Fairphone is a Dutch smartphone company that does things a little differently than most. When the company first launched a decade ago, the emphasis was primarily on the use of ethically-sourced materials, but since then Fairphone has added a focus on sustainability.

Recent phones have had modular, repairable designs, and Fairphone sells spare parts for components that are most likely to need replacing over time. The company also has a track record of delivering software updates for longer than any other phone maker. Combined, those two features could keep you from feeling the need to upgrade your smartphone every few years. And the company’s new Fairphone 5 takes things to the next level, with a 5year warranty and promised software updates through at least 2031. The fairphone 5 is up for pre-order in Europe for €699 and it’s expected to begin shipping to customers in mid-September.

To be clear, while Fairphone is promising eight years of support, the company isn’t promising that you’ll get eight major Android updates during that time. But the phone, which will ship with Android 13 at launch, should get at least five major OS updates, meaning that by the time it reaches end of life it cold be running Android 18.

As expected, Fairphone is able to make this promise because the company has opted to use an unusual processor for the Fairphone 5. Instead of selecting one of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips designed for smartphones, Fairphone picked a Qualcomm QCM6490 processor, which is a chip normally used for industrial and embedded applications, because Qualcomm offers longer-term support for those chips.

The chip should still be a nice upgrade over the Snapdragon 750G processor used in the previous-gen Fairphone 4 smartphone, offering the kind of performance you’d expect from an upper mid-range smartphone processor thanks to:

  • 1 x Kryo Gold Plus performance CPU cores @ 2.7 GHz
  • 3 x Kryo Gold performance CPU cores @ 2.4 GHz
  • 4 x Kryo low-power CPU cores @ 1.9 GHz
  • Adreno 642L graphics @ 812 MHz
  • Adreno 633 VPU
  • 6th-gen Qualcomm AI Engine

The phone’s other specs include:

  • Display: 6.46inch, 2700 x 1242 pixel 90 Hz OLED w/880 nits peak brightness and Corning Gorilla Glass
  • Processor: Qualcomm SQCM6490
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB + microSD card (up to 2TB)
  • Audio: Stereo speakers
  • Rear cameras:
    • 50MP Sony IMX800 primary w/optical image stabilization
    • 50MP Sony IMX858 ultra wide angle
    • Time of Flight sensor
    • 4K video capture @ 30 fps, 1080p @ 60 fps
    • Slow-motion video @ 120 fps or 240 fps
  • Front camera
    • 50MP Samsung ISOCELL JN1
  • Battery: 4,200 mAh/3.87V (removable)
  • Ports: USB 3.0 Type-C, microSD card reader
  • Charging: 30W (50% charger in 30 minutes)
  • Wireless: WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2 LE, NFC, dual-SIM 5G (eSIM + nano SIM)
  • Durability: IP55 water & dust resistance, MIL-STD-810H tested
  • Dimensions: 162 x 75.5 x 10.5mm

All told, the hardware seems like a nice upgrade over the Fairphone 4 for folks who are in the market for a new phone that’s designed to last. But unlike some older Fairphone models, the new phone does not have a 3.5mm audio jack, so you’ll either need Bluetooth audio devices or a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter to user headphones.

But the main things setting the Fairphone 5 apart from most other phones on the market are still the company’s focus on sustainability and ethically sourced materials.

Fairphone says no part of the smartphone is glued shut, so it should be easy for users to open and repair. And the company will sell spare parts including the display, battery, cameras, USB ports, speakers, covers, earpiece, and top PCB unit.

The Fairphone 5 is also made using “70% fair focus or recycled materials,” as part of the company’s efforts to pay supply chain workers fair wages and reduce use of materials from conflict zones, among other things.

Unfortunately, like all of the company’s phones to date, the Fairphone 5 is only officially sold in Europe at launch. But there is hope for folks looking to pick one up in other markets: Murena recently began selling a version of the Fairphone 4 to customers in the United States. The only catch is that instead of Fairphone’s version of Android, the Murena Fairphone 4 comes with a de-Googled Android fork called /e/OS.

There’s on word on if or when a Murena Fairphone 5 will be available to customers outside of Europe.

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  1. ¿8 years with only 8GB RAM on gluttonous Android?

    If you want to use an Android for 8 years, you need to begin with high end specs so you can last for 8 years, and 8GB today is midrange, in 2-4 years it will be low-end. It could be something similar with CPU/SOC specs.

    1. I’m (still) using a FP2 as well as a FP3 (as my daily driver) both are more than 4 years old (the first almost 8) and both are still more than capable of handling the majority of tasks I’m throwing at them. Sure some stuff like opening Spotify will take you a moment on my FP2 and yes FP5 will be low-end tech in 8 years. But so what?

      Apart from that, more and more apps are moved into the cloud so it really won’t matter much anymore on what hardware you’re running it on..

      …but yes in the meantime it also helps just not to install every bloated app they throw at you. It really is possible to just use alternative apps with much much less of a memory footprint performing just the same operations.. often even faster.

  2. Maybe this will eventually force manufacturers of Android & IOS devices to give support for 8 years, it would be good for the environment.

      1. Would we have seen what Nokia has done recently without Fairphone’s influence on the market?

    1. It already has despite being a niche device. Its influence is massive.

      Apple being forced to implement USB ports and replaceable batteries? Where do you think this is coming from? And it’s not even stopping there.

      If you ask Apple and all the others, they will tell you it’s impossible to manufacture a phone like the Fairphone.

      And yes it’s not perfect but with every step it’s getting closer.

      Mind you, Fairphone’s main mission is not competing with Google, Samsung and Apple directly. It is to showcase that there is a valid economical, ethical and ecological alternative to what those others are offering. And it just happens to be that Fairphone is also doing very well actually competing with them.

      1. Somehow, I just don’t think that Fairphone is influential enough to be the main driving force behind any decision the EU makes. I don’t doubt that it was a factor, but I wouldn’t bet very much that these decisions never would have been made had Fairphone never existed.

        And while Fairphone competes basically okay when it comes to price to performance, many would argue that competition is all about the marketshare they can capture; more marketshare means more social prestige you, the consumer, get from buying/using something or other, or more social penalty for buying/using something else (and it’s not a directly proportional relationship). Fairphone sells less phones than Pixel phones, which have less than 1% of the marketshare in Europe. On the bright side, that means at least since the average person hasn’t heard of them, they’re not going to call you a poor and stupid loser since they won’t know if they should. Although they would in the US, since they know it’s not an iphone and there, no one under the age of 20 dare put their social lives at risk by not using an iphone and those who do are not considered to be people.

  3. Awesome! It would be nice if this could pull more mainstream phone manufacturers in the same direction.

  4. Tuxphones shared that there’s already a Github repo for a postmarketOS port!

  5. 8 years?! Holy moly…

    I suppose we’re at a point where phones are good enough and unless you play mobile games a phone today won’t be obsolete in a year or two. Fairphone would be at the top of my list if I weren’t into folding or other big screen phones.

    1. Only problem is that it is going to age, perhaps quicker than anticipated. The chipset it uses has performance around the level of a QSD 855 from early 2019. The flagship QC 8g1+ is NOW considered to be a mid-range chipset (see QC 7g2+). And that’s not much slower than the current QC 8g2 flagship. That’s because we are long overdue for a major chipset upgrade.

      Especially on Android-side, since Apple has somewhat kept pace against itself, even then they have slowed from usual progress. It’s coming due to new architecture and new node. The leaked benchmarks for the QC 8g3 look promising, whereas the leaked Apple A17 processor is just mind-blowing. We’re talking proper Intel 8th-gen ultrabook calibre performance now fitting into your hand and pocket.

      So my point is that, the device looks decent now but people might feel like this phone was left behind hardware-wise. A good analogy is if you look at this device with the caveat that it comes with the QSD 625 chipset back in 2015 then you’re all good. But that chipset, whilst very popular, was left behind by the new midrange benchmark QSD 660 and all the progressing flagship chipsets (eg QSD 835). For a decent long time it could handle “the basics” but would choke under any heavy or demanding tasks.

      On a different note, upgrades have been slowing down, so it’s getting more and more feasible to be able to build a phone for long-term commitment/support, and not become obsolete.

    2. Even if you don’t play mobile games (I don’t like those games on touch screen), all other apps, for example web browsers, comms/social apps, continue being bigger and bigger demanding more RAM and more CPU power.