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The Nokia XR21 is official: And you thought an IP68 rating was great?

HMD's latest rugged phone brings an IP69K rating, faster charging, and more.
By
May 3, 2023
Nokia XR21 green official resize
Supplied by HMD Global
TL;DR
  • The Nokia XR21 has been announced for the UK.
  • HMD’s new phone uses the same rugged approach as the Nokia XR20.
  • Expect to pay ~$625 when the phone goes on sale.

Update: June 2, 2023 (4:25 AM ET): The Nokia XR21 is now available in the US. You can grab the device with a free pair of true wireless earbuds. Check out the details in our news story.

Original article: May 3, 2023 (6:00 AM ET): HMD Global made its first foray into the rugged phone arena with 2021’s Nokia XR20, bringing a durable design and mid-range specs elsewhere. We’ve already seen a major leak last month, but HMD has officially announced a successor in the form of the Nokia XR21.

The new phone takes a similar approach to design as its predecessor, bringing an aluminum frame and presumably a polycarbonate back. HMD claims the phone has MIL-STD-810H certification as well as an IP69K rating for dust and water resistance. The latter represents a leap over the older phone’s still great IP68 rating, being able to withstand high-pressure jets of hot water. In fact, HMD even claims the new phone can withstand a pressure washer.

The Nokia XR21 also packs Gorilla Glass Victus protection for the display as well as a one-year free screen replacement guarantee in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Either way, the company adds that the phone can withstand drops of up to 1.8 meters.

Nokia XR21 specs

Nokia XR21 black official resize
Supplied by HMD Global

Take a look at the spec sheet and you’ll find the Nokia XR21 to be in line with typical mid-range Android phones. The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 695 5G chipset, which is a modest upgrade over the XR20’s low-end Snapdragon 480 SoC. You’re also getting 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 6.49-inch 120Hz LCD screen (FHD+ resolution, 500 nits brightness).

HMD’s new handset is also equipped with a 4,800mAh battery and 33W wired charging speeds. Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging support like the XR20, and you’re not getting a charger in the box.

Interestingly, the company is touting 60% more lifetime charges for this battery than for the Nokia XR20. That sounds fantastic, but this simply amounts to the battery maintaining 80% capacity after 800 charging cycles — in line with conventional smartphones. That means the Nokia XR20’s battery unfortunately degraded faster than typical phones. We therefore would’ve liked to see HMD taking a page out of OPPO’s book by touting 1,600 charging cycles before hitting 80% capacity.

As for the camera experience, you’re getting a 64MP main camera (f/1.79, 0.7-micron pixel size) and an 8MP ultrawide shooter. So it looks like the leak pointing to a telephoto camera was way off the mark. A 16MP camera is on-hand for selfies and video calls.

Other notable features include a 3.5mm port, dual stereo speakers, two hardware shortcut keys, a side fingerprint scanner, NFC, dual-SIM slots, eSIM support, and Android 12. Staying with the software for a second, HMD is promising three major OS upgrades and four years of monthly security patches.

Nokia XR21 price and availability

HMD’s latest phone will be available via the Nokia UK website from May 3 for £499.99 (~$625). Only the Midnight Black version will be available at first, with the Pine Green color option landing in June.

The Nokia XR21 will also be available via HMD’s Circular subscription service for £22 a month, albeit with a £30 one-time setup fee.