A couple of years ago, I read an article about Fairphone in an edition of “The Big Issue” and I was fascinated. The first thing that caught my notice was that when Fairphone’s founder, Bas van Abel, first wanted to create a fair mobile phone, one of the first things he needed to do was pay a bribe in Africa to access a mine. I’d heard that the mines in Africa can be run in terrible ways for the local people (who are basically desperate for any money they can get) and this was, and still is, a major concern for me. Just because it’s in Africa and out of my sight, doesn’t mean I can just put this out of my mind and accept it.
Eventually Bas van Abel sourced ethical materials and the Fairphone dream was underway. This dream wasn’t just the sourcing of ethical materials, the bigger part of the dream was to create a phone that was modular and could be easily repaired by the owner using inexpensive spare parts. This is why the Fairphone is of interest here at use10percentless.com, it’s a phone that you’re intended to keep for much longer than the standard smart phones, hence less waste.
Obviously, I decided to buy a Fairphone. I wanted my usage of a phone to have less impact on the world. It wasn’t an easy choice because it also meant I’d be switching from an Apple iPhone to an Android based phone. I’d never used Android before. However, on the positive side, it worked out that I spent roughly half as much money on my new Fairphone compared to the iPhone I would have bought if I’d stayed with Apple.
First experiences with a Fairphone
I bought the latest model “Fairphone 3” and I really liked it from the outset. Getting used to Android really took some time as I’d been using an iPhone for many years. I was patient and gradually learnt how to do everything and to have my phone setup just as I liked it. Amazingly (at least to a long-term iPhone user), Android is absolutely fine. Everything I did on an iPhone, I am able to do on the Android and sometimes it’s easier and more understandable on the Android. Also, somewhat surprisingly, it’s also possible to link up most things from the Android to the Apple system which is important because I use an Apple desktop. There’s are ways to get almost everything (like calendar sharing and synchronising) working quite nicely between the two systems.
The Fairphone 3 is larger than my old iPhone 6, but that’s fine because the screen is bigger. As you can see from the photos, I also bought a nice green bumper case to protect the phone and the back of the Fairphone pops off easily to expose what’s inside. It’s easy to access and remove the battery and then you’ll find slots for two SIM cards (really handy for me because I can have both my personal and work SIM cards in it at the same time and only need to carry one phone) and a microSD card for additional memory.
They also send you a small screwdriver along with the Fairphone so you can take it to pieces. I haven’t tried doing that yet but it’s nice to know I can replace the battery, the screen, the camera, the speaker, etc., easily on my own. It really is such a great idea.
A phone that is repairable and lasts a long time
It feels great owning a phone that is repairable and is meant to last a long time. If you’re interested in using a smart phone but reducing your impact on the world, consider a Fairphone. It’s a much more ethical and environmentally kind way to go. If you’re using an iPhone now, you’ll need to be brave for a while while you get used to Android, but it will all work out fine. The phone is really good, the camera is good and I can’t find anything to complain about.
All this makes me wonder if all smart phones (and all consumable products?) should be forced to be like a Fairphone. Is it right for companies to try to get us to re-purchase their products even before we need to, just so they can increase their profits? Or should companies be forced to offer only more long lasting, less environmentally damaging products?
So next time you’re buying a smart phone, consider a Fairphone. If enough consumers choose a better type of consumable product like this, we might just change how our economy works from the bottom up.
Related Links – Fairphone – a better phone option?
- See Fairphone’s story on their website here – https://www.fairphone.com/en/story/
PS. I have absolutely no affiliation with Fairphone, I just really like their mission and their products.