back to article Fairphone 3 stripped to the modular essentials: Glue? What glue?

Amsterdam-based Fairphone describes its devices as sustainable. iFixit took its selection of tools to one and found that, hey, you can make phones that are at once not rubbish and also repairable. Now into its third iteration since 2013's first phone, the device should be the answer to the prayers of those who miss the old …

  1. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Android

    It's still running software made by Google and we all know for whom and for what purpose Google makes software.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Android

      The Fairphone can run ASOP (it's supported by the manufacturer), which doesn't include any of the googly bits. You could also install any of the third party ROMs like Lineage OS (which also comes with no gapps unless you install them separately).

    2. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Android

      Some people are a) just never happy and b) love to focus in on the irrelevant - the article was talking in this case about reparbility and sustainability.

      1. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Android

        But given the crossover between those who support sustainability and those who support ethical behaviour and/or are against massive corporations, shipping this with AOSP by default would make sense in my book.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Android

          Personally, this doesn't bother me at all, because I'd be installing my own AOSP regardless. I just don't trust an OS that was installed by the manufacturer, regardless of the manufacturer.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Android

          Stop the whataboutery.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      What's the alternative?

      I'm not fan of Android, but there aren't any other mobile operating systems you could install on it. Well, aside from non-Googly versions of Android as mentioned. You could argue they should ship with that, but it would turn off a lot of customers who expect to see Google's apps on an Android phone. Many people are willing to trade privacy for convenience. Their choice, not my problem.

      1. sum_of_squares

        Re: What's the alternative?

        How about SailfishOS, LineageOS, PureOS, Tizen, Plasma Mobile, Ubuntu Touch..

        You might as well argue "Many people are willing to trade bad working conditions for a good price. Their choice, not my problem".

        If you do a Fairphone, do it right and use sane defaults.

      2. Ordinary Donkey

        Re: What's the alternative?

        The Librem 5 ships in a few days. Entirely free of Android.

  2. drand
    Happy

    A commendable effort

    Shows what can be done. I think it's a little unfair to criticise on the basis that the processor can't be swapped - the pin pitch on those things in tiny and needs specialist kit and skills to replace. The module level is a sensible bottom line for serviceability.

    The bigger question I think is the availability of parts two, three or five years down the road.

    1. James 51 Silver badge
      Gimp

      Re: A commendable effort

      Fiarphone have commited to five years of support from launch.

      1. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: A commendable effort

        The question is:

        Will they still be around in 5 years? They may simply go bust.

        1. James O'Shea

          Re: A commendable effort

          It seems that at least five people think that the Fairphone people can't go bust, but decline to state why Fairphone should be immune to the laws of economics. Based on past performance, there are very few people who want the product. This is simply a fact. Are there enough users to keep the company afloat? And why is it that merely asking the question is a bad thing?

          1. AntiSol

            Re: A commendable effort

            Are there enough users to keep the company afloat?

            You did spot the '3' in the device name, right? They seem to have done just fine for two iterations so far. Better than most.

            And why is it that merely asking the question is a bad thing?

            It's not that just asking this question is a bad thing per se, it's that usually (and I mean like >90% of the time) it's coupled with a bold declaration that the thing is not/can never be sustainable/profitable/useful in the real world. And usually these bold declarations don't even come with spreadsheets backing up their economic forecast. I know right! You'd almost be driven to reflexively think people asking this were troll-types who have nothing better to do than naysay a group who are trying to actually do things a little differently / ethically.

            For me, releasing a third device seems to indicate that they know what they're doing. And if not, I'm sure they can come here or to slashdot and get professional-grade advice on this economics stuff for free :)

            1. WolfFan Silver badge

              Re: A commendable effort

              Where is the 'bold declaration'? I asked a bloody question, which has not been answered. Yes, they say they'll support it for 5 years; my question was, and is, will they be around in 5 years? They have a lot of progressive ideas, but so far have not sold that many devices. As I understand it, Apple or Samsung sell more devices in a month than they have in the six years that they've existed! (Correction requested if I understand incorrectly...) I merely want to know how the hell they can stay in business. There's no point buying one of their products only to have no support, not because they don't want to support you but because they're gone. And if their fanbois are so critical that anyone who asks a simple question gets shouted down, without the question being answered, well that tells you, or at least me, a few things about their fanbois... and begs a different question: do I want to be associated with such a bunch of assholes? (Hint: no.) Congrats, fanbois, you just eliminated at least one sale for your boyz.

              1. WolfFan Silver badge

                Re: A commendable effort

                That's nine thumbs down to date and no-one's been able to answer the bloody question. Which is, in of itself, an answer.

                1. Orv Silver badge

                  Re: A commendable effort

                  "You're not wrong, Walter, you're just an asshole."

                2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

                  Re: A commendable effort

                  The answer is: it's not run as a business.

                3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

                  Re: A commendable effort

                  @WolfFan - "no-one's been able to answer the bloody question"

                  You asked a question about the future. Do you think that anyone who can predict the future with 100% accuracy would be hanging out here, rather than, say, filling in lottery tickets?

                  There has been a "based on their track record" answer. I repectfuly suggest that you should take that as the most complete answer you could reasonably expect, and bloody well shut up.

              2. AntiSol

                Re: A commendable effort

                Where is the 'bold declaration'?

                Where is my assertion that you made a bold declaration? I said usually. I'm explaining why you're getting the responses you're getting. Perhaps you should try calming down and re-reading my response.

                I asked a bloody question, which has not been answered.

                I answered to the best of anyone's ability here. None of us has the economics figures, because we're not fairphone employees. If you're not willing to go with a "based on their track record" answer then I would suggest you call them up and ask them if they'd mind sending you some of their internal revenue forecast spreadsheets. I'm sure they'll be just as willing to do that as apple and samsung, maybe even moreso.

                I have a counter-question for you: why are you asking this question of a public forum of random nobodies who by their nature cannot give you a definitive answer rather than, say, the fairphone sales people?

                but so far have not sold that many devices. As I understand it, Apple or Samsung sell more devices in a month than they have in the six years that they've existed

                That's all well and good, but I'm not sure how "Apple sells more devices" translates to "this is not sustainable". Has it occurred to you that fairphone never expected to sell as many devices as samsung and saw the sales of every single fairphone1 and 2 as successes? What evidence are you basing your fears on? How many phones does it actually take to make your business profitable? Presumably you have a bunch of these figures handy.

                There's no point buying one of their products only to have no support, not because they don't want to support you but because they're gone

                I wouldn't worry about it, I'm sure they'll call you if they ever need advice on the economics of phone manufacture, sales, and support.

                And if their fanbois are so critical that anyone who asks a simple question gets shouted down

                I never shouted you down. I gave you the best answer anybody who isn't a fairphone employee can, and I explained why the question you're asking tends to get the response it does. You have dismissed my answers and made the assumption that I've attacked you, which I did not do. I think you should try shedding your "I'm going to have a flame war" filter and try re-reading my response.

                Congrats, fanbois, you just eliminated at least one sale for your boyz.

                Damn. And it'll probably be your sale that makes the difference between them being wildly profitable or going bankrupt, too. It's not like the fairphone 1 and 2 sold out.

                I really think you should call them, you can get those financial spreadsheets you want and you can give them marketing advice. No more half-measures of asking random people from the internet - go to the source where you can actually get answers to your burning questions.

          2. jmch Silver badge

            Re: A commendable effort

            "Based on past performance, there are very few people who want the product."

            Depends how you look at it. Yes, combined sales of FP1&2 was IIRC less than a million. But its a small company doing small production runs. Another way to look at it is that they have quite literally sold every phone they ever made, with demand outstripping supply.

            So, yes they could go bankrupt, and the 5-year component support is gone*. Just like literally every single other phone company, including giants like Apple and Samsung. **

            *although the parts themselves still remain after any bankruptcy and probably could still be found on ebay

            **ask yourself what your reaction would have been if 10 years ago someone told you that Nokia would become irrelevant within 5 years

          3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: A commendable effort

            "It seems that at least five people think that the Fairphone people can't go bust, but decline to state why Fairphone should be immune to the laws of economics."

            Other manufacturers are also not immune from the laws of economics. From that point of view it seems a tad unreasonable to aim this as a specific criticism. The previous point was a fair one; it makes no difference how long a manufacturer remains in business if they're not prepared to support their products with spares.

        2. Byron "Jito463"

          Re: A commendable effort

          This is the first I've even heard about them. Is it a UK thing only, or are they available in the US?

          1. VikiAi Silver badge

            Re: A commendable effort

            Europe-based, I believe :-( ... frowny as I'm an Aussie - we just get the US's stale table leavings.

            Possibly they are not bothering much with promotion in Britain for some reason in the near future I can't foresee :-D

            1. MyffyW Silver badge

              Re: A commendable effort

              Thumbs up for bringing the B-word into this forum and prodding it from down under.

    2. Electronics'R'Us
      Holmes

      Re: A commendable effort

      Many very high density parts are now on a BGA footprint and do indeed require specialist equipment to place / replace.

      The footprints where you can see the pins can have coplanarity problems for packages with many hundreds of pins (I have seen devices with thousands of pins) (coplanarity issues are where not all the pins are actually at the same seating plane).

      BGA sockets are available, but they are expensive and nowhere near as good as soldering to keep all the contacts mated properly quite apart from taking up a lot of space (more than the part being housed usually).

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: A commendable effort

      "the pin pitch on those things in tiny and needs specialist kit and skills to replace."

      To a small degree. The "specialist kit" needed is a hot air rework station, and the skills needed aren't really that hard to learn. BGA chips can be a bit of a pain, but it is something that a dedicated hobbyist can do.

      Surface mount chips that aren't BGA are often even easier to solder/desolder than through-hole chips.

  3. lglethal Silver badge
    Go

    I'm actually curious - has anyone ever broken anything on their phone about from the screen and the case?

    The comments about replacing a broken USB-C port or the like just got me wondering, as I cant say I've ever heard of people breaking such things. Displays cracking - check. Batteries dying - check. Case cracking - check. Individual components breaking or getting damaged - ????

    I very much like the idea of the Fairphone, but I do struggle to see exactly how I would use the upgrade/change capabilities...

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      I had to change the USB board on my old Note 3. The micro USB port just became loose.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        repair

        I've recently had an S2 repaired (charging port went kaputt, and past the usual cleaning and re-bending of the bits). The repair was 15 quid, and I'm a happy re-owner now. That said I took it out of the UK to have it done, cause here, they took one look (S2!) and "unfortunately..."

    2. James 51 Silver badge
      Gimp

      The micro-usb on the N900 was notoriously prone to coming loose. Never had that problem myself but the space bar key broke in two :(

    3. MrXavia

      Yes, I've had to replace the charging port that broke, that was on a Sony phone (Z5 Premium I think)

      So this is a good idea.. Honestly I was surprised how easy it was to replace the part.

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Sony were notorious with charging port failures. Lack of support for the charging port mainly to blame, but they won't see a design flaw as a warranty repair, so any damage caused by normal use is considered out of warranty, which is why I stopped using Sony's phones.

    4. CliveS

      Daughter had a Galaxy S5 where the USB port broke.

    5. lglethal Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      OK fair enough. Sounds like it is a thing. You learn something new every day...

    6. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      At the risk of making myself unpopular

      I rather suspect the usage of glue today is a direct result from the mainstream manufacturers wishing to eliminate warrantee returns due to things like loose USB connections.

      My gut feel suggests glued phones whilst less repairable are also less prone to mechanical failures.

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        Re: At the risk of making myself unpopular

        Non-replaceable batteries mean there's a very finite lifespan and new sale in waiting.

        1. Paul Shirley

          Re: At the risk of making myself unpopular

          Modern batteries have an impressively long lifetime, or if you're a mobile seller a depressingly long one. Apple seem to have found a way around that failure of built in obsolescence though ;)

          The problem of getting through a whole day even with a brand new battery remains for many.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: At the risk of making myself unpopular

          "a very finite lifespan and new sale in waiting."

          But not necessarily a sale for the same vendor.

        3. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: At the risk of making myself unpopular

          For me, nonreplaceable batteries means a lifespan of 0 days, since I won't buy anything that doesn't let me change out the battery.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: At the risk of making myself unpopular

        Glued phones are also easier to dismantle for recycling - devices are placed on a conveyor belt running through an oven. This is far less less labour intensive than unscrewing dozens of little screws.

        1. John 110

          Re: At the risk of making myself unpopular

          "devices are placed on a conveyor belt running through an oven."

          What? Like the pizza oven at my local chipshop?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: At the risk of making myself unpopular

            Not just like the pizza oven at your local chip shop - the actual pizza oven in your local chip shop!

            1. STOP_FORTH

              Re: At the risk of making myself unpopular

              Pizza and chips!

          2. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: At the risk of making myself unpopular

            Like any continuous industrial process.

      3. TonyJ Silver badge

        Re: At the risk of making myself unpopular

        It is more about making the unrepairable full stop unless it is sent back to the manufacturer. And out of warranty, that is an extra revenue stream.

        And part of the claim with glue is that with the correct equipment to melt them (the glues), the devices are in theory easier to recycle: the glues melt at much lower temperatures than plastics, silicon, solders/metals etc.so whack them in the correct type of oven and they are much easier to then disassemble.

        Allegedly - I've never seen the process actually at work.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: At the risk of making myself unpopular

          > Allegedly - I've never seen the process actually at work.

          Argument from ignorance, upvoted here.

          Remember, this is the Fairphone - paying people low wages to dismantle stuff isn't what they should be about.

      4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: less prone to mechanical failures

        There is no excuse for gluing the battery. Batteries should always be easily replaceable.

      5. BGatez Bronze badge

        Re: At the risk of making myself unpopular

        mostly cheaper to make while less prone to repairs

      6. DougS Silver badge

        There is no such thing as a "non replaceable battery"

        Replacing the battery on an iPhone is simple - which is a lot of the rest for iFixit's 6s and 7s for iPhone repairability. They aren't glued down, there's a little strip of tape you pull to remove it, and the replacement battery comes with the same strip of tape to hold it in place. Sure, you need a couple "specialty tools" to open it, but you can buy those for next to nothing on eBay, or slightly more than nothing from iFixit.

        Even on phones where they are glued down like Samsung, it is just more difficult/messy, but not impossible. If you don't want to do it yourself there are plenty of places you can have it done. Unless you throw away the phone in the trash, it will likely end up getting re-used if you trade it in or give it to a recycler. If they can replace the battery for $40 it is worth it if they can sell the phone for $50 or more.

        1. Orv Silver badge

          Re: There is no such thing as a "non replaceable battery"

          My experience has been that the hard part is getting a decent replacement. The times I've tried the replacement battery had a very short useful life, probably due to being a cheap knockoff.

          1. DougS Silver badge

            Re: There is no such thing as a "non replaceable battery"

            I've never had to replace the battery in my iPhone, but I've helped a few friends with it. Buying from iFixit seems to have worked well.

            But you're right, you don't really know for SURE what you are getting unless you buy from the phone's OEM. Otherwise it is a crapshoot, and that "genuine" Apple/Samsung/etc part may be a cheapo Chinese clone with the right labeling on the outside, and you won't know until later.

            1. baud Bronze badge

              Re: There is no such thing as a "non replaceable battery"

              I replaced the battery on my old Samsung (old enough that there's no tools needed to do the swap) and I think I got an expensive cheapo clone, since the battery life on the new one quickly degraded to nearly the same as the old one.

        2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

          Re: Even on phones where they are glued down like Samsung

          Sorry, I've never had a Samsung where the battery was glued in. Not on the Galaxy S2 I used to have, not on the A3 I have now.

        3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: There is no such thing as a "non replaceable battery"

          Replacing the battery on an iPhone is simple -

          Yes, buy your phone from a different manufacturer. Perfect way to replace ALL the defective components (and the defective walled garden while you're at it) all at once.

        4. The Basis of everything is...
          Alert

          Re: There is no such thing as a "non replaceable battery"

          That's what I thought when attempting to replace the RTC battery on an old camera which was soldered to the motherboard. Nobody seems to sell small enough horizontal pcb-mount rechargeable button-cell batteries to the general public any more.

          What I said when subsequently finding a spot on the motherboard well away from the terminals of what I though was a safely discharged flash capacitor is another story. And unprintable.

      7. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: At the risk of making myself unpopular

        No, the glue was only introduced to simplfiy asssembly, because replacing a damaged device is usually cheaper for a manufacturer than fixing it.

        Be interesting to see if we ever get "right to repair" legislation.

    7. DasWezel

      Manage around ~200 Samsung xCover 3s at work. Dud batteries, broken USB ports, and smashed screens are far from uncommon.

      1. DreamEater

        @DasWezel

        What do you use to manage them?

        I’ve got around 50 to manage and when updates etc need to be done, it takes utter days for them all to be completed as I have to do one (or a few) at a time by hand.

    8. mt_head

      I usually hold on to my phones (and laptops, cars, etc.)until they just can't be ridden any further, but I actually replaced my last-but-one phone because the USB cable wouldn't stay plugged in - it still worked, but only if I held it in my hands while it charged. And my current phone - which I keep in a magnetic mount on my dashboard - has a loose headphone jack, which crackles every time I go over a bump.

      So yes - modular replacement sounds like a Good Thing.

      1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
        Coat

        Duct tape is your friend.

        The one on the left, thanks, with Gorilla Tape in the pocket.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "has a loose headphone jack, which crackles every time I go over a bump."

        I assume your car doesn't have Bluetooth then, otherwise why would you even need to use the headphone socket while driving. I really hope you are too sensible to drive with headphone on/in. :-)

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          The bluetooth connection in my car crackles even when I'm not going over bumps. It's awful.

    9. localgeek

      The headphone jack on my LG V30 got worn out (I use it a lot), and it was difficult to make any plugs stay securely inserted. Thankfully, it was still under warranty, and I got the whole phone swapped out for free.

    10. AJ MacLeod

      The right hand "convenience button" on my Blackberry broke this year. Rather disappointing, it's only been in daily use for 9 years!

      (Flying off the car roof onto the tarmac at 50 MPH might have had something to do with it, fortunately the left hand button wasn't doing anything useful so the camera is still quickly activated when required)

    11. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Ports and buttons are notorious for "mechanical" damage, which is why some kind of quick release for charging (magnetic or like Nokia's chargers) is desirable, even better is wireless.

      And you wouldn't believer the shit that gets under the buttons: fluff, dust and water are just the start of it. Hence, again why modern phones have fewer buttons.

    12. Loatesy

      my experience has nearly always been with the charging socket, eventually the solder works loose and the socket wobbles about inside the case. If this component were to be easily replaceable then from my point of view we have a winner as a work-issue device. At the mo my employer is firmly wedded to the high-end iOS and Android types, will all the commensurate maintenance/warranty costs.

    13. VikiAi Silver badge

      USB-C ports are getting a bit notorious for not being very good on the plug-unplug-cycle longevity. A year to failure is not uncommon where I am seeing complaints being made.

    14. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

      I've had Micro-USB ports become loose, but not USB-C so far. However the better solution these days is wireless (Qi) charging.

    15. MyffyW Silver badge

      Cellular modem on my daughter's iPhone broke - Apple just replaced whole phone (very efficiently I must say).

    16. M E H
      Happy

      USB-C charging port

      Yes. I've had a USB get totally broken up when someone was a bit clumsy putting the charging lead into a Samsung Galaxy Tablet.

      I took it to a mate who runs a phone repair shop and he had to get an electrician, who only works one day a week for him, to replace it. I think he had to order the part in as well.

      So yes, being able to buy a replacement port and slot it in would be a good thing.

    17. JohnFen Silver badge

      I have never broken anything on any cell phone that I've owned. But from my observations, I'm the exception!

    18. eionmac

      Relative has had two phones break in charging connection. USB type.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    USB ports ?

    Magnetic couplings (a la Apple) pretty much keep the USB port going forever.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: USB ports ?

      Sony have had external charging pins on their phones in the past. The plug-in USB C magnetic couplings look like a good idea, especially if your phone isn't waterproof (they would reduce areas of ingress) and doesn't have wireless charging ( which provides redundancy for the charging docket, and be be used to minimise the mechanical wear on the socket in the first place.

    2. Ropewash

      Re: USB ports ?

      Unless you are one of us who work in a machine shop.

      My mag connects look like they're going for a full biker beard.

      1. Orv Silver badge

        Re: USB ports ?

        In some parts of the country there's a surprising amount of iron in the dirt, too. I had a pair of glasses with a magnetically-attached sunglass clip, and I had to wipe the accumulated filings off the magnets on a regular basis.

      2. TonyJ Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: USB ports ?

        "...Unless you are one of us who work in a machine shop.

        My mag connects look like they're going for a full biker beard...."

        Wrap the connectors in plastic!

  5. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Not waterproof.

    Given the overlap between eco conscious folk and people who love being in the great outdoors on bikes, boats and on ropes, the lack of waterproofing is disappointing.

    My phone has taken a few dunkings in the last couple of years, so it could be calculated to have used fewer resources than the sum of several replacement Fairphones. Whilst there is a sporting that a Fairphone might have made a recovery (as many phones not advertised as waterproof do, if the owner is lucky), my experience would suggest that outdoors enthusiasts (or even just people living in areas at risk of flooding or hurricanes, sadly a growing number of people it seems) might be better looking elsewhere.

    Sony and Samsung have both shown that waterproof phones with swappable batteries are possible.

    1. Gonzo wizard

      Re: Not waterproof.

      When I sail I stick my phone in a specially designed clear plastic dry bag. The only thing that doesn't work is the fingerprint sensor. £15 is much cheaper than the additional mark-up for 'fully waterproofed'.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Not waterproof.

        If I'm using my phone in wet conditions, I use a non-lubricated condom to protect it. It's much tidier than a plastic bag, and doesn't interfere with the touch screen at all. I can't speak to its impact on fingerprint sensors, though, as I don't use those.

        1. quxinot Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Not waterproof.

          I have concerns about where you're storing said phone during that time.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Not waterproof.

            Phew! I was getting a bit disappointed that hours had gone by without someone coming up with a joke about that. Yours is much better than anything I was able to come up with, too.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not waterproof.

            And do you set the ring volume to vibrate only?

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Not waterproof.

        Fingerprint sensor doesn't work with wet fingers anyway.

      3. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Not waterproof.

        Fully waterproofed is no mark up at all if it saves you the price of several non waterproof phones.

        As I originally hinted, a hill walker is never planning to slip and fall in a stream.

        People who care about the environment are often the same as those who are *in* the environment. And here, that includes rain, puddles and streams.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We hope the likes of Samsung

    lalala we're not listening!

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    I wish them well

    I've no interest in smartphones at all, but if I were, this would be on my shopping list.

  8. PaulVD
    Thumb Up

    On my shopping list

    For when Microsoft stops supporting my Windows phone in a few months (yes, that says what part of the market I occupy!)

    Not so much for repairability, as for its ethical sourcing of materials and components.

  9. chivo243 Silver badge
    Happy

    This is a start!

    A good showing here might just get some bigger companies to follow the example. One can hope...

  10. Joe Gurman

    Looks like a very good phone indeed

    If only it weren't a hair under 1 cm thick!

    1. AJ MacLeod

      Re: Looks like a very good phone indeed

      Ah, finally a new phone that doesn't cut into my hands in use! I find the run of the mill razor-thin smartphones horribly uncomfortable.

  11. whoseyourdaddy

    "Tool-less battery removal".

    Let it go. It's never coming back.

    No one wants to hear endless Samsung phone explosion warnings in airports anymore.

    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=lipo+battery+explosion

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "Tool-less battery removal".

      Let it go. It's never coming back.

      Maybe it never went away.

      I finally replaced my pre-smartphone Nokia with a new Android Nokia a few weeks ago. It has a removable battery almost like the old one. The only disappointment was that it wasn't the same size as the previous model so I couldn't use the old battery as a spare.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Tool-less battery removal".

      Let it go. It's never coming back.

      You can pry my Galaxy Note 2 from my cold dead hands! (or vice versa, whichever comes first.)

      1. gryphon
        Facepalm

        Note 2

        Gave my wife an old Note 2 from work with a cursory explanation of features including showing her the stylus.

        Couple of months go by.

        "Hey, did you know this phone has a pen thingy that pops out when you press this bit? I wonder what that is supposed to be for?"

  12. Youngone Silver badge

    damp squib?

    No, it's damp squid.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: damp squib?

      I can't believe there are 3 commentards who have never seen the IT Crowd.

  13. coderguy

    All well and good but...

    I don't see on their website, Is Fairphone the only vendor for the modules or are third parties able to take part in the ecosystem.

    That's when it would get interesting.

  14. teknopaul Silver badge

    Does it work with modules removed?

    Ability to temporarily remove gps and wifi seems like a useful feature for the paranoid

  15. Tempest
    WTF?

    "sadly the chips have been soldered on, limiting upgradeability a little"

    Solder presents no problems to the technical whiz kids in ShenZhen, why should they to techs in the West?

  16. vincent himpe

    The chips have been soldered on....

    What did you expect ? sockets ?

    Anyway, real men have BGA rework stations in their garage and know how to use them.

  17. kathologist

    Virgos go for tech like this

    While I may waste time reading about tech deep dive topics, I'm a basic user.

    My life experience has taught me hardware devalues fast & non-repairable/replaceable faster.

    Like one of the commenters posted - I try to maximize the life out of hardware.

    I DO care about e-waste.

    I DO care about extreme environmental issues living in fire/flood/earthquake Northern California. Being able to swap out parts is essential.

    I live rural, so DIY is part of my DNA.

    When it costs more to have a mobile than a pc, that stirs my ire. Not having the control over the damn thing stokes it further.

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