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NOKIA G42 5G – All the (inconvenient) truths

Anyone who saw the birth of mobile telephony knows very well that Nokia was a brand that contributed to the expansion of cell phones on a large scale, but then with the advent of smartphones the Finnish brand went into decline, thanks also to the slide it had with Microsoft and its Windows Phone, until the recovery by HMD Global a few years ago. How is Nokia doing today in the current smartphone landscape? It certainly doesn't stand out and doesn't rock, indeed if it continues to churn out certain "rubbish" like the Nokia G42, then relying on improvised reviewers who speak well of certain products just to keep certain collaborations with PRs good, then you will understand that we will soon see some disappear all a great brand. But I'll tell you everything in this full review.


Nokia boasts that it cares about the environment, so much so that the packaging of this Nokia G42 5G is made with recycled cardboard, as are some materials used to make some of the brand's smartphones. Having said that, precisely to preserve the environment, Nokia does not include a charger but only equips the device with a double Type-C cable for charging and data transfer and a pin for removing the SIM tray. No protective film on the display, no headphones, no protective cover for the smartphone but then, contrary to the ideology of environmental protection, it inserts the manuals, made of paper when instead it could have saved itself by inserting a QR Code that refers to that manual .


Nokia G42 5G is not a compact smartphone, in fact the dimensions are equal to 165 x 75,8 x 8,55 mm for a total weight of 193,8 grams, quite a bit if we consider that the entire body including the profiles are made of polycarbonate , fortunately with a matte and almost glittery finish, which seems resistant to fingerprints and dirt. There are 3 colors available, such as purple, gray and pink (the color we tested) with beautiful plays of light, but we also point out the IP52 certification, which is rare to find on many smartphones.

The ergonomics are good and the square profiles help with grip. The upper profile is clean, while on the left we find the SIM tray, capable of hosting two nano SIMs with 5G Dual connectivity, or by giving up the Dual SIM function we can insert a micro SD to expand the system memory. We don't have e-SIMs so the choice is yours whether to have two numbers or whether to give more space for storing photos, videos etc..

The right profile houses the volume rocker and the power button which integrates the biometric sensor for unlocking the Nokia G42 using fingerprints, the reactivity of which was not the best even though the recognition occurs in a rather precise manner. Face unlock is also available if necessary using the selfie camera. Finally, the lower profile gives space to the microphone, the Type-C input for charging and data transfer with OTG support, the mono system speaker and 3,5 mm jack for wired earphones, which will allow us to exploit also the FM Radio present in the operating system.


Before talking to you about the Nokia G42 5G panel I want to say a few words on the general aesthetics of the smartphone, decidedly old, ancient, in short the device seems to have come out of a drawer forgotten in a corner. In fact, if the rear can still blend in with modern smartphones, although the rectangle with integrated 3 lenses and LED flash also appears poco current, it is certainly the front of the smartphone that leaves no doubt, offering frames that are decidedly too thick, almost embarrassing on the lower side but above all it is the presence of the teardrop notch with attached selfie camera that gives the coup de grace.

Let's talk about the Nokia G42 5G display, a 6,56″ panel in 20:9 format protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 with HD+ resolution (720 x 1612 pixels), whose peak brightness is 560 nits. You read that right, HD+ resolution although Widevine L1 support is present, which in the end is of no use, considering the poor resolution of the panel. There is also no support for HDR content and overall the 90 Hz refresh rate that the device should enjoy seems to be activated rarely, as the user can only choose whether to have a fixed 60 Hz or let the system decide the frequency. update based on the content shown on the video. Overall a mediocre display, nothing more. Fortunately, the proximity sensor works well while the lighting sensor was a bit conservative.


As already mentioned, the speaker is of the mono type and the audio returned is not of high volume as well as appearing to suffer from a certain imbalance towards the medium-high tones to the detriment of the bass. Fortunately, the company has included the BOOST volume function which increases the volume, but in reality brings the volume to the standard level with which other smartphones are equipped, indeed at times it even seems to crackle, precisely due to the absence of good equalization. Furthermore, the BOOST volume function only works for multimedia content and not in hands-free mode. The capsule audio, however, was quite good, as long as you manage to keep the call active: in fact, every single call received or made you will have to make it twice, as after about ten seconds the line drops or the audio seems to go away. I can't give you a technical explanation, but on the second try everything seems to work fine.

There is a Bluetooth 5.1 module, NFC for contactless payments, 3,5 mm jack and FM Radio, GPS with connection to Galileo satellites, OTG and theoretically WiFi 6. Why do I say theoretically? Nokia G42 5G is set up for standard 6 but real support and band unlocking will only come with a future firmware update. Guaranteed operation with Android Auto while data navigation is 5G Dual type but I personally was not able to test this technology, but the navigation speed was quite acceptable in the various speed tests and especially during my use.


Nokia G42 5G is equipped with a low-end SoC, namely the Snapdragon 480, an octacore processor with a maximum clock of 2.2 GHz and an 8nm production process, which is accompanied by a 4 GB LPDDR6X RAM that can be virtually expanded by a further 5 GB. The GPU is the Adreno 619 and the storage is 128 GB UFS 2.1 expandable up to 1 TB via micro SD card. A hardware package that certainly doesn't scream miracle and that shows its side in stressful situations, in fact this specimen is not suitable for important operations such as long gaming sessions with high graphics, even if you can play a game of Call of Duty Mobile do, but without demanding maximum graphic details. Daily operations are guaranteed but don't expect extreme responsiveness.

Another sore point is the software, based on Android 13 with patches updated in 2023. But the company guarantees 2 major releases and 3 years of patches updated on a monthly basis. It's a shame that we're at the end of October and there's not even a sign of the month's patches other than the fact that the September ones arrived right towards the end of the month, so the first lie, the fact of the monthly security update. Furthermore, we find some bloatware already installed which on a stock version like the one adopted by Nokia does not make a good impression.


The battery is a 5000 mAh QuickFix type unit, which can be easily replaced using the toolkit provided by the brand in collaboration with IFIXIT. The company declares a battery life of up to 3 days and guarantees 800 complete charging cycles while maintaining 80% of the original performance before deterioration. There is no wireless charging and the maximum charging power supported is a usual and modest 20W, so it takes at least 1,5 hours if not 2 to have full energy. In reality, the 3 days declared by the company are utopia, at most you will get 1 and a half days with very light use, while more realistic is an autonomy of one day with semi-intense use, arriving in the evening with around 10/15% of residual charge.

Speaking of the IFIXIT tool for a do-it-yourself smartphone repair, this costs around 30 euros, therefore to be added to the cost of the smartphone, plus the price for the purchase of replacement components must also be taken into account, such as display, battery etc.. In short, without beating around the bush too much, I find the possibility of self-repairing your smartphone at home a bizarre marketing idea, considering that it is not so easy to disassemble a smartphone even though the support guides are well made, but better to let professionals do the job.


Another painful and disappointing aspect is that relating to the photographic sector and related performances. The main camera of the Nokia G42 5G is composed of a 50 MP f/1.8 AF sensor flanked by two 2 MP lenses which perform macro functions and collect depth of field data. The videos are digitally stabilized with poor performance and the maximum resolution at which we can shoot them is 1080p 30 fps.

Shaky videos and photos poco detailed in unfavorable light conditions, where the appropriate night mode does not make any improvement. Overall, photos to share on social media are enough but I wouldn't entrust the memories of my life to this phone. Even the selfie camera, an 8 MP lens, does not give much satisfaction, rendering faces poco natural and sometimes washed out colours.


Nokia G42 5G costs 213 euros in the 4/128 GB variant and 239 euros for the 6/128 GB one but by searching carefully online the smartphone can be taken home for 208 euros. Prices in line and fair if we were talking about another smartphone, since for the same price you get a wonderful one Motorola Moto Edge 30 Neo which offers much, much more and if you really want to save a little I recommend the many Motorola devices, such as G54, G84, G32, G42 etc... Here you have the impression of having an old smartphone in your hands, with recycled components ( not just the materials) and then there are too many promises from the brand that have not been kept. Not very fresh aesthetics and low-medium range performance certainly didn't make me fall in love, in fact I couldn't wait to go back to my device that I use in everyday life.

6.1 Total score

A smartphone that you can repair yourself...perhaps because you'll want to smash it? Nokia G42 5G fits into a market niche that is too aggressive but with obsolete specifications and design.

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Emanuele Iafulla
Emanuele Iafulla

Nerd, Geek, Netizen, terms that do not belong to me. Simply myself, technology lover and provocative as Xiaomi does with his products. High quality at fair prices, a real provocation for the other most famous brands.


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Leonardo Tebaldi
Leonardo Tebaldi
5 months ago

I want to report a problem on my Nokia G42 5G mobile phone using navigation and map apps such as HERE WeGo or Maps. In both apps, when there is a phone call in progress, regardless of whether you use Bluetooth or hands-free on your mobile phone, you can see that the position indicated by the program becomes inaccurate: it remains stationary in one point, behind and/or lateral to to where they are, further and further away until it updates, but always remaining in a position behind and/or to the side of the actual point.