Eco-champions: Fairphone 3+ is a trivial DIY parts upgrade from the '3'

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Lumia 950 and Nokia (S60/Symbian) owners will like this one. In terms of taking the back off, replacing battery and other components easily, there's a lot to like about the Fairphone 3, launched originally last year, in 2019, and reviewed by me over in Phones Show 386. Well, Fairphone just announced the Fairphone 3+ and the kicker is that it's just a Fairphone 3. With upgraded cameras and microphones that are still separate modules and also available to buy for existing owners, for a nominal 70 Euros. Turning the '3' into a '3+' in just a couple of minutes with the provided cross-head screwdriver!  Now, just imagine the whole industry using this philosophy more...

From Fairphone today (PDF link):

New modules enhance performance and fair specs for both new and existing Fairphone owners.

With the launch of two new camera modules, Dutch social enterprise Fairphone has once again taken an innovative approach to smartphone longevity and sustainability. Starting today, the camera modules will be available separately, for current users, or in the upgraded version of the Fairphone 3 for new users: the Fairphone 3+.

This achievement is the company’s latest step in their journey to create fairer, long-lasting, high-quality devices. In the electronics industry, rapid technological advances have led consumers to believe that the next big thing is always just around the corner. However, in reality, the latest gadget is rarely life changing, and smartphones are becoming more similar than ever before, with only incremental improvements from one model to the next.

The current consumer (and industry) mindset means that 1.4 billion mobile phones are sold every year – often replacing a device that still works just fine. Today, people only keep their phones on average for 2.7 years, and less than 5% of the materials used can be recovered for reuse. This behavior contributes to the issue of electronic waste (e-waste), which is the fastest growing waste stream worldwide. Excessive consumption also puts a strain on natural resources, and contributes to the ongoing social and environmental issues in every part of the supply chain, from the mines to the factories.

One of the ways to positively impact all of these problems is to use phones for as long as possible. This is exactly what Fairphone is enabling with the launch of the Fairphone 3+. The latest phone – an upgraded version of the Fairphone 3 – contains new camera modules to significantly improve the photo and video quality, as well as improved audio with louder, crisper sound. The refresh upgrades the rear camera from 12 megapixels to 48 megapixels, and the front camera from 8 megapixels to 16 megapixels – giving users sharper selfies and clearer video calls. The cameras also feature enhanced object tracking, faster autofocus and image stabilization for more reliable shots. In addition, software optimization provides an outstanding user experience.

The rest of the technical specifications of the Fairphone 3+ are similar to the Fairphone 3, such as a Qualcomm 632 processor, 64GB memory (expandable to 400GB with a MicroSD card), a replaceable 3000mAh capacity battery and sturdy Gorilla® Glass 5. As with previous models, it also contains replaceable modules to encourage easy repairs, further supporting Fairphone’s goal of creating sustainable, long-lasting phones. The Fairphone 3+ comes pre-installed with Android 10, which will also be available for the current Fairphone 3 users starting in the first half of September.

You can find the full specs list here on GSMArena. The new main camera module is listed as '48 MP, f/1.8, (wide), 1/2.0", 0.8µm, PDAF'. So nothing too special in 2020, but decent enough and it's just so cool to be able to upgrade components like this. I'll have the new modules in for review in a new Phones Show in September, hopefully.

In case you're wondering, the full, new Fairphone 3+ is just under 500 Euros. Which is very expensive for the specs, but what price upgradability and knowing that you're at the cutting edge of eco-friendliness in using and being seen with a Fairphone?

Source / Credit: Fairphone