Fairphone, the producer targeted on making straightforward to restore smartphones made out of ethically sourced supplies, simply took the wraps off its fourth-generation handset. The Fairphone 4 makes use of a modular design that’s just like the corporate’s earlier telephones, solely now with extra highly effective internals, a five-year guarantee, and a promise of two main Android updates and software program assist till the top of 2025. Costs begin at €579 / £499 for the cellphone, which can ship on October twenty fifth.
I’ve been utilizing the Fairphone 4 for a few days as my major cellphone, and whereas I’m not prepared to provide a last verdict simply but, it seems like a giant step ahead in comparison with the dated designs and low-power elements discovered within the firm’s earlier telephones. Keep tuned for my full assessment.
Fairphone’s ambition is to supply a extra moral various to trendy smartphones. Which means making a tool that’s ethically sourced utilizing sustainable supplies earlier than offering the software program assist and guarantee to make it useable for so long as doable. Though Fairphone is barely guaranteeing software program assist till the top of 2025, it has ambitions to increase this so far as 2027. In a perfect world, Fairphone would additionally prefer to ultimately launch 2024’s Android 15 as an replace to the cellphone.
Usually, the specs of Fairphone’s gadgets are secondary to its moral concerns, however in contrast to its earlier telephones, the Fairphone 4 is aggressive with different mid-range Android handsets. The 5G handset is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 750G processor, and that’s paired with both 6 or 8GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of inner storage, expandable by way of microSD. It’s powered by a 3,905mAh detachable battery, and the show is a 6.3-inch 1080p LCD panel.
There are two rear cameras — a 48-megapixel principal digicam and a 48-megapixel ultrawide — and a single 25-megapixel selfie digicam. The principle rear digicam is provided with optical picture stabilization and might document at as much as 4K / 30fps.
A notable draw back in comparison with earlier Fairphones is that the Fairphone 4 not features a 3.5mm headphone jack, a alternative that feels at odds with the corporate’s in any other case customer-first method. Fairphone tells me it made this determination so as to have the ability to supply an official IP ranking for mud and water resistance, which was lacking from the corporate’s earlier telephones. It’s solely IP54, which suggests it’s protected against mild splashes relatively than full submersion, however that’s spectacular in mild of its detachable rear cowl and modular design.
Concerning its modularity, Fairphone is promoting eight restore modules for the cellphone, which embody alternative shows, batteries, again covers, USB-C ports, loudspeakers, earpieces, rear cameras, and selfie cameras. All of those are simply detachable utilizing a typical Philips head screwdriver, which suggests clients ought to be capable of perform a variety of repairs themselves. However, if that you must flip to an expert, Fairphone says its spare components are available for native restore outlets to purchase and use themselves.
Fairphone’s earlier two telephones are the one gadgets to have obtained excellent repairability scores from iFixit, and the corporate tells me it believes the Fairphone 4 is much more repairable.
The hope is for these spare components to be out there till a minimum of 2027. Fairphone has a superb monitor document with earlier gadgets, telling me it nonetheless has components in inventory for the six-year-old Fairphone 2, two years after the final handset was bought. However product supervisor Miquel Ballester concedes that the corporate has run out of sure components for that mannequin.
So too does Fairphone have a stable document on the software program aspect of offering main Android updates for its telephones… ultimately. Earlier this yr, the corporate formally launched its Android 9 replace for the Fairphone 2, a tool that initially launched with Android 5. It might have come virtually three years after Android 9’s authentic launch, nevertheless it signifies that the cellphone continues to run an formally supported model of Google’s working system. It bodes effectively for Fairphone’s assist aspirations for the Fairphone 4, though it must deal with the truth that Qualcomm solely formally helps its chipsets for 3 main OS updates and 4 years of safety updates, Ars Technica reports.
By way of supplies, the Fairphone 4 is made utilizing Fairtrade-certified gold; responsibly sourced aluminum and tungsten; and recycled tin, uncommon earth minerals, and plastic (together with its rear panel, which is one hundred pc recycled polycarbonate). The corporate has varied initiatives to enhance the working circumstances of miners and manufacturing facility staff concerned within the provide chains for its gadgets. Fairphone additionally claims that the Fairphone 4 is the “first electronic waste neutral handset” as a result of it’ll recycle one cellphone or an equal quantity of e-waste for every system bought.
The Fairphone 4 is accessible to preorder at the moment in Europe and will ship beginning October twenty fifth. The mannequin with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage prices €579 / £499, whereas the step-up mannequin with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage retails for €649 / ￡569. Sadly, there’s no signal of a US launch: Fairphone says it’s however that it’s specializing in Europe in the meanwhile.