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(Pocket-lint) - For a number of years, the affordable Android tablet space has been rather sparce. While premium tablets continued, many brands pulled out of offering cheaper tablets, leaving Amazon to fill this void.

Nokia has never really been a name in tablets. There were a couple of Lumia tablets and the Nokia N1 back in 2014, but the T20 sees the new HMD Global-run Nokia elbowing into new territory.

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Price and availability

  • Nokia T20: £179.99
  • Fire HD 10: £149.99

The Amazon Fire HD 10 was most recently updated in April 2021, and is widely available to buy. It's priced from £149.99 in the UK, but there are a number of versions available, with the 64GB version costing £189.99.

Nokia's tablet, for the UK, will offer 64GB storage too and will cost £179.99, so they are close in price - but there's a lot more to it than just storage, and worth digging into

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Design and build

  • Nokia T20: 247.6 x 157.5 x 7.8mm, 465g
  • Fire HD 10: 247 x 166 x 9.2mm, 465g

The sizing of these two tablets is surprisingly close. The Fire HD 10 is a little larger, it's thicker and as it has a smaller display, the result is that you're looking at larger bezels, so Nokia's tablet might have more immediate appeal.

The Nokia T20 has a sandblasted aluminium body, so it some might find it a little more premium than the plastic finish of the Fire HD 10 - although Amazon's device does a good job of keeping the dinks and dents at bay.

Both these tablets also weigh the same and it's clear they sit in the same space. Amazon offers a range of colours, while Nokia only seems to be offering the one blue colour. Both have cases available too.

Overall, it's the new Nokia tablet that has the edge.

Display

  • Nokia T20: 10.4in, 2000 x 1200 pixels, 224ppi, 5:3
  • Fire HD 10: 10.1in, 1920 x 1200 pixels, 224ppi, 16:10

In the display department, again there's parity. Nokia has a slightly larger display on the T20, but only by about 0.3 inches. There's a slight bump in resolution, but the biggest difference is the aspect ratio, which is slightly different.

The Fire HD 10 is similar and both these displays actually have the same pixel density, so both should be as equally adept at showing detail. They also have similar brightness, around 400 nits, so the performance is likely to be similar from both devices.

As we said, the design sees the Nokia T20 with smaller bezels and some might see that as slightly more modern, although you need bezels to grip the tablet without putting your fingers all over the content.

It's pretty much level pegging here.

Hardware and performance

  • Nokia T20: Unisoc T610, 3/4GB RAM, 32/64GB storage, microSD (512GB), 8200mAh, 15W
  • Fire HD 10: MediaTek Helio P60T, 3GB RAM, 32/64GB storage, microSD (1TB), 6500mAh, 15W

When it comes to the core hardware, both of these tablets are sitting on hardware at the affordable end of the spectrum. It's pretty similar, both being octa-core and on a similar architecture, although the Unisoc hardware is more recent.

We'll put these tablets head to head as soon as we have both on our desk to test the real world differences.

Nokia is offering 3 or 4GB RAM, with the 4GB model being available in the UK. The Fire HD 10 comes with 3GB RAM, while the Fire HD10 Plus comes with 4GB - but that also pushes up the price because it also offers wireless charging.

In terms of storage, both come in at 32GB or 64GB, but this is tied to the version you buy in the Nokia tablet - so those in the UK will get 64GB - while on the Amazon device you can choose which model you buy.

Both support microSD, with Amazon offering support up to 1TB, beating Nokia.

When it comes to the battery life, Nokia has declared that there's a massive 8200mAh battery, with support for 15W charging. It's said to last for up to 15 hours in mixed usage.

Amazon doesn't declare the battery on the Fire HD 10, but it's been reported as 6500mAh. It also supports 15W charging, but in this case you get 12 hours of mixed use. (We're not sure the battery capacity is correct, but the endurance is.)

In reality, software could play the biggest part in how these tablets feel in daily use.

Software

  • Nokia T20: Android 11
  • Fire HD 10: Fire OS

The Nokia T20 comes with stock Android. That's Android 11 at launch, with the promise of 2 years of OS upgrades and 3 years of security updates. This is very much in line with Nokia's approach to its phones, offering Android with messing around with it.

That means you can make the tablet what you want, install all the apps from the Play Store and generally experience everything as Google intended.

The Fire HD 10, however, also runs Android, but is skinned with Fire OS. This changes everything to make it custom designed for Amazon's services. While it sits on Android and mostly behaves like Android, it's very different - and you don't get Google Services.

That mean you have to use the Amazon AppStore instead of Google Play and some of the apps are older or not available.

At the same time, the Fire tablet is well suited to Amazon's content: you can access your Kindle books or Amazon Video or Music from the home screens, while there's integrated hands-free Alexa, as well as integration into an smart devices you setup with Alexa.

Then there's Show Mode too, allowing your Fire tablet to behave like an Echo Show. All of this stuff is great and while you can install the Alexa app on the Nokia tablet and access those things, it's more seamlessly integrated on the Amazon device.

Ultimately, the appeal of pure Android is better app access and a more conventional software loadout, the advantage of the Fire tablet comes if you're mostly going to be using Amazon's services.

Conclusions

These tow tablets have the potential to slug it out for attention in the cheaper tablet space. They're substantially cheaper than the iPad which dominates tablets, with Amazon's Fire HD models popular with families, especially for kids.

Nokia has some advantages: a bigger display in a body that's pretty much the same size, a more premium build using aluminium, although it might show damage more easily than the Fire's plastic back.

It also offers software that's not been forked to serve up Amazons' content and services, with access to better apps.

The Fire tablet on the other hand comes in cheaper, but the most affordable option includes adverts.

Ultimately, what are you going to be using your tablet for? If it's watching movies then both will serve you well with little difference in the experience. If you want it for doing more, offering a wider experience with access to more apps and services, the Nokia is better placed.

Writing by Chris Hall. Originally published on 6 October 2021.