Nokia G22 takes sustainability to heart, comes with a small but important caveat

Today’s smartphones are beautiful pieces of technology, but their power and appearance come at more than just a literal price. To ensure their durability and secrecy, they are closed shut to ward off people trying to pry them open, even if those people are just trying to repair the phone. Those old enough to have seen the early days of mobile phones might fondly remember handsets like those from Nokia that let you easily swap a dead battery for a fully charged one. The original Nokia has long stepped away from this industry, but HMD Global has resurrected not only the brand but also some of its most iconic models. Its latest trick now is to also revive what made the old Nokia phones, specifically with a new Nokia G22 that is meant to be easily repaired, unlike most other phones today.

Designer: HMD Global

Smartphones have gotten a lot more complicated these days, so it’s not exactly surprising that they wouldn’t be easy to fix. At the same time, however, the industry has made it too expensive and restrictive to get these devices repaired by authorized service providers that some people are willing to take the risk with third-party shops. Phone makers have also been very careful in protecting their image and intellectual properties that they penalize even well-meaning people who just want to prolong their phone’s life.

Although things seem to have slowed down a bit, that status quo has slowly started to change for the better, with smartphone makers easing up on those repair restrictions. Unsurprisingly, the bigger brands like Apple and Samsung are still extremely cautious, but HMD Global is making a huge leap instead. The new Nokia G22, for example, was designed right from the start to be easy to open and repair, and the manufacturer even partnered with repair expert iFixit to sell replacement parts and provide guides.

Of course, not every part of the phone is repairable, with only the back cover, battery, screen, and charging port provided with replacements. Using a plastic guitar pick and a screwdriver, however, is exponentially easier than heating the phone’s back to loosen adhesives. The battery can also be pulled out with some effort but without having to use some alcohol to also loosen the glue. Replacement parts will be available for five years, potentially making the Nokia G22 the company’s longest-lasting phone.

The catch is that, in terms of hardware, the Nokia G22 isn’t exactly noteworthy, except for its large 5,050mAh battery. Replacing the battery still involves a bit of work, but HMD Global says that the alternative would be to have a smaller battery and a thicker phone. We’re still far, far away from having a premium flagship be this easy to repair, and it’s doubtful we’ll reach that point. Thankfully, some, like the Fairphone and this new Nokia G22, are offering alternatives to those who care more about the environment than having the latest and flashiest model every year or so.