Nokia XR21 announced as an even tougher, longer-lasting smartphone

HMD Global has announced the Nokia XR21, the latest in the famous brand’s ruggedised smartphone models.

The Nokia XR21 follows directly on from the Nokia XR20, which was one of our favourite rugged phones of last year. It was certainly the most accessible, with its clean design and mass-market price point.

This year’s model has an even tidier design that looks, at least at first glance, rather like a normal non-rugged phone – albeit with a chunkier shell. Make no mistake, though, this one is indeed ‘life-proof’, with a 100% recycled aluminium chassis built to a MIL-STD-810H standard.

Indeed, HMD Global has made the Nokia XR21 even tougher than before, with the ability to withstand the pressure of a 100-bar water jet. It’s also drop proof (up to 1.8m), dust proof and waterproof (IP69K, up from IP68). There’s flagship-level Gorilla Glass Victus around front.

HMD is so confident over the toughness of its new device, it’s supplied a three-year warranty, as well as a one-year screen replacement guarantee (in the EU, Australia, and New Zealand at least).

You can apparently use the Nokia XR21 with wet hands and with gloves on, and there are Quick Access buttons that will launch your favourite apps in super quick time.

The Nokia XR21 is obviously built to last, so it’s good to see that four years of monthly security updates and three Android OS upgrades have been promised. With that said, it ships with Android 12, so it’s already playing catch-up.

Interestingly, the Nokia XR21 has a slightly smaller 6.49-inch display compared to its 6.67-inch predecessor. It’s still an FHD+ LCD panel, but this year you get the benefits of a 120Hz refresh rate.

HMD has improved things on the performance front too, stepping up from an entry-level Snapdragon 480 to a mid-range Snapdragon 695.

Things have changed on the camera front too, with a 64MP main sensor and an 8MP ultra-wide. The X20 has a 48MP main and a 13MP ultra-wide.

Two-day battery life is promised from the Nokia XR21’s 4,800mAh battery, which will maintain over 80% of its capacity after 800 charging cycles. That’s 60% more than the XR20, apparently.

Here in the UK, the Nokia XR21 ships in a single Midnight Black variant from today, while there’ll be a Pine Green model launched in June. It costs £499.99 for 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage, which is a £50 bump from the equivalent model of the Nokia XR20.

You can also spread the cost by picking the phone up on Circular, which is HMD Global’s smartphone subscription service, which costs £22 per month with a £30 set up fee.

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