Nokia C21 Plus – Hands-on and First Impressions

Nokia has released its latest budget midrange smartphone in India, the Nokia C21 Plus is priced at ₹10,299 for its base variant and features the Android 11 Go Edition, a 1.6 GHz octa-core Unisoc CPU, 5,050 mAh battery, and an IP52 design. The Nokia C21 Plus is yet another smartphone in India under the JioExclusive offer with 10% price support and other exciting benefits. Take a look at our hands-on with the Nokia C21 Plus smartphone and its first impressions.

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Nokia C21 Plus Specifications

  • Display: 6.5-inch display, HD+ resolution, 60 Hz refresh rate
  • Software: Android 11 Go Edition
  • CPU: 28nm Unisoc SC9863A octa-core SoC (Cortex-A55) clocked at 1.6 GHz
  • GPU: PowerVR GE8322
  • Memory: 3 GB OR 4 GB RAM
  • Storage: 32 GB OR 64 GB internal storage, dedicated microSD slot
  • Main Camera: Dual Cameras (13 MP primary + 2 MP depth), LED flash
  • Selfie Camera: 5 MP, LED flash
  • Cellular: 4G LTE, dual SIM, dual 4G standby support, VoLTE-ready
  • Battery & Charging: 5,050 mAh non-removable battery
  • Color: Dark Cyan, Warm Gray
  • Price: ₹10,299 (3 GB + 32 GB), ₹11,299 (4 GB + 64 GB)

Nokia has a handful of smartphones as of now in the affordable to midrange category, the last one we saw is the Nokia C01 Plus running the Android 11 Go Edition with the same Unisoc SC9863A octa-core CPU you see on the Nokia C21 Plus, however, it’s been a long while since we haven’t seen flagships from Nokia.

The Nokia C21 Plus comes in a polycarbonate body with a notched design that’s IP52 certified. The back has a fingerprint-like textured finish which gives you a grip when you hold the phone and that slip off easily. There’s nothing special in its design, you don’t get a glossy or a glass finish back like the others out there, although the build quality is good and feels solid. The smartphone is 8.55 mm slim and weighs around 178 grams. 

You get a 6.5-inch display with an HD+ (720 x 1,600 pixels resolution), a standard refresh rate of 60 Hz, and a brightness boost. The notch carries a 5 MP selfie camera with an LED flash, which seems identical as on the Nokia C01 Plus. While the backside has a dual-camera setup instead, 13 MP primary and a 2 MP depth with an LED flash as well.

On the bottom side, you will see an age-old micro USB port and a microphone while the top side has a 3.5 mm audio jack. The right side has a power key and volume control while the left side has a SIM tray holding two 4G SIM cards and a dedicated microSD card. The fingerprint scanner is on the back side of the phone while the loudspeakers grill is just at the bottom.

Surprisingly, the phone packs a decent battery of 5,050 mAh capacity which helps in longer battery runtimes, but the charging speed is not that good, you get a 10W charger in the box which seems slow as we look at the competition, you can at least expect 18W charging in this price range.

Nokia C21 Plus runs on the Android 11 Go Edition operating system which is a lighter version of Android 11. It has a security patch dated 5th June 2022. The Android 11 Go Edition offers a stock Android interface with no bloatware or extra apps from the third party aside from Jio. As it’s an Android Go device, you will see low-spec Go apps on the phone which include Google Go, Gallery Go, and Assistant Go.

As for its hardware, it has a 28 nm Unisoc SC9863A octa-core CPU (Cortex-A55) clocked at 1.6 GHz, the same we saw on the cheaper Nokia C01 Plus. The performance appears identical and is also suitable for daily use since it’s an octa-core processor. You can expect the performance to be similar to that of this entry-level chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 439.

About the variants, there are a total of two models, one with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage and one with 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage. The storage expands via a microSD card on both variants. Nokia C21 Plus is priced at ₹10,299 for 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage whereas the price for the variant 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage is ₹11,299.

This is another smartphone that comes with the JioExclusive offer with 10% price support and extra benefits. What’s the JioExclusive Program? It entitles all users to buy selected smartphones with price support on device MOP (market operating price) & access to exclusive benefits if they are with Jio. Non-Jio customers can also avail the benefits by activating a new Jio SIM or migrating their existing number to Jio under MNP.

Early Verdict

The Nokia C21 Plus is a budget midrange smartphone featuring Android 11 Go Edition and is priced at ₹10,299 (base variant). At this price, the smartphone offers an IP52 design, 1.6 GHz octa-core Unisoc CPU, and up to 3 days of battery life with a 5,050 mAh battery. In addition, it comes with the JioExclusive offer cuts down the price and also gives extra benefits. However, compared to the competition, the smartphone has a lot to offer, if you are loyal to the Nokia brand and want to use Jio SIM on it, you may consider this smartphone, else you have other better options.