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What the Tech: Here’s why the new Nokia is a gadget fit for James Bond

You might not have expected Nokia to be the smartphone of choice for MI6’s superspy, but there’s a reason why Q chose it for 007.

James Bond tends to be a man defined by his good taste in some things (cars and cocktails) and his very bad taste in others (cheesy one-liners and creepy come-ons).

Plenty of fans have sniggered at his unexpected choice of smartphone for the latest Bond film No Time To Die, a Nokia XR20 rather than any one of the sleek and stylish alternatives, but I would argue that it fits comfortably in the former camp despite the ridiculing reaction.

Seen in the above publicity video with Lashana Lynch, who plays the role of Nomi in the film, you might argue that the phone isn’t much to look at, at least compared to the usual Bond style of Tom Ford suits and Aston Martin cars. But then again, isn’t it kind of the point of being a spy to be relatively inconspicuous? That can be hard to forget when Agent 007 is laying waste to considerable portions of overseas countries with reckless abandon, but I’d say keeping a low profile is an advantage of wielding a Nokia rather than, say, a flash foldable that quickly attracts attention (and sometimes derision again — you can never win, honestly.)

But the USP of the Nokia XR20 was never supposed to be its style, but rather its substance; this is a rugged phone that is designed to withstand rough-and-tumble, and to that end it has a screen made of Gorilla Glass Victus (the toughest you can get), and an impressive IP68 water and particulate resistance rating. Given Q’s longstanding exasperation with the state in which Bond leaves his gadgets after an all-guns-blazing mission, it will surely come as a relief that at least his phone might come back in one piece.

But as this is Daniel Craig’s last time pulling on the tuxedo and telling waiters to put more elbow grease into his vodka martini, does the Nokia’s inclusion owe anything to his interpretation of the legendary character?

Well, much as Craig attempted to freshen up the franchise, which had been hugely successful for decades but was beginning to turn sour at the turn of the century (*cough* Die Another Day), so has Nokia been reinvented by HMD, after its miserable years under Microsoft took some of the shine off its former glories. It didn’t quite burst onto the scene with the panache of 2006’s Casino Royale, but Nokia has steadily reconstructed its reputation, which was left as battered and bruised as Mr Bond’s double-Os after that unforgettably uncomfortable torture scene in Craig’s debut.

So even though I haven’t got a Walther PPK pointed against my temple, for once in this column I’m not going to join the chorus of sneers, but instead go against the flow and argue that the Nokia XR20 is a good choice of gadget for No Time To Die.




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