As we continue to see more smartphone makers push 5G devices to the mid-range and entry-level categories, the smartphone market is starting to feel redundant and crowded. Most smartphones have similar features, design, and capabilities, with the biggest differentiator being the brand name on the back.
Nokia's latest smartphone, however, adds a new twist: It's designed to take a beating and keep working. The XR20 has earned MIL-STD-810H and IP68 ratings. The military standard means the phone will withstand extreme weather temperatures and conditions, extreme drop tests, among other environmental conditions. While the IP68 rating, for dust and water resistance, indicates the XR20 will survive after being in 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes.
But Nokia didn't just slap a rugged exterior on the XR20, the company included several features that make it appealing. There are two rear-facing cameras, one of which is 48-megapixels, the other is an ultrawide camera 13-megapixel camera.
And, of course, it can connect to 5G networks. It'll go on sale in the US on Aug. 24 through Nokia for $549.
Here's a breakdown of the specifications and exactly what you get for $549:
Operating system: Android 11 with 4 years of security updates
A couple of details about the XR20 stand out to me. Nokia is promising four years of security updates to the XR20 -- most Android makers stop providing security updates after two or three years. Ensuring security updates will continue to flow to the XR20, it sends a message to fleet managers that deployed devices will, in theory, stay secure and up to date.
The second detail is that the XR20's display will supposedly continue to work even if you're wearing gloves or if your hands are wet. Both situations are a struggle for the standard smartphone.
There's nothing special or remarkable about the design of the Nokia XR20. It looks like a standard 2021 Android phone, but one that should withstand a drop, kick or toss from time to time.