Skip to main content

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

Editors' Recommendations

Google Pixel 8: all the latest rumors and what we want to see
Google Pixel 8 leaked render.

The Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are on their way. Google's fallen in a pretty reliable release pattern for Pixel phones, meaning we can safely expect a new lineup of flagship Pixels each year. In 2023, that means the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro.

The Google Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro are two excellent devices -- possibly two of the best smartphones Google has ever made. But while they have some serious strengths, a number of problems and missed opportunities drag both phones down. This wouldn't be a problem if the competition was standing still, but it's not. The Apple iPhone 14 Pro refreshed the iPhone design for the first time in years, and the recently released Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is quite possibly one of the best smartphones ever created. So what's a humble Pixel to do?

Read more
Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 is big news for cheap phones
Hand holding up a smartphone against a city background with Qualcomm Snapdragon7+ Gen 2 logo.

Qualcomm has taken the wraps off its Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2, the next generation of its midrange mobile platform. The new chip is designed to deliver powerful entertainment experiences and performance gains to a broader range of smartphones.

The new platform is an evolution of last year’s Snapdragon 7 Gen 1, which was already a leap beyond the older Snapdragon 700 series it replaced. It began closing the gap with the premium Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 — a trend that continues with this year’s Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2.

Read more
How 3 Galaxy S23 Ultra camera features completely changed my vacation
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra back.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has the most versatile set of cameras on any phone, and it's the phone I took with me to the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona, Spain, last month.

After my work at MWC 2023 was done, I had some free time to explore the beauty of Spain, and in doing so, the Galaxy S23 Ultra helped me capture some amazing shots that wouldn’t be possible on any other device. Here are the three Galaxy S23 Ultra camera features that I used extensively and which helped me make my trip memorable.
The clarity in 10x zoom is mind-blowing

Read more