If you use your phone for on-the-bike navigation, but you’re worried about how well it will hold up to rough use, you might want to check out this new release from Nokia. Nokia, long known for its durable smartphones, says its new XR20 is the company’s toughest phone it’s built yet.
So what are the specs?
As far as the physical construction, Nokia has a 6.67-inch Gorilla Glass Victus screen, aluminum frame, and a plastic back. Early reviews say the chassis won’t bend, which should help the phone avoid cracking its screen.. It’s MIL-STD-810H compliant and has an IP68 rating for resisting dust and water. The phone’s body is raised around the front and rear cameras to protect the lenses. It’s supposed to be four times as resistant to scratches as other Nokia phones, and able to handle a drop of almost five feet.
Nokia includes a headphone jack, a SIM slot, and a second port that works as either a SIM slot or microSD slot. Dual SIMs are often a handy feature for travelers, but it will restrict how much storage you have with this phone. It comes with choice off 4 GB RAM/64 GB memory or a healthy 6 GB RAM/128 GB of storage integrated, though,. Users should be able to get by with that, as long as they periodically back up files and photos.
Most reviews seem to think there are cheaper phones with better displays, but those phones aren’t as rugged as the XR20. The 60hz screen itself is LCD, with a max brightness of 550 nits. The phone’s max screen brightness is obviously very important to riders using it as a GPS, and the claimed brightness rating is well behind a flagship Android phone, but better than low-end ones.
Speaking of Android, the Nokia XR20 uses Android One, which is basically a modification of the Android 11 operating system. Supposedly, Android One comes without the usual OEM-mandate bloatware that clogs up most Android phones, meaning you have more room for photos. Nokia says the phone will get three years of core software updates, and security updates will last for four years. Hopefully you’re done your RTW trip by then … or maybe hopefully not?
The XR20 uses the Snapdragon 480 chipset, which again is a middle-of-the-road option. That seems to be the general theme here; Nokia’s put the work into making the phone tough, not a flashy performance model. Early reviews also pan the onboard camera tech as being well behind flagship phones. Same for the 4630 mAh battery battery, which reviewers seem to think is OK, but not fantastic.
Bottom line: If you buy this phone, you want it because it’s rugged. Hopefully it will avoid the self-destructive tendencies that other, more expensive, cellphones have the reputation for, once you clamp them into a RAM mount.
For more detailed reviews, see the Sun’s review here, or the review from Forbes here, or TechRadar here. The XR20 is currently available for sale in Euro markets, and will be available in the US in late August, around the $550 mark.
If $550 sounds like a lot of money for a phone, the Nokia certainly isn’t the only ruggedized cellphone on the market. ADVrider had a review of the Kyocera DuraForce Pro 2 here, and there are plenty of discussion threads about low-priced Kyocera phones and other similar hardware in the forum.