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The Fairphone 3 places ethics and the planet over specs and greed

“I don’t need the best phone in the world, I want the best of the world in my phone.” That’s the ethos behind the Fairphone 3, according to company CEO Eva Gouwens. It has created a smartphone not sold on it specifications, but on its sustainable materials, ethical production methods and supply chain, and how it can be recycled and reused when you’re finished with it.

Environmental awareness is perhaps an even hotter topic today than it was when the Fairphone 2 was launched at the end of 2015. But what does it mean when talking about smartphones? For example, Fairphone does not buy components or materials from conflict areas, it works with partners who treat staff ethically and even gives a bonus to workers who assemble the Fairphone 3, and the phone’s modularity helps increase its lifespan. Finally, there’s a recycling program when you’ve finished with your old phone, whether it’s a Fairphone or not.

Concern for the planet and everyone on it will be the driving force behind buying a Fairphone 3, and there are few — if any — other similar options out there; but knowing the specification is still important. The Fairphone 3 has a 5.7-inch screen with a 1080p resolution, and a Snapdragon 632 processor inside with 4GB of RAM. There’s 64GB of storage space, a MicroSD card slot, a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, and a 12-megapixel camera, too. The selfie camera has 8 megapixels, and the battery has a 3.000mAh capacity. Finally, Android 9 Pie is installed and does not have a custom user interface over the top.

Launching Fairphone 3: Dare to care

Many of these components can be swapped out, from the battery to the screen, in case they get broken or have worn out. Fairphone wants you to keep using its phone for longer, reducing the amount of electronic waste and lessening demand for new models. Fairphone has launched three devices since the end of 2013. For comparison, OnePlus, which launched in mid-2014, has released 12 phones to date.

The Fairphone 3 will be available to order in Europe soon for 450 euros (about $500), and Fairphone says it will be easier to find than the Fairphone 2, due to more partners coming onboard, and it has more marketing plans to make the phone more visible, too. In the U.K. Sky Mobile will stock the Fairphone 3, where it can be pre-ordered from August 27 ready for September 3 delivery. There are various plans available, with a 24-month option starting at 21 British pounds ($25), and a 12-month option starting at 30 pounds ($36).

The Fairphone 3 is not made to compete directly with OnePlus phones, or any other flagship, and is not sold on its abilities. You will want the Fairphone for different and much more personal reasons.

Updated on August 27, 2019: Added Sky Mobile availability

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