A trio of cheap phones from Nokia have landed, with eco-friendly credentials

Among the many IFA 2022 announcements, we’ve heard about five new products from HMD Global, the maker of Nokia handsets: three cheap phones, a tablet, and an intriguing subscription.

Let’s start with the phones, and specifically the Nokia X30 5G, which you can see below. This in many ways sounds like a fairly standard cheap phone, with a 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED screen, a 90Hz refresh rate, a max brightness of 450 nits, a Snapdragon 695 chipset, 5G support, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB of storage.

It also has a 4,200mAh battery with 33W charging, a 50MP main camera plus a 13MP ultra-wide one, and runs Android 12 with the promise of three years of updates. It comes in blue and white shades, and interestingly it has an IP67 rating, which makes it more water-resistant than most cheap phones.

A Nokia X30 5G from the front

The Nokia X30 5G (Image credit: HMD Global)

What’s even more interesting about the Nokia X30 5G is that, according to HMD Global, it’s the most eco-friendly phone the company has ever made, with a 100% recycled frame and camera bump, along with a 65% recycled plastic back. So if you want a new phone while minimizing your environmental impact, you could do a lot worse than this.

If you're interested, you'll be able to grab it in the UK from late September starting at £399 (around $465 / AU$675), with no word yet on availability or pricing for other regions.

Next up there’s the Nokia G60 5G, which is pictured at the top of this article. This lacks the eco-friendly credentials of the X30 5G, but it has a 6.58-inch FHD+ screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and a brightness of 400 nits. It also has a Snapdragon 695 chipset, 4GB or 6GB of RAM, and 64GB or 128GB of storage.

The battery is 4,500mAh with 20W charging, the phone supports 5G of course, and there’s a 50MP main camera, a 5MP ultra-wide camera, and a 2MP depth sensor.

This also comes with Android 12 and three years of updates, so while there’s no mention of recycled materials, it should at least remain a viable handset for a while, which also helps the environment as you won’t have to upgrade as often.

It starts at £249 (around $290 / AU$420) and is out now in the UK, but again there isn't currently any information on availability elsewhere.

A Nokia C31 from the front and back

The Nokia C31 (Image credit: HMD Global)

The third new phone is the Nokia C31, which looks like it should be the cheapest of the trio, starting at just 129 euros – that's roughly $130 / £110 / AU$185 but there's no information on availability for the UK, US or Australia. Not surprisingly, given that price tag, the specs are nothing to write home about: it has a 6.7-inch HD+ screen, a Unisoc 9863A1 chipset, 3GB or 4GB of RAM, 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of storage, a microSD card slot, and a trio of cameras, with a 13MP main one and two 2MP sensors.

There’s a large 5,050mAh battery though, albeit with slow 10W charging, and it has a fingerprint scanner on the back, a 3.5mm headphone port, and runs Android 12.

The Nokia T21, meanwhile is a newly announced budget tablet with some environmentally friendly credentials of its own. They're not quite as impressive as those of the Nokia X30 5G though, with the slate containing just 60% recycled plastic for the antenna cover and SIM tray.

A Nokia T21 seen from the front and back

The Nokia T21 (Image credit: HMD Global)

It has a 10.4-inch 2K screen, a Unisoc T612 chipset, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, and a microSD card slot. It also has an 8MP rear camera, an 8MP front-facing camera, an 8,200mAh battery with 18W charging, and runs Android 12. 

The T21 will cost you £189 (approximately $220 / AU$320) for a Wi-Fi model, or £209 (around $240 / AU$355) for a version with 4G as well, and it's hitting UK stores in October.


Analysis: eco-friendly beyond the hardware

Some of these devices are more eco-friendly than others, but HMD Global is trying to encourage people to be environmentally conscious in more than just their phone choice.

The company is doing this by trying to get buyers to hang on to their smartphones for longer, as you can see in part from the promise of three years of updates on some of these handsets.

But it doesn’t end there, as the company has also announced a subscription service called ‘Circular’, which will initially be launching in the UK and Germany, with other regions to follow.

This lets you buy some of the company's devices on subscription, with the Nokia X30 5G, at £25 (roughly $30 / AU$40) per month, and the Nokia G60 5G, at £12.50 (approximately $15 / AU$20) per month – being among the first included devices. In both cases there's also a £30 (around $35 / AU$50) setup fee.

The subscription gets you more than just the device. It also covers you against loss, theft and damage, and the longer you keep your subscription for, the more 'seeds' you'll gain, which are essentially reward points that can be used to plant trees, clean rivers, and provide connectivity to those in need.

Plus, when you eventually replace your phone or tablet through the scheme, HMD Global will ensure that your old device is reused if possible, or as fully recycled as possible.

So it looks as though the likes of the Fairphone 4 could soon have some real competition on the environmentally-friendly front.

IFA 2022 is Europe's biggest tech show, and TechRadar is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and announcements, plus our hands-on first impressions of the new TVs, wearables, audio devices and other gadgets on show.

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