Smartphones are one of the biggest constants in modern life, with almost everyone owning at least one. At the same time, however, they are also sometimes the biggest risks and gambles that we make, especially if they’re the more expensive ones that are almost ironically also the more fragile options. You’d think that by now, smartphones would be more resilient, or at least easier and cheaper to repair. Unfortunately, the current market setup doesn’t exactly encourage that, especially when it comes to rolling up your sleeves and doing the grueling work on your own. That has served to increase the harmful effects of hastily discarded smartphones on the planet as e-waste continues to pile up in landfills. Fortunately, a few companies have started to be more conscientious in how they design their smartphones, and the new Nokia G42 5G is pushing the envelope of sustainability in a way that more people will be able to appreciate.
Designer: HMD Global
There’s a reason why smartphone manufacturers are often accused of what has become known as “planned obsolescence,” which is to say that they were intentionally designing their phones to be easy to break and hard to repair. After all, they will be able to sell more pieces that way, especially if consumers have become hooked on their platforms or services. Although the market hasn’t completely made a turnabout, some companies, especially bigger brands, have started to take on a more responsible position, including HMD Global which makes the modern Nokia phones.
Following the Nokia G22 from earlier this year, the Finnish company is launching the Nokia G42, adding a few upgrades, most notably support for 5G networks. Like its predecessor, the focus is squarely on how easy it is to repair the phone even on your own. Let’s be honest, few of us will probably dare to take the plunge, but the fact that the company isn’t blocking attempts is a significant improvement over the status quo. Even better, guides and some replacement parts are available, the latter for about five years from the phone’s launch, though these are limited to the battery, the back cover, the screen, and the charging port. Coincidentally, these are also the four parts of a phone that get damaged the most.
HMD Global is also quite proud of its other accomplishments in the name of sustainability. That replaceable back cover, for example, is made of 65% recycled plastic. The box it comes in is also made from an FSC-certified mix, which means it uses more sustainable materials. The phone is also made to last both in hardware and software, though there will definitely be some worries caused by its lower-than-average water resistance rating.
The Nokia G42 5G is hardly the best of class, but what makes it notable is how it makes all these things more accessible. For around $255, you will be getting a serviceable smartphone that will last you a lot longer than more expensive brands, especially since the phone will have replacement parts available until 2028. Plus, it actually looks good, especially with the So Purple colorway, so it won’t be cramping your style despite its low price and replaceable parts.