HMD is today announcing three new smartphones, the Nokia G60 5G, C31 and X30 5G, and claims that the X30 5G is the “most eco-friendly smartphone” ever produced. All three phones are focused on Europe and are different from the range of devices sold by HMD in the US.
As well as being completely sold out, the Nokia X30 5G will be one of the few phones available through HMD’s new subscription service “Circular”, where customers can subscribe to get the handset for a monthly fee and receive incentives to use the phone. As long as possible. The Circular will initially be available in the UK and Germany, but HMD is planning a global launch in the “coming months”.
HMD backs up its eco-friendly claims about the Nokia X30 5G with the amount of recycled materials used in the handset’s construction. It has a 100 percent recycled aluminum frame and back panel made from 65 percent recycled plastic and ships in a box made from 70 percent recycled paper. The company says it supports it with three years of OS upgrades and monthly security updates, and offers a three-year warranty as standard.
Trying to produce a more eco-friendly smartphone is a commendable initiative, but HMD’s efforts lag behind established smartphone specialists Fairphones. While its most recent device, the Fairphone 4, doesn’t use recycled aluminum, its back cover is made from 100 percent recycled plastic, its solder is made from 100 percent recycled tin, and it uses fair trade gold and conflict-free tungsten. Fairphone aims to support the phone with five years of security and software updates, rather than three years, and designs its devices to be as easy as possible for the end user to repair, with removable batteries that can be replaced when they wear out and so on. Removable parts with simple screws. None of these are featured on HMD’s Nokia X30 5G.
When I asked HMD these questions, its global head of product marketing, Adam Ferguson, told me that the company decided to focus on plastic and aluminum first because of the sheer volume of materials that go into a smartphone. “Our main focus is to address what we see as the two biggest issues where we can make a big difference [and which] 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.
Its sustainability credentials aside, the Nokia X30 5G is a fairly typical midrange device. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor with 6 or 8GB of RAM and a choice of 128 or 256GB of storage and features a 6.43-inch 1080p OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate. At the back is a 50-megapixel main camera with a 13-megapixel ultrawide 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 subscription service Circular, which will cost £25 per month in the UK with an introductory fee of £30. The idea is that rather than buying the phone outright, customers can rent their handset for at least three months on a rolling subscription agreement. The catch is that they have to recycle the device or reuse it at the end of the subscription. HMD also hopes to encourage consumers to use the devices longer by offering credits that can be invested in charitable causes.
Along with the Nokia X30 5G, HMD is announcing two additional smartphones today. First up is the Nokia G60 5G, a £249 (€319) handset that’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor and comes with 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 display instead of OLED. The display is 6.58 inches with a refresh rate of 120Hz. On the back it has three cameras: a 50-megapixel main camera, a 5-megapixel ultrawide and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. It’s available in the UK from today and will also be available on circular for £12.50 per month with a £30 set-up fee.
Finally, there’s the Nokia C31, a €129 handset that HMD says can offer three days of battery life thanks to its 5,050mAh battery. It is powered by a Unisoc 9863A1 processor, with a choice of 3 or 4GB of RAM and expandable storage between 32 and 128GB. Its screen is 6.7 inches but only at 720p, and its trio of rear cameras are led by a 13-megapixel main sensor. HMD promises to support it with two years of security updates, but it won’t receive any major Android OS updates. UK availability has not yet been announced.