Nokia G42 5G review: great intentions, not so great execution

2 weeks ago 87

Nokia should beryllium commended for offering america the indispensable tools to assistance the G42 past longer than the mean smartphone. But the default setup retired of the container is lacking successful virtually each areas erstwhile compared to rival devices that outgo akin oregon little money. It redeems itself by being bully looking (in its purple guise) and the main camera does instrumentality passable shots successful bully lighting. Elsewhere it's hard to get excessively enthusiastic. The deficiency of some a afloat HD show and 120Hz refresh complaint is disappointing, considering what you're asked to wage and the information we're good into 2023.


  • +

    Good looking successful the purple colour

  • +

    Main camera takes bully pictures successful bully lighting

  • +

    Battery lasts good implicit a day


  • -

    No afloat HD show oregon 120Hz refresh rate

  • -

    Charging clip is slow

  • -

    Processor not almighty capable for games

Why you tin spot TechRadar We walk hours investigating each merchandise oregon work we review, truthful you tin beryllium definite you’re buying the best. Find retired much astir however we test.

Nokia G42 two-minute review

The Nokia G42 5G sees the nostalgic telephone marque proceed connected its quest to bring sustainable, repairable phones to the masses. This clip astir (following the erstwhile merchandise of the also-repairable G22) Nokia has further pinned its hopes connected consumers’ penchant to basal retired by making it ohio So Purple. Don’t interest if you similar to blend in, you tin get it successful So Grey, too. 

Overall, it’s a mostly inoffensive instrumentality that does everything you’d privation a telephone to bash conscionable fine. But retrieve this is an entry-level to mid-range device, with a terms tag and show to match. If you’re looking for the bells and whistles exhibited by the best phones, past you’ll beryllium disappointed. Its show is perfectly acceptable for regular use, but an ageing processor means you’ll privation to steer wide of thing excessively graphically intensive. 

On paper, it’s intimately matched with the Motorola Moto G53 5G. Motorola is truthful often the king of fund phones and so erstwhile comparing its wallet-friendly instrumentality with Nokia’s, determination truly is small to abstracted them. If anything, the Motorola wins, for its 120Hz show and adjacent much affordable terms tag. The Nokia gains a extent sensor camera and repairability, but conscionable however utile these volition beryllium to you successful world is taxable of debate.

The show is HD only, with a maximum solution of 720p. The Nokia G42 isn’t unsocial successful offering this amongst a oversea of wallet-friendly devices, but the information is determination are devices that beryllium for akin wealth that bash connection afloat HD 1080p displays. I consciousness Nokia has missed the people successful this regard. The show besides lone offers up to 90Hz refresh rate. Again, this volition beryllium good for astir radical nether regular use, but fixed rival devices enactment up to 120Hz for smoother scrolling and navigation, it’s a people against the G42. The differences volition beryllium negligible, it’s conscionable a small confusing arsenic to wherefore Nokia hasn’t included these features by default. 

With the Nokia G42 5G’s selling constituent being that it’s repairable, it would person been bully to person made the telephone truly worthy holding onto. Nokia expects you to support the G42 5G for galore years to come, but with its specs being outdated astatine launch, I tin lone spot customers becoming adjacent much envious of those with much up-to-date mid-range devices successful the future. 

Easy-to-source parts and tools from iFixit mean you tin regenerate the battery, charging larboard and adjacent the surface astatine a tiny cost. And, portion I didn’t get to transportation retired the repair process myself to spot if the claims of it being casual were true, I person been capable to ticker videos online. The process does look simple, which I would expect from the engagement of iFixit, but I bash person to question however galore radical volition realistically privation to repair a fund phone. Nokia’s claims of radical wanting to beryllium much frugal successful the existent fiscal clime are surely valid, but I consciousness the repairable quality would marque much consciousness combined with a much flagship-like device. 

Ultimately, the outgo of the Nokia G42 5G successful examination to its specs and with the Motorola Moto G53 5G looming successful the inheritance makes it hard to recommend. If you’re looking to walk arsenic small arsenic imaginable connected a phone, past you admittedly request to recognize determination volition beryllium compromises to make. Considering you request to marque akin compromises for some the Nokia and the Motorola, past the Moto G53 5G would beryllium the 1 to get.

Nokia G42 5G review: Price and availability

  • On merchantability successful the UK and Australia from August 10th, 2023
  • US availability TBC
  • 6GB RAM / 128GB retention successful UK/AU - prime EU markets 4GB/128GB

Nokia launched the G42 5G successful the UK and Australia connected August 10th, 2023. At the clip of writing, determination is nary motion of it being disposable successful the US. In the UK it costs £179 – it’s motorboat terms was £199 but determination appears to beryllium a regular £20 discount – and successful Australia it retails for AU$449. Both markets get the mentation with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of interior storage. Select European markets besides person a 4GB / 128GB mentation to take from. 

In comparison, the Motorola Moto G53 5G launched successful the UK and Australia for £190 / AU$329, undercutting the Nokia's motorboat terms by immoderate margin. On paper, the 2 are intimately matched, with the camera being virtually the lone constituent of difference. While the Nokia's motorboat terms tin inactive beryllium considered affordable, determination are adjacent much affordable phones retired determination that won't necessitate you to scrimp connected specs. 

  • Value score: 3 / 5

Nokia G42 5G review: Specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 Header Cell - Column 1
Dimensions:165 x 75.8 x 8.55mm
Screen:6.56in 20:9 HD+ (720 x 1612) 90Hz with Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Chipset:Snapdragon 480 Plus 5G
RAM:6GB (4GB successful prime EU markets)
Storage:128GB + microSD up to 1TB
OS:Android 13 (2 aboriginal OS upgrades promised)
Rear camera:50MP (main) + 2MP (depth) + 2MP (macro)
Front camera:8MP
Audio:OZO 3D Playback
Battery:5,000mAh, QuickFix replaceable battery
Charging:20W wired
Colors:So Purple, So Grey

Nokia G42 5G review: Design

Nokia G42 rear panel

(Image credit: Future)
  • So Purple colour is eye-catching
  • 3.5mm headphone jack volition delight immoderate users
  • Finish makes it look much premium than it is

The Nokia G42 5G follows a acquainted plan connection arsenic different phones that don’t outgo the earth. It employs a integrative physique and is disposable successful either So Purple oregon So Grey colour options. I had the So Purple connected indebtedness and I person to accidental it’s surely antithetic to the bulk of grey and achromatic (and occasionally white) slabs you spot erstwhile walking down the street. 

The rear sheet has a radiance effect to it which I like, and successful the hand, the telephone surely feels somewhat much premium than its terms tag would suggest. On the close you’ll find a measurement rocker and the powerfulness fastener with a built-in fingerprint scanner. On the near there’s the SIM paper and microSD paper tray and connected the bottommost is the USB-C charging input and a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is surely a uncommon show to spot successful the telephone world. 

There are noticeable bezels astir the display, peculiarly astatine the bottom, but the situation astir the cardinal front-facing camera is kept to a minimum to debar taking up arsenic overmuch surface existent property abstraction arsenic possible. 

The G42 lone gets an IP52 rating, which protects it against particulate and "direct sprays of water." You'll privation to support it distant from sinks, pools and puddles, but it should beryllium good if you get caught successful the rain. 

It’s not precisely a revolutionary plan and the familiarity volition apt delight astir customers. While I haven’t seen the So Grey successful the flesh, I would accidental if you are reasoning astir getting the G42 5G, the purple exemplary would beryllium the 1 to get. 

  • Design score: 3.5/5

Nokia G42 5G review: Display

Nokia G42 display

(Image credit: Future)
  • 6.5-inch show lone HD+
  • Brightness is impressive
  • Colors not the champion erstwhile streaming video content

Nokia has gone ample for the G42 5G, gracing it with a 6.5-inch display, making it large for viewing plentifulness of contented successful 1 hit, specified arsenic this review. But the bully quality doesn’t truly proceed overmuch further. This is lone an HD+ 720p show with 90Hz refresh complaint and 720 x 1612 resolution, which for the terms of the phone, is simply a spot disappointing. The Motorola Moto G53 5G, which retails for astir £190 / AU$290, besides uses a 720p show but has a 120Hz refresh complaint for somewhat smoother navigation and motion. 

Compromising connected show prime is surely portion and parcel of a much budget-orientated telephone and had Nokia fixed the G42 5G 120Hz support, oregon a afloat HD 1080p show with 90Hz refresh rate, it would person been somewhat much positive. But the omittance of some is surely astonishing successful 2023. 

That doesn’t mean the show is wholly unusable, that would beryllium doing the Nokia G42 5G a disservice. Nokia’s ain wallpapers – I near the default purple strategy wallpaper progressive for my reappraisal duration – person vibrance and clarity to them. But alteration these for your ain images oregon load up contented from third-party apps specified arsenic Netflix and flaws commencement to show. Watching Detective Pikachu, a movie with plentifulness of acheronian scenes and agleam colors (Pikachu’s yellowish fur, for example) proves tricky for the Nokia G42. 

It struggles to find the finer details successful darker areas specified arsenic shadows and images wide deficiency immoderate existent depth. This is contempt it serving up acceptable brightness levels. I recovered immoderate I was looking astatine connected surface could clasp up good extracurricular successful beardown sunlight. Nokia claims a emblematic brightness of 450 nits and a maximum of 560 nits utilizing brightness boost, 

The show is besides 1 of the 4 parts that tin beryllium replaced should thing untoward hap to it. You tin prime up the implicit repair kit including the show and indispensable tools straight from iFixit. It would person been large if it was imaginable to regenerate the show with a afloat HD 1080p one, but I presume different interior circuitry prevents this from happening. 

  • Display score: 2.5/5

Nokia G42 5G review: Cameras

Nokia G42 5G camera module

(Image credit: Future)
  • 50MP main camera functions good successful bully light
  • Night mode much awesome than you mightiness think
  • Macro lens performs amended than rivals

Where the Nokia G42 5G trumps immoderate rivals – connected insubstantial astatine slightest – is successful the camera department. Alongside the 50 megapixel main camera you get a 2MP extent sensor. There’s besides a 2MP macro camera with a dedicated macro shooting mode to travel it, enabling you to get up adjacent with your subject. 

As we’ve said galore times present astatine TechRadar, more megapixels doesn’t ever adjacent amended prime images. But successful this instance, the Nokia G42 does instrumentality bully pictures erstwhile compared with its closest competitors. In bully lighting, colors are punchy and vibrant, and there's adjacent a decent magnitude of item if you take to zoom in. 

There is besides a Night Mode you tin alteration to assistance amended images taken successful debased light, and I was pleasantly amazed by the results. The representation taken successful a barroom successful the assemblage beneath is simply a dimly lit space; the benignant wherever virtually each customers request to get their telephone airy retired to spot the menu. I expected the changeable I took to travel retired either looking over-exposed oregon blurry, but the effect is rather the opposite. It’s not 1 you’d privation to zoom successful connected oregon enlarge, arsenic outright item does get lost, but erstwhile viewed connected the telephone it’s much than acceptable. 

Image taken utilizing Nokia G42 camera

(Image credit: Future)

The macro camera does a amended occupation of close-up shots compared to the Moto G53 5G too, but conscionable however utile this diagnostic volition beryllium successful signifier remains to beryllium seen. I consciousness an ultra-wide sensor would person been much beneficial.

The front-facing camera does small to instil assurance successful your looks. In bully lighting, I looked achromatic arsenic a ghost. I astir didn’t privation to see an illustration representation here, but for the purposes of the review, I have. Taking a selfie utilizing the rear camera generates much affirmative results, but the representation mode – which creates a bokeh effect – astir nails it. In the assemblage representation above, you'll announcement a smudged enactment astir the apical of my hair. The computational bundle was intelligibly incapable to decently separate wherever the inheritance ended and my hairsbreadth began. 

And since the G42 5G runs connected Android 13, it benefits from Google’s photograph processing magic, including Blur and Magic Eraser, though they are locked down a paywall and necessitate a Google One membership. 

  • Camera score: 4/5

Nokia G42 5G review: Performance

  • General navigation is smooth
  • Wake-up tin beryllium fast
  • Not the champion for graphic intensive games

The Nokia G42 5G is powered by the Snapdragon 480+ chipset. This is simply a beauteous dated processor and 1 with not a batch of power, but it does, crucially, let for 5G connectivity. Booting the telephone up takes immoderate time, but erstwhile it’s on, I recovered waking it up and unlocking via the fingerprint sensor to beryllium pleasingly speedy (so agelong arsenic the sensor was cleanable and could admit my fingerprint). 

On Geekbench, the Nokia G42 returned a single-core people of 725 and a multi-core people of 1819. These are some higher than the Moto G53’s Geekbench scores, though not by much. I besides ran 3DMark’s Wild Life and returned an wide people of 978. The Moto G53 5G scored 979 successful the aforesaid test, which isn’t each that astonishing considering it uses the aforesaid processor. Nokia's people does spot it good supra the Samsung A23 (which costs akin wealth to the G42) truthful it’s not wholly atrocious news. 

I did find web pages took a portion to load passim my reappraisal period, and connected much than 1 occasion, pages didn’t load astatine all, contempt being connected to a accelerated Wi-Fi connection. General navigation is perfectly acceptable, but you volition privation to steer wide of immoderate graphically intensive games.

Audio playback is an country that scores good for the Nokia, however. The G42 employs OZO Playback, which claims to make a wider stereo representation from the speaker. While I wouldn't hold with the afloat claims made – specified arsenic creating an "exceptional listening experience" – I tin attest to the measurement created by the azygous speaker. Vocals erstwhile playing euphony from Apple Music are crystal wide and determination are astatine slightest immoderate signs of bass. 

If you're aft immoderate added bass, you'll privation to link a brace of headphones. And, fortunately, that tin see a wired acceptable of headphones here, arsenic the Nokia includes a 3.5mm headphone jack. 

  • Performance score: 3.5/5

Nokia G42 5G review: Battery life

Nokia G42 5G charging port

(Image credit: Future)
  • Will easy get much than a time of use
  • Battery 1 of the 4 replaceable parts
  • Charging clip is slow

Battery beingness is thing the Nokia G42 5G tin outcry about. It has a 5,000mAh portion (which tin beryllium replaced) which volition comfortably get you much than a time of use. Nokia really claims you tin get up to 3 days of usage from it, based connected regular usage for 5 hours a day, for 3 days. 

To enactment those claims to the test, I loaded up a 12-hour YouTube video and acceptable surface brightness to 50%, turned adaptive brightness off, and near it playing connected my eating country array during the time astatine home. Once the video had finished playing, determination was inactive 25 percent artillery left, which the telephone reckoned was bully for different 10 hours of use. This was aft the artillery had been used, some to play the YouTube video and portion the telephone was idle, for 1 time and six hours. 

I tin hardly marque it done a afloat time utilizing my iPhone 13 Pro these days, and that’s with wide web surfing, messaging and checking societal media feeds. So successful this regard, the Nokia is surely a victor if longevity is important for you. Recharging the artillery from bare to afloat took 1 hr and 54 minutes, conscionable shy of the 2 oregon truthful hours needed for the Moto G53 5G to afloat recharge. This isn’t the astir awesome fig ever, arsenic different rival devices specified arsenic the Motorola Moto G82 and Samsung A54 tin recharge to afloat successful astir an hour.

  • Battery score: 4/5

Should I bargain the Nokia G42 5G?

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ValueAffordable and the imaginable of inexpensive repairs can't disguise however akin devices are adjacent cheaper3/5
DesignA better-than-budget consciousness and charismatic colour options, but lone insignificant extortion against dust3.5/5
DisplayNo afloat HD solution and nary 120Hz refresh complaint places the G42 down cheaper competitors2.5/5
CamerasPleasing results successful bully lighting and nighttime mode has the imaginable to impress4/5
PerformanceWill happily the grip the basics, conscionable don't effort overloading it3/5
BatteryLongevity is the sanction of the game, but faster charging would beryllium nice4/5

Buy it if...

You request a telephone that lasts

The Nokia G42 5G volition easy spot you done the time and perchance good into the next, depending connected however you usage it.

You tin beryllium clumsy

The G42’s repairability does marque it a bully enactment for those who person food fingers, and portion I personally don’t spot overmuch worth successful the feature, it could beryllium a large wealth redeeming imaginable for you.

You privation to basal out

Multi-colored phones are thing new, but the high-shine purple decorativeness of the G42 is 1 that looks large successful the hand.

Don't bargain it if...

You ticker video content 

The G42’s surface conscionable isn’t each that. If you ticker a batch of video contented connected your phone, this isn’t the 1 that’ll marque it look it’s implicit best 

You play mobile games

While the Nokia isn’t unsocial erstwhile it comes to mean performance, it’s middling processor conscionable won’t beryllium capable to grip graphic intensive games.

Also consider...


Motorola Moto G53 5G

The Motorola Moto G53 5G shares galore similarities with the Nokia, namely successful the surface and show categories. The Nokia does instrumentality amended images, and the Moto can’t beryllium repaired arsenic easily, but you tin prime 1 up for overmuch little wealth and get an almost-identical performance. 

Read our afloat Motorola Moto G53 5G review


Motorola Moto G82 

Motorola’s G82 has seen a terms alteration since it was launched and tin present beryllium picked up for little than the Nokia G42 also. It rocks a gorgeous OLED show and provides decent dependable erstwhile watching video content. 

Read our afloat Motorola Moto G82 review

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Header Cell - Column 0 Nokia G42 5GMotorola Moto G53 5GMotorola Moto G82
Price (at launch):£179 / AU$449£190 / AU$329£289.99 / $499AU
Dimensions:165 x 75.8 x 8.55mm162.7 x 74.66 x 8.19mm160.89 x 7.99 x 74.46mm
OS (at launch):Android 13Android 13Android 12
Screen size:6.56-inch6.5-inch6.6-inch
CPU:Snapdragon 480 PlusSnapdragon 480 PlusSnapdragon 695
Storage (from):128GB (+ microSD up to 1TB)128GB (+ microSD up to 1TB)128GB (+ microSD up to 1TB)
Rear cameras:50MP (main) + 2MP (depth) + 2MP (macro)50MP (main) + 2MP (macro)50MP (main) + 8MP (wide) + 2MP (macro)
Front camera:8MP8MP16MP

Max Langridge

Max is simply a integer contented writer for TechRadar, covering location amusement and audio, phones, laptops, gaming and virtually thing other that falls nether the user electronics umbrella. Hailing from the United Kingdom, Max spent a combined 5 years penning for What Hi-Fi? and Pocket-lint, earlier moving to Australia successful 2018. After a little stint penning for men’s manner publications, Max is backmost to moving connected his archetypal passionateness of technology.

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