HMD Global has announced its new Nokia G22 smartphone, which it claims has the most common smartphone repairs replacing a broken screen, charging port, or flat battery simplified for users. The company has partnered with repair specialists iFixit to provide customers with the necessary replacement parts, tools, and guides. The Nokia G22 is set to be released in the UK on March 8th, with a retail price of £149.99 (€179 / around $180), and will be sold in select global markets such as Europe but not the US.
The Nokia G22 joins a growing list of smartphone manufacturers making replacement parts more easily available to end customers. In the past couple of years, Samsung and Google have partnered with iFixit to sell replacement parts, while Apple launched its own Self Service Repair program. These companies are making spare parts easier to buy, but the actual ease with which users can repair their devices remains a challenge.
HMD claims that users can replace the G22’s battery or screen quickly and easily. To demonstrate the ease of repair, Adam Ferguson, HMD’s head of product, successfully replaced the battery in the Nokia G22 during a press briefing about the phone. Although not as simple as swapping out a removable battery, the process took around five minutes, much less than the 90 minutes required on previous-generation HMD phones or many competing handsets, according to Ferguson.
For a screen repair, Ferguson estimates that users will spend around 20 minutes. Prices for the Nokia G22’s replacement parts from iFixit range from £18.99 (around $23) for a new charging port to £44.99 (around $54) for a replacement display.
While the Nokia G22’s battery is easier to extract from the phone, it still requires tools, and HMD has some work to do to catch up with Fairphone, which is currently in its fourth generation of sustainable, repairable phones. While the Nokia G22’s battery can be fast-charged at up to 20W and has a capacity of 5,050mAh, it is 8.48mm thick. The Fairphone 4 is thicker at 10.5mm, has a smaller 3,905mAh removable battery, but can also be fast-charged at the same 20W.
Although HMD hopes user repairability will extend the lifetime of the Nokia G22 with replacement parts stocked for five years, it will stop offering software support before Samsung and Google. The Nokia G22 will receive two years of Android updates and three years of security updates. Google and Samsung offer up to five years of security updates and three and four years of Android updates, respectively, while Fairphone will have supported its 2015 Fairphone 2 for over seven years when its last software update releases in March 2023.
In a briefing, HMD’s Ferguson argues that the length of support is good considering the G22’s relatively affordable €179 price point. Beyond its repairability, the Nokia G22’s specs are less remarkable. It has a 6.52-inch 90Hz 720p display with a teardrop notch for its eight-megapixel selfie camera and a trio of rear cameras, including a 50-megapixel main, a two-megapixel depth sensor, and a two-megapixel macro. Internally, it’s powered by a Unisoc T606 processor and starts with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. Unlocking is handled via a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, and it has an IP52 rating for dust and water resistance.
HMD also announced the Nokia C22 and Nokia C32, which are even more affordable than the G22, with retail prices of €109 (around $115) and while HMD’s efforts to make the Nokia G22 more repairable than competing devices are commendable, the company still has a long way to go if it wants to catch up with the likes of Fairphone, which is currently on its fourth generation of sustainable, repairable phones. Fairphone, a Dutch manufacturer, has set itself apart from the rest of the industry by designing its phones to be as easily repairable and upgradable as possible.
Fairphone’s latest device, the Fairphone 4, features a fully modular design that allows users to replace individual components like the battery, screen, and camera with minimal effort. The company has also made significant strides in sourcing materials from ethical and sustainable sources, such as recycled plastics and fair-trade minerals.
In contrast, the Nokia G22’s repairability is limited to a few specific components like the battery and screen, and users will still require tools to perform these repairs. HMD argues that making the device fully modular or equipping it with a removable battery would have resulted in trade-offs like a smaller battery or a thicker device.
While these trade-offs may be acceptable at the Nokia G22’s price point, it’s worth noting that other manufacturers like Samsung and Google have made similar efforts to make replacement parts more easily available to customers without sacrificing repairability. For example, Samsung and Google have both partnered with iFixit to sell replacement parts for their devices, while Apple has launched its own Self Service Repair program.
Ultimately, the Nokia G22’s repairability may be its biggest selling point, but it’s not the only consideration for buyers. The device’s specs are relatively modest compared to other mid-range smartphones, featuring a 6.52-inch 90Hz 720p display, a Unisoc T606 processor, and 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The device also runs Android 12, which is already a year old, and will only receive two years of Android updates and three years of security updates.
HMD argues that this level of support is acceptable given the Nokia G22’s affordable price point, but other manufacturers like Samsung and Google offer up to five years of security updates and three to four years of Android updates on their mid-range devices. Fairphone, for its part, has supported its Fairphone 2 for over seven years, making it one of the longest-supported devices in the industry.
In addition to the Nokia G22, HMD also announced two even more affordable devices in its C-series lineup: the Nokia C22 and Nokia C32. Both devices feature 5,000mAh batteries, which HMD claims should be good for three days of use, and will be sold in select global markets. The Nokia C22 runs Android 13 Go edition, a stripped-down version of Android optimized for low-powered devices, while the Nokia C32 runs regular Android 13.
Finally, HMD also announced that it’s taking the “first steps” to begin manufacturing select phones in Europe, a move it says will improve the security and sustainability of its devices. However, the company declined to provide specific details on the initiative, including which models would be impacted or in which European country manufacturing would take place.
In conclusion, while HMD’s efforts to make the Nokia G22 more repairable than its competitors are a step in the right direction, the company still has some work to do to catch up with industry leaders like Fairphone. However, the Nokia G22’s affordable price point and relatively long software support make it an attractive option for budget-conscious buyers who value repairability.