HMD is announcing three new smartphones today – the Nokia G60 5G, C31 and X30 5G – and says the X30 5G is the “most eco-friendly” smartphone ever produced. All three phones focus on Europe, which is distinct from the range of devices HMD sells in the US.
In addition to selling it outright, the Nokia X30 5G will be one of the few phones available via HMD’s new subscription service called “Circular,” where customers can sign up for a phone for a monthly fee and get incentives to use the phone for as long as possible. Circular will initially be available in the UK and Germany, but HMD says it is planning a global launch “in the coming months”.
HMD is justifying its eco-friendly claims about the Nokia X30 5G with the amount of recycled materials used to build the phone. It features a 100 percent recycled aluminum frame and back panel made from 65 percent recycled plastic, and is shipped in a box made from 70 percent recycled paper. The company also says it will back it up with three years of monthly operating system upgrades and security updates, and offers a three-year warranty as standard.
Attempting to produce a more environmentally friendly smartphone is a commendable initiative, but HMD’s efforts are behind those of sustainable smartphone specialists Fairphone. Although his latest device, but Verfone 4And the Recycled aluminum is not usedIts back cover is made from 100 percent recycled plastic, the welder is made from 100 percent recycled tin, and uses fair trade gold and conflict-free tungsten. Fairphone aims to back the phone with five years of security and software updates instead of three, and designs its hardware to be as easy to repair for the end user as possible, with removable batteries that can simply be replaced when they wear down and more. Removable components with simple screws. None of these were shown on HMD’s Nokia X30 5G.
When I asked these questions to HMD, head of global product marketing Adam Ferguson told me that the company decided to initially focus on plastic and aluminum due to a relatively large amount of materials that go into a smartphone. “Our primary focus is on addressing what we see as the two biggest things we can make a big difference to [and which] It will have the biggest impact on e-waste,” Ferguson says, but adds that HMD’s ‘next step’ will be looking at other areas where it can improve the sustainability of its devices.
Aside from the sustainability credentials, the Nokia X30 5G is a fairly typical mid-range device. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor with a choice of 6 or 8 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of storage, and has a 6.43-inch OLED display with a 1080p resolution with a 90Hz refresh rate. On the back there is a 50MP main camera with a 13MP ultra-wide camera, and a 16MP selfie camera. The phone will be available later this month with prices starting at £399 (€529).
Alternatively, the X30 5G will be available via HMD’s new subscription service, costing £25 per month with a £30 start-up fee in the UK. The idea is that instead of buying the phone outright, customers can rent their phone for a minimum of three months under a renewable subscription contract. The catch is that they return the device for recycling or reuse at the end of the subscription. HMD also hopes to incentivize customers to use the devices for longer by offering credits that can be invested in charity.
Alongside the Nokia X30 5G, HMD is announcing two more smartphones today. First there’s the Nokia G60 5G, a £249 (€319) phone that’s also powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor and includes a three-year warranty along with three years of security and Android updates. However, it starts with just 4GB of RAM and 64GB of expandable storage, and has an LCD screen instead of an OLED. The screen size is 6.58 inches, with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. On the back there are three cameras: a 50MP main camera, a 5MP ultrawide camera, and a 2MP depth sensor. It’s available starting today in the UK, and will also be available on Circular for £12.50 a month with a setup fee of £30.
Finally, there’s the Nokia C31, a €129 phone that HMD says can offer up to three days of battery life thanks to its 5,050mAh battery. It’s powered by a Unisoc 9863A1 processor, with a choice of 3 or 4 GB of RAM and between 32 and 128 GB of expandable storage. Its screen size is 6.7 inches but only at 720p resolution, and its triple rear cameras are led by a 13MP main sensor. HMD promises to support two years of security updates, but it won’t receive any major Android updates. UK availability not yet announced.