with a dedicated device, the Nokia T20 tablet is worth a look. The Nokia T20 is also a kid-friendly, no-frills tablet that looks premium and is easy to use.

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