Cell phone manufacturers are battling to design aesthetically pleasing phones with impressive performance, but often neglect their products' repairability and impact on the planet. Fairphone, on the other hand, has been producing handsets that are sustainable and produced ethically. Now, nearly three years after its second handset's release, the company has just announced the Fairphone 3, a modular mid-range phone built with sustainability in mind.
The Fairphone 3 isn't for everyone; instead it's for those who "dare to care," as the company likes to put it. Care about what, exactly? Most importantly, Fairphone handsets are built with recycled materials and fairly-sourced goods, which guarantee they have a limited environmental impact, unlike most phones on the market. There's also a big emphasis on repairability, and the prior-gen Fairphone 2 received acclaim for getting the highest score on iFixit.
These concerns take precedence over things like aesthetics and performance, as should be evident from the pretty bland design (with its imposing forehead and chin), or the phone's middle-of-the-road silicon.
There's also no water-resistance, but then again if something ever does get fried, this hardware's designed for easy component replacement . It even comes with a screwdriver in the box, and spare parts — or modules — are available on the company's site so you can swap them out at a breeze. The 3,000mAh battery is also removable, which has become a rarity in 2019. Continuing with the theme of sustainability, there are no earphones or charger provided in the box, as you're likely to have some at home already.
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 632|
|Storage||64GB + microSD slot|
|Display||5.65 inch Full HD+ 18:9 LCD|
|Cameras||12MP rear + 8MP front|
|Fingerprint scanner||Yes (on the back)|
|Connectors||USB-C, 3.5mm jack|
In terms of its components, the Fairphone offers a fair deal: For €450 you get relatively good specs, such as a Snapdragon 632 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage. It's got a 5.65-inch Full HD+ display, two SIM slots, a microSD slot, a fingerprint scanner on the back, NFC support, a 3.5mm jack, a 12MP rear camera, and an 8MP front camera.
Buying the Fairphone is more about making a statement than getting a powerful phone. It only has a single rear camera, an outdated design, and an average processor, but it provides something unique in being eco-friendly and sustainable, which pretty much no competitor offers today.
The Fairphone 3 can be pre-ordered starting today for €450 ($500) in most of Europe, with shipments headed out at the end of September.