Nokia G400 5G Review: Fine, but with flawed software updates

Almost two years ago I reviewed the $200 Nokia 5.3, which was promised two years of Android OS upgrades and three years of security updates. How has HMD Global, the company that licenses the Nokia brand, fared? It alone only Deployed Android 12 to that device, a year-old version of Google’s operating system.

That’s quite a delay, but anyway Which budget phone will still receive six months of security updates before support officially ends. Unfortunately it has gotten worse. Now I have the new $270 Nokia G400 5G, which only gets two years of security updates and no commitment to Android OS upgrades. It will probably get Android 13, but who’s to say since HMD isn’t making any promises? This feels like a stark shift in mindset from a company that prided itself on delivering fast updates and long-term software support in 2016.

Today, most Android phone manufacturers offer software commitment policies so you have a clear idea of ​​how long the device will be supported. For example, the $250 Samsung Galaxy A13 5G gets two OS upgrades and four years of security updates. That’s amazing, and it means you can hold the device without worrying about it turning into an unsecured, buggy mess after two years. This allows you to hold on to your device for as long as everything else is fine, reducing the need to spend on another phone. It’s just hard to recommend a smartphone in 2022 if you have no idea if it will get the latest version of its operating system.

Nice hardware

Photo: Nokia

The sad thing is that the Nokia G400 is quite a respectable phone. It looks drab and gloomy, coming in just a gloomy grey, and doesn’t look like a “Nokia” phone at all. But the 6.58-inch LCD screen is sharp, colorful and even has a 120Hz screen refresh rate, so it feels smooth and responsive when you interact with it.

Performance is reasonable. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 480+ chipset inside reliably runs all the apps you could want, although you have to wait here and there for things to load. (It’s limited by the 4GB of RAM.) But over the course of two weeks, I was able to use it just fine to respond to emails and messages, browse Reddit and Twitter, make calls, and even play casual games like Alto’s Odyssey. The software defaults to Android 12, which is nice, so you get very little bloatware (all of which are removable) and the interface looks slick.

The 5,000 mAh battery cell got me through a day and a half of average use, and you get all the features you’d want in any phone in 2022, like sub-6 5G connectivity on all major US carriers (yes, including Verizon, which unlocks many Nokia devices traditionally aren’t compatible), a headphone jack, fingerprint sensor and a MicroSD card slot to expand the paltry 64GB of internal storage. I’ve used the NFC sensor to tap and pay at subway turnstiles here in New York City, and you even get a charger in the box.

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