Nokia’s New Pink Phone Is Very Sweet, but It’s Hardly Going to Claw Back Market Share

Nokia’s New Pink Phone Is Very Sweet, but It’s Hardly Going to Claw Back Market Share

My first phone wasn’t a Nokia, but my second phone was. I got it after I proved I could have a phone, ie that I wouldn’t abuse the privilege as a young teen with access to texting. I thoroughly loved that thing – Snake and personalised ringtones that sounded fantastic at the time, but would be borderline torture to hear nowadays. I’m sure that memory is similar for many of you.

In 2023, Nokia isn’t as common as it once was, at least not in the consumer phone space. The company, in various outposts around the world, has been involved in many an infrastructure build, but it also has been still making phones. Nokia delivers phones under the HMD brand in Australia. The company is made up of the mobile phone business that Nokia sold to Microsoft in 2014, then bought back in 2016. I’d argue it’s the ‘Nokia’ part of its brand that has Aussies buying phones, but the company wants to make a name for itself under HMD. I’m not sure that will work, but hey, I’m not in marketing. Regardless, the phones are still the same under the hood, no matter which branding they come with.

Nokia G42 5G – but make it So Pink

Nokia has recently released the Nokia G42 5G in a colour it’s calling So Pink! A fitting name, considering this thing is Barbie-pilled and as bright pink as you’d imagine.

It’s actually a nice enough phone. It packs Android 13 and promises two years of OS upgrades. Inside, you’ll find Qualcomm Snapdragon 480+ 5G CPU, with 128GB of storage. It has a face unlock feature (the Android type), fingerprint too if you aren’t a fan of the 2D biometric. The fingerprint setup was getting quite annoying, demanding I use the tip of my finger – which I, and many of the people this phone is geared towards, unable to do so due to fake nails. Anyway. The battery is replaceable – a rarity in 2023.

That’s actually quite important to its go-to-market for the G42. Nokia has been releasing several budget-oriented smartphones with a focus on user repairability – that the owner can just fix any problems themselves. At $450, The Nokia G42 5G is now the leading phone with this vision, although the company has previously released cheaper DIY repairable phones at cheaper price points, such as the Nokia G22, at $350.

The G42 5G is packed with fairly budget specs, but with the ability to repair all yourself, it offers a tremendous value proposition that is not easily met by the other phones in the market.

The average cost to repair a broken screen alone in Australia is more than $300 and the average cost to replace a battery is more than $100 the iFixit screen replacement kit for the Nokia G42 is $89.99 and the battery replacement kit costs $49.99, including the tools. It’s an easy sell.

Nokia G42
So sparkly. Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Nokia wants to have a phone for everyone. Last year, it delivered nostalgia with the 2660 Flip 4G. A phone for people who want a social media detox, a second phone for work to just take work calls on, or for anyone with extracurricular activities we would not condone.

Now with the G42, in particular the So Pink version (it also comes in black and purple), it’s very clear who Nokia is targeting this one at. And it’s not being silly about it – the phone is a super affordable $449. With the promise you don’t need a case for it, the pink can be seen far and wide and in the Gizmodo Australia office, the Nokia G42 in pink was met with many comments about how much some of the women would’ve loved this phone when they were 16. But the problem with this demographic, is cracking the iPhone elites.

I don’t know anyone who is 16, so I couldn’t ask their thoughts, but the Nokia G42 has to not only compete with other Android handsets, but also the behemoth that is Apple.

Does it compete?

The first thing to remember is that the Nokia G42 is only $449. The Google Pixel 7a (last year’s budget offering from the Search giant) is $749. The cheapest iPhone 15 is $1,499. The Nokia G42 is fully repairable. Plus, it’s pink.

Nokia G42
Gotta keep the pink theme. Image: Gizmodo Australia

When talking operating system, the Nokia G42 delivers a nice Android experience, and the customisation features are what you’d expect from a handset running the OS. In the hand, it doesn’t feel too bad – but it does seem like $449-worth of phone, particularly when in my other hand is Apple’s titanium iPhone 15 Pro Max. The Pro Max, however, is $2,450 more expensive. You could buy six Nokia G42s in pink and get some change.

If I had to give an answer, the Nokia G42 is fine, especially if you just want to do some basic social media scrolling, average photo taking, and message friends throughout the day. Although, the screen is very rough-looking, with pixels clear when it comes to reading font and watching content.

The battery life of the Nokia G42 is nothing to scoff at, though. In every device we can, we gauge the battery via a test of streaming Avengers: Endgame on full brightness, high-quality stream (over Wi-Fi), with volume at max. Starting at 100 per cent, after the first hour, the pink phone was down to 92 per cent, 86 per cent at the end of hour two,  and as the credits were rolling at the end of the third hour, there was 80 per cent of battery left.

Scrolling Instagram for a bit and using TikTok, I didn’t need to charge it when I went to bed. I woke up the next morning with 42 per cent. Nokia reckons you’ll get three days out of the handset before you need to plug it in.

It’s got a nice, haptic response about it (90Hz refresh rate) and feels nice in my hand (size wise – it’s a 6.5-inch screen that measures 165 mm x 75.8 mm x 8.55 mm and it weighs 193.8 grams). Calls were clear enough, but the brightness could be, well, brighter.

Nokia G42
Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

A good enough camera

The Nokia G42 actually has a 50 MP main camera (!!!). The shots aren’t great, but they’re not terrible. Although, through the viewfinder the pic looks awful – AI does heaps here to make the shots look better than they seem. Here’s how it looks.

Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

The pic above was taken before sunset, which meant there was sun but this neglected building was shaded. Colours are pretty true-to-life, but the pic looks like it’s had a smoothness filter applied (it hasn’t).

Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Across the road was the perfect opportunity to test how shadows and almost unbearable brightness would be rendered.

Full sun proved to be too much for the Nokia G42.

Nokia G42 (left), iPhone 15 Pro Max (right). Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

When zooming in close on something with the camera app, a prompt pops up to ask if you want to switch to macro mode. While it’s very unfair comparing the Nokia G42 to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, it’s important to see what macro photography is meant to look like.

Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

The Nokia G42 did a good job of adding light to this shot taken at 9pm, but it’s got that Bold and the Beautiful softness to it that looks very fake.

Nokia G42 (left), iPhone 15 Pro Max (right). Image: Asha Barbaschow/Gizmodo Australia

Again, comparing the Nokia to the iPhone is unfair, but the left is the G42.

Should you buy the Nokia G42 in pink?

If you love pink, yes. If you want a phone that doesn’t need a case and costs under $500, yes. If you love the idea of a phone you can repair, then also yes. If you want the best phone on the market, the G42 isn’t that phone, and that’s ok. It knows what it is and what it is, is what it’s doing perfectly well.

Where to buy the Nokia G42 in So Pink!

Nokia Australia $449 | JB Hi-Fi $449

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