Remember Fairphone? The phone that promised to be sustainable through upgradeability, and repairability? Well, the Dutch company really lives up to its promise by releasing the 4th-gen device only two years after the last. Though sooner than it was between Fairphone 2 and Fairphone 3, it is still quite a long period by today’s standards.
I am guessing this quicker new phone introduction this time is to keep up with the latest in radio technology, i.e. 5G, which the new Fairphone 4 now touts. That’s right. Fairphone not only has a modular design that allows it to be upgraded repaired but it is also fast too. Even more amazing is, despite it not using glue, it managed an IP54 rating.
Well, fast in perhaps in the area of connectivity. We can’t say the same for the system on chip which is a mid-range SoC, the Snapdragon 750G. Not that the 750G is shabby but you get the idea.
The mobile platform is backed by either 6 or 8 GB RAM and 128 or 256 GB storage. Sadly, it does appear to have expandable storage and there is no headphone jack too. Ugh. TBH, those are not something I thought a responsible phone should be omitting. Just saying…
Back to the specs.. they are nothing shocking. It includes a 6.3-inch FHD+ display, dual 48 MP rear cameras (f1.6 and f2.2), a 25 MP selfie camera (f 2.2 with HDR support), dual-band WiFi, Bluetooth 5.1 + LE, NDC, dual SIM, USB Type-C, fingerprint sensor on the power button, and a 3,905 mAh lithium battery that is removable.
The highlights, however, are not the specs but on how it is built and the aforementioned modular nature, affording it upgradability and repairability which all work to make it a sustainable device. And then there’s, of course, the whopping 5 years warranty, as opposed to the norm of a year. Meaning this phone is expected to last that long.
In the area of sustainable materials, the plastic back is made from recycled plastic, and the phone is certified Fairtrade Gold. This means the materials are responsibly sourced and conflict-free, plus the phone’s aluminum body is machined from aluminum from ASI-certified vendors.
In addition, the phone also touts itself as electronic waste neutral. This means 100% compensation for the material it has put into the market by either responsibly recycling or giving one old phone a second life.
But the real question here is, how upgradable/repairable is the phone? The phone has 8 major components covered, including the front and rear camera modules, the USB port, the loudspeaker, the earpiece, the display, the battery, and the back cover.
Those should be enough to keep the phone going for a long time. However, these parts do not come cheap. Neither is the handset itself. Then again, sustaining a small company that is doing its part for the environment isn’t cheap either. So, if you can afford it, why not give Fairphone 4 a thought? It can be had for €579-649 (about US$654-733).
All images courtesy of Fairphone.