HomeBlogREVIEWFairphone 4 assessment: The smartphone with a conscience

Fairphone 4 assessment: The smartphone with a conscience

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

Good

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

Unhealthy

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

A quick tackle the Fairphone 4

There’s one explicit query that all of us ask ourselves on this assessment: 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.

The Fairphone, with a beneficial retail worth of €579, is technically extra corresponding to smartphones underneath the $400 mark, which might be the place many succesful mid-range handsets occupy nowadays. Nonetheless, if you’re fascinated about subjects involving sustainability, repairability, and truthful working situations, this is not going to trouble you in any respect. Nonetheless, I see a potential future drawback 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 method onto the Fairphone, the processor’s pace may not be adequate to offer an honest consumer expertise. 

NextPit Fairphone 4 front camera
2019 referred to as and desires its show again: the large teardrop notch is one among my pet peeves in regards to the Fairphone 4 / © NextPit

So Fairphone must ship sufficient upgrades that may preserve the smartphone useable in the long term. Because of its modularity, upgrades will be added your self, however over the course of time, this may make it much more expensive. If we’re sincere, although, and admit that omitting energy adapters from a brand new smartphone buy soothes our consciences at greatest, we have to admit: The Fairphone 4 is the cellphone that we should always all purchase in these instances of local weather change. However it’s not a lot enjoyable, as this handset doesn’t have entry to the most recent applied sciences and it is also costlier. Sorry, surroundings!

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 is just not 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 as a result of an enormous show, however to the modular casing. The smartphone will be disassembled to ensure that it to be repaired simply and obtain upgraded elements. The workmanship is best than ever, and the smartphone additionally exudes a sure appeal.

What I preferred:

  • 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 reasonably bang common

I am going to admit: I used to be fairly turned off after I unboxed the Fairphone 4. I needed for the sustainable smartphone to be a bit extra discreet and smooth. After spending a week with it, nevertheless, it exudes a sure appeal maybe because of the measurement, weight, processor, and materials selections.

In any case, 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 be reasonably nicely protected towards bumps. I by no means suffered from any panic assaults after dropping it.

NextPit Fairphone 4 display
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 fee of 60 Hertz lumbers round, but it surely does rating fairly nicely when it comes to viewing angles and brightness. The decision depend of 1080 x 2340 pixels can be nice.

Lastly, a number of phrases about its modular type issue: You possibly can utterly disassemble the Fairphone 4 with the included iFixit screwdriver. We’re nonetheless recording a video for this, however because of labels and markings, disassembling it is fairly foolproof. As quickly as Fairphone presents an improve for the speaker, I’d be one of many first in line to switch it. It’s adequate for normal calls, however not for the rest.

TL;DR:
The Fairphone 4 is just not an honest smartphone with skinny bezels. As a substitute, you’ll want to have a gentle spot for robust-looking smartphones.
Whereas that’s definitely a matter of style, the 60 Hertz show and LCD know-how leaves a bitter style within the mouth.

Efficiency: A mid-range gadget at greatest

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 help, additionally, you will have Bluetooth 5.1, WiFi 5, and NFC connectivity on board. Its inner storage will be additional expanded through microSD reminiscence playing cards.

What I preferred:

  • {Hardware} will be upgraded sooner or later
  • Use of recycled supplies
  • Efficiency is adequate in 2021

What I disliked:

  • Lengthy-term prospects are questionable with {hardware} provided
  • No twin SIM slot

With an asking worth of a minimum of €579, the {hardware} is sobering in comparison with what different producers offer- Fairphone is just not fooling anybody. Whereas there may be already the Realme GT powered by a Snapdragon 888 chipset and the most recent reminiscence requirements for a similar worth, you’ll have to make do with a Snapdragon 750G in Fairphone 4. The mid-range SoC will be discovered within the OnePlus Nord CE, for instance, which prices just below €300 (the OnePlus Nord CE is unavailable within the US).

NextPit Fairphone 4 side
The fingerprint sensor is situated on the aspect of the case and it really works very well! / © NextPit

In 2021, you’re nonetheless in a position 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 easy. You should not have to fret about overheating issues with the Fairphone 4 for positive. Let’s check out the benchmarks:

Along with the assessment unit that got here with 6GB RAM mated to and 128GB of inner storage, Fairphone additionally presents a variant with 8GB RAM and 256GB of cupboard space. That mannequin will set you again by €649, which is €70 pricier than the entry-level mannequin. Alternatively, you can even develop the storage through a microSD card. Theoretically, even the SoC of the Fairphone 4 is upgradeable. Similar to the digicam, audio system, and battery, the motherboard is modular in nature, though you will want a Torx screwdriver for any upgrades.

Modularity vs. efficiency surplus

If this feature did not exist, I would discover the longevity of the Fairphone 4 crucial. In any case, launching this handset with a hard and fast mid-range SoC and a five-year guarantee can be contradictory in nature. Regardless that it is theoretically potential to be nonetheless utilizing an Android smartphone with a Snapdragon 750G chipset 5 years down the street, the efficiency degree most likely will not be passable by then.

Two choices can then emerge from this situation: Both Fairphone might have determined to put in a extra highly effective chipset and by doing so, improve the worth of the bottom mannequin. Or, the corporate might rely on prospects’ willingness to spend cash on modular upgrades sooner or later. Fairphone has opted for the second tactic and that’s by some means comprehensible as a result of charging much more cash for the Fairphone 4 outright would definitely have scared off sustainability fans.

TL;DR:
The Fairphone 4’s efficiency is subpar for the worth it prices. However that will not make a lot of a distinction to most prospects.
What counts: The efficiency degree is adequate for on a regular basis use and cellular video games. Fairphone retains the event of latest modules open for the long run, however prospects should pay for them. €649 in trade of 5 years of smartphone use is due to this fact out of the query!

Digicam: Somewhat purposeful

The Fairphone 4 presents two cameras on the again, that are accompanied by a ToF sensor.
You possibly can successfully change between wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle at 48-megapixels apiece. The selfie digicam presents an insane 25-megapixel decision.

+++ On the time of the assessment, the put in digicam app was nonetheless a pre-release model +++

NextPit Fairphone 4 camera
Three holes for 2 cameras – and a ToF sensor. / © NextPit

What I preferred:

  • Good sharpness, colours, and publicity
  • Efficient HDR mode
  • Crisp selfies 🤳

What I disliked:

  • Outcomes weren’t all the time constant
  • White steadiness is commonly off
  • No portrait mode

Fairphone additionally hits the mid-range candy spot proper on the pinnacle relating to the digicam configuration. Nonetheless, the producer does with none sort of superfluous additions equivalent to macro and depth lenses however as an alternative offers a twin setup with a ToF sensor. This configuration helps autofocus and might, theoretically talking, additionally be capable to present depth data for digital bokeh and AR purposes. Nonetheless, this can be a potential that presently falls flat with the Fairphone 4.

Fairphone 4 Daylight Photo NextPit
My favourite image taken by the Fairphone 4 / © NextPit

All since you can be on the lookout for a portrait mode within the pre-loaded digicam app in useless. Since such a mode was obtainable within the predecessor, I suppose 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 generally

This might probably be because of the incomplete software program that impacts the picture high quality now and again. There have been moments when the Fairphone 4 created stunning photographs that aren’t softened by extreme HDR or noise discount. Here’s a good instance which you could see for your self:

Fairphone 4 HDR Photo NextPit
HDR mode balances the lighting situations nicely, however would not overdo it / © NextPit

Should you have been to additionally activate the HDR mode, the dynamic vary of the Fairphone digicam 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 typically

Nonetheless, I must criticize Fairphone for the truth that the software program doesn’t all the time appropriately assess the situations required to snap a photograph. In consequence, colours prove utterly unsuitable or the publicity is just not optimum.

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

Principally, the digicam app can be actually flawed. It lacks a portrait mode, operation is cumbersome. and a few buttons aren’t 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 reasonably, it prompts the ultra-wide-angle digicam as an alternative.

3. Night time photographs lose loads of particulars

There’s additionally a Night time Mode within the Fairphone 4, which is good and refined 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 lots of element when considered carefully. This can be a results of noise discount, which tends to supply mud and digital artifacts.

Fairphone 4 Nighttime Photo NextPit 2
The cellphone captures the temper nicely, however not a lot the small print  / © NextPit

4 Surprisingly good selfies

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

Fairphone Selfie NextPit 1
The selfie digicam is crisp and, by the best way, additionally replaceable! / © NextPit

TL;DR: The digicam app of the Fairphone 4 nonetheless appears a bit unfinished firstly of October 2021. That is because of the digicam app, which certainly stays in beta. Nonetheless, the photographs that it takes do look promising, though you may need some reservations as a result of this circumstance in the intervening time. Hopefully a software program replace will be capable to repair no matter bugs that plague the digicam 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 offer a larger diploma of sustainability which may simply as nicely be interpreted because the quickest quick-charging pace within the smartphone world. Merely put, you’ll be able to recharge the three,905 mAh in lower than 15 seconds with a bit follow if you buy an additional battery.

What I preferred:

  • 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 frolicked in nature for 2 days with no charging cable and needed to depend on the smartphone as a digital rental automobile key. It turns into much more utilitarian if you must go for a very long time with no energy outlet equivalent to for festivals or street journeys, the place the Fairphone 4 is a strong suggestion.

NextPit Fairphone 4 battery
The battery is detachable – and that is fantastic! / © NextPit

As a result of for €29.95, you may get one other battery pack on the Fairphone on-line store. This is a bonus that many different producers don’t provide 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 will be charged as much as 50% in slightly below half-hour. That’s okay, however it’s removed from breaking information.

TL;DR: Even when my “100% battery in 15 seconds” from the headline was not solely critical (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 great. You solely must stay with out wi-fi charging.

Sustainability & knowledge sheet

Unbeatable sustainability

You can not assessment the Fairphone 4 with out addressing the problem of sustainability. As a result of that is the true “USP” of the cellphone. At a look, you’ll be able to anticipate the next benefits in comparison with different smartphones should 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 have been used, and Fairtrade-certified provide chains tapped up for gold, tungsten, and different supplies
  • Straightforward repairability by means of its modular type issue – battery, digicam module, reminiscence, and different elements will be changed through an included screwdriver

The subject of sustainability is commonly met with a specific amount of defensiveness. That is comprehensible, as a result of different producers provide 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 actually sustainable merchandise within the client electronics sector.

You possibly can calculate simply how onerous it’s by the comparatively excessive price ticket that Fairphone prices for the smartphone. For know-how that prices just below €300 euros in 2021 with different producers, it’s immediately 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, truthful working situations, and provide chains.

Conclusion

The Fairphone 4 is presently the perfect various for customers who worth sustainability over every part else. The trade-offs that must be made are primarily the efficiency and the design. Whereas smartphones from different producers are already geared up 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 nonetheless proved to be a succesful smartphone that masters all purposes 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 considerably worse than within the Xiaomi 11T Professional. However that is not what issues if you purchase the Fairphone 4.

NextPit Fairphone 4 back open
With this straightforward mechanism, you open the cellphone! / © NextPit

As a result of shopping for these gadgets units in movement many adverse penalties that we do not discover a lot of at first. The lifespan of so-called “quick telephones” is calculated by producers to be only a few years, and on the similar time, the manufacturing of a smartphone produces a median of 89 kilograms of digital waste. Greenwashing is a standard follow now and by some means it calms us all down when a charger from the field would not find yourself within the drawer.

In making an attempt to attenuate these penalties, a minimum of for its personal gadgets, Fairphone strikes a contented 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 should you have been to decrease your expectations a bit and purchase a smartphone with a assured promise of 6 years’ price of updates for €579, to not point out being simply repaired when broken, that is not a foul deal in spite of everything! The truth is, you may even be capable to sleep a bit higher at night time.

The Fairphone 4 will get 4 out of 5 stars in our books. Nonetheless, you must 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 essential to you, you need to positively purchase it!

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