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Can the G50 compete with Realme Q3i/8 5G and other Chinese 5G smartphones?

by Ken Hyers | Sep 22, 2021

HMD today announced their newest and lowest-priced 5G smartphone, the Nokia G50. With a $299 retail price (~$227 wholesale) it is not the least expensive 5G smartphone available, putting it in the same price tier as Samsung’s Galaxy A32 5G ($212 wholesale), Xiaomi Mi 10T Lite5G ($208 wholesale) and OnePlus Nord N10 5G ($241 wholesale).

Nokia G50 5G smartphone
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The Nokia G50 will initially go on sale in select markets including the UK, and other markets later. HMD says that the device is the most affordable 5G Nokia phone yet, and comes with a two-year warranty, two years of software upgrades and three years of monthly security updates.  The company brags of two-day battery life, even with a large 6.8-inch HD+ display. And of course, it comes with signature Finnish quality.

But despite the quality, the years-long support, and a reasonable price, does the Nokia G50 measure up to its competition?

The Nokia G50 is not the cheapest 5G smartphone available in the UK.  That title goes to the Realme 8 5G (Realme Q3i 5G), with a wholesale price of $117.  And Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 10T 5G has a wholesale price of $136.

Realme 8 5G smartphone
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And these two devices really are the ones that HMD should be paying attention to, because both, particularly the Redmi 8 5G, arguably offer better bang for the buck, at least when comparing hardware specs.

In areas like networks – bands that the devices can connect to the cellular networks – the Nokia G50 is essentially equivalent to the Realme 8 5G, though it has slightly more 3G bands, and is noticeably superior to the Redmi Note 10T 5G across both 4G and 5G bands.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G smartphone
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The Nokia G50 has a slightly better, or at least bigger, display than its two cheaper rivals. The Nokia G50 has a 6.8” IPS LCD display, while the Redmi Note 10T 5G and Realme 8 have 6.5” IPS LCD displays.

But in other areas that consumers will immediately notice when making side-by-side comparisons, the Nokia G50 is at best running even with the two cut-price Chinese phones, and sometimes worse.  As an example, rear cameras for the G50 are 48 MP main camera plus a 5 MP ultrawide and 2 MP depth camera.  The Realme 8 has a 48 MP main camera, a 2 MP macro and a 2 MP depth camera. Ditto the Redmi Note 10T.  The Nokia G50 has an 8MP selfie camera, as does the Redmi Note 10T, while the Realme 8 tops both, with a 16MP front-facing snapper. 

For storage, all three phones support microSDXC cards and come in memory configurations of 64GB storage/4GB RAM and 128GB storage/6GB RAM.  All three phones boast side-mounted fingerprint readers and USB Type-C 2.0 for charging.  All three also have essentially the same battery – a Li-Po 5000mAh that supports fast charging.

The fact of the matter is that on specs alone, the Nokia G50 falls short in some areas when compared to its cheaper rivals, while in others it fails to rise significantly above.  As mentioned earlier, it does promise years of after market support, and it is designed by the same people that build other well regarded Nokia phones.

And likely, that’s what it will come down to.

Are customers in the UK (and elsewhere) willing to buy a smartphone from a brand that they’ve known and trusted for years, if not decades, or will they look to Chinese models that they might not know as well, for nearly half the price? 

At higher price tiers, an argument could be made that consumers will give the better-known brand a second look, but at these price-points, the Realme 8 5G and Redmi Note 10 5G are likely to have the edge.

Strategy Analytics clients of our Device Technology service can access our 5G forecasts here, while clients of our Smartphone Country Share Tracker can compare UK smartphone vendor shipments here, and clients of our Smartphone Model Tracker service can access UK model specific research here.

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