Eco-friendly smartphones are a sadly under-represented niche, but there’s one company making sustainable phones, and it’s just released its newest device – the Fairphone 3.
The Fairphone 3 is the successor to the Fairphone 2 (obviously) from Dutch start-up Fairphone (equally obvious), that uses sustainably sourced materials, decent factory working conditions for employees and recycled parts, to create modern smartphones.
These are issues that some other smartphone companies perpetuate, so if you care about the planet (and your fellow humans), Fairphones are worth looking into. So what can you expect from the Fairphone 3?
A modular smartphone
It has a 5.7-inch Full-HD display, and the same chunky design as previous Fairphone handsets.
It comes with a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, a new feature for the brand, and the same modular design as its predecessors – this means you can easily take it apart if one part breaks, and you don’t have to rely on repair shops.
The device has an IP54 protection rating, which gives it limited protection against dust and splashing but not immersion in water or too many particles. While the Fairphone 3 comes from the ground, you might want to be careful in case it returns there.
The Fairphone 3 will launch with Android 9 onboard, which is the newest available Google operating system. Also, it has NFC, which is a feature not all budget smartphones have, and can be a really useful feature for people who like to do banking on their phone. The device runs on Snapdragon 632, a decent mid-range chipset.
It comes with a 12MP rear camera and 8MP front-facing snapper. Those are fairly low-end camera specs, and in general the Fairphone 3 resembles an affordable smartphone, down to the 3.5mm headphone jack which many high-end devices have dropped.
Something that’s unlike a budget smartphone is the fact the Fairphone 3 has a USB-C port, while many low-end phones still use micro USB. Saying that, there’s no charger or USB-C cable included in the box, so you’re going to need to already own one.
There’s a 3,000mAh battery too, with an unspecified level of fast charging. This battery is removable, unlike nearly all other smartphone power packs, which is part of the aforementioned modular design.
In terms of price, the Fairphone 3 costs €450 – that converts to roughly $500 / £400 / AU$740, although we expect the price will vary quite a bit by region, and we don’t know exactly where the device will launch.
That price is for a device with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal memory, which can be expanded with a microSD card.
The Fairphone 3 seems to have the features of a budget phone, but the price of a mid-ranger – but if that extra cash you spend goes to making a more sustainable phone with better working conditions for the people who make it, is that not better than having more cameras or higher-end specs?
TechRadar is going to bring the Fairphone 3 into its labs soon to see how well it truly runs though, so stay tuned for our full review.