Fairphone Review


~ At a Quick Glance 

  • Founded: 2013
  • Origin: Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Located: Global
  • Focus: Sustainable Smartphones
  • Sustainable Materials: Recycled plastic
  • Most Popular Item: Fairphone 3


~ Brand Details

Fairphone is a social enterprise technology company that was born from the idea to create a more sustainable smartphone. It was founded in the Netherlands by a group of environmentally conscious entrepreneurs who wanted to change the inherent unsustainability of smartphones. In a world where the majority of brands create smartphones that are designed to be discarded, Fairphone strives to create smartphones that last longer, are repairable, and that cause minimal environmental impact. 

Fairphone was built on the concept that smartphones do not need to be so easily discarded. Noticing that other smartphone brands make their products in a way that replacing them becomes easier than repairing them, Fairphone geared its designs to instead be easily repairable, and with added durability to deter the need to fix them altogether.

Fairphone designs smartphones in compartmentalized parts. They make parts easily available for when users need to replace broken parts. They even release tutorials on how to fix the smartphones on your own, killing the smartphone repair market by producing a more reliable product that can be self-sustained. 


~ Backstory

Fairphone was founded by Bas van Abel, Tessa Wernink and Miquel Ballester in 2013. Previously, it existed as a campaign with a mission statement: ‘bring a fair smartphone to the market – one designed and produced with minimal harm to the people and the planet’.

Although it strives to be an environmentally friendly brand, Fairphone does acknowledge that it is not entirely possible to create a completely sustainable smartphone. Because of this, they also aim to spread consumer awareness. Fairphone becomes more sustainable with each product they release, as well as becoming more consumer-friendly. Fairphone hopes that in the future, a completely sustainable smartphone will be viable. This is the goal that they are actively working towards.

In its startup, Fairphone was supported by the Waag Society – a foundation that aims to foster experimentation with new technologies, arts, and cultural movements.

Fairphone was developed to be as sustainable and to have as little environmental impact as possible. Fairphone products do not contain any minerals that are often found in other smartphone brands – such as gold, silver, tantalum, and tungsten. 

The Fairphone 2 was the first ever modular smartphone. Its design is composed of a series of separate pieces that make it easier to repair and upgrade when compared to other similar cellphones on the market. 

Fairphone Logo
Fairphone Review

(source)


~ Rating

4 STARS – Fairphone’s heart is definitely in the right place, but their products struggle to compete in the market and have yet to achieve total sustainability. Their products can fall a little bit behind trends and have struggled to gain consumer traction. That being said, their products are still of high quality and are extremely sustainable, especially given the industry standards of every other brand that they are competing with. 

See what others think of Fairphone below (or leave your own review at the bottom of the page)


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~ Brand Breakdown

Fairphone aims to keep up with the trends that other smartphones follow while breaking the trends that make smartphones inherently unsustainable.

They are unique in the smartphone industry because of their focus on sustainability. 

Hopefully, Fairphone will develop smartphones that appeal to more consumers. They could do this by reducing the bulkiness of their products and by ensuring that they are still maintaining the current industry standard.

Fairphone is gaining more popularity and will continue to do so as more people tire of replacing their smartphones once they are deemed unfixable or too expensive to fix. Unlike other smartphones, Fairphones are not designed to break and be replaced in a short period of time. Unless other brands work to improve these flaws, Fairphone will capture more of the market with the strong selling point of their durability. 

Pros

  • Minimal environmental impact
  • Designed to last
  • Fixable

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Lacking features compared to other smartphones

The most sustainable thing about Fairphone lies in its design. Unlike other smartphone brands, Fairphone is designed to last and be easily repaired. Fairphone is composed of parts that are easy to take apart and replace if need be – it is actually so easy, that they have released online tutorials to show users how to do it themselves. 

Leading smartphone brands are raking in cash by making smartphone repair a market on its own. It is often unaffordable to repair a phone, leading customers to simply purchase a new one. This line of thinking makes money, but it is shockingly harmful to the earth. These leading brands use materials that negatively impact the earth, both through their toxicity and through harmful mining processes. Fairphone eliminates any harmful materials to the fullest extent that is currently possible, while continuously striving to eliminate any harmful products completely. 

Fairphone’s founder and CEO Bas van Abel  was awarded the German Environmental Award in 2016 due to the work he has done with Fairphone. Fairphone is the most sustainable cellphone on the market, it is one of a kind and aims to break the boundaries that other brands have created. It was the first and only smartphone to be awarded a 10 out of 10 score at iFixit for repairability. Fairphone is a certified Benefit Corporation. Fairphone 2 was the first smartphone to receive a Blue Angel certification. 

Blue Angel (Der Blaue Engel) is a German certification for products and services that have notable eco-friendly aspects. It has been awarded to industry leaders who are actively environmentally friendly since 1978. It is the oldest eco-label in the world, and covers over 10,000 products and services in 80 categories. Fairphone is the only smartphone to be ranked by Blue Angel. 

Fairphone is also dedicated to ethical labor in their production line. While some smartphone brands have become notorious for the poor working conditions that their factory workers face, Fairphone guarantees that this is not the case for their workers. 

Fairphone is the only smartphone brand that prioritizes the environment before profits. 


Top 5 Selling Items


Fairphone 1

The first Fairphone was a revolutionary invention – it was the first ever smartphone designed with sustainability in mind. It used an Android operating system and a quad-core processor. The memory was quite small at 1GB. It did not gain huge consumer popularity but rather serves as a step towards Fairphone’s ultimate goal of sustainability 

Fairphone has discontinued the Fairphone 1 and no longer supports parts for it or releases updates for the operating system. Their press release surrounding the matter states that it was a sad decision for them, but it was necessary because stocking the parts to repair Fairphone 1 had become more unsustainable than repairing it. Luckily, the brand did not let this failure bring them down as they continued to release new and improved versions of their first creation. 


Fairphone 2 

The Fairphone 2 was a massive improvement on the initial idea. Equipped with more memory and power and designed with sustainability in mind, it served as an eloquent solution to the problems of the smartphone industry while being a massive step-up from the first Fairphone.

Fairphone 2 specs:

  • Operating system. Android 
  • Performance. Qualcomm Snapdragon 801. 2GB RAM.
  • Storage. 2GB internal storage
  • Display. 5 inch
  • Cameras. 8MP
  • Network. Dual Nano-SIM.


Fairphone 3

The latest Fairphone on the market is the best to date. It actually beats out a lot of competitors with its impressive specs and maintains the same high level of sustainability. 

Fairphone 3 features:

  • Operating system. Android 9.
  • Performance. Qualcomm Snapdragon 632. 4GB RAM.
  • Storage. 64GB internal storage
  • Battery. 3,000mAH removable Li-ion battery.
  • Display. 5.65-inch Full HD+ 18:9.
  • Cameras. 12MP rear camera • f/1.8 • Dual Pixel
  • Network. Dual Nano-SIM.


Fairphone cover

Fairphone covers come in a variety of colors and serve as extra protection. Composed of recycled polycarbonate plastic, they are designed to be smooth, stylish, and to let you rest assured that your Fairphone will be protected. 


USB-C Charger

The Fairphone 3 charges via a USB-C connection: the new industry standard for smartphones. The Fairphone USB-C charging cable is a reliable and stylish cable. The sleek braided cable is designed to be durable and reliable. It is 1.2m and guaranteed to be more durable than a standard charging cable that most smartphones offer. 


~ Final Thoughts

Fairphone is illustrating that the smartphone market does not have to be unnecessarily unsustainable. They struggle to compete in the current market yet their message is invaluable and their mission is one that should urgently be adopted by all tech companies. Technology can be sustainable and functional, and Fairphone is showing the world how it is done. 


~ Q&A’s


What makes Fairphone sustainable?

Fairphone’s main sustainable quality is its durability and repairability.

Is Fairphone manufactured ethically?

Yes – Fairphone is dedicated to ethical labor practices.

Is there a warranty?

Yes – most Fairphone products have a one year warranty.

How easy is it to fix Fairphones?

Much easier than any other smartphone. Fairphone even creates online tutorials that show users how to fix their phones on their own. 


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