Fairphone 2: The Smartphone For The Good Conscience

The first Fairphone addressed only do-gooders, the successor is also technically exciting: he can be easily dismantle modules and repair. In the test but also weaknesses came to light.

Normal phone manufacturers want to sell as much as possible and retract the highest possible margins. Fairphone is different: the young company from Amsterdam wants to prove first and foremost, that you can make smartphones more environmentally friendly and produce social as usual.

This right extends to all stations in the life of the phone: the raw materials, the production, use and recycling. For this reason Fairphone used conflict-free Tin and tantalum from Congo, pays an extra wage Chinese factory workers can repair the users themselves and financed a recycling project in Ghana.

Even large corporations promote environmental projects and check the working conditions at suppliers. But first they have to keep their owners with profits in a good mood. Fairphone, however, must wear only themselves. The Fairphone 2 with 525 euro costs quite a bit, but even if the target of 140,000 units per year are sold, the manufacturer with each copy makes profit before tax only 9 euros. The margin is not distributed to investors, but serves as a buffer for unexpected problems and additional investment in social projects.

Fairphone detailed exposes such calculations, is another difference to other smartphone manufacturers. In addition, you can learn which suppliers where produces which components – an exciting insight into the production of electronics.

Modules to extend life

By Abrahams doesn’t show’s him, but the Fairphone 2 is also technically very interesting: it’s the first smartphone that can be described along as “modular”. It consists of five modules (plus battery), which are connected via rugged spring contacts rather than sensitive foil connector.

Therefore, you can disassemble it easy: the battery and even the display can be replaced without tools. The remaining modules are secured using normal cross screws. Fairphone offers all modules as spare parts and encourages its customers to exchange them for defects itself. This will extend the life of the equipment and thus improving the LCA.

Until further notice, the modular design facilitates only the repair. Hardware upgrades, for example on a better camera, although theoretically possible, not be offered but still. It is also unclear what tools it will be for the expansion port on the back. There are among other things covers with hardware keyboard or NFC.

Robust despite modular design

The decision for the modular design was risky and expensive. Instead of using tried and tested billions of times, cheap cable and plug, Fairphone suppliers had to develop new contacts and their electromagnetic shielding.

That worked well: c’t could determine no crashes, disconnects, or other interruptions in the test. Also, there is no danger that the Fairphone in a crash is divided into its modules.

32 GB Flash memory, an SD slot and two SIM slots sit on the main module. The processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon 801) was another top model a year ago and is still fast enough for absolutely liquid handling. The 5-inch display with full HD resolution looks sharp and bright.

Moderate term, Bull-housing

In the c’t run-time testing the Fairphone section but moderately. Managed just over 8 hours in the video test just over 5 hours, in the WLAN test with a single battery charge. Only the Huawei P8 Lite was similarly short of breath in recent months. Also the camera of Fairphone is below average: many photos and videos were slightly out of focus, in the dark, the colors verrauschten quickly.

The Fairphone 2 looks solid from the outside. This is the complex inner life, but also the black rubber bumper which wraps the display sideways and one millimetre to the top is, to keep it from falling damage. He is firmly connected to the back, which is made of harder plastic. The back is available in black, blue and transparent – the latter version releases the views of the Interior and makes the phone look slightly less bullish.

Quickly, you can disassemble the back to change the battery and the SD card. Sucks but the back attach: always we had to fumble around with your finger nail or paper clip, until the rubber lip embraced the display also at the corners.

On the clear surface of Android 5.1 Fairphone fortunately has hardly doctored around. The change on other operating systems such as sailfish OS and CyanogenMod without losing the warranty should be possible in the future, but so far is only the normal Android together with all Google apps to the election.

Conclusion

The Fairphone 2 has a relatively short battery life and a moderate camera, but no weakness because of them you would have to advise against buying. Deterrent feels the high price – a logical consequence of the low quantities and elaborate development.

How durable is the Fairphone, can show how only the future for any Smartphone. The modular design reduced and accelerating repairs, but also the software support is important. Thanks to the Qualcomm hardware, chances are much better than at the first Fairphone on a good supply of update.

It is certain that Fairphone with his “worker welfare fund” offers a further unique selling proposition. 5 US dollars in a Fund, the workers of the Chinese Mission of paver decide how to use Hi-P even flow for each selling smartphone.

Gallery

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