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Fairphone 5: A 10-year phone?

Dutch smartphone manufacturer Fairphone has achieved a remarkable milestone with its latest release, the Fairphone 5, which could last a decade. Known for its commitment to repairable devices, this model represents a thinner, lighter, and more refined option compared to its predecessors. It stands out for its impressive longevity, repairability, and quality, even though it comes with a £619 (€699) price tag, making it more expensive than its predecessors.

Fairphone 5: A 10-year phone?

The most notable improvement in the Fairphone 5 is its screen, featuring a crisp OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling. The device feels durable, although its design may appear slightly dated compared to more modern smartphones. It offers IP55 water resistance, making it capable of handling rain and splashes but not full submersion in water. The Fairphone 5's stereo speakers are decent but don't match the quality of those in iPhones or Samsung devices. The phone's vibration motor, while fairly strong, produces a somewhat hollow sound for keyboard taps and alerts. Call quality is good, and it supports both a nano and eSIM simultaneously for two phone lines in one device. Key Specifications:

  • Screen: 6.46in QHD+ OLED (460ppi)

  • Processor: Qualcomm QCM6490

  • RAM: 8GB

  • Storage: 256GB + microSD card slot

  • Operating system: Fairphone OS based on Android 13

  • Camera: dual 50MP rear, 50MP selfie camera

  • Connectivity: 5G, eSIM + nano SIM, WiFi 6E, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, and GPS

  • Water resistance: IP55 (spray/splash)

  • Dimensions: 161.6 x 75.83 x 9.6mm

  • Weight: 212g

The Fairphone 5 boasts an unusual chip, the Qualcomm QCM6490, designed for commercial systems but adapted for the Fairphone. It may not win performance awards, but it offers snappy performance for daily tasks and mild gaming. Its major advantage is long-term support, promising at least five Android version updates and up to 10 years of security updates, a unique feature in the smartphone industry. Battery life is decent, lasting around 36 hours between charges with active screen usage at 90Hz and 5G. The battery can be replaced easily, and Fairphone offers a spare for extended use. In terms of sustainability, Fairphone ensures the battery maintains at least 80% of its original capacity for over 1,000 full-charge cycles. Repairs are made easy with 10 modular spare parts available, with reasonable costs for replacements. The company recycles the equivalent weight of electronics for each phone sold, making it e-waste neutral and uses ethically sourced materials. The Fairphone 5 runs on Fairphone OS, based on Android 13, without unnecessary bloatware. It offers eight to 10 years of security updates, making it a safe choice for longevity. Users also have the option to install other operating systems if desired. Camera performance is a weak point, with the Fairphone 5 producing decent images in good light but struggling with low-light conditions compared to competitors. The price for the Fairphone 5 is £649 (€699). The Fairphone 5 is a significant step in addressing smartphone waste, offering unprecedented long-term support. It's a great choice for those looking to support ethical and repairable products, but it does come with some compromises, including mid-range performance and an average camera. However, considering its longevity and low repair costs, it offers good overall value. Pros:

  • Eight to 10 years of software support

  • True repairability at home

  • Ethical manufacturing

  • Recycled and sustainable materials

  • Good screen

  • 5G support

  • MicroSD card slot

  • Removable battery

  • Bloat-free software

  • Five-year warranty

Cons:

  • Mid-range performance

  • Slightly bulky design

  • Relatively expensive for the specs

  • Average camera quality

  • Limited water resistance

  • Software lacks advanced features

  • No headphone jack

  • Fingerprint scanner may be hard to reach for left-handed users.

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