As with the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G and Realme 8 5G before it, the Nokia G50 is an affordable 5G-enabled smartphone. And, like those two phones, the Nokia G50 is forced to make a few concessions in order to live up to its mandate.
These compromises include a large and bright LCD panel that can only support a 720p resolution and a 60Hz refresh rate. It’s far from the ideal display for the media content streamed over 5G.
Nonetheless, those 5G capabilities become increasingly significant moving forward. With the availability of 5G connectivity rising, particularly in and around urban areas, there is going to be a legitimate use case for inexpensive phones capable of accessing broadband-like speeds while on the go.
- Display: 6.82 inches, IPS LCD
- Resolution: 720 x 1560 pixels
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 480
- RAM: 4 GB
- Internal Memory: 64 GB
- Expandable Memory: Yes, Up to 512 GB
- Rear Camera: 48 MP + 5 MP + 2 MP
- Front Camera: 8 MP
- Battery : 5000 mAh
Since taking over Nokia’s smartphone business, HMD Global has worked hard to maintain the brand’s reputation for robust, durable designs. The Nokia G50 is unquestionably a continuation of that trend.
For the price, it’s a very well-built device, with a metal frame and a pleasingly soft-touch, softly curved plastic rear cover.
As nice as the rear cover looks and feels out of the box, its modest sheen and our model’s brilliant Ocean Blue color (it’s also available in Midnight Sun) make it extremely prone to sweaty fingerprints.
The Nokia G50 shares one feature with other recent Nokia phones: its size. It’s a big boy indeed, with a 173.8 x 77.7mm footprint and a substantial 8.9mm thickness. Meanwhile, the phone tips the scales at a whopping 220g.
To compare, the Realme 8 5G weighs 185g, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G weighs 190g, and the Moto G50 weighs 192g. That is a significant gap and one that does not reflect well on Nokia.
The buttons are also well-placed, which makes the phone look and feel more premium. The power button, which doubles as a quick and reliable fingerprint sensor, has been positioned halfway up the device’s right side, making it easily accessible. It also sits in a little dip, which helps distinguish it from the volume rocker above.
There’s a separate Google Assistant button to the other side of the phone, which feels as unnecessary as ever. However, the 3.5mm headphone port on the top edge is a great addition.
By nearly any standard, the Nokia G50’s display is massive. It is even larger than super-flagship behemoths such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and the iPhone 13 Pro Max at 6.82-inches.
Those are the first and only instances in good faith that we could truly compare such phones to the Nokia G50. Apart from brightness, which reaches a respectable 450 nits during normal use, the Nokia G50 is found to be relatively lacking in all other areas.
This is an IPS LCD display and a rather dull one at that. Content viewed on the Nokia G50 appears slightly washed out and faded, with slightly orangey reds and pale greens – at least when contrasted to an OLED.
More concerning is the fact that it does not get quite sharp enough, which is accentuated by the large screen. Its 720 x 1560 resolution, often known as HD+ or 720p, results in a pathetic 252 pixels per inch.
Another step backward is the incorporation of a 60Hz refresh rate. Scrolling over stuff feels slow and hazy in this environment.
The Realme 8 5G, the Redmi Note 10 5G, and the similarly called Moto G50 all offer similarly priced 5G bundles while also including a high-resolution 90Hz display.
If you’re prepared to forego 5G, you can increase that rate to 120Hz with the Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC, or even access OLED display technology with the Realme 8.
Other than that, the Nokia G50 has a very standard 19.5:9 aspect ratio, which means that widescreen movie content fits quite well in landscape mode. However, you’ll have to make do with a teardrop notch cutting through the top of the screen, which seems quite out of step in this age of punch-hole cut-outs.
The Nokia G50 has a triple camera system that isn’t truly a triple camera system, as is the rather disappointing trend with cheaper phones these days. It is a dual-camera setup, but only barely.
A respectable 48MP wide sensor with an f/1.8 aperture leads the pack. This is accompanied by a much lower-resolution 5MP ultra-wide camera and a 2MP depth assistance. The latter is not a standalone camera.
An 8MP front-facing camera is tucked under the aforementioned teardrop notch for selfies.
The 48MP primary sensor produces excellent image quality, with pixel-binning processes producing clear, brilliant 12MP photos. Snaps appear rather natural, with a strong auto-HDR implementation that keeps extremes in check.
However, when the Nokia G50 is exposed to more challenging situations, it begins to falter. Even well-lit interior images exhibit some grain, while Night Mode shots lack detail as they become brighter. Of course, there is a critical lack of optical image stabilization (OIS) here, which is typically absent from such budget phones.
In general, the Nokia G50’s 48MP sensor carries the entire weight. Apart from standard photographs, it is put into action when shooting 2x zoom shots. These straightforward crops have noticeable amounts of grain, although they do provide some degree of tone consistency.
The same cannot be said for ultra-wide photos, which make use of a considerably smaller specialized 5MP sensor. It’s instantly obvious that these snaps were created with subpar hardware, as seen by a loss of vibrancy, detail, and contrast.
Selfies are far from crisp, with smudged skin tones and an overall lack of punch. However, selfie portrait mode is worse, blurring edge detail on your subject (that would be you) and skipping HDR entirely.
Specs and performance
The Nokia G50 is powered by the Snapdragon 480 5G, the same entry-level chip used in the Moto G50, Nokia XR20, and Oppo A54 5G. In a nutshell, It’s a capable low-end performer that falls just short of its competition.
The Nokia G50 averaged 1,560 points in the Geekbench 5 multi-core CPU test. This compares to 1,677 for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G and 1,765 for the Realme 8 5G, which both have the MediaTek MT6833 Dimensity 700 5G processor.
Even the Oppo A54 5G, which uses the same Snapdragon 480, gets 1,664, which is roughly equivalent to the Moto G50.
All of the devices we’ve seen come with 4GB of RAM, however, there is supposedly a model with 6GB available. It is unlikely to have a significant impact on day-to-day performance, which is already adequate.
Gaming is possible on the Nokia G50 with this configuration. However, we would not choose this phone if this was a primary consideration. For the same price, the Poco X3 NFC will perform significantly better, but at the cost of 5G connectivity.
Call of Duty: Mobile’s default graphics setting is High, which is roughly in the middle of the available options. With these and the higher-resolution texture package installed, we were able to maintain a consistent frame rate.
Currently, UK users get 64GB of storage, while US and Australian users get 128GB. It remains to be seen whether Nokia or third-party shops will expand availability in each of the territories. In either case, a microSD card slot is included for expansion.
One of the primary benefits of any Nokia-branded phone these days is the brand’s commitment to Android One, a stripped-down version of Google’s mobile operating system.
There is no obtrusive custom UI, as there is on the Oppo A15 or Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G. It’s 100% Android, with Google’s stock apps and widgets handling email, photographs, file management, and music, among other things.
There are a few extra programs, but they are mainly self-explanatory additions such as Netflix and Spotify, and they are stored in their own distinct app folder.
Additionally, the company guarantees two years of Android updates with this phone, which adds to the brand’s overall trustworthiness.
The Nokia G50’s main selling point is its battery life. It houses a sizable 5,000mAh battery and makes excellent use of it.
Together with the phone’s low-resolution display and low-power processor, I was able to squeeze two days of moderate usage out of the G50, exactly as Nokia states.
While the Nokia G50 is excellent for general mixed-use, it struggles to transcend its low-budget origins when it comes to extended media consumption. During our test, playing a 90-minute looping 720p video with the screen brightness set to maximum depleted 15% of a full charge.
The Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G, which has a comparable hardware configuration, lost 10% in the same test.
When it comes to charging, the Nokia G50, like the Realme 8 5G and the Redmi Note 10 5G, offers 18W fast charging. However, unlike its competitors, it only comes with a 10W charger. Although this is an improvement over the Nokia X20, which has no brick at all, it still feels rather deceiving.
The Nokia G50 is a unique budget handset in that it has no single flaw that makes it a deal-breaker, but it also doesn’t have any distinguishing features that make it stand out as a noteworthy release. Its display is large – but has a low resolution and is dim. Image quality isn’t great, despite the fact that it comes with a wide range of cameras. While its performance is adequate, the competition offers more for less.
For the majority of consumers, the Nokia G50’s attraction will be based on its marketing as a cheap 5G handset, yet for many, this feature will be unavailable for years.
If all you need is a smartphone with three years of software updates and the bare minimum in every category, the G50 (particularly at a discount) will suffice. In all other cases, we would advise you to look elsewhere. The G50 is a smartphone that lacks a distinct target demographic. Ultimately, this has an effect on the experience of heavy usage.