What you need to know
- The Nokia T20 is a 10.4-inch, 2K Android tablet with a 8,200mAh battery.
- This is the second Nokia-branded tablet, after the Nokia N1 in 2015.
- It has the budget Unisoc Tiger T610 chipset and 4GB of RAM.
- It will ship with Android 11, with two planned OS upgrades and three years of security updates.
- The Nokia T20 will ship on November 17 in the US, costing $249.99 for the Wi-Fi version.
When it comes to buying a cheap Android tablet, you really have three options right now: the Galaxy Tab A series, an Amazon Fire tablet, or a Lenovo Tab M series. Today, Nokia announced the Nokia T20, an affordable 10-inch tablet set to take them all on.
At 10.4-inches, the Nokia T20 has solid resolution (1200x2000) with 400 nits of brightness and a reasonable weight of about a pound, making it easy enough to hold for long streaming binges. Its 8200mAh battery is supposed to last 14 hours of regular use or "7 hours of conference calls" if you use it for work. With an iP52 rating, it'll handle some light drips, but you should generally keep it inside and away from glasses of water.
Perhaps the biggest draw of the Nokia T20 is its software support. It'll come with Android 11 but update to Android 12 and Android 13, plus get monthly security updates through the end of 2024.
Nokia software runs close to stock Android, so you get access to new tablet-focused Google software like Google Entertainment Space and Google Kids Space. Plus, the rumored Android 12.1 update for larger devices could give the T20 better software tools to take advantage of its size for multitasking.
The question will be whether the Nokia T20 has the performance chops to make it worth using for three years. It has 4GB of RAM — reasonably high for any cheap tablet — and a Tiger T610 chipset. That chip is in a few 2021 phones from Realme and Honor, but doesn't seem to perform well in benchmarks except for battery performance. We'll have to test the T20 for ourselves to see how it does with demanding apps.
At $249, the Nokia T20 slightly outprices other cheap tablets like the Fire HD 10 Plus and Lenovo Smart Tab M10 HD. New Fire tablets have decent performance, but the Android 9-based software and lack of Play Store apps (including G Suite apps) restricts its usefulness outside of entertainment. As for Lenovo, its tablets provide a similar "core Android" software experience, but limited updates and budget hardware make them less likely to last as long.
Nokia's truest competitor will be Samsung, which promises three years of software updates for the Galaxy Tab A series. Your choice could depend on whether you prefer stock Android or One UI for your daily browsing.
Having made its niche selling cheap and mid-range phones in recent years, Nokia is expanding to tablets "to address people's changing needs," said HMD Global CEO Florian Seiche. People working or learning at home has led to a 53% increase in tablet sales since last year, and they're rushing to take advantage. Seiche promises that the "Nokia T20 offers the classic qualities people have come to love and expect from our smartphones, in a brand-new format."
Will Nokia's new budget tablet be able to steal some customers from Samsung and Amazon, which mostly have the non-Apple tablet market cornered? We'll see on November 17, when the T20 officially goes on sale.
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Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.