The smartphone world is so full of established players – big manufacturers pulling in hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars in sales – that we love rooting for the little guy when one comes along with an interesting new handset. Earlier this year we checked out the latest effort from Fairphone, whose Fairphone 2 looked to expand on the company’s vision of an ethically produced smartphone to introduce a handset built from replaceable, repairable modules. While Project Ara may be all about giving consumers choice, the Fairphone 2 attempts to reduce consumer waste by expanding the useful lifetime of our phones. We’re about to see just how successful that plan stands to be, as the first Fairphone 2 orders start heading out.
On the hardware front, we’re looking at pretty standard mid-range fare: the Fairphone 2’s got a five-inch 1080p display, 2GB of RAM, 32GB storage, is powered by a Snapdragon 801, and runs Android 5.1 Lollipop.
But that’s where its similarities to a standard smartphone end, as all that hardware is assembled from easily replaceable modules – no soldering or sending a broken handset back for refurbishment: just pop open the case and swap out the busted parts.
Fairphone is looking to get its first 1,000 pre-ordered Fariphone 2 handsets out to customers by the end of the year, with the remainder of existing pre-orders shipping in January. New orders received now will head out next. If you’re interested, keep in mind that the hardware’s a little on the pricy side for its specs, selling for about 530 EUR. Then again, you’re paying both for the flexibility of this modular design, as well as ethically sourced components – both of which demand a premium.