Fairphone 4 overview: The smartphone with a conscience



The Fairphone 4 is the smartphone that we must always all purchase! It’s because the Danish social enterprise startup Fairphone merges sustainability, honest working situations, and repairability with stable {hardware}. Nonetheless, simply what number of compromises should you make to ship a handset with a €579 price ticket in comparison with what you will get from the likes of Xiaomi, Realme, Samsung, and Apple for a similar worth? With the intention to discover out, I carried the Fairphone 4 round for per week for this overview!


Probably obtain as much as 6 years software program updates
Sustainable gadget
Made underneath honest working situations
Surprisingly good digital camera efficiency
Feels well-made
Good battery life


Comparatively costly
Somewhat massive and heavy
LCD show with a teardrop notch
Lags technically behind equally priced smartphones

A short tackle the Fairphone 4
There’s one specific query that all of us ask ourselves on this overview: Is the Fairphone 4 a tool meant just for deluded vegan hipsters who stay within the swankiest a part of city and buy natural greens? In no way, as a result of in comparison with the Fairphone 3, the Danish social enterprise enterprise has developed a very nice and nice smartphone. Nonetheless, you continue to must make compromises when it comes to technical options at this worth level.
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The Fairphone, with a really useful retail worth of €579, is technically extra akin to smartphones underneath the $400 mark, which might be the place many succesful mid-range handsets occupy nowadays. Nonetheless, if you’re considering matters involving sustainability, repairability, and honest working situations, this is not going to trouble you in any respect. Nonetheless, I see a doable future downside within the {hardware} that lags behind in comparison with its friends inside the similar worth level. As a result of even when Android 15 ultimately finds its manner onto the Fairphone, the processor’s velocity may now not be ample to supply a good person expertise. 

2019 referred to as and needs its show again: the massive teardrop notch is one in every of my pet peeves in regards to the Fairphone 4 / © NextPit

So Fairphone must ship sufficient upgrades that can preserve the smartphone useable in the long term. Because of its modularity, upgrades may be added your self, however over the course of time, this could make it much more expensive. If we’re trustworthy, although, and admit that omitting energy adapters from a brand new smartphone buy soothes our consciences at finest, we have to admit: The Fairphone 4 is the cellphone that we must always all purchase in these occasions of local weather change. Nevertheless it’s not a lot enjoyable, as this handset doesn’t have entry to the newest applied sciences and it is also dearer. Sorry, setting!However that does not trouble me as a deluded vegan hipster who lives in a swanky space and likes to purchase natural greens! What about you?

Design & Show: Screw me!
The Fairphone 4 just isn’t a compact smartphone by any means with dimensions that measure 15.6 x 7.5 x 1.1 cm. For as soon as, this isn’t attributable to an enormous show, however to the modular casing. The smartphone may be disassembled to ensure that it to be repaired simply and obtain upgraded parts. The workmanship is best than ever, and the smartphone additionally exudes a sure attraction.What I favored:
Excessive-quality workmanship
Modular type issue
Good vibration motor
What I disliked:
Thick bezels together with the teardrop notch
Clunky and heavy
Audio system are slightly bang common
I am going to admit: I used to be fairly turned off after I unboxed the Fairphone 4. I wanted for the sustainable smartphone to be just a little extra discreet and glossy. After spending a week with it, nonetheless, it exudes a sure attraction maybe because of the dimension, weight, processor, and materials decisions.In spite of everything, the non-slip again and tightly screwed-together case give off the texture of a rugged smartphone. Add a robust and exact vibration motor to that which can additional emphasizes the smartphone’s presence. With a Gorilla Glass 5 show glass defending the show, the Fairphone 4 can also be slightly effectively protected in opposition to bumps. I by no means suffered from any panic assaults after dropping it.

The bezels of the Fairphone 4 take some getting used to in 2021 / © NextPit

Nonetheless, the show is among the largest criticisms of the Fairphone 4. The thick bezels on the edge and the teardrop notch appear off-putting in 2021, simply like seeing a Nestlé product on the cabinets on the natural market! An LCD show with a low refresh price of 60 Hertz lumbers round, nevertheless it does rating fairly effectively when it comes to viewing angles and brightness. The decision depend of 1080 x 2340 pixels can also be nice.Lastly, a couple of phrases about its modular type issue: You’ll be able to utterly disassemble the Fairphone 4 with the included iFixit screwdriver. We’re nonetheless recording a video for this, however due to labels and markings, disassembling it is fairly foolproof. As quickly as Fairphone affords an improve for the speaker, I’d be one of many first in line to exchange it. It’s adequate for normal calls, however not for the rest.TL;DR:
The Fairphone 4 just isn’t a good smartphone with skinny bezels. As an alternative, you want to have a gentle spot for robust-looking smartphones.
Whereas that’s definitely a matter of style, the 60 Hertz show and LCD expertise leaves a bitter style within the mouth.

Efficiency: A mid-range gadget at finest
The Fairphone 4 is powered by a 5G-capable Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G chipset. As well as, there may be 128GB or 256GB of inner storage mated to both 6GB or 8GB of RAM. Along with 5G assist, additionally, you will have Bluetooth 5.1, WiFi 5, and NFC connectivity on board. Its inner storage may be additional expanded by way of microSD reminiscence playing cards.What I favored:
{Hardware} may be upgraded sooner or later
Use of recycled supplies
Efficiency is ample in 2021
What I disliked:
Lengthy-term prospects are questionable with {hardware} provided
No twin SIM slot
With an asking worth of no less than €579, the {hardware} is sobering in comparison with what different producers offer- Fairphone just isn’t fooling anybody. Whereas there may be already the Realme GT powered by a Snapdragon 888 chipset and the newest reminiscence requirements for a similar worth, you’ll have to make do with a Snapdragon 750G in Fairphone 4. The mid-range SoC may be discovered within the OnePlus Nord CE, for instance, which prices just below €300 (the OnePlus Nord CE is unavailable within the US).

The fingerprint sensor is situated on the aspect of the case and it really works very well! / © NextPit

In 2021, you might be nonetheless ready to hook up with 5G networks utilizing the SoC, play present cellular video games, and the efficiency of the pre-installed Android 11 is snappy and clean. You don’t have to fret about overheating issues with the Fairphone 4 for positive. Let’s check out the benchmarks:Along with the overview unit that got here with 6GB RAM mated to and 128GB of inner storage, Fairphone additionally affords a variant with 8GB RAM and 256GB of space for storing. That mannequin will set you again by €649, which is €70 pricier than the entry-level mannequin. Alternatively, you may as well broaden the storage by way of a microSD card. Theoretically, even the SoC of the Fairphone 4 is upgradeable. Identical to the digital camera, audio system, and battery, the motherboard is modular in nature, though you have to a Torx screwdriver for any upgrades.Modularity vs. efficiency surplusIf this feature did not exist, I would discover the longevity of the Fairphone 4 crucial. In spite of everything, launching this handset with a hard and fast mid-range SoC and a five-year guarantee could be contradictory in nature. Although it is theoretically doable to be nonetheless utilizing an Android smartphone with a Snapdragon 750G chipset 5 years down the street, the efficiency stage most likely will not be passable by then.Two choices can then emerge from this state of affairs: Both Fairphone may have determined to put in a extra highly effective chipset and by doing so, enhance the worth of the bottom mannequin. Or, the corporate may rely on clients’ willingness to spend cash on modular upgrades sooner or later. Fairphone has opted for the second tactic and that’s one way or the other comprehensible as a result of charging much more cash for the Fairphone 4 outright will surely have scared off sustainability lovers.TL;DR:
The Fairphone 4’s efficiency is subpar for the worth it expenses. However that will not make a lot of a distinction to most clients.
What counts: The efficiency stage is ample for on a regular basis use and cellular video games. Fairphone retains the event of latest modules open for the longer term, however clients must pay for them. €649 in trade of 5 years of smartphone use is subsequently out of the query!

Digital camera: Somewhat useful

The Fairphone 4 affords two cameras on the again, that are accompanied by a ToF sensor.
You’ll be able to successfully change between wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle at 48-megapixels apiece. The selfie digital camera affords an insane 25-megapixel decision.+++ On the time of the overview, the put in digital camera app was nonetheless a pre-release model +++

Three holes for 2 cameras – and a ToF sensor. / © NextPit

What I favored:
Good sharpness, colours, and publicity
Efficient HDR mode
Crisp selfies 🤳
What I disliked:
Outcomes weren’t all the time constant
White steadiness is usually off
No portrait mode
Fairphone additionally hits the mid-range candy spot proper on the pinnacle with regards to the digital camera configuration. Nonetheless, the producer does with none form of superfluous additions similar to macro and depth lenses however as an alternative gives a twin setup with a ToF sensor. This configuration helps autofocus and might, theoretically talking, additionally have the ability to present depth info for digital bokeh and AR functions. Nonetheless, it is a potential that at the moment falls flat with the Fairphone 4.

My favourite image taken by the Fairphone 4 / © NextPit

All since you could be in search of a portrait mode within the pre-loaded digital camera app in useless. Since such a mode was obtainable within the predecessor, I assume that Fairphone would nonetheless ship this feature. In October, there are 4 factors that I need to deal with within the Fairphone 4.1. You get some very nice photographs with good HDR sometimesThis may probably be because of the incomplete software program that impacts the picture high quality occasionally. There have been moments when the Fairphone 4 created lovely photographs that aren’t softened by extreme HDR or noise discount. Here’s a good instance you could see for your self:

HDR mode balances the lighting situations effectively, however would not overdo it / © NextPit

In case you had been to additionally activate the HDR mode, the dynamic vary of the Fairphone digital camera will increase. For my choice, the producer managed to discover a good steadiness between efficient dynamic vary enlargement and artificiality.2. Software program messes up too oftenHowever, I must criticize Fairphone for the truth that the software program doesn’t all the time accurately assess the situations required to snap a photograph. Because of this, colours prove utterly fallacious or the publicity just isn’t optimum.

The Fairphone 4 actually tousled with the colours of this home / © NextPit

Mainly, the digital camera app can also be actually flawed. It lacks a portrait mode, operation is cumbersome. and a few buttons are usually not actually labeled correctly. For instance, the zoom slider exhibits each a panorama picture and a “1.0x” label. Nonetheless, urgent it would not activate the panorama mode, however slightly, it prompts the ultra-wide-angle digital camera as an alternative.3. Evening photographs lose loads of detailsThere’s additionally a Evening Mode within the Fairphone 4, which is good and delicate in comparison with different producers’ variations. That means, it would not overly brighten up topics, however manages to keep up a sensible lighting temper. Nonetheless, pictures lose loads of element when considered carefully. This can be a results of noise discount, which tends to provide mud and digital artifacts.

The cellphone captures the temper effectively, however not a lot the main points  / © NextPit

4 Surprisingly good selfiesLast however not least, the selfie digital camera has a brilliant excessive decision of 25-megapixels. Opposite to expectations, outcomes are crisp and extra dependable than the cameras on the again. So in the event you like taking selfies, the Fairphone 4 is an efficient selection.

The selfie digital camera is crisp and, by the best way, additionally replaceable! / © NextPit

TL;DR: The digital camera app of the Fairphone 4 nonetheless appears to be like just a little unfinished at the start of October 2021. That is because of the digital camera app, which certainly stays in beta. Nonetheless, the photographs that it takes do look promising, though you may need some reservations attributable to this circumstance in the intervening time. Hopefully a software program replace will have the ability to repair no matter bugs that plague the digital camera app within the close to future.

Battery: 100% battery in 15 seconds

The Fairphone 4 is among the few smartphones which have a detachable battery.
What this does is to supply a higher diploma of sustainability which might simply as effectively be interpreted because the quickest quick-charging velocity within the smartphone world. Merely put, you may recharge the three,905 mAh in lower than 15 seconds with just a little follow if you buy an additional battery.What I favored:
Detachable battery
Stable 2-day battery life
What I disliked:
No wi-fi charging
Quick charging at solely 20 watts
In on a regular basis use, I simply achieved battery runtimes of as much as two days with the brand new Fairphone 4. I even trusted the battery a lot that I hung out in nature for 2 days with out a charging cable and needed to depend on the smartphone as a digital rental automobile key. It turns into much more utilitarian if it’s a must to go for a very long time with out a energy outlet similar to for festivals or street journeys, the place the Fairphone 4 is a stable suggestion.

The battery is detachable – and that is great! / © NextPit

As a result of for €29.95, you will get one other battery pack on the Fairphone on-line store. This is a bonus that many different producers don’t supply for the sake of getting water resistance and different causes. Nonetheless, you’ll have to make do with out wi-fi charging for the Fairphone 4, whereas fast charging solely works at as much as 20 watts. Thus, the battery may be charged as much as 50% in slightly below half-hour. That’s okay, however it’s removed from breaking data.TL;DR: Even when my “100% battery in 15 seconds” from the headline was not completely severe (clickbait!), the presence of a detachable battery is an actual benefit over different smartphones. Even when armed with one battery, the battery lifetime of two days is superb. You solely must stay with out wi-fi charging.

Sustainability & information sheet
Unbeatable sustainability
You can’t overview the Fairphone 4 with out addressing the difficulty of sustainability. As a result of that is the true “USP” of the cellphone. At a look, you may count on the next benefits in comparison with different smartphones in the event you select the Fairphone 4:

5-year guarantee if bought earlier than 31.12.2022
Deliberate Android updates till 2027 (as much as Android 15)
E-waste impartial – Fairphone offsets 100% of the waste it generates
Fairtrade supplies, together with recycled plastic and uncommon earths had been used, and Fairtrade-certified provide chains tapped up for gold, tungsten, and different supplies
Simple repairability by its modular type issue – battery, digital camera module, reminiscence, and different parts may be changed by way of an included screwdriver

The subject of sustainability is usually met with a certain quantity of defensiveness. That is comprehensible, as a result of different producers supply extra enjoyable for much less cash in spite of everything; and Samsung, Apple, and others additionally omit the adapter. Nonetheless, it is not that simple to make really sustainable merchandise within the client electronics sector.
You’ll be able to calculate simply how arduous it’s by the comparatively excessive price ticket that Fairphone expenses for the smartphone. For expertise that prices just below €300 euros in 2021 with different producers, it’s all of a sudden bumped as much as €579. A surcharge of €280 simply to keep away from producing extra digital waste, to not point out having extra prices to maintain future updates, whereas supporting the event of a modular design, honest working situations, and provide chains.


The Fairphone 4 is at the moment the very best different for customers who worth sustainability over all the things else. The trade-offs that must be made are primarily the efficiency and the design. Whereas smartphones from different producers are already outfitted with high-performance chips and have very slim bezels at costs hovering round €500, you’ll have to be happy with much less within the case of the Fairphone 4.
In on a regular basis use, the Fairphone 4 however proved to be a succesful smartphone that masters all functions with out an excessive amount of trouble. Sure, the cameras are much less highly effective than these discovered within the iPhone 13 and the show appears to be like considerably worse than within the Xiaomi 11T Professional. However that is not what issues if you purchase the Fairphone 4.

With this straightforward mechanism, you open the cellphone! / © NextPit

As a result of shopping for these gadgets units in movement many unfavourable penalties that we do not discover a lot of at first. The lifespan of so-called “quick telephones” is calculated by producers to be just some years, and on the similar time, the manufacturing of a smartphone produces a median of 89 kilograms of digital waste. Greenwashing is a typical follow now and one way or the other it calms us all down when a charger from the field would not find yourself within the drawer.
In making an attempt to reduce these penalties, no less than for its personal gadgets, Fairphone strikes a cheerful steadiness for my part. Whereas I definitely consider that extra could possibly be achieved when it comes to sustainability if the Fairphone 4 prices over €1,000, however in the event you had been to decrease your expectations a bit and purchase a smartphone with a assured promise of 6 years’ value of updates for €579, to not point out being simply repaired when broken, that is not a foul deal in spite of everything! Actually, you may even have the ability to sleep just a little higher at night time.
The Fairphone 4 will get 4 out of 5 stars in our books. Nonetheless, it’s a must to consider one star as inexperienced. This symbolizes the distinctive ecological benefits that include the Fairphone. These pull up the ultimate rating for a smartphone that technically cannot sustain with different fashions. If sustainability is all that vital to you, it is best to positively purchase it!

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