Nokia G22 Review
The Nokia G22's easily repairable nature doesn't make up for slow performance
The Nokia G22 is a phone you can repair yourself, without the need for any real expertise or expensive equipment. However, the phone itself is just OK, and isn’t that much fun to use as it feels quite slow.
- User-replaceable elements
- 128GB of fairly fast storage
- Affordable pricing
- Feels slow, even for the basics
- Triple rear camera array is much like a single camera
- Repairs may still be too fiddly for some
- UKRRP: £169
- User-replaceable elementsMade to be easily repairable, the Nokia G22 has a clip-in back, while iFixit sells kits to replace the battery, display and rear cover.
- 50MP cameraWhile there are three cameras on the Nokia G22’s back, only the 50MP one is notable, as the other are poor quality depth and macro sensors.
- 3-day battery lifeHMD claims the Nokia G22’s battery can last up to 3 days. This won’t hold true for keen phone users, but it is a relatively long-lasting Android.
The Nokia G22 is a basic phone with a neat twist. You can repair it yourself. Nokia has partnered with self-repair master iFixit to provide kits to replace the battery, the rear cover, and even the display or USB socket. No specialist equipment required, just a little patience, care and manual dexterity.
That’s great. But how long you will actually want to live with the Nokia G22 is another issue. Your standards had better not be too high, as this phone has a poor processor.
Not being able to play complex 3D games well is no big issue, but the laboured feel of basic navigation is. The Nokia G22 is a decent phone for those with patience. Make sure you have enough of it.
The Nokia G22 was released in early 2023 and costs £169. This makes it something of a competitor to another “G22” phone, the Motorola Moto G22.
Design and screen
- User-replaceable battery and display
- Plastic casing, but not a bad-looking one
- Low-res 90Hz display
Nokia makes a lot of basic plastic phones that cater for people who don’t want to spend too much on, or spend hours researching, their next phone buy. The Nokia G22 is one of these.
However, it does look a little slicker than some entry-level Androids. It has a gloss plastic back and a fairly nicely-designed camera area. It looks and feels decent, but glossy plastic never ages too well, not in my hands anyway. Little nicks and scuffs will be shown off pretty clearly.
The Nokia G22 is not notably water resistant either, with a poor IP52 rating. It has a good excuse, though.
This phone is designed to be pulled apart, using tools so basic you could improvise some of them. The crux: a Nokia G22’s back is not glued in place. That was the number one nightmare when I tried to replace the screen of a flagship Huawei phone a few years ago. It didn’t end that well.
The process here is relatively easy, but will still be intimidating to some. You stick a plastic wedge tool in a little gap on the side and run it around the phone’s sides to loosen the clips. The rest just requires a small screwdriver and some manual dexterity. You do have to deal with a fragile ribbon cable for the fingerprint scanner, and some fiddly, tiny, shielding panels. But when I went through the process of switching the battery, it took around five minutes.
Why isn’t it like the old days when you could rip off a phone’s back and just slot a new battery brick in? The aim here is to make the Nokia G22 look, feel and operate like a normal phone. To use the old style would require a much smaller battery or a much thicker phone. Possibly both.
Other notable parts here include the Nokia G22’s headphone jack — it actually has one — and its single speaker driver on the bottom, for onboard audio. It doesn’t sound brilliant or embarrassing. Maximum volume is solid enough, but like most cheaper Androids it lacks the lower-frequency punch of the best phones speakers.
The Nokia G22 has a large but somewhat primitive screen. It’s a 6.5-inch 720p LCD panel with a 90Hz refresh rate. You may notice the lower resolution when reading articles or when multi-tasking. At times the picture looks almost sharpened, with a slight white halo around text in certain places, while the rest of the time it lacks the pristine appearance of a 1080p phone — available for just a little more money these days.
However, for the most part it’s a perfectly solid screen for a lower-cost phone. Sharpness is OK, colour doesn’t appear super-undersaturated and contast is acceptable. Sure, if you whack up the brightness in a dark room the blacks will start to look grey, but phones like this prove you have to go pretty cheap to find a truly bad display.
Want to know some deeper impressions? The Nokia G22 is a bad example of a 90Hz screen. You can set it to an Auto mode that uses 90Hz when it makes sense, or lock it to 60Hz. However, you can’t appreciate the higher refresh rate too much here as fast motion causes a smearing effect in the panel and there are common stutters on scrolling.
Brightness is not ultra-high either, but could be a lot worse considering the Nokia G22’s low price. At first I assumed the phone had no “high brightness mode”, which phones switch to when out in the sunshine, to handle high ambient light levels. The screen doesn’t become unreadable, but it does struggle.
However, it turns out there is a slight boost in such conditions, just not a dramatic one. The Nokia G22 will reach a decent 534 nits indoors, 648 nits in bright sunlight. Not brilliant, but not bad at all for £170.
- Very clean take on Android 12
- Poor general performance
- A good amount of storage
The Nokia G22 has a Unison T606 processor, used in few popular mobiles to date bar the previous-generation Nokia G21 and Samsung Galaxy A03. It is a poor CPU, despite having eight cores like the big hitters.
Its benchmark performance is poor, earning 1231 points in Geekbench 6 (1193 in Geekbench 5) and a dismal 421 points in 3Dmark’s Time Spy test. These are bad scores, and roughly 20% lower than also-weak rivals like the Xiaomi Poco M5s.
To an extent benchmarks are a bit pointless in an entry-level phone like this. And I don’t think it matters if the Nokia G22 can’t handle games like Fornite well. However, it does need to deliver at least solid baseline performance, and I don’t think it does.
App loads are slow. Jumping between apps is too. Lag is a consistent devil on your shoulder, reminding you of your previous purchase decisions. You had better believe in the Nokia G22’s sustainability cred. There’s a sense you have to wait for the G22 to catch up with your commands at times. It gets old quick, particularly if you will be switching from an old phone that still runs Android well.
Want more info on the gaming side? The Nokia G22 can’t play Fortnite at all. The Epic app simply lists the phone as “unsupported”. Ark: Survival Evolved is pretty slideshow-like when graphics are maxed-out but it is comfortably playable if you drop a few settings down a bit. Despite poor benchmark scores, it can play some games generally considered demanding OK.
The slow general feel of the Nokia G22 doesn’t seem to be down to the storage. The generous 128GB internal memory might have been considered flagship-grade a few years ago. Its read specs of 430MB/s and writes of 313MB/s are not far off those of a SATA SSD.
You can blame the weak quad-core CPU and 4GB RAM for the G22’s performance problems. And there’s no extra software to drag it down either.
The Nokia G22 runs Android 12 and has a very clean approach to software with virtually no bloat. There’s a fairly rubbish My Device app made by HMD/Nokia, but a single simple app can only cause so much offence. And I wouldn’t have even noticed it was here were I not looking a little deeper for this review.
Android 12 isn’t the latest version of the system, though. Android 13 launched in August 2022, and other phones like the Nokia C32 already have the software. This disparity is down to the phone’s launch taking a bit longer owing to longer development times and the need to get the iFixit partnership ready for prime time.
This is also a 4G-only phone. While this may not bother too many of the folks who would be interested in this model, it does mean you are locked out of one of the biggest recent mobile advancements, 5G mobile internet.
- Don’t expect more than a single rear camera experience
- Poor, unstabilised video
- The primary camera works OK, with a bit of effort and know-how
The Nokia G22 has three rear cameras, but this feels very much like a single-camera phone. Meaningful additions would be a wide or zoom, but the G22 has a 2MP macro and a 2MP depth camera. These are cheap filler cameras that do not add to the experience all that significantly.
Nokia’s depth camera is the best of the two. It means you can take Portrait mode pics of any subject, not just people. Portrait is where the background is blurred, emulating the look of a wide-aperture DSLR lens.
Macro images are poor, and Nokia does its best to hide the mode from you anyway.
How are the “normal” images? They are passable. The Nokia G22 has an impressive-sounding 50MP sensor, but up close pictures have the almost painted look that often accompanies basic processing and/or a camera with very small sensor pixels. Sure enough, the Samsung JN1 sensor is small for a 50MP chip.
However, I wouldn’t expect anything less when shopping with this budget, and the Nokia G22 is perfectly capable of capturing decent photos. I also like that there’s a 2x zoom preset in the app, even if it is just a crop of the main camera.
At times I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how close daylight images get to those of a much more expensive phone. Dynamic range is sound and the impression of detail is good, even if images can look a little sharpened and synthetic right down at the pixel level.
However, at times the images’ colour can look a bit sickly and unrealistic, as if the processing has taken an image with a somewhat limited colour depth and just amped up the saturation.
I have also spotted some HDR ghosting on a couple of occasions — a rare sight these days — likely caused by either the Nokia G22’s inability to capture the constituent frames fast enough, or not having the smarts to compensate for motion during the compiling part of the processing stage.
The Nokia G22 also has a Night mode, one that takes significantly longer to take photos because it’s a computational mode that merges frames.
Neither mode — night or auto — produces good photos at night. While the Night mode’s images are a bit brighter and more colourful, details have all the solidity of vegetable puree. There is an answer, though. The Nokia G22 switches to a tripod setting in the Night mode when it detects the phone is perfectly still. Images take an age to capture, but they can look decent.
This isn’t a particularly good camera, but it does offer a way to take decent photos in most environments, if you try hard enough. The experience of shooting isn’t too bad either, with only minor shutter lag.
Video is pretty awful, though. The Nokia G22’s maximum capture mode is 1080p@30fps, and even if you drop down to 720p you are still stuck with 30fps. There’s also no form of stabilisation at all, making handheld footage look rubbish.
The Nokia G22’s front camera has an 8MP sensor that produces no more than acceptable images. While it can bring out fine detail like facial hair OK in good lighting, it doesn’t take much for pictures to become soft-looking or fuzzy.
- Supports up to 20W charging
- Good stamina, but not 3 days for most people as claimed
- No wireless charging
HMD didn’t send us a charger with the Nokia G22, but with a powerful plug you’ll find it can reach a fairly unimpressive 42% charge in 30 minutes. It supports up to 20W charging speeds according to its spec sheet.
The phone is also rated to retain 80% of its battery after 800 charging cycles — that’s higher than the 500 Apple claims, although I’d be surprised if HMD uses a higher-quality battery than Apple. It’s more likely “500” is just the default, conservative figure Apple has used for years on its support pages.
There’s a bigger claim too, that the Nokia G22 can last three days between charges. With fairly ordinary 5050mAh battery capacity, the only reasons for it to have outstanding battery life are its low resolution and weak processor.
I haven’t seen it last anything close to three days. Perhaps my parents, who are long-standing users of Motorola Moto series phones not dissimilar to the Nokia G22, could get it to last that long. They don’t use their phones all that intensively. But those of us who use our mobiles borderline too much? No chance.
I find the Nokia G22 typically lasts a day and a half, which is above average but no better than some phones I’ve used in the last 12 months that make no specific claims about “days” of battery stamina.
An hour of video streaming takes 8% off the charge level, suggesting it’s good for around 12.5 hours of video streaming.
Should you buy it?
You want a cheap repairable phone: the Nokia G22 is affordable, and core parts of it can be repaired or replaced using fairly friendly repair kits from respected brand iFixit. It could be better for the environment and your bank balance in the long run.
You want a zippy experience: Some won’t find the Nokia G22 all that fun to use. It has a weak processor whose limitations are quite obvious even when doing day-to-day basics. You can keep it going for the long haul, but will you want to?
The Nokia G22 is the most approachable repairable phone I’ve used. It comes from a much bigger name than the Fairphone 4 or Terracube 2E, and is loads cheaper than either of those models too.
Making repairability mainstream? Nothing wrong with that, even if I do think replacing the battery or screen would be beyond some people thanks to the fiddliness of the job. This repairability is derived by essentially weakening the phone’s construction. It’s now comparable to making your own PC — which may be easier than you think if that sounds intimidating.
However, I won’t go out of my way to recommend the Nokia G22 to too many people as it feels pretty slow. If you’re going to use your phone a lot, you should get something nippier. And if you are not, by the time the battery ages enough to warrant a replacement, the software will be so out of date you should probably consider changing phones anyway.
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We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry-standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Used as a main phone for the review period
Thorough camera testing in well-lit and low-light conditions
Tested and benchmarked using respected industry tests
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This phone is not water resistant, with a lowly water/dust ingress rating of IP52.
At the time of review the phone uses Android 12.
This phone does have a classic 3.5mm headphone input.