It might not be the flashiest of mobiles, but the Fairphone 3 does boast ethically-sourced parts and a renewable-friendly building model. If you’re more bothered about ethics than specs, you can get the new handset from Vodafone now.
Mainstream products have changed a lot in recent years, as demand has grown for items that aren’t environmentally damaging or involved with exploitative practices. This has provided us with such wonders as bamboo toothbrushes and metal straws, but there aren’t a lot of mainstream tech products that push ethics and renewability as their main selling point.
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Enter Fairphone. The company’s products are built so they are easy to dismantle, which is meant to encourage users to repair individual components rather than ditch an entire handset. And in addition to having impressive sustainability specs, the phones’ parts are all ethically sourced.
As such, it’s the only mobile brand that has been awarded a 10/10 on iFixit’s fixability scale, along with a Fairtrade gold standard for its trading practices.
Like its predecessor, the Fairphone 3 has a fairly chunky design, with a sizeable bezel running around the screen. It’s still not a thing of beauty but it does pack a bit more of a punch with its specs this time.
There’s a bigger 5.65 inch screen with a cleaner picture, a better battery, improved front and rear cameras and it’s also been upgraded to Android 9. The performance might seem a bit sluggish when compared with some high-end modern phones, but what you lose in speed you gain in moral high ground.
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Several large smartphone manufacturers, including Samsung and Apple, came under fire last year for poor working conditions. Previously, both companies had also been criticised for rumoured links with conflict zones, although Amnesty International has since praised Samsung and Apple for their approach to managing supply chains.
If you want to play it safe with an ethically-sound phone, your best bet is probably to stick with the Fairphone 3. It’s available from £32 per month (with a £49 upfront cost) from Vodafone.co.uk.