iFixit tears down the most recent Fairphone—how repairable is it?

Fairphone three is a 5.65-inch telephone, operating Android 9 on a Snapdragon 632 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.


Listed here are the back and front.


Fairphone demonstrates a disassembled Fairphone three. Notably not pictured: sizzling glue gun of any form.


Dutch firm Fairphone believes smartphones can and ought to be fully repairable and freed from conflict-sourced supplies. Ars coated the Fairphone 2 launch again in 2015 and carried out an assisted teardown of a late prototype mannequin with the corporate’s CEO. This time round, restore information website iFixit acquired the pre-launch prototype and took it down top-to-bottom to see if Fairphone nonetheless makes good on its promise.

The Fairphone three itself

Earlier than we get into the bodily teardown, let’s take a fast have a look at the Fairphone three’s specs.

5.65-inch show—2160×1080, 24-bit colour depth, 18:9 side ratio, Gorilla Glass 5
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 SoC—1.8GHz eight-core CPU, with Adreno 506 GPU @ 650MHz
64GB inside storage, microSD enlargement out there
12MP rear/8MP entrance digital camera. Rear digital camera has twin LED flash and takes video 4k@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@60fps
802.11ac Wi-Fi with BlueTooth 5 + LE, NFC, and assist for a number of GNSS (GPS) requirements
Twin nano-SIM card, supporting 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE (GSM solely—no CDMA; sorry Verizon subscribers)
USB Sort-C, sensors embrace fingerprint scanner, ambient gentle, accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity, barometer, and compass
three.5mm headphone jack included—no USB-C dongle wanted!
11.8Wh battery

When you’re not an entire phone-head, it’s your decision a number of comparisons to put the place the Fairphone three sits on a efficiency scale. Loads of worldwide telephones use the identical Snapdragon 632 SoC, however only a few appear to have been offered within the USA. It is best described as a middle-of-the-road funds chipset. When evaluating both CPU or GPU scores on a number of benchmarks, the Snapdragon 632 used within the Fairphone scores roughly 25% to 33% sooner than the Exynos 7884B used within the Samsung Galaxy A10e (considered one of AT&T’s present line-up of “free with new subscription” funds telephones) however solely half as quick because the Snapdragon 845 utilized in Google’s flagship Pixel three. These observations maintain up throughout a variety of each CPU and GPU benchmarks.

The 11.8Wh battery is available in between the Google Pixel three (11.6Wh) and the iPhone XS Max (12.1Wh). We can’t actually know what this involves in run-time till the telephone hits the market, nonetheless, since energy draw is the flip facet of the coin whenever you have a look at energy capability. That may rely strongly on OS and software optimizations.

The telephone is rather less than 10mm thick and weighs in at 189g (6.67oz). This can be a contact thick, however the weight is middle-of-the-road; by comparability, the iPhone 10 was 7.7mm thick and 174g, the iPhone 11 is eight.3mm thick and 194g. Google’s Pixel three is 7.9mm thick and solely 148g (5.22oz).

Gorilla Glass 5 is similar formulation Samsung used within the Galaxy S8 and S9 sequence, though it has moved on to Gorilla Glass 6 with the Galaxy S10+. Google additionally used Gorilla Glass 5 in its Pixel three and Pixel 3XL, although not the cheaper Pixel 3A.

The teardown


You may get a stunning distance in a Fairphone three disassembly earlier than needing a lot as a screwdriver. The again cowl peels off tool-free, giving entry to the battery beneath.


You are still fully tool-free (assuming your nails are pretty robust, not less than) when it comes time to swap out the battery.


That is iFixit’s totally disassembled Fairphone three. Not like most of their full teardowns, the Fairphone3 will truly return collectively in working order!


iFixit did the whole teardown disassembly proven above with solely a spudger and a 00 Phillips-head screwdriver. If you wish to go a step additional and take aside the modules themselves—not one thing you’d do in the midst of regular restore—you may want so as to add a T5 Torx driver and a gap choose to your toolkit. Nothing was hot-glued collectively. The headphone jack, flash LEDs, and proximity and ambient gentle sensors are soldered onto the breakout board; the USB-C port and mic are soldered into the underside module.

Along with the complete 10 out of 10 rating on repairability, the Fairphone three makes use of ethically sourced elements and labor.

Value and availability

Dangerous information, US readers—you are going to want a pal someplace in Europe if you wish to purchase one. The corporate is just transport to European nations, though the telephone itself ought to work positive with most American cell corporations (besides Verizon) when you can one way or the other get one.

European readers can preorder a Fairphone three now, with transport anticipated to start in late October. The telephone prices €450.00 plus transport (for the UK, transport is DHL, with price from €10.20-13.20). By means of comparability, that is a bit greater than a Pixel 2—and also you do get the peace of mind that when you break the display screen, it may be simply and cheaply changed (probably at dwelling!), the battery may be much more simply changed when it degrades, and that you just did your greatest to keep away from problematic provide chains.

Itemizing picture by Fairphone

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