Fairphone 5 evaluation: A matter of priorities

The place do your priorities lie? That is the essential query that I feel the Fairphone 5 poses – when you’re involved about your tech’s impression on the world, then there isn’t any higher mainstream possibility within the smartphone market so far as accountable sourcing and honest wages go.

Should you’re extra fascinated with having the absolute best specs to your finances, although, it is straightforwardly not the best choice on the market. So, once more – what’s your precedence?

Fairphone 5

The fifth Fairphone is one of the best but – that is clear. Its credentials are additionally extra spectacular than ever, and its goals are completely laudable. If you need a sustainable and fairly-made cellphone, that is your best option on the market. Its value implies that you are placing your cash the place your mouth is by default, too, since opponents undercut it closely.


  • Very good repairability
  • Good easy design
  • Stable efficiency for now
  • Provide chain accountability is second to none
  • 5-year guarantee, eight-year software program help

  • Unlikely to really feel snappy in a few years
  • Fairly costly in comparison with opponents


  • 162 x 75.5 x 10.5mm
  • Obtainable in blue, black and clear

The Fairphone 5 does not stand out an excessive amount of from the gang, but it surely’s essentially the most up-to-date wanting cellphone Fairphone has made up to now, because of a triple digicam bump and hole-punch selfie digicam.

The brand new OLED show has pretty skinny bezels and is good and large, and maybe my solely criticism comes on the prime of it – the speaker grille on the prime of the display is recessed in a approach that catches various mud over time.

Fairphone 5 4

On the right-hand facet of the cellphone, there are quantity buttons and a flush energy button that doubles as its fingerprint reader, with no inputs on the left facet.

The Fairphone 5 is available in a pleasant blue or black, however the third clear model I examined is essentially the most attention-grabbing possibility and serves to right away spotlight the cellphone’s complete ethos.

Fairphone 5 5

That plastic again can simply pop off to disclose a detachable battery and an meeting with distinguished silver screws that may simply be eliminated for repairs. With components bought by means of its personal retailer for honest costs (£50 for a substitute ultrawide digicam, for example), it makes for a cellphone that may be repaired with out the necessity for a store or skilled, one thing that needs to be far more frequent than it’s.

Fairphone 5 11

It holds as much as testing, too – I eliminated all the primary components and reassembled it fairly simply, with out bricking or breaking the cellphone in any respect, and with no information loss. It is wild how subversive that feels in comparison with the sealed lockboxes that almost all fashionable smartphones symbolize.

The one actual draw back to this design ethos is that it bars the cellphone from true waterproofing – it is received IP55 resistance (a small enchancment on the Fairphone 4’s IP54) which protects it from jets and splashes, however immersion remains to be a no-no.

Fairphone 5 9

That does imply you must be extra cautious with it than you is likely to be used to by fashionable requirements, though I am unsure that anybody is really swimming round with their cellphone out anyway.

Repairability is not the top of it, although – Fairphone has additionally rigorously examined each a part of its provide chain, from meeting factories to mineral mines, to make sure that it is using pretty paid and handled staff the entire approach.

Fairphone 5 6

It makes use of recycled materials the place doable and operates a recycling scheme to your previous cellphone whenever you purchase a brand new one – all of those credentials could be discovered in additional element on the Fairphone web site, and actually do come collectively into the kind of bundle that feels important.

There isn’t any getting across the truth, even earlier than turning to efficiency, that this sustainable mindset and rigour is what you purchase the Fairphone 5 for – it is a ethical choice, and a option to prioritise equity over uncooked worth. It would be good to see greater firms like Apple and Google pay attention to the diploma of transparency on present right here, however I am not holding my breath.

Show and efficiency

  • 90Hz 1224×2700 OLED
  • Qualcomm QCM6490 chipset

The show is the place maybe the most important single improve from the Fairphone 4 has arrived – that is the primary Fairphone with an OLED show, and the leap is welcome.

As you’d anticipate this provides good vibrancy and depth, with true blacks and much more general pop. It is vibrant sufficient for out of doors use on sunny days, too.

Fairphone 5 2-1

A 90Hz refresh charge additionally means you may get a a lot smoother journey, though that is turned off by default and due to this fact doubtlessly one thing that some customers may not even realise they’ve entry to.

Turning it on brings that telltale smoothness, although, and I did not discover a serious hit to battery life in comparison with 60Hz. The decision getting used, in the meantime, is a lot sharp sufficient and nice for video watching or picture shopping.

The chipset powering issues is one from Qualcomm and is maybe not the beefiest possibility by a protracted shot. Within the right here and now, it is completely succesful and responsive, however multitasking is not the smoothest.

Swapping between apps and opening new ones did generally go away a bit to be desired by way of load speeds, and that leaves me a bit anxious about longevity.

Fairphone 5 12

A part of Fairphone’s sustainability method implies that it is promised to take care of software program updates on the Fairphone 5 till not less than 2031, with 2033 as a stretch aim. That is (as soon as once more) utterly praiseworthy, however I might fear that 5 years down the road (and the cellphone has an exemplary five-year guarantee, too) this chipset will really feel fairly vintage.

Nonetheless, a replaceable battery implies that you will not have to fret about battery wastage being unrecoverable, so for many who aren’t fussed about uncooked velocity, there’s so much to love right here.


  • 50MP important sensor, 50MP ultrawide and 50MP hole-punch selfie

The brand new digicam system on the Fairphone 5 can be a welcome enchancment in comparison with previous efforts, though very like the chipset I nonetheless have some reservations.

The principle sensor does creditable work and is able to good color accuracy and element beneath first rate lighting circumstances.

Swapping to the ultrawide offers a helpful possibility, though images do not come out with almost the identical vibrancy or element, which means you may have to choose your poison a bit.

As you possibly can see above, zoom efficiency is comparatively stable, although, and anti-shake software program is first rate sufficient to present you non-blurry photos.

Capturing at evening additionally brings some attention-grabbing outcomes – there’s a evening mode in use right here (one which’s fairly difficult to disable, in truth), and it makes for comparatively placing scenes, even on ultrawide.

Even then, there’s nonetheless no competitors with one thing like a Google Pixel by way of element – and zooming in a lot produces pretty rapid graininess.

That comparability is not harsh, both, given the comparative value factors on provide, so you’ll have to settle for that your images and video will not stand out fairly as a lot as on different Android choices.

Battery life and software program

  • Android 13
  • 4200mAh detachable battery

I’ve talked about that detachable battery a number of occasions – it is 4,200mAh in capability, which is roughly what you’d hope for for a cellphone with this measurement of show.

It holds up to make use of, too, with simple all-day life that usually received me partway by means of one other day earlier than needing a top-up.

This assorted a bit with how I used the cellphone, in fact, and intensive Google Maps use or YouTube did hit issues, however I’ve no complaints general.

Fairphone 5 8

The truth that it might be changed in a few years for simply £40 or so (from the replacement parts store that Fairphone runs) is a coup in comparison with the ache of a decaying battery locked inside your iPhone or Pixel.

That mentioned substitute can be fitted in a matter of seconds at house with none assistance is much more of a reminder that issues could be higher.

The cellphone runs Android 13 fairly near inventory, in the meantime – some EE apps got here pre-installed however past that, there was principally no bloatware in any respect, which is all the time good.

Fairphone 5 10

This additionally makes it very easy to repeat over information and it needs to be assured help for years to come back as Android will get fancier and fancier, with Android 14 across the nook.


The Fairphone 5 is a very onerous one to evaluate. If I used to be being completely dispassionate, on the {hardware} entrance it is overpriced for what you are getting in comparison with the competitors, with barely extra middling cameras and a merely okay digicam.

That it is had its value hiked even additional over the Fairphone 4 makes this much more the case, which is a disgrace.

That is so removed from the entire story, although – Fairphone is presenting a distinct client providing, one which leaves you with a approach, approach cleaner conscience and nonetheless presents most of what you anticipate from an excellent cellphone these days.

The work it is finished to make sure that its provide chain is cleaner and fairer is laudable, and when you’re trying to find a technique to get some fashionable tech with out contributing to miserable norms, then it is a nice selection, and one that actually places your cash the place your mouth is.

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