The first Fairphone separated itself from the competition not through specs, as is usually the case, but through an eco-friendly, ethical approach.
Now, meet the Fairphone 3, its latest iteration, a modular device with mediocre specs but plenty of potential.
To be honest, the announcement is a breath of fresh air, especially when you see how this Dutch-made device tries to help with supply chain transparency, reusable materials, repairability and minimizing waste.
First off, it gets to you in sustainable and reusable packaging.
Then, the device itself is built with recycled copper, fairtrade gold (the makers say they’re the first to use this) and other materials sourced as ethically as possible.
Moreover, the company says the Fairphone 3 is assembled by workers whose salaries were bumped with bonuses offered by Fairphone themselves, to ensure that those workers, even though hired by suppliers, enjoy a living wage.
And now, the big differentiator of the Fairphone, the main user benefit.
This device offers something that very very few phones on the market today still do: the chance to repair it.
As we mentioned earlier, the Fairphone 3 is a modular smartphone phone that’s all about sustainability – think “repairable” and not “throw the whole thing away.”
Built out of 7 different modules, the Fairphone 3 makes it so that users don’t have to upgrade the entire device or replace it in case of damage.
They can just swap out the nonfunctioning module and order a replacement for it. Fairphone says that its researcher indicated that longer maintenance can lead to 30% savings of CO2 emissions.
When it comes to specifications, the Fairphone 3 is decidedly a low to mid-range device.
Before diving into the innards, it’s only fair to mention that, as a small, newish and niche vendor, it shouldn’t be judged too harshly for not keeping up with Xiaomi, Nokia and others.
It has a Full HD 5.7-inch display covered in Gorilla Glass 5 and runs Android 9.
For cameras it settles on a 12 MP Dual Pixel on the back and an 8 MP selfie camera.
Under the hood, a Qualcomm 632 chipset is paired with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage that can be extended with a microSD card.
The battery is 3,000 mAh with fast charge and is replaceable, which means you should be able to order an extra one to make quick swaps like back in the day ( instead of lugging around a power bank or bugging random baristas for a cable).
Right now, the Fairphone 3 is available on presale on the official website will launch on September 3 in Europe at 450 euros.
Considering specs alone, the price seems pretty steep, especially since vendors have spent all year cramming flagship features in low to mid-range devices.
However, the ambitious sustainability mission Fairphone has embarked on and invites others to join might make some consumers feel a lot better about paying a premium.
“We envision an economy where consideration for people and the planet is a natural part of doing business,” says Eva Gouwens, Fairphone’s CEO, adding that “by establishing a market for ethical products, we want to motivate the entire industry to act more responsibly, since we cannot achieve this change alone.”
You can read more about Fairphone’s goals and methods of reaching them here.