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Tom Baker writer
Tom Baker Staff Writer Derby, UK

Much as I love my iPhone, I am struck by a bit of guilt whenever I see stories like this. Great as our tech is, the circumstances of their manufacture often aren't, not to mention the ecological credentials (or not) of the materials they’re made from. The Fairphone aims to be the polar opposite of this: it’s not built in sweatshops and offers a sustainable, functional smartphone for the ethically minded.

The Dutch company started selling the phone after some successful crowdfunding, and have sold 5,000 of the handsets so far. It's a pretty slick product, too: running on Android, it has the looks of a Samsung Galaxy, with a decent camera and battery life to boot. At €325 ($426.50), the price isn't so different from most phones on the market, either.

Where it differs from those competitors is how it's made. The company aims to be completely transparent about how it makes it phones, and is doing so in the best way possible, ethically speaking: giving the people who put them together a decent wage, using materials from mines that don't fund conflicts, and even send them out in recyclable packaging.

Not only is the Fairphone a good option if you want to spend your money a little more wisely, but it also helps highlight some of the less admirable practises of other tech companies, and might just make a difference in how they operate. Maybe.

4 Reply Share:
Opinion 3 years ago
Nick Antram admin
Nick Antram UX/Visual designer at Cholsey, GB

I first heard about the Fairphone when they had sold just over 5000, so they had just met their target. Like most smartphone users I was unaware of the 'box ticking' that goes on by most electronics manufacturers when they are sourcing materials for their products. The information provided by Fairphone and the articles written about them really made me think about what my next smartphone choice should be, especially as my iphone 4 is grinding to a halt.

I was especially attracted by the fact that the team had started this product from scratch and were relying on orders to fund the development of the phone. I was impressed by this level of enterprise and because Fairphone appears to be independent maybe they can make a difference to this industry and lead the way in encouraging the big names to manufacture their products in a more socially and environmentally sustainable way.

So a couple of days later, with orders up to 7000 I took the plunge and ordered one. I have heard I won't receive the phone until October (ish), they have a lot of work to do to ensure they can produce the best product they can, whilst still adhering to their values in what must be a fiercely competitive market.

Another nice touch when I ordered was them discouraging me to order a charger. The Fairphone uses a mini usb lead, you know, like the other 5 you have hiding in a drawer at home. This re-use of existing hardware makes sense and reduces waste, other phone manufacturers please take note!

Its exciting to be part of helping a new face on the smartphone scene that has something positive to offer. I'll let you know what its like when it arrives in its recycled packaging.

3 Reply Share:
Experience 3 years ago

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