Nokia G22 Meteor Grey

Teardown: Nokia G22 smartphone

Image credit: Nokia

Nokia budget phone seeks to promote DIY repair.

The Nokia G22 is the latest smartphone that aims to promote self-repair. The long-established brand’s current owner, HMD Global (aka Nokia Mobile), has partnered with repair specialist iFixit to offer parts, tools and full DIY guides at launch that cover four frequently damaged or exhausted units: the screen, the battery, the back cover and the charging port.

Both the phone and the repair kits are reasonably priced. The G22 costs £169 and the kits range from £22.99 to £49.99 (parts can also be bought more cheaply if you already have the tools). The OEM guides, marketed under the QuickFix programme, are available free of charge both online and as downloadable PDFs at iFixit’s site. All the tools are standard (eg tweezers, picks, standard Phillips and Torx bits).

Those prices are some way below other self-repair options. The full official kit by iFixit to replace the screen and battery on a Samsung Galaxy S22 costs $166.99 (£133.11) though that is for a flagship product. Rental on Apple’s self-repair kit alone costs £54.99, with parts extra.

However, the G22 is a much less powerful phone. It runs a budget eight-core, ARM-based T606 processor from Chinese vendor Unisoc. It has a 6.52in HD+ (720x1200px) display. It is only capable up to 4G.

Nokia says the handset is, nevertheless, the beginning of an attempt to not merely catch the repairability wave but also use its brand to promote longer-lasting consumer electronics to the general public.

What the company has learned in developing the G22 will now filter through to future launches. And there is evidence that it is learning quickly.


Image credit: Nokia

The G22 was one of the star performers at this year’s Mobile World Congress, where visitors were invited to have a go themselves at changing out different parts. Since then, the developers have gone back and reworked some of the design based on the feedback.
For example, its iFixit partners had some criticisms about battery removal and some stubborn glue.

“A helpful pull tab is supplied, but even with a good grip and a strong arm, dislodging the battery required an uncomfortable amount of force. We’ve done enough usability testing over the years to know that this sort of thing can quickly cause frustration and/or impatience on the part of DIYers. Bad things can happen,” explains iFixit’s Shahram Mokhtari.

“Nokia took that feedback and quickly ordered a mid- production change on the G22 with a revised pull tab design and less stubborn adhesive. Mid-production changes are unusual and costly, and this, more than anything, reassured us that Nokia takes its commitment to repairability seriously.”

But we ain’t there yet. Some G22 options are Joe Public-friendly, others arguably less so.

The ‘Easy’ repair, according to the iFixit-authored guide, is the back cover. Nokia has taken care to ensure a tight seal between the cover and the display – the phone is rated IP52 against dust and water spray ingress – with a notch in the SIM tray slot allowing you to release the first plastic clips and edge a pick around the rest of the assembly.

You do then have to remove the fingerprint reader but this is also very straightforward, and once you transfer that to the new cover, it’s basically ‘job done’.

This is, according to guide author Manuel Haeussermann, a 20-35-minute task, and iFixit has been deliberately conservative with those estimates. More confident and experienced users may get things done more quickly.

But for a display replacement, you need to work through more components: the battery, motherboard, loudspeaker, charging port, vibration motor, speakers, camera bracket and various cables.

The complexity rating for this is ‘Moderate’ but you do suspect that less-frequent iFixit visitors may find the process daunting (although it will make life much easier should they opt for professional repair). This is rated as a 60-120-minute task.

There is a design trade-off here, as Mokhtari rightly notes. Make the display rather than the back the main entry point for repair – particularly DIY repair – and owners may worry about accidental collateral damage to what many see as the most important part of a smartphone.

As the right-to-repair movement gains momentum, this is something for the industry to think about more widely.

Running its metrics on the G22 after MWC, iFixit came up with an 8 out of 10 repairability score for Nokia’s first efforts. It is a very good score but still behind the 10 out of 10 it awarded the Fairphone 4 on its release from arguably the pioneer in the DIY segment two years ago.

But the G22 is progress. Seeing these kinds of design principles applied to future Nokia phones – and thereby nudging along competitors – will promote sustainability as well as the QuickFix.

Nokia G22 smartphone: repair options

Nokia rethought battery replacement after feedback from iFixit.

Nokiag22 Batterytabhires 1788512951924443296 Inline

Image credit: Nokia

You must work through most of the phone to replace the display.

Nokiag22screenassembly 7434882725826061473 Inline

Image credit: Nokia

Heavily trafficked charging ports can be replaced.

Nokiag22chargingport 1421623645996243372 Inline

Image credit: Nokia

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