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Review: Nokia X30 5G

If you align your expectations with what this phone can deliver, you’ll likely be happy with what you get.

Nokia-X30-phone on stand next to box
Image: Matthew Hughes / KnowTechie
The Good
Eco-friendly
Incredible optics
Premium build quality
Stock Android
Great long-term support
The Bad
Middling internals
Limited US availability
Battery life could be better
No MicroSD support
Occasional performance struggles
8
Overall

The smartphone industry is an ecological catastrophe. This unhappy fact is by design.

Vendors make money when you buy new phones. And so, they silently tip the scales in their favor by accelerating obsolescence and making repairs harder.

Nokia’s latest device — the snappily-named Nokia X30 5G — is the anathema of that trend.

It’s designed for longevity. It uses recycled materials. You get at least three years of updates and upgrades and an equally-long warranty. And no, it doesn’t have a bundled charger.

Sustainable Pick
image of Nokia X30 5G smartphone

Quick Verdict


The Nokia X30 5G isn’t a powerhouse, and that’s okay because it doesn’t pretend to be. Rather, it delivers the things most people care about in a phone. Excellent screen? Check. Spectacular cameras? Double check. Fast charging and solid battery life? It’s got those too. Oh, and it’s pretty.

A three-year warranty? Really?

It’s easy to be cynical about the environmental credentials of tech brands.

When a CEO starts channeling their inner Greta Thunberg, the appropriate response is to ask: “How did you get here? Gulfstream or Bombardier?”

But, at the same time, we have to give Nokia some respect here. The three-year warranty is something seldom seen in the consumer tech world.

It’s rare for an Android vendor to commit to a long lifespan. Especially when the phone — as with the Nokia X30 5G — is decidedly mid-range.

How much does Nokia X30 cost?

The Nokia X30 5G retails in the UK at £400 and $575 in the US (if you’re lucky to find one).

The mid-range of the smartphone market is a decidedly low-margin business. Apple will gladly tell you that the big bucks are in the premium tiers.

These low margins incentivize vendors to offer the least amount of support possible. So, yeah. Nokia’s ethos for the X30 5G is nothing short of remarkable.

Review

Nokia X30 5G

Nokia will also let you rent the phone on a subscription basis through its Nokia Circular service. If you decide to go down this path, you can expect to pay £22 (around $27) every 30 days.

But is the phone any good? I spent the last few weeks putting this to the test. Let’s get right to it.

Breaking down the Nokia X30 5G

On paper, the Nokia X30 5G is a fairly unremarkable phone, touting the same kind of mid-range specs you’d expect within its price tier.

Display

It has a modestly-sized 6.43-inch display, a touch smaller than some of the recent devices we’ve reviewed at KnowTechie, but still fairly comfortable.

The Nokia X30 5G’s small profile makes it easy to grip.

Meanwhile, the vivid AMOLED display delivers an exceptional Netflix viewing experience thanks to its top-notch color fidelity and stellar brightness.

a phone with the KnowTechie website displaying with blurry background
Image: Matthew Huges / KnowTechie

CPU and storage

Regarding sheer computational performance, the Nokia X30 5G walks a road of moderation.

The processor beating within the phone’s metal chassis is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695, and buyers can choose between 6GB and 8GB RAM.

Storage, meanwhile, comes in two flavors: 128GB and 256GB.

Android 12

The Nokia X30 5G runs a delightfully stock version of Android 12, as you would expect from the Finnish mobile stalwart. That’s appreciated.

My least favorite thing about buying a new phone is spending 15minutes meticulously deleting unwanted bloatware.

Battery and charging

Within the phone’s diminutive frame, there’s a relatively small 4,200 mAh battery. That’s a touch below par, but it doesn’t impact day-to-day usage.

Thanks to the phone’s relatively small display, and the power-sipping Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor, the Nokia X30 comfortably delivers around 36 hours of life.

It also touts 33W fast charging, and you can easily replenish a fully-drained battery in less than 90 minutes.

Camera

Nokia has long enjoyed a photography pedigree. Even during the difficult Windows Mobile years, this was something it did well.

And although Nokia’s smartphone business is no longer owned by the original company but rather a plucky Finnish startup called HMD Global, it’s certainly nice to see it return to its roots.

The Nokia X30 5G touts two rear-facing cameras: a 50MP primary sensor with OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and a 13MP ultra-wide.

The primary sensor is the show’s real star, delivering vivid images with exceptional detail.

vivid image of painting artwork on side of building
Image: Matthew Hughes / KnowTechie

OIS is a total game-changer

OIS is somewhat of a rarity on smartphones, particularly those in the market’s middle tier. There’s a reason for that.

It’s a hardware solution. Hardware costs money. And remember how I said mid-range phones are a low-margin business?

But here’s the thing: OIS is a total game-changer. It smooths out the natural jolts and jitters that come with taking a picture on your phone.

It dramatically improves low-light photography, where your phone’s camera shutter needs to remain open for longer to absorb as much light as possible.

In short, it lets you take better pictures in various arduous contexts.

photo of a building with vivid colored graphic artwork of flowers
Image: Matthew Hughes / KnowTechie

Picture quality

The results speak for themselves.

The Nokia X30 5G happily captures detailed, vibrant pictures — no matter the situation. It’s arguably the best photography experience I’ve had with a phone in its category.

Design and aesthetics

This point is subjective, but the Nokia X30 5G is a wonderfully attractive phone. Its metal frame and svelte size make it an ergonomic delight. It’s not just easy to hold but comfortable too.

Meanwhile, the phone’s aluminum frame, which snakes around the screen and touches upon the backplate, gives this device a wonderfully premium feel.

It’s not a particularly chunky phone

I’d wager the decision to use a smaller battery and the restraint shown by Nokia in choosing to include just two cameras, which limits the size of the rear camera bump significantly.

The phone touts a plastic rear, but this doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy. Rather, it’s as delightfully robust as the rest of the phone.

Nokia X30 phone on stand next to box
Image: Matthew Hughes / KnowTechie

Our Verdict: Green, Mean, and (Visually) Clean

The Nokia X30 5G isn’t a powerhouse. But that’s okay because it doesn’t pretend to be. Rather, it delivers the elements most people care about in a phone.

Excellent screen? Check. Spectacular cameras? Double check. Fast charging and solid battery life? It’s got those too. Oh, and it’s pretty.

If you align your expectations with what this phone can deliver, you’ll likely be happy with what you get.

Who is the Nokia X30 5G for?

I turned 31 this year. As a result, whenever I review a phone, I find myself asking: “Would my parents be happy if I gave them this?” And the answer is yes.

It’s an uncomplicated phone. It’s not too big, not too expensive, and hits most elements on the average person’s wishlist.

Additionally, there’s no bloatware or clutter to frustrate. On a really basic level, the Nokia X30 5G is a good phone.

Nokia X30 alternatives to consider

ImageㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤProductPrice
Fairphone 4

Fairphone 4Sustainable Pick

  • Five-year warranty
  • Modular
  • Easy to repair
  • Good for those who care about repairability and the environment
Learn More
Pixel 7

Pixel 7Editor’s Pick

  • Excellent camera
  • Fairly priced
  • Great battery life
  • Good for those looking for a premium Android experience
Learn More
OnePlus 10 Pro

OnePlus 10 ProThe Fringe Pick

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • 6.7” QHD+ 120Hz display
  • 48MP Sony IMX sensor
  • Good for those seeking a Samsung or Apple alternative
Learn More

Committed earth fanciers will also want to consider the FairPhone 4, which although significantly more expensive, surpasses the Nokia X30 5G’s warranty with five years of support.

It’s also modular, easy to repair, and holds an unprecedented 10/10 repairability score from iFixit.

Fans of the stock Android experience might also want to consider the Google Pixel 7, which nears the Nokia X30 5G’s price, and boasts similarly impressive optics.

Like the Nokia, the Google Pixel 7 also guarantees a level of long-term support.

And finally, if you can stretch your budget a little further, consider the OnePlus 10 Pro.

READ MORE: OnePlus 10 Pro Review

The base model retails at $125 more than the Nokia, sure, but it boasts more capable internals. Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 platform is a real flagship chipset and, therefore, more capable.

Where to get the Nokia X30 5G

If you’re based in the UK, you can find the Nokia X30 5G on Amazon for £399.

Nokia will also let you rent the phone on a subscription basis through its Nokia Circular service. If you decide to go down this path, you can expect to pay £22 (around $27) every 30 days.

Review

Nokia X30 5G

We have to give Nokia some respect here. The three-year warranty is something seldom seen in the consumer tech world. Especially when the phone — as with the Nokia X30 5G — is decidedly mid-range.

Is the Nokia X30 5G available in the US?

Nokia has yet to release the Nokia X30 5G in the US.

Fortunately, with decent US network support and each phone sold unlocked by default, you can import it without any real problems.

You can find third-party resellers offering the phone on Amazon, with prices floating around the $575 to $600 mark, with free shipping included.

Have any thoughts on this? Carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

Editors’ Recommendations:

Just a heads up, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale. It’s one of the ways we keep the lights on here. Click here for more.

The Good
Eco-friendly
Incredible optics
Premium build quality
Stock Android
Great long-term support
The Bad
Middling internals
Limited US availability
Battery life could be better
No MicroSD support
Occasional performance struggles
8
Overall

Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Past work can be found on The Register, Reason, The Next Web, and Wired.

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