My passion for mobile technology has been going on for 26 years. Which means that I have inevitably contributed to digital waste by buying and selling mobile devices. Last week, I tested a smartphone designed to counter these behaviors. Come again? Thanks to modular hardware repairs and one of the longest software support policies I’ve ever seen.
The new phone takes up the iconic modular design of the previous Fairphone models. The idea is that there is a basic framework from which it is possible to assemble modules. It is equipped with :
- Of a Qualcomm 5G processor
- A RAM of 8 GB
- An internal storage space of 256 GB with a microSD card slot supporting up to 2 TB
- With an IP55 dust and water resistance rating
- A removable 4,200 mAh battery
- Of a triple camera system powered by sensors manufactured by Sony.
Not so bad for a gadget that wants to be environmentally friendly.
The advantage of longevity
Sustainable development, as with previous models, is the key to the new Fairphone 5, with recycled materials from fair trade mining and a trade-in program for your old smartphone.
By all accounts, the Fairphone 5 is an excellent mid-range smartphone, but its strength lies in its longevity. Fairphone offers a five-year warranty and promises at least five years of major updates to the Android operating system, with a goal of 8 to 10 years of software support. And if you want to replace one of the ten modular parts, you just need to use a screwdriver to do it without fear of interfering with the operation of the device.
Fortunately, when I took the Fairphone 5 out of its box, I was immediately impressed by its foolproof solidity, its beautiful light blue color, its curved metal edges, its matte plastic back, its side power/fingerprint sensor button and its overall appearance. I loaded it and turned it on to discover a beautiful 6.46-inch OLED screen, capable of a refresh rate of 90 Hz.
The Fairphone 5 supports an eSIM card
The back cover is removable and reveals a large replaceable battery that can be recharged via a 30W charger, a microSD card slot and a SIM card slot. The rear panel snaps securely in several places of the device, which allows it to reach the IP55 standard for water resistance. The Fairphone 5 also supports an eSIM card.
Here is what is included in the package. Matthew Miller/ZDNET
The Qualcomm QCM6490 processor supports 5G networks and Wi-Fi 6E and is mainly intended for IoT solutions such as rugged tablets. During my tests, the chip proved its ability to do the job for communications, applications and some games.
However, when I tested the phone with a Verizon SIM card (editor’s note. american telecommunications operator), I was unable to establish a cellular connection. But a T-Mobile USA SIM card (editor’s note. other American telecommunications operator) worked well, and I was satisfied with the signal strength in all areas where I tested it. The download speeds were also powerful, ranging from 36 Mbps to 58 Mbps.
I also took many photos with the front and rear cameras, as the quality of the camera is usually neglected on cheaper phones. And unsurprisingly, on this front, the Fairphone 5 is nothing extraordinary.
ZDNET’s buying tips for the Fairphone 5
Overall, the Fairphone 5 is beautiful, efficient and positioned as a competitive mid-range smartphone with a suggested retail price of € 699. This price is higher than that of other mid-range Android smartphones. But if you consider that this is the only smartphone that you will need for at least the next five years and that you are helping the planet, it is much easier to justify the price.
Apple, Samsung and Google offer a few years of software updates with the latest smartphones, but each company continues to sell new models every year and even offers promotions to encourage consumers to make annual updates. This is not a good thing for the environment or for the people who work to obtain the materials necessary to make these phones.
Fairphone gives consumers the opportunity to take action and contribute to the reduction of waste, while showing that having the latest fashionable smartphone is not sustainable in the long term. The question now is whether you will buy one.
To go further on the Fairphone
Source: “ZDNet.com “