Nokia G22: A Budget-friendly Smartphone With a Replaceable Battery
Nokia’s new G22 is not the first smartphone that you can fix yourself. The back can be popped off and the battery can be changed in minutes. But the Android phone is the first one to come in at a price that isn’t too high.
The new phone costs less than £170, and replacement parts are already available for as little as £19. The design is halfway between the modular $449 Fairphone 4 and the professional repair-friendly $849 iPhone 14.
At first glance, the G22 looks like any other smartphone. There’s no real sign that it can be fixed. But if you use a simple guitar pick to separate the back from the frame, you will find that everything is held together on the inside with tiny screws and pull tabs. All of it can be taken apart with a little care, and you don’t need things like heat pads, knives, or alcohol like you do for most other phones.
The phone is made by the Finnish company HMD Global, which has teamed up with the repair experts at iFixit to make clear, easy-to-follow guides and sell spare parts for the G22. You probably won’t need them, but if you break the screen or use up the battery, you can fix it yourself or get it fixed cheaply by a professional.
The G22 looks simple from the outside. The big 6.5-inch LCD screen on the front isn’t very sharp, but it has a 90Hz refresh rate, so scrolling and animations are pretty smooth. It was bright enough inside, but it was a little hard to see outside in the sun. It is made of Gorilla Glass 3, which is an older version of the scratch-resistant glass found on high-end phones. However, if you treat it with care, it will still do the job.
The outside of the frame is made of plastic, and it clips right into the 100% recycled plastic back. For the price, it feels much better in your hand than you’d expect. It’s a good piece of gear.
- Screen: 6.5in 90Hz HD+ (269ppi)
- Processor: Unisoc T606
- RAM: 4GB
- Storage: 128GB + microSD card
- Operating system: Android 12
- Camera: 50MP, 2MP depth, 2MP macro; 8MP front-facing
- Connectivity: 4G, wifi 5, NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5mm headphones, FM radio, GNSS
- Water resistance: IP52 (rain)
- Dimensions: 165 x 76.2 x 8.5mm
- Weight: 196g
Three-day Battery Life
The G22 has a chip made by the Chinese company Unisoc, which isn’t very good. It is slow in every way, but it feels fast enough when you use it. The menus come up quickly, the phone unlocks quickly, and the keyboard works well.
Heavy apps like Evernote take a second or two to open and load their content. As you scroll down a page in Chrome, some sites have trouble loading images, and you can forget about playing Fortnite or anything else that isn’t a simple game.
What the G22 lacks in raw power, it makes up for by having a battery that lasts a very long time. In my tests, the phone lasted for a full 72 hours. I used the screen for well over eight hours, with five hours on 4G and the rest on wifi.
Note that the G22 doesn’t support 5G and only has wifi 5, not the latest 6E. I found that it was fast enough most of the time, but it was hard to connect in places with a weak signal where other wifi 6 devices could connect easily.
HMD says that the battery will keep at least 80% of its original power for at least 800 full charges. From £22.99, you can get a new one. Other parts are also available, including a charge port for £18.99, a back cover for £22.99, and a screen for £44.99. HMD and iFixit both have guides for how to fix the phone yourself.
The back is made of plastic that has been used before. The company puts out environmental reports and has subscription, trade-in, and recycling programmes for phones, even ones that aren’t made by Nokia.