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Fairphone 3 September 21, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I was interested by this, a piece on the Fairphone 3 in the Guardian. It’s quite a positive article noting that there is almost no alternative for those who want a reasonably ethically produced smartphone.

It’s certainly a very admirable project. I was struck by the following though.

But I worry that a phone that has performance issues now won’t be serviceable in five years, and so all the reparability in the world won’t make it a device people still want to use in 2024. If buyers use the Fairphone 3 for two years, then dump it for a new one, that defeats the object of the exercise.

I wonder about that analysis. I had an iPhone G3 which I purchased second hand for about five or six years and as noted before here kept going through various fixes, replacement of battery and screen etc. Then I moved to a Fairphone 2 some years back, and while I liked it in the end I found it less easy to use as a device in part because of battery life, in part because of its size and in part because I work (largely though not exclusively) within the Apple ecosphere both at work and home. After a number of years I bought a basic iPhone SE, smaller form factor, reasonably good battery life and clean integration with all else. Again intend to keep that for five or six years which is another more sustainable way to use phones.

However I think for most people used to Android, happier with large screen sizes and given battery life in the newest model appears to be good those might well be problems that are fixed. In that context the Fairphone 3 would appear to be a very solid option.

Comments»

1. Gearóid - September 22, 2019

Very interesting, thanks for posting.

I have a Samsung nearly 3 years now (it was an older model when I bought it), but is still performing strongly. I don’t use it for much other than browsing, messaging and directions, so performance expectations are minimal. When it does start dying, I will look at Fairphone.

I will likely go for it despite the flaws in the review, but am hoping an improved model is released before that time!

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WorldbyStorm - September 22, 2019

You’re very welcome. It’s no harm to get this info out there. I think what you suggest is a very sound option – keep whatever you’ve got going as long as is possible and then switch to a more eco-friendly option.

I’m like yourself. A bit of browsing, messaging and that’s more or less it bar listening to podcasts doing the hoovering and cleaning around the place. So top of the range is sort of lost on me. Large format phones are too big in a way for me. I think Fairphone 4 or 5 might be very interesting. I also wonder should they divided their line into a smaller very stripped down phone and a larger one. Nokia’s efforts to return to very basic phones in the past year or two are interesting too.

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2. tafkaGW - September 22, 2019

I recently came across a sister in our trades union who still has a Fairphone 1. Still going strong for what she needs to do with it for the union.

I’ll probably go with a Fairphone 3 if I can afford it when the current yoke breaks down. I like the option to replace individual parts yourself at a reasonable cost when they break down, and the potential to use an open source(ish) Android like Lineage OS.

Actually, come to think of it, you could probably mod it to allow hardware switches for the things that are used for spying. Cameras, GPS unit, microphone etc.

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3. tafkaGW - September 22, 2019

As for performance: I wouldn’t buy it if what you want play high-end mobile games, but if you just want to email, buy tickets, use a mobile map (Open Street Map!), etc. then it should work for years.

I believe they are providing security and software updates for 5 years at least, so it will last longer in that sense than many mobiles.

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WorldbyStorm - September 22, 2019

Agree, and on a tangent, I find mobile games just about useless. I just don’t like the screen size.

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EWI - September 22, 2019

Thankfully regulators are starting to catch up to mobile gaming when it comes to loot boxes, which are a highly insidious form of gambling.

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WorldbyStorm - September 22, 2019

Somebody made a point in an article recently that the manner in which some games function in relation to children would in any other context be illegal in terms of encouraging expenditure, etc, etc.

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