Review Nomu S20 – China’s new hope for an elegant rugged phone with IP68

We are among the few lucky ones who have been given the new S20 phone by Nomu to test it and write a review. You have probably heard about the Nomu brand from our previous articles about S10,S20 and S30 models so telling you about the brand is pointless. So how the testing ended up? Keep reading and you will find out in today’s review of Nomu S20!


The phone came in a standard box made of recycled paper. It’s really nothing special or original so it might lead you to making a harsh judgment on the device inside, but don’t get mistaken. The lid is labeled with the brand Nomu, but that’s about it for box design. Aside the phone the box also contains a EU compatible charger, USB cable, headphones – plugs, protective film, SIM try ejector pin, manual and a certificate.

Design and build

Nomu S20 has a very elegant design. At first glance you can see high quality manufacturing right away, namely with the rubber components and metal frame reinforcements. The precise combination of metal and rubber on the back and edges of the phone places the device among the most durable ones on the market, while it also provides protection from impacts and scratches. Thanks to the IP68 certification it’s fully waterproof and dust-proof so no problem taking it for a little water adventure or just use it outdoorsy as much as you like. Certainly there will be some customers who will dislike the looks but let’s be honest in comparison to the old ugly rugged devices this is definitely a step forward.

The build is really good, all buttons are easy to reach and press, the metal reinforcements don’t creak and the phone is comfortable to hold. On the front there is a 5-inch HD display and a speaker. There is also a front selfie camera lens of course. On the right side, there is the usual volume cradle button and a Power button.

The left side has a SIM tray with hybrid design, either two SIM cards or one SIM card and one MicroSD card. The bottom then has a microUSB connector with a rubber cover against moisture and dust. The top edge provides space for a 3,5 mm audio jack again with a rubber cover. The back of the phone is coated with perforated rubber. In the upper part there is the camera lens and a LED flash. In the lower third there is a plastic logo NOMU, under which there is a rear speaker. Last piece of information: the dimensions are 75 x 144,4 x 10,3 mm with 169 grams of weight.


Nomu S20 has a 5-inch Sharp HD display with 1280 x 720 pixel resolution and Gorilla Glass 4 cover glass. The backlight consistency is even over the whole area and the colors are really good and well saturated both with static pictures and video. What is really good is the response of the digitizer when it reacts even on gentle touches with fast and precise response. The digitizer is really something in this case. The auto-brightness setting works quite fine so the light sensor doing its job. Quite a shame is that you can’t use the display while wearing gloves. Viewing angles are good and the screen is readable even in direct sunlight.one_20161105_102729

HW,OS and performance

Behind the Nomu’s performance there is a quad-core processor MediaTek MT6737T clocked at 1,5 GHz, supported by 3 GB RAM and a 32 GB ROM, which can be further expanded up to 32 GB. All that is rounded out with a graphic chip Mali-T720 MP2 clocked at 600 MHz so multitasking is no problem for this configuration. This system runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The only bigger problem I came across are the capacitative buttons or rather the absence of them, because you only the software on-display ones and the inability to display the remaining capacity of the battery at the top bar. You’ll get used to it but it takes time.

Thanks to the quad-core processor and the 3 GB RAM, it is no problem to run fairly okay the simple or even slightly more demanding games, not to mention videos. To be honest I have to say that I didn’t experience any lags during the testing. You´ll find the results of the benchmark tests bellow:

Battery life

Our Nomu S20 is equipped with a 3000 mAh battery. During a common everyday usage, I mean a few calls, web browsing using data or Wi-fi, taking pictures, e-mail sync, some videos, Twitter and of course listening to music, the battery lasted about a day and a half which is sufficient in my eyes. Of course, I had the battery charged to 100% to begin with, but if you are some kind of maniac who downloads things, plays games twenty-four seven or using the GPS with the data, then you should have always charger or a powerbank always ready. Huge advantage is the fast QuickCharge support, you can charge the phone from 3% to 100% in 1 hour.

Connectivity and GPS

Connectivity with Nomu S20 is following the usual pattern for this phone’s category. The phone is equipped with a wireless Wi-FI module,Bluetooth 4.0, two slots for a SIM or one SIM and one MicroSD (hybrid slot),GPS and a USB port. The Wi-Fi card works in N standard and is pretty stable and sensitive. This model is a dualSIM one and it can do dual standby mode. The first slot supports microSIM and the second is meant for nanoSIM. The phone operates in GSM range(850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz), W-CDMA (900 and 2100 MHz) and for LTE users I have to add that it covers FDD-LTE bands: 1/3/7/8/20, in terms of frequency that is 800/900/1800/2100/2600 MHz and also even TDD-LTE: B40 aka 2300 MHz.

Calls went without problems in 3G as well as in 4G networks and the sound was clear and loud. Also the party on the other end didn’t report any problems. As for the GPS, Nomu S20 supports GPS and A-GPS and it’s capable of registering Glonass Beidou satellites too. The first GPS lock-on took about a minute, but the repeated ones took just a few seconds. I will add some screenshots below with the GPS test results including the path tracked by the Endomondo app.


The phone has a 13 Mpx rear camera interpolated from 8 MPX with an IMX219 Exmor RS sensor and a LED flash. The quality is actually quite good, the pictures are colorful, realistic and alive so there is nothing to be complaining about. The front selfie camera is actually only 5 Mpx, but that’s just enough and it’s capable of taking decent selfie pictures. All pictures have been taken in an automatic mode without any photo apps. In the settings there are of course things to manage manually too, like a white balance, exposition,resolution, scenes, ISO (Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600) and also a panorama mode. Those of you who like to take motion pictures will surely appreciate sequential shooting and there is also something for HDR lovers.

Sound and media

Our smartphone can handle the multimedia quite well just like any other device which have the quad-core processor MediaTek MT6737T. The sound from the speaker is surprisingly good and loud given the build of the phone and its rugged design and features. That is largely thanks to the waterproof NXP SmartPA speaker. Headphones – plugs are perfect for the “free” price range, because let’s be honest what quality can you expect with that ? Audio formats/codecs, which you can use/play are: AAC, AMR, eAAC+, MIDI, MP3, MPEG-2, WMA, WAV,… for the video it’s: 3GPP, AVI, H.263, MKV, MP4, WMV,…


Nomu S20 smartphone is a phone worth the attention if you are looking for an unusual design, quality build, rugged features or 4G support and all that for a reasonable price. But it might not be for everyone because of the size and resolution of the display. Beside that this model is unmistakable so it’s entirely up to you whether you buy it or not. I would like to thank the Nomu brand for lending us Nomu S20 for the review purposes and you can find more information about it here and here on FB pages or you can buy here.

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