When HMD announced the Nokia G22 and MWC in 2023, the key features it highlighted were the phone's eco-friendly design and the ease with which you could repair it yourself. Although this phone isn't the first user-repairable model, the G22's design makes it stand out from other smartphones that owners can repair.
So, what makes it different? Let's check out what the Nokia G22 can offer, why it's important, and what lets it down.
Made With Repairability in Mind
While other phones, like the Apple iPhone 14 series and the Samsung Galaxy S23 line-up, are self-repairable with tools provided by their makers, they're typically hard to work on.
For example, you need to heat the rear glass of both the iPhone and S23 to remove it cleanly, dig gingerly under their batteries to remove the adhesive holding them in place, and use special screwdrivers to disassemble the device.
The Nokia G22 is bucking this trend by being much more accessible. The back cover is easily removable, and you can unscrew the smartphone's parts with a Philips #00 screwdriver. In fact, you can already find OEM Nokia G22 repair guides on iFixit for replacing the back cover, battery, charging port assembly, and screen assembly even before the phone goes on sale.
Furthermore, replacement parts are affordable, ranging from $25 for charging port assemblies to $55 for touchscreen assemblies. This is a far cry from what Apple charges—around $310 for just a screen replacement. That's why some ask, "is Apple's self-repair program set up to fail?"
Your Repairs Are Covered by Nokia Warranty
Most other manufacturers would void your device's warranty if a non-authorized technician serviced it—but not with Nokia. Provided that you used the proper parts, tools, and guide from iFixit, Nokia will consider the repair you made as authorized.
This policy shows that Nokia trusts its customers to take care of and service their own tech. Furthermore, if you made a proper self-repair but found an issue later on, you still have the peace of mind that Nokia will take care of you.
The Most Affordable Self-Repairable Phone So Far
Apple, Google, and Samsung all offer self-repair programs. However, these programs are only for their top-tier devices—so although you can repair a broken Samsung Galaxy S22, you're out of luck if you break a mid-range A-series model.
If you don't have the budget for expensive phones, you can settle for the Fairphone 4. Although Fairphone doesn't make flagship devices, their products are eco-friendly and made with repairability in mind. Nevertheless, Fairphone models start at around $600, which is still a pretty penny.
What makes the Nokia G22 different from all these other repairable options is that it starts at around $150—a quarter of what you need to get a Fairphone 4. Making the G22 easily and affordably self-repairable actually makes sense, as its buyers are typically saving money.
They're the type of user who wouldn't splurge on expensive technology. So, if they break their phone, they're more likely to resort to repairing it first instead of outright replacing it. By focusing on this niche, the Nokia G22 would feel like a better option than its alternatives.
The Problem With the Nokia G22's Repair Program
However, despite all the good news on self-repair, the Nokia G22 has one glaring problem—software updates. Android version and security updates are crucial, as they protect the information on your phone, including your personal and financial information. After all, threat actors are always looking to exploit bugs and loopholes for monetary gain.
However, according to our research on Android update support by manufacturers, Nokia only delivers two Android updates and three years of security updates to its G-series smartphones. So, if you buy the Nokia G22 in 2023, you can only reliably use it until 2026.
It undermines the repair program—it's great that you can fix the hardware, but without software support, you're unlikely to keep the phone for any longer than you normally would.
By contrast, Apple releases iOS updates up to six years after an iPhone's release, while Samsung guarantees four major Android updates and five years of security updates for its latest smartphones. Even Fairphone promises five years of support.
This is one of the limitations of the right-to-repair plan. Given that the Nokia G22 is only a mid-range phone with an entry-level price tag, you'll likely replace it after three years as apps become more complex and demand more power. The lower price might also mean that Nokia is unwilling to support it for much longer, especially since it didn't make much profit from it.
Is Self-Repair the Future of the Smartphone Industry?
While many tech companies are notorious for their anti-repair practices, consumer demand is slowly making them change their stance. And with the introduction of the G22, Nokia showed that even affordable devices are worth repairing.
While self-repair adoption is taking its time, it's slowly but surely making its way across manufacturers. As long as the consumers and government agencies apply pressure on these tech companies, we can ensure that they act in the best interests of the people and the planet we live on.