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Fairphone 4 assessment: The smartphone with a conscience

The Fairphone 4 is the smartphone that we must always all purchase! It is because the Danish social enterprise startup Fairphone merges sustainability, truthful working situations, and repairability with strong {hardware}. Nevertheless, 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? In an effort to discover out, I carried the Fairphone 4 round for per week for this assessment!


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


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

A quick tackle the Fairphone 4

There may be one specific query that all of us ask ourselves on this assessment: Is the Fairphone 4 a tool meant just for deluded vegan hipsters who reside within the swankiest a part of city and buy natural greens? Under no circumstances, as a result of in comparison with the Fairphone 3, the Danish social enterprise enterprise has developed a very nice and nice smartphone. Nevertheless, you continue to should make compromises by way of technical options at this worth level.

The Fairphone, with a really helpful retail worth of €579, is technically extra similar to smartphones below the $400 mark, which might be the place many succesful mid-range handsets occupy nowadays. Nevertheless, if you’re excited by subjects involving sustainability, repairability, and truthful working situations, this is not going to trouble you in any respect. Nevertheless, I see a doable future drawback within the {hardware} that lags behind in comparison with its friends inside the identical worth level. As a result of even when Android 15 ultimately finds its method onto the Fairphone, the processor’s pace would possibly not be enough to offer a good consumer expertise. 

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

So Fairphone must ship sufficient upgrades that may hold the smartphone useable in the long term. Because of its modularity, upgrades might be added your self, however over the course of time, this may make it much more pricey. 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 must always all purchase in these occasions of local weather change. However 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 shouldn’t be 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 consequence of an enormous show, however to the modular casing. The smartphone might be disassembled to ensure that it to be repaired simply and obtain upgraded elements. The workmanship is healthier than ever, and the smartphone additionally exudes a sure allure.

What I appreciated:

  • Excessive-quality workmanship
  • Modular kind issue
  • Good vibration motor

What I disliked:

  • Thick bezels together with the teardrop notch
  • Clunky and heavy
  • Audio system are quite bang common

I will 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, nevertheless, it exudes a sure allure maybe as a result of measurement, 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 is able to additional emphasizes the smartphone’s presence. With a Gorilla Glass 5 show glass defending the show, the Fairphone 4 can be quite 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

Nevertheless, the show is without doubt one of 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, however it does rating fairly nicely by way of viewing angles and brightness. The decision rely of 1080 x 2340 pixels can be nice.

Lastly, a number of phrases about its modular kind issue: You possibly can 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 interchange it. It’s adequate for normal calls, however not for anything.

The Fairphone 4 shouldn’t be a good smartphone with skinny bezels. As a substitute, it’s worthwhile to have a mushy 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 assist, additionally, you will have Bluetooth 5.1, WiFi 5, and NFC connectivity on board. Its inner storage might be additional expanded through microSD reminiscence playing cards.

What I appreciated:

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

What I disliked:

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

With an asking worth of not less than €579, the {hardware} is sobering in comparison with what different producers offer- Fairphone shouldn’t be 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 might be discovered within the OnePlus Nord CE, for instance, which prices slightly below €300 (the OnePlus Nord CE is unavailable within the US).

NextPit Fairphone 4 side
The fingerprint sensor is positioned on the facet of the case and it really works rather well! / © NextPit

In 2021, you might be nonetheless ready to connect 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 would not have to fret about overheating issues with the Fairphone 4 for certain. 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 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 also 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 have to a Torx screwdriver for any upgrades.

Modularity vs. efficiency surplus

If this feature did not exist, I might discover the longevity of the Fairphone 4 important. In spite of everything, launching this handset with a set mid-range SoC and a five-year guarantee could be contradictory in nature. Though it is theoretically doable to be nonetheless utilizing an Android smartphone with a Snapdragon 750G chipset 5 years down the highway, the efficiency stage most likely will not be passable by then.

Two choices can then emerge from this state of affairs: Both Fairphone might have determined to put in a extra highly effective chipset and by doing so, improve the value of the bottom mannequin. Or, the corporate might rely on clients’ 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 fanatics.

The Fairphone 4’s efficiency is subpar for the value it prices. However that will not make a lot of a distinction to most clients.
What counts: The efficiency stage is enough for on a regular basis use and cellular video games. Fairphone retains the event of recent modules open for the long run, however clients should pay for them. €649 in alternate of 5 years of smartphone use is subsequently out of the query!

Digicam: Quite practical

The Fairphone 4 affords two cameras on the again, that are accompanied by a ToF sensor.
You possibly can successfully swap between wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle at 48-megapixels apiece. The selfie digicam affords 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 appreciated:

  • 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 in relation to the digicam configuration. Nevertheless, the producer does with none form of superfluous additions comparable to macro and depth lenses however as a substitute offers a twin setup with a ToF sensor. This configuration helps autofocus and might, theoretically talking, additionally be capable of present depth info for digital bokeh and AR functions. Nevertheless, it is a potential that at present falls flat with the Fairphone 4.

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

All since you could be searching for a portrait mode within the pre-loaded digicam app in useless. Since such a mode was out there within the predecessor, I assume that Fairphone would nonetheless ship this feature. In October, there are 4 factors that I wish to concentrate on within the Fairphone 4.

1. You get some very nice pictures with good HDR generally

This might presumably be as a result of incomplete software program that impacts the picture high quality occasionally. There have been moments when the Fairphone 4 created lovely pictures that aren’t softened by extreme HDR or noise discount. Here’s a good instance you can see for your self:

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

For those who have been to additionally activate the HDR mode, the dynamic vary of the Fairphone digicam will increase. For my desire, the producer managed to discover a good steadiness between efficient dynamic vary growth and artificiality.

2. Software program messes up too usually

Nevertheless, 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. Because of this, colours end up utterly fallacious or the publicity shouldn’t be 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 will not be actually labeled correctly. For instance, the zoom slider reveals each a panorama picture and a “1.0x” label. Nevertheless, urgent it does not activate the panorama mode, however quite, it prompts the ultra-wide-angle digicam as a substitute.

3. Night time pictures lose loads of particulars

There’s additionally a Night time Mode within the Fairphone 4, which is sweet and refined in comparison with different producers’ variations. That means, it does not overly brighten up topics, however manages to take care of a sensible lighting temper. Nevertheless, photos lose loads of element when considered intently. This can be a results of noise discount, which tends to provide 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 an excellent excessive decision of 25-megapixels. Opposite to expectations, outcomes are crisp and extra dependable than the cameras on the again. So for those who like taking selfies, the Fairphone 4 is an efficient alternative.

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 to be like just a little unfinished originally of October 2021. That is as a result of digicam app, which certainly stays in beta. Nevertheless, the pictures that it takes do look promising, though you might need some reservations as a consequence of this circumstance in the meanwhile. Hopefully a software program replace will be capable of repair no matter bugs that plague the digicam app within the close to future.

Battery: 100% battery in 15 seconds

The Fairphone 4 is without doubt one of 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 just a little observe if you buy an additional battery.

What I appreciated:

  • Detachable battery
  • Strong 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 you must go for a very long time with out a energy outlet comparable to for festivals or highway journeys, the place the Fairphone 4 is a strong suggestion.

NextPit Fairphone 4 battery
The battery is detachable – and that is great! / © 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. Nevertheless, 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 might be charged as much as 50% in just under 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 fully 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 should reside with out wi-fi charging.

Sustainability & knowledge sheet

Unbeatable sustainability

You can not assessment the Fairphone 4 with out addressing the difficulty of sustainability. As a result of that is the actual “USP” of the cellphone. At a look, you’ll be able to anticipate the next benefits in comparison with different smartphones for those who 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 via its modular kind issue – battery, digicam module, reminiscence, and different elements might 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. Nevertheless, it isn’t 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 slightly below €300 euros in 2021 with different producers, it’s out of the blue bumped as much as €579. A surcharge of €280 simply to keep away from producing extra digital waste, to not point out having further prices to maintain future updates, whereas supporting the event of a modular design, truthful working situations, and provide chains.


The Fairphone 4 is at present the perfect different for customers who worth sustainability over every part else. The trade-offs that should 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 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 whenever 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 units units in movement many detrimental 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 identical time, the manufacturing of a smartphone produces a mean of 89 kilograms of digital waste. Greenwashing is a typical observe now and by some means it calms us all down when a charger from the field does not find yourself within the drawer.

In attempting to attenuate these penalties, not less than for its personal units, Fairphone strikes a contented steadiness for my part. Whereas I definitely consider that extra might be achieved by way of sustainability if the Fairphone 4 prices over €1,000, however for those who 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 nasty deal in spite of everything! In truth, you would possibly even be capable of sleep just a little higher at evening.

The Fairphone 4 will get 4 out of 5 stars in our books. Nevertheless, 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, it’s best to undoubtedly purchase it!

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