We took a look on a brand new modular smartphone, so just had to write a Fairphone 4 review. Here we’ve put together the things you absolutely must know before you buy a Fairphone 4.
Fairphone 4 Manufactures
Launched in 2013 because founder Tessa Wernink wanted to start a movement to encourage change in the manufacture and distribution of mobile telephones. The idea was to make sure their product uses fair and ethical working and production conditions throughout its supply chain. If Fairphone could do it, hopefully that would be a shining example for other manufacturers to learn from.
Fairphone is not just a phone, it’s important to remember that it’s a brand, manufacturer and a range of phones that carries their name. Making it clear on their website that they care for both people and the planet, Fairphone strive to build a better world by improving practices in the supply chain. Rather than pretending all problems can be resolved overnight, they aim to make changes to improve our world incrementally.
One of the clearest steps Fairphone have made for the environment is to create a mobile phone that can be repaired and upgraded by individual users. Fairphone’s smartphones are modular in design whic not only allows their phones to have an increased life-span, it also allows for more customisation which is something we all love.
How is this phone made fair?
In essence, Fairphone have an overall plan to make everything more sustainable, environmentally friendly and fair for both producers and consumers of their phones. To achieve this, Fairphone almost have to split everything into two halves.
- End users
On one side, is the production, including resources, how they are obtained and how workers involved in the recovery of resources and manufacture of the phones. The other side is the end user, how they use the phones, repair the phones and replace or dispose of the smartphones they purchased. Out of that was born the Fairphone and its latest iteration, the Fairphone 5.
Podcast about Farphone
Listen to this podcast from the founder of Fairphone, Bas van Abel. During the Team Human podcast, Van Abel talks us through the “radical idea that technology should be built without exploiting human laborers and destroying the planet”.
Thanks to the Team Human podcast, we also came across a documentary about Fairphone we think would be great for you to watch and get some extra context about the creation of the Fairphone and thus the Fairphone 4.
What is Fairphone 4?
The mobile phones produced by Fairphone focus a lot on sustainability and the ability for users to repair and upgrade their own smartphone. As a result, a thought came into our head that a Fairphone could be lacking in power without the best processor, ram or screen quality.
Is having slightly less power than competing smartphones a negative? We don’t see any reason why it should be since these phones can still run the latest version of android with ease. A lot of new ‘innovations’ are just vanity projects to keep us buying new phones that we don’t actually need.
Fortunately that doesn’t seem to be the case and Fairphone 4 might be the answer we’ve been looking for.
Why is Fairphone 4 green?
The green, environmentally friendly credentials of Fairphone’s products start with the extraction of its components including rare earth minerals. Fairphone 4 has transparent supply chains set up for a lot of the rare earth minerals it needs to be extracted which will help the earth itself and the people working in the supply chain to be treated better.
By working to use fairer sourced, recycled and responsibly mined rare earth materials instantly puts Fairphone 4 head and shoulders above most of its rivals. With a focus on improving job satisfaction for supply chain workers, Fairphone list some suppliers on their website and show the journey materials go through to make your Fairphone 4.
Starting at the end at the beginning, Fairphone 4 ails to be a totally zero waste smartphone. Fairphone aim to ensure their 4th phone becomes the first and only phone with a pledge of this type. They can claim this because they say an equal amount of e-waste will be recycled for every device and spare part sold.
Fairphone 4 Supply Chain
From Fairphone’s page mapping the journey of your new Fairphone 4 is this interactive map where you can see the location of supplier and manufacturers with an easy to understand direction of movement.
The democratisation of the smartphone has been advanced by Fairphone’s modular makeup. Modularity allows for user repair, maintenance and upgrades. So when we mention the Fairphone 4 may have less power than the latest phones released at the same time, in another three years when those phones no longer have the latest tech, you could be upgrading your Fairphone 4 with hardware that exceeds them.
Being modular and empowering customers will reduce the total number of phones that need to be produced, relieving pressure on rare earth mining and global supply chains. End of life care is much simplified with modular setup because the parts are already separated. Any further processing is simplified. As a combination of those factors, fewer Fairphone 4 will end up in landfill as more people will re-use them and recycling is much easier.
See how Fairphone deal with recycling customer phones and will even accept your random phones even if you’re not a customer.
Look and Feel
The first thing you’ll notice is this phone has a nice weight to it. The feel is silky and premium, so you won’t look at all like an idiot whipping this bad boy out in public and using it in front of everyone as they watch you. Removing the back cover, you can easily see where all of the modular parts go. Using the screwdriver that comes with your phone, you can take it all apart. Everything about Fairphone 4 looks so professional and easy for you to work with.
This is an unboxing video that takes you through everything you need to know, including intimate features of the Fairphone 4.
Why should we buy a Fairphone 4?
For one, you can easily repair it yourself. We’ve gone over reasons mobile phones die and breaking a screen is probably going to be the most popular reason for a lot of us. With Fairphone 4, it is actually really simple to replace a broken screen in a way that isn’t the case for almost every other new phone available on the market today. Here is a really good teardown video so you can see just how easy it is to service your Fairphone 4.
Then of course is the supply chain, which they’ve tried to make fairer for everyone. It’s a much fairer and more ethical way to source a phone.
What network should we use with the Fairphone?
The best green mobile phone network to use your new or pre-loved Fairphone could very well be the Honest Mobile network. Honest Mobile use the UK’s Three Mobile network primarily, but have a deal in place where their users can switch between other UK networks if their signal loses strength.
|Operating system||Android™ 11|
|Performance||Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G (SM7225)|
|Storage||6GB/8GB RAM • 128GB/256GB internal storage|
|Battery||3905 mAh removable Li-ion battery|
|Display||6,3 inch Full HD+|
|Cameras||Dual 48MP rear cameras • F1.6 and 2.2|
, 25MP selfie camera • F/2.2 with HDR support
|Wireless & location||Wi-Fi dual band (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz) . Bluetooth® 5.1 + LE|
|Network||2x Dual sim 5G|
|Connectors & sensors||USB Type -C|
|Media & audio||USB Type C|
|Design||Unique modular design with IP54|
|Sustainability||TCO Certified, Blue Angel Certified|
9,3 out of 10 repairability score (256GB variant)
|Versions||– 6GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage Color: Grey|
– 8GB RAM and 256 GB internal storage Color: Grey, Green and Speckled Green
Overall, we think you should give the Fairphone a shot when your current green mobile dies. As soon as your phone is on its last legs and you’re ready to change to a Fairphone, you can participate in their Reuse and Recycle programme.
Fairphone will take care of all phones they receive, with 55% being refurbished and sold on through a trusted partner so someone else in need of a phone can make use of it. The other 45% of phones are recycled, ensuring the valuable components inside are used again.
Boasting a nice five-year warranty alongside a promise to keep spare parts and software support available for that long so you can still operate your phone without worrying something is going to stop working at random.
Buy a Fairphone 4 in the UK starting from £499. You get a 14 day return for your purchase direct from the manufacturer.