Review: Budget Android Tablet Nokia T20 Is Good Enough

Nokia T20
The Nokia T20 is a budget Android tablet that provides enough capabilities to be a good value. TYLER HAYES

A 10.4-inch tablet that's guaranteed to get two years of system updates isn't exactly offering the moon, but for a retail price of just under $250, it's a solid value. The Nokia T20 Android tablet has its annoyances, but its 2K resolution screen, expandable storage, front and rear cameras, and decent battery life all add up to an experience that's good enough to be intriguing.

This is a tablet that can handle all kinds of media consumption if that's what you want. Watching shows and reading on it are perfectly acceptable. It's also a fine general-purpose device for browsing the web. Plus, half of T20's annoyances aren't even Nokia's fault—it's how Android and its apps stretch out for larger screens that's annoying.

This tablet isn't a direct replacement for an iPad because it lacks the app ecosystem and certain accessory support, but it is a cheaper way to get content on a large screen. It might also be a suitable tablet for a kid because Google Kids Space comes ready to go, out of the box.

TL;DR

Pros:

  • Metal blue exterior is attractive and durable
  • Clean Android install with default Google apps

Cons:

  • My test unit screen had a few dead pixels
  • Face unlock security is very unreliable

Buy at Best Buy.

T20 Hardware and Design

Nokia T20
The T20 only comes in blue, but I think it looks attractive. TYLER HAYES

The Nokia T20 has a simple enough design with rounded corners. Overall it's a nondescript slab like most tablets are. Its main distinguishing mark is its blue metal back. This blue from Nokia comes as an easy win. It's not flashy, but it is attractive and feels nice to hold. Maybe its choice of color feels bold in stark contrast to Apple's dull use of color on its iPads. Though the back of the T20 is a fingerprint magnet, if you're curious.

The front 5 MP camera serves its purpose if you need to do video calls. I found its performance to be pitiful, however. The color and detail it provides is washed out and bland. The only notable thing about the front camera is that it resides centered and directly in front of you when using the tablet in landscape, instead of along the narrow edge like iPads.

I found the back 8 MP camera also to be lackluster. It's there for random snapshots if you need it. The cameras can do portrait mode and apply filters, but ultimately its optics are completely forgettable. Unlocking the tablet using my face was very unreliable in my experience. Sometimes it worked without any effort, but mostly it didn't work before I needed to input my code manually.

Nokia T20
The 2K display is vibrant and looks good while watching videos. TYLER HAYES

While holding the tablet in landscape, there are speakers on the left and right. When listening to certain music or watching some movies I heard whiffs of stereo separation. The speakers sounded fine. Overall, the audio quality is adequate in that it gets loud and isn't muffled, but I certainly didn't experience any audio that could be considered deep or rich.

The advertised 2K display has a resolution of 1200 x 2000 resolution. It has a brightness of 400 nits and an SGS low blue light certification. I didn't notice any effects of the lower blue light, one way or another, but it's an interesting spec to be included.

When I watched Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, streaming from Disney Plus, the picture looked good. The colors were vibrant, and there wasn't much, if any, distortion when viewing the screen off-angle. I also didn't notice black and dark colors being washed out. Over the course of several different shows and movies, I was pleasantly surprised by the display quality.

I should note that along one of the narrow sides of the screen were several dead pixels on my review unit. At first, it looked like dust or dirt that would wipe away; upon closer inspection, the mark was under the glass. As long as this isn't indicative of the quality of the T20 tablets being sold, I think this can be dismissed as a one-off flaw.

Nokia T20
My review unit's screen had dead pixels, which you can see near the circle icon in the middle. TYLER HAYES

A Tablet for Kids?

Even though there's nothing that inherently makes this a "kids tablet," its low price and advertised Google Kids Space software do make it compelling for preteens. If you haven't dabbled with Google's kid-friendly app, Kids Space, it's a neat playground in which youth get to pick their preferences and are presented with YouTube videos, books and music related to their interests. My 9-year-old daughter took to it right away and dove into some of the instructional drawing videos.

When you set up a kid's profile on the tablet, you're encouraged to download and set up Google Family Link, which enables remote parental controls. I haven't spent too much time with this software, but it's similar to Apple's Screen Time.

I'm not a fan of purposefully giving kids inferior technology. I don't think they should be subjected to laggy, buggy and second-tier experiences simply because something is "made for kids." I haven't gotten that sense from this tablet. In my observation, my daughter used the T20 without complaints of glitches or issues navigating the things she wanted to do. This is a tablet meant for anyone that may be a good fit for kids 6 years and older.

For teens and adults, I'm convinced this is a media consumption device. In fact, because of the limited number of Android apps that fully utilize a tablet-size screen, I think you should only lean toward purchasing an Android tablet when your main objective is watching shows, reading articles and bouncing around between a combination of those tasks.

If you want to try to use this as a productivity machine, it's worth a shot. The stretched-out 16:9 aspect ratio makes it a little tough to write in landscape, while it may be difficult to get the tablet to stand up properly when using it in portrait. The T20's lack of standardized accessories, such as a dedicated stylus and keyboard stands, makes the iPad better for productivity.

Should You Buy the Nokia T20 Tablet?

Nokia T20
The Nokia T20 tablet features a front and rear camera that are lackluster in their optics quality but provide functionality if needed. TYLER HAYES

At a full retail price of $249.99, the Nokia T20 is a fine value. It can pull off most tasks you'd want a tablet for, minus any strenuous gaming. It's good enough for daily use, with respectable battery life, even if the total package isn't as exciting as its blue exterior might suggest.

I have seen the T20 discounted to around $180, in which case its value blooms into very good—an absolutely worthy purchase. The device is capable of driving media consumption and web browsing. Best of all, Nokia's advertised commitment to keep it updated for two years and provide security updates for even longer means you should get your money's worth, regardless if you find it on sale or not.

Buy at Best Buy for $249.99.

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