why I hope the Fairphone 4 will be a success

The Fairphone 4 is a new smartphone from a Dutch manufacturer. Editor Rens has tested the Fairphone 4 and explains in this opinion why he hopes the device will be a commercial success.

Read on after the ad.

Fairphone deserves more attention

Do you know Fairphone? The chance is small. The company is not a well-known name in the smartphone world, which is partly due to the limited sales figures. Previous Fairphone models – the 1, 2, 3 and 3 Plus – have sold a total of several hundred thousand copies in European countries in seven years. During that period, tens, if not hundreds of millions of devices from better-known brands were sold.

It is easy to ignore Fairphone consciously or unconsciously. That would be a waste. Not only because it is the only Dutch smartphone manufacturer – Fairphone originated here and is still based in Amsterdam – but mainly because it uses a unique strategy. A strategy that has so far only reached a few hundred thousand people, but in my opinion deserves much more attention.

Because where almost all smartphone brands pull out all the stops to sell as many devices as possible with the highest possible profit margin, Fairphone takes a different approach. The manufacturer’s mission is to sell devices that are as sustainable as possible that you can use for as long as possible. Preferably five years, because the longer you use a phone, the better it is for the environment.

Fairphone makes repair easy

To achieve that target lifespan of five years, Fairphone uses a business model that differs from the competition. For example, Fairphone devices can be disassembled by you, simply with a screwdriver. Fairphone sells spare parts through its own web store for a few tens each for five years and explains how to carry out a repair. Because you can replace a broken screen, speaker or camera yourself, you can use your device longer.

Alternative devices are glued shut and therefore hardly repairable. With a broken screen, you therefore have a faster tendency to buy a new device. This is also because repairs are usually very expensive. This is how a screen repair of the iPhone 13 Pro Max you more than 360 euros.

Over the years I have tested several Fairphone models. The latest, the Fairphone 4, is a bit easier to take apart than its predecessors. I think that’s a cool development.

Nostalgia for changing battery

It’s also great that you can change the battery of a Fairphone smartphone yourself. You do this simply by switching off the device, detaching the back and removing the battery with your fingers. Crazy how special this feature is in 2021.

With an exception like the Samsung Galaxy Xcover 5, all modern smartphones have a fixed back, so you can’t replace the battery. A choice of smartphone brands that makes so much sense today that no one seems to pay any attention to it anymore. It was very different in 2015, when many telephones had a removable battery. Samsung was then criticized because its new Galaxy S6 (Edge) could not be taken apart.

Testing Fairphone devices always gives me a feeling of homesickness. Nostalgia for the time when it was perfectly normal to walk around with an extra battery. Because if your device was empty, you could put another battery in it within ten seconds and the counter would show one hundred percent again. In today’s bag you will find a power bank and cables, intended to prevent your smartphone from running out when you have a long day. I don’t think it’s progress. Certainly not after two weeks of walking around with the Fairphone 4.

Eye for people and the environment

A smartphone is full of raw materials and is put together by people. But how and by whom is a big mystery at almost all tech companies. They prefer not to talk about this, according to experts, because the vast majority of smartphones use unsustainably sourced raw materials and are assembled by underpaid factory workers. This allows brands to reduce the cost price and sell their devices at a higher profit.

Fairphone has taken a different approach since its inception. With each generation of equipment, the company uses more sustainably sourced raw materials, pays factory workers a fair salary and ensures good working conditions. And while I can imagine that this reads like easy marketing, transparency reports show that Fairphone really works. With the Fairphone 4, the company is again achieving some success, including visible in the back, which is made of one hundred percent recycled plastic.

From me the Fairphone 4 can be a success

I have been following Fairphone for years for my work as a telecom journalist, including through interviews with the company and by testing devices. Those smartphones really aren’t perfect. In my Fairphone 4 review, for example, I write that the cameras are disappointing and the update policy needs clarification. Still, I hope that the Fairphone 4 will be a (sales) success.

Fairphone does what the rest of the smartphone industry hardly does: make a device that is made to last as long as possible. This is reflected in the fact that you can repair the smartphone yourself and change the battery, but also in the five-year warranty that Fairphone offers. In addition, the manufacturer wants to roll out software updates for five years.

The focus on people and the environment also makes the Fairphone 4 a more sustainable choice than the competition, something that strangely enough gets little attention when people choose a new smartphone. And that while we do talk every day about electric driving, buy Fairtrade chocolate and believe that the new cabinet should do more to combat climate change. Isn’t it time we started looking more critically at our smartphones?

Let us know in the comments below this article!

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Source: Android Planet by www.androidplanet.nl.

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