Hello everyone and welcome to my review of the Fairphone 4. I’ve had this phone for a couple of weeks now and thought this was a perfect time to share my thoughts on it, now that I’ve had some time to experience daily use over the course of a few weeks.
Sustainable. Long-lasting. Fair.
This is the tagline that Fairphone uses to describe the Fairphone 4 in a few words. As you know, Bren and I value a sustainable lifestyle and we try to live a low-waste, environment friendly life. Is the Fairphone 4 a match made in heaven? The Fairphone 4 is made using as much recycled materials as possible. As they describe it on their website:
We go one step further to conserve the precious materials used in manufacturing electronic products. When you buy a Fairphone 4, we responsibly recycle or give one old phone a second life.
This means 100% compensation for the material we put into the market. This is first in the smartphone industry and it’s exactly the kind of dedication you won’t find anywhere else!
Unboxing the Fairphone 4
First off, I really like the box design. It’s simple, but looks great.
Then, when you remove the cover, this is what you see next:
There’s no fancy carton, just simple old skool with the text “Change is in your hands” on it. I thought it was pretty nifty, because it can be interpreted in a couple of ways. Holding the new phone in your hands, one that was manufactured the way it is, is change itself. But I thought it was also a good reminder that change is in all of our hands. Not only our choice of phone, but our entire lifestyle, we are the change if we want to make it happen. And well, here at the Green Dream Blog, we most certainly want to be the change! 🙂
After removing the lid there’s some more info before you finally remove that last flap that shows us the actual phone. As you can see the Fairphone 4 has a modular design. I was so happy that I was finally able to remove the backlid of my phone again. Something that was really missing from new phones from brands such as Samsung and Apple. Also a horrible change, because you can no longer replace the batteries or any other part of the device yourself. With the Fairphone 4 you can do all of that once again, as it should be. All the other brands should be ashamed of themselves for enabling the throwaway society in such a horrible, horrible way.
And here it finally is, the phone itself and some more nifty information about the phone! 🙂 And as you can see, here is the tagline once again on the phone cover itself.
And finally the phone itself with the quick start guide. I had to remove the back cover to install the sim card, which I was a bit scared to do, because the cover doesn’t come off quite easy and I was anxious whether or not I would put too much pressure on the plastic, forcing it to break. But thankfully, the cover is quite sturdy, of course, you rarely remove the cover, so that helps too.
The phone has a nice, big screen of 15.24 cm, or 6.3 inches in diameter, which is just perfect for me. Although I don’t play games on my phone anymore (I quit that last year and it saves a lot of time), I do use my phone for taking pictures and to post content on Instagram, check WordPress for both of the blogs I write content for, and for mail and chat. So I do have some demands on what I look for in a phone, but I don’t need a high-end phone that will cost me 1200 euros, because let’s be honest, that is a lot of money for a phone. I’m really glad that the price for the Fairphone 4 is € 649,- for the 256 Gb version, which I bought.
Android, but slightly different
Using the Fairphone 4 is a bit different from what I was used to with my old Galaxy Note 8, but the overall functionality of Android is the same. What I do like about the Fairphone 4’s version is that there are some exclusive apps on it, among which is a Fairphone app which you can use to challenge yourself in reducing your carbon footprint. It includes challenges you can do and can ask you at an interval of your choosing to take a survey to check your current footprint based on a short questionnaire.
What I also really like about this phone is the Digital Wellbeing and parental controls part of the setting. At 23:00 every day my phone goes into Bedtime mode, which means the phone will go into a Do Not Disturb mode and the screen goes to greyscale. It’s really weird, but I’ve found that this drastically reduces my interest in my phone, causing me to not engage in checking Instragram, or Reddit.
One thing I noticed when I was looking up reviews for the Fairphone 4 was that a lot of them were mentioning that the camera wasn’t that great. I use my phone to take a lot of pictures, so naturally I was a bit bummed out to find out that so many people weren’t very happy about the camera. But another thing that was also mentioned was that this was mostly down to the pre-installed software for the camera not doing any touch-ups on the pictures you take. Personally, I love that the camera takes the picture as is, because this gives you all the freedom to adjust the picture with filters and whatnot. But so far, I’m really not unhappy about the camera and it does what it should do. The only thing I miss a little is various settings such as “food” and “live focus”, but I’m sure there are apps that can do this if I really need it.
No cables, charger or headphones
Another thing to mention is that the Fairphone 4 doesn’t come with any accessories at all. It’s just the phone and nothing else. This is done because at Fairphone they believe you already have the charger you need and everything else. They’re not wrong, because we do have plenty of USB-C cables and I already had a pair of earbuds too, so I really didn’t need any of those things at all. Less waste!
If by now you don’t know that I’m really really really really enthusiastic about the Fairphone 4, you haven’t been reading this review and just scrolled down to see how I would rate it. Well, I won’t exactly give the phone a rating in numbers or anything. All I can say is that if you really care about the environment and making a change for the better for our planet, then choosing the Fairphone 4 is one step in the right direction. You can also send your old phones to Fairphone and they’ll salvage any part they can to reuse in a new phone. I think we owe it to ourselves to be more mindful of all the waste we produce and really try to use our phones longer than just the 2-years the contract lasts before choosing a new toy we don’t really need. I intend to use this phone as long as possible and since I’m not a high-end user, I think it’ll last me at least five years, hopefully longer. Not only does this help reduce the carbon emissions, it also saves a lot of money. So it’s a win-win-win. Win for the planet, win for Fairphone and a win for me. 🙂
Have a nice day!