Once upon a time it was easy to find smartphones with removable back covers and user-replaceable batteries. But these days most smartphones are glued tightly shut, making them difficult to repair without specialized equipment and expertise.
This year HMD has started to make repairability a distinguishing feature though, starting with the Nokia G22 and G42 smartphones for the European market, and now with the new Nokia G310 5G, which is set to go on sale in the United States starting August 24th, 2023.
The Nokia 310 5G is a budget smartphone with a 6.56 inch, 1612 x 720 pixel, 90 Hz display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 480+ processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 5,000 mAh battery.
It does have three rear cameras, but they’re not that impressive: the primary camera has a 50MP sensor and support for autofocus, but the other two include a 2MP depth-sensing camera and a 2MP macro camera.
On the front of the phone there’s an 8MP fixed-focus camera. Other features include a USB 2.0 Type-C OTG port, support for WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.1, and support for 20W charging. The Nokia G310 5G has an aluminum chassis, Gorilla Glass 3 covering the display, and an IP52 rating for water and dust resistance. It also has stereo speakers, a fingerprint sensor in the power button, and support for face unlock.
The phone also has a few things that you don’t often find on pricier models anymore, including a 3.5mm audio jack and a microSD card reader with support for cards with capacities of up to 1TB.
But really the most interesting thing about this phone is that it’s part of HMD’s self-repair line of devices, which means you can find genuine replacement parts, repair tools, and repair guides at iFixit, allowing you to replace batteries, screens, ports, and back covers, among other things.
The Nokia G310 5G is the company’s first phone in the US market to come with this sort of support for self-repairs. But honestly, it’d be nice to see Nokia expand this program to include pricier phones.
A brand new Nokia G310 5G costs just $186, while a screen replacement kit runs $55. While I’m all for being able to repair broken parts rather than buying a brand new phone, I can’t help but think it’d be even more helpful if the company offered spare parts and repair guides for higher-priced models like the $500 Nokia XR21, where replacing a screen would be much cheaper than buying a new device.