HMD today announces a trio of new smartphones: Nokia G60 5G, C31 and X30 5G, saying the X30 5G is the “greenest smartphone” ever produced. All three phones are focused on Europe and are distinct from the range of devices that HMD sells in the US.
In addition to being sold out, the Nokia X30 5G will be one of the few phones available through HMD’s new subscription service called “Circular,” where customers can sign up to get a phone for a monthly fee and receive incentives to use a 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 “within the next few months”.
HMD justifies its green claims about the Nokia X30 5G with the amount of recycled materials used in the construction of the phone. It features a 100% recycled aluminum frame and back panel made from 65% recycled plastic, and ships in a box made from 70% recycled paper. The company also says it will back you up with three years of operating system updates and monthly security updates, and offers a three-year warranty as standard.
Trying to produce a greener smartphone is a laudable initiative, but HMD’s efforts lag behind those of sustainable smartphone specialists Fairphone. Although your most recent device, the Fairphone 4, does not use recycled aluminum, its back cover is made from 100% recycled plastic, its solder is made from 100% recycled tin, and it 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 also designs its devices to be as easily repairable as possible by the end user, with removable batteries that can be simply swapped out when they degrade and other components that are removable with simple screws. None of these appear on HMD’s Nokia X30 5G.
When I put these questions to HMD, its global director of product marketing, Adam Ferguson, told me that the company initially decided to focus on plastic and aluminum because there are a relatively large number of materials used in a smartphone. “Our main focus is to address what we see as the two most important elements where we can make the biggest difference in [and which] will have the biggest impact on e-waste,” says Ferguson, but adds that HMD’s “next step” will be to look at other areas where it can improve the sustainability of its devices.
Aside from its sustainability credentials, the Nokia X30 5G is a pretty typical mid-range device. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor with a choice of 6 or 8GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of storage, and has a 6.43-inch 1080p OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. On the back there is a 50-megapixel main camera with a 13-megapixel ultra-wide angle and a 16-megapixel selfie camera. The phone will be available later this month with prices starting at £399 (€529).
Alternatively, the X30 5G will be available through HMD’s new Circular subscription service, where it will cost £25 per month with an initial £30 fee in the UK. The idea is that instead of buying a phone outright, customers can rent their phone for a minimum of three months with an ongoing subscription contract. The problem is that they then return the device to be recycled or reused at the end of the subscription. HMD also hopes to encourage customers to use the devices longer by offering credits that can be spent on charitable causes.
Alongside the Nokia X30 5G, HMD today announces two additional smartphones. First up is 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 it has an LCD screen instead of OLED. The screen is 6.58 inches, with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. On the back it has a trio of cameras: a 50-megapixel main camera, a 5-megapixel ultra-wide angle and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. . It’s available from today in the UK and will also be available in Circular for £12.50 a month with a £30 setup fee.
Finally, there’s the Nokia C31, a €129 phone that HMD says can offer 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 4GB of RAM and between 32 and 128GB of expandable storage. Its screen is 6.7-inches but it’s only 720p, and its trio of rear cameras is led by a 13-megapixel main sensor. HMD promises to support it with two years of security updates, but you won’t get any major updates to the Android OS. UK availability has yet to be announced.