There is only one thing wrong with Nokia phones right now, and it is killing everything

Nokia 3.4 in hand
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When was the last time you saw a Nokia phone, looked at its specs and features, and felt any – I mean, any – form of excitement? Did you feel excited about the design? What of the camera? The processor? RAM? Aha. You know exactly what I mean.

When was the last time HMD Global announced a new Nokia smartphone and after looking at the details, you felt that this was a phone you had to get? It was a long time ago; right? Oho. Allow me to illustrate this with one of the current top models.

The Nokia X20 is one of the top Nokia models in the market now, and it is thick, heavy, has an underwhelming processor, and charges slower than a Picanto. There is nothing about it that tingles the spine. Nothing that gives it an edge against any of its competition.

As a matter of fact, the price is ridiculous. For the same price, you can buy a Xiaomi, or TECNO with a slimmer profile, better processor, 90Hz or 120Hz screen, and faster charging. And it is worse than that. Samsung is a pricey smartphone brand, yet for the price of a Nokia X20, you can buy a Samsung that excites you and that has better features.

One of the reasons for the bad price differences is that HMD Global is trying to sell 5G phones to people who have no need for 5G. The Nokia X20 could sell for less, if that infernal Snapdragon 480 5G chipset would be swapped out for, say, a more capable one like the Snapdragon 720G. Doing that alone would instantly make it a more compelling phone, and at a better price.

And why is a Snapdragon 480 5G Nokia phone costing the same as a Snapdragon 750G Samsung phone, especially when the latter has a 120Hz AMOLED display, a catchier design, and faster charging? What is the extra value that the Nokia is offering? I’m comparing the Samsung A52 5G with the X20 here.

In contrast, there are models from Samsung, OnePlus, Google, and even brands like TECNO and Infinix, that trigger more excitement. For example, I have a Camon 18 Premier beside me here, and it is an exciting phone. See my Camon 18 Premier review.

Nokia’s smartphones have become unexciting, uninspiring, and almost completely boring. What is this drab round camera island that has been adopted as standard for all Nokia phones? Yes; it is different, but it is boring. Get rid of it and play around. Give us sexy.

If the old Nokia was known for something, it was its ability to excite users. Nokia’s phones were cool, often funky, sometimes elegant, but never boring. Well, scratch “never”. Nokia did give us some boring phones occasionally back in the day, but the brand’s entire line-up could not be described as boring.

They were also known for being dependable, and thankfully, today’s Nokia phones have retained this solid trait. There are two of them in my home – Nokia 5.4 and 3.4. They get the job done, day after day. You can check out my Nokia 5.4 review and Nokia 3.4 review for details. But they are still plagued by this same lack of excitement.

I am particularly pained, because the Nokia brand could be doing more right now. It is painful to see it fritter away so much potential.

Let’s forget premium flagships. A mobile brand can stay exciting, gain mindshare, sell well, without releasing a premium flagship ever. Gionee did it. TECNO is doing it. So are Infinix and itel. HMD hasn’t shown any commitments to the premium flagship segment, and that’s fine. But the brand has to get its fans excited about something. There has to be a spark.

Make Nokia Phones Exciting Again

In closing, there are those who think that HMD Global should put better cameras in their phones. Some say they should improve software update delivery time. Some point out other things.

But, from a marketing and sales perspective, what HMD needs to do is put the spark of excitement back into the Nokia brand. They can work any combination of those things to make it happen.

They need to make Nokia phones exciting again! That’s the assignment. Once they do that, everyone can sit back to watch the buzz build and sales pick up again.

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