Thursday, September 30th 2021

Fairphone 4 Gets Faster Processor, Larger Screen and 5G, Loses 3.5 mm Jack

If you've been looking for a smartphone with a long term software update guarantee from the manufacturer, then the Fairphone 4 might be what you've been waiting for, as outside of being user upgradable in many ways, the company promises Android updates until at least 2025, but possibly as far as to 2027. This is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition and although the Fairphone 4 isn't what you'd call a cutting edge phone, it does have some unique competitive advantages.

Fairphone is a company that started out with a vision of delivering not only user repairable and upgradeable phones, to reduce electronics waste, but also to use more sustainable and more fairly sourced materials. In addition to this, the company claims to pay its factory workers better and to improve their working conditions.
But back to its latest device, the Fairphone 4, which is quite the upgrade over it's previous devices, as it now features an aluminium body, instead of a plastic one and that's just for starters. The core of the phone is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G SoC, which is still used in several current phones from Samsung and Motorola to mention some competing solutions. The processor is paired with either 6 or 8 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of storage, with a microSD card slot allowing for storage expansion.

The LCD screen measures 6.3-inches and features a 1080x2340 resolution with a 410 ppi pixel density. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla glass 5. Camera wise the Fairphone 4 sports a pair of 48MP cameras, where the regular camera features a wide angle lens, OIS and phase detection auto focus, while the other has a 120 degree ultra-wide lens, as well as a macro mode. The front-facing "water drop" notch camera has a 25MP sensor, which is something the general phone industry seems to have moved away from already.

The Snapdragon 750G supports 5G connectivity, although the Fairphone 4 doesn't come with mmWave support, which isn't entirely unexpected. Most standard 4G bands are supported, as is VoLTE and VoWiFi, but support depends on your network provider. 802.11ac Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 5.1 is also part of the package. A single nano SIM slot caters for physical SIM cards, but an embedded eSIM is also part of the Fairphone 4, both options supporting 5G, although not concurrently.

Rather surprisingly, especially considering the price point of the Fairphone 4, the USB-C port supports USB 3.0 speeds, something many higher-end phones don't even have. Fairphone has also added support for DP-Alt mode, which again is something that is lacking on many devices at this price point. Audio is via a pair of built-in speakers, or via the USB-C port, since unlike on its previous phones, Fairphone decided to drop the 3.5 mm jack this time around, which is a shame.

A 3,905 mAh battery rounds off the package and Fairphone claims that a 50 percent charge takes about 30 minutes using a 20 W charger. It should also be mentioned that the Fairphone 4 is IP54 certified, so although you shouldn't go dunking it in water, it can handle getting damp, despite the fact that it's user serviceable. Finally the power button also doubles as a fingerprint reader, something we've seen on some other phones as well.

The 6 GB RAM, 128 GB storage SKU will set you back €579 or about US$670 and it comes in grey. The 8 GB/256 GB SKU is priced at €649 or about US$750 and will be available in grey, green and speckled green and both SKUs come with a five year warranty if ordered before the end of 2022. Note that you don't get a charger or USB-C cable with the phone, although Fairphone does offer a range of accessories for additional cost. Just to point out what you can expect to shell out on parts for the Fairphone 4, a battery for example is listed at €29.95, whereas a USB-C replacement connector costs €14.95. Things like the display and rear cover are currently not priced up. The Fairphone 4 can be pre-ordered from today, with shipments starting on the 25th of October.

Source: Fairphone
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43 Comments on Fairphone 4 Gets Faster Processor, Larger Screen and 5G, Loses 3.5 mm Jack

#1
lynx29
not OLED for $670? hmmm hard pass.
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#2
zlobby
I think it's fair to say I'll pass.
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#3
Tigger
I'm the only one
No 3.5mm on any phone is a pass from me
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#4
TheinsanegamerN
"more sustainable"

How is forcing users to either wear out their USB port faster or use bluetooth headphone with finite battery lifespans more sustainable then keeping the audio port that has been standardized as long as most of us have been alive?

Also found it strange how a company went so far as to have a user replaceable battery then never offered or partnered with any company to offer an extended model. I have fond memories of my note 4's 10,000 zerolemon battery, and would love to see something like that. Plus, larger batteries wear out slower, as they need fewer recharge cycles due to longer usable abttery life.
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#5
Chaitanya
That 5 year warranty coupled with capability of replacing parts is compelling but that price is quite a bit high.
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#6
Khonjel
No OLED.
Fat af at 225g.
Mere 3900 mAh battery despite being the chonker that it is.
And no, phone is not fat because of battery being removable. Samsung's last battery removable flagships Galaxy S5 and Note 4 were well under 200g.
And at that cost too.
Warranty's the only thing Fairphone has going for it.

I'm kinda bummed tbh.
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#7
n-ster
Not sure OLED would have been the best choice for something that is supposed to last 6 years of daily use. No 3.5mm is baffling if you're that into sustainability, no Wifi 6 is as well, I'd even expect 6E
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#8
TheLostSwede
n-sterno Wifi 6 is as well, I'd even expect 6E
Yeah, that one is odd, as the SoC supports 802.11ax, although it seems to be an external chip, so maybe they could save a couple of bucks by going with an older option?
It would seem Qualcomm recommends this Wi-Fi solution for the 750G, which is 802.11ax ready, whatever that means.
www.qualcomm.com/products/fastconnect-6200
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#9
MikeMurphy
I'd prefer a mainstream phone with a replaceable battery and unlocked bootloader.

The LG V20 was the last great flagship with user replaceable battery.
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#10
Dr. Dro
TheinsanegamerN"more sustainable"

How is forcing users to either wear out their USB port faster or use bluetooth headphone with finite battery lifespans more sustainable then keeping the audio port that has been standardized as long as most of us have been alive?

Also found it strange how a company went so far as to have a user replaceable battery then never offered or partnered with any company to offer an extended model. I have fond memories of my note 4's 10,000 zerolemon battery, and would love to see something like that. Plus, larger batteries wear out slower, as they need fewer recharge cycles due to longer usable abttery life.
Ah, I had that battery for my Note 2. The battery far outlasted the phone, which survived through my worst teenage years. I miss replaceable batteries - and specifically, the ZeroLemon battery so much. The new cases that you place the phone inside just aren't the same. :toast:
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#11
Ferrum Master
I would argue about the IPX54, the distinct difference between designed and certified. I don't think it is certified, I cannot find anything on it on their site. As a design goal maybe. Manufactures cheat on those things often.

But it doesn't matter, as long they claim 5 year warranty, they should repair the water damaged device within warranty unless it is cracked. It does not look watertight to me anyways, would not rely on that thing by any means.
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#12
TheLostSwede
Ferrum MasterI would argue about the IPX54, the distinct difference between designed and certified. I don't think it is certified, I cannot find anything on it on their site. As a design goal maybe. Manufactures cheat on those things often.

But it doesn't matter, as long they claim 5 year warranty, they should repair the water damaged device within warranty unless it is cracked. It does not look watertight to me anyways, would not rely on that thing by any means.
Sorry, that should of course be IP54, not IPX, but it only means it's splash proof and mostly dust proof.
It's also drop test according to MIL810G test standard...
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#13
Ferrum Master
TheLostSwedeSorry, that should of course be IP54, not IPX, but it only means it's splash proof and mostly dust proof.
Yea... but I am curious how they really cover water damaged warranty with that repair yourself service. You say, I have a corroded motherboard and they send you a new one? They do not list any service partners also... it looks almost on hoax level. The prices are without shipping costs(16Eur UPS for me) and that renders them really expensive and on par with any other manufacturer prices including the labor cost fee.
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#14
TheLostSwede
Ferrum MasterYea... but I am curious how they really cover water damaged warranty with that repair yourself service. You say, I have a corroded motherboard and they send you a new one? They do not list any service partners also... it looks almost on hoax level. The prices are without shipping costs(16Eur UPS for me) and that renders them really expensive and on par with any other manufacturer prices including the labor cost fee.
Please read the end of the press release for partners, although they're not service partners. You can go to Finland to get one in a store...
Not a scam, the company has been around since 2013.
www.fairphone.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Fairphones-modular-5G-smartphone-proves-the-latest-tech-can-be-made-sustainably.pdf
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#15
Ferrum Master
TheLostSwedePlease read the end of the press release for partners, although they're not service partners. You can go to Finland to get one in a store...
Not a scam, the company has been around since 2013.
www.fairphone.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Fairphones-modular-5G-smartphone-proves-the-latest-tech-can-be-made-sustainably.pdf
I see, those are only distributors and not the top ones and it does not mean they have a service contract with anyone about these. At least you will be protected by local consumer laws when buying from them and I suggest that, what's the probability the company may go bankrupt like many does these days just after a year? High. Then you are left on your own. It seems my carrier group is not involved, so I will be safe from them in my daily RMA life lol.
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#16
TheinsanegamerN
Dr. DroAh, I had that battery for my Note 2. The battery far outlasted the phone, which survived through my worst teenage years. I miss replaceable batteries - and specifically, the ZeroLemon battery so much. The new cases that you place the phone inside just aren't the same. :toast:
I'd love to see what one of those chonkers could do with a modern 7nm snapdragon 600 or 700 series. Likely could hit over 24 hours of SoT, and with modern 15-20w chargers you wouldnt have to wait overnight for a charge either.

I also really likes how easy the nearly 1 inch thick cases were to hold, with their rubber texture and giant thumb sized buttons. Completely different feel from heavy but thin phones today. And their belt clip/stand was great too.
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#17
lexluthermiester
TheLostSwedeFairphone decided to drop the 3.5 mm jack this time around, which is a shame.
Fully agree. It's a deal-breaker. Get knotted Fairphone...
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#18
TheUn4seen
While I don't care about the lack of a 3.5mm TRRS - I'm fairly sure I never used one on a phone -, the weight and size are fine with me as I don't wear girly tight pants as many young people apparently do, IPS screen at this price point is a bummer, but what really grinds my gears is the factory-damaged screen. I would gladly pay the same of even slightly more for a phone with screen that is not cut because people are narcissistic morons.
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#19
mechtech
"Fairphone is a company that started out with a vision of delivering not only user repairable and upgradeable phones, to reduce electronics waste, but also to use more sustainable and more fairly sourced materials. In addition to this, the company claims to pay its factory workers better and to improve their working conditions."

All good things, but it still has to compete with current phones on the market either in specs or price or both, usually both if you don't have brand recognition, also 2022 is almost here "Android updates until at least 2025" 3 years isn't much time.
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#20
eidairaman1
The Exiled Airman
lexluthermiesterFully agree. It's a deal-breaker. Get knotted Fairphone...
Pulling a crapple and shitsung
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#21
AsRock
TPU addict
ChaitanyaThat 5 year warranty coupled with capability of replacing parts is compelling but that price is quite a bit high.
five year warranty if ordered before the end of 2022, or else it's what ?.
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#22
yotano211
The price is very high for a mid tier processor and storage space. I paid less for a used phone with much more storage space and better processor.
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#23
TheLostSwede
mechtech"Fairphone is a company that started out with a vision of delivering not only user repairable and upgradeable phones, to reduce electronics waste, but also to use more sustainable and more fairly sourced materials. In addition to this, the company claims to pay its factory workers better and to improve their working conditions."

All good things, but it still has to compete with current phones on the market either in specs or price or both, usually both if you don't have brand recognition, also 2022 is almost here "Android updates until at least 2025" 3 years isn't much time.
End of, not start of 2022 for the five year warranty. 2025 is the minimum promise of updates, it could be another two years, depending on Qualcomm and Google.
AsRockfive year warranty if ordered before the end of 2022, or else it's what ?.
Not clear, as it wasn't mentioned.
yotano211The price is very high for a mid tier processor and storage space. I paid less for a used phone with much more storage space and better processor.
Relevance?
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#24
BorgOvermind
One more phone name from the same factory Samsung As and Xiaomis come.
And none of the probably near 10 brands bothered to improve the design.
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#25
noel_fs
jesus christ 600€ for a 750G,

a phone from any of these brands xiaomi, poco, oneplus, asus, motorola, sony and realme (without even mentioning pixel)

will also have updates for the coming years thanks to the release of their kernel source

but at a much better ratio of price/perf-features(camera, screen, etc)


nowdays there is a niche for anything because there is always someone that would believe what someone says if they say it with confindence

wouldnt be surprised if a phone with harmless 5G waves was released, jeeeeeesus f christ
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