Fairphone 2 is user-repairable in bid to keep company’s ethical edge

Claudia Cahalane

With the rest of the mobile phone industry beginning to look into supply chain ethics, Fairphone has launched their second handset as the first fully modular smartphone to try and stay one step ahead

The first batch of the Fairphone 2 – which aims to lead the way in more ethical smartphones – will be delivered to customers within the month after being launched at London Design Festival last week.

The new phone is the only fully modular handset on the market, with the main parts easily replaceable for users, and reinforced for sustainability.

The original Fairphone, launched in 2013 by the Dutch social enterprise of the same name, stood out in the smartphone market for containing tin and tantalum from certified conflict-free mines in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“For the second version, we have worked hard to also ensure that we source conflict-free gold and tungsten, but cannot yet claim that those will be integrated in the first shipments as we still need to overcome a few last challenges,” said Daria Koreniushkina, public engagement officer for Fairphone.

“Smartphones generally contain around 40 different minerals and these four are the main ones associated with being mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses,” she added.


The Fairphone 2 dissassembled © Fairphone

Apple and Samsung have also stepped away from conflict tantalum and are working on the other minerals, according to their websites.

At the phone’s launch, Bas van Abel, founder of the company, told Positive News the ultimate aim was to use fully recycled parts and not involve mining at all.

Technology journalists at the event were impressed with the phone’s high end specifications, in contrast to the previous version which was criticised for not being able to compete on performance with models half its price.

More than 15,000 people around Europe have pre-ordered the phone, with 722 of those in the UK ordering via Fairphone or The Phone Cooperative.


Listen to the full interview with Fairphone founder Bas van Abel at London Design Festival.

Photo title: Bas van Abel of Fairphone (l) and Vivian Woodell of The Phone Co-op (r) hold the new Fairphone 2

Photo credit: © Fairphone

  • Helen Fatir

    This is such exciting news – especially their aim to use all recylced materials. I will be getting one of these phones.

  • Eddie Venison

    I highly recommend Fairphone as a company. I own a Fairphone 1 and have only minor issues with it, but if there is a problem there is a good online community of people to help sort things as well as pretty good official support. But mainly I just think they’re just a very open and transparent company, and I’m impressed at what they’ve been able to do with just a few people. The new FP2 looks really cool, and much more user friendly and high spec than the FP1. The modular component idea / user repairability idea is a great one and will hopefully be taken up as industry standard with time. They seem committed to the onflict free minerals idea and have extended the impact they will have with this new phone. Basically if you need a new phone and you’re not in need of a really really high end phone (which is the vast majority of us I imagine) – go for this :) I’m sure it will surprise you in quality and it will support an great company.

  • Inge

    I went straight to this article having read the headline because I thought it was going to teach me how to repair my second batch Fairphone before it drives me completely insane.

    I have been struggling to work with it for a year now, and, having installed the new OS, it has been even worse! I am forever being thrown out of texts or emails because my finger is a bit too close to the menu button when pressing spacebar, I often hang up on friends accidentally with my cheek, and can not understand why a name and surname are too long to enter into contacts!

    Now, I may be a bit of a ludite, and I admit to being an iPhone user for 8 years (bit like illicit drugs – plenty of user satisfaction, but keeps demanding more money for the experience), and I have found the transition to Android and this new handset excrutiating.

    I am very disappointed, because I fully support Fairphone’s ambitions to change the ethics of the smart phone industry for the better, but the product is simply not good enough, in fact, it is sub standard. After one year, I am thinking about buying an iPhone again (even though I was determined not to stay a slave to Apple). The truth is, the Fairphone is negatively affecting my efficiency and ease of connectivity. I even had a nightmare about it recently, not being able to make an urgent telephone call. Now that really is sad.

    If helpful user groups really do exist, please tell me how to find them! I have contacted PhoneCoop, and Fairphone directly about my issues with the software, and was directed to cute but useless 3 minute videos on their website. I filled in the user survey with plenty of useful information on what needs to be improved (screen sensitivity for one – less of it please). Still, no advice on how I can learn to get along with my phone. I am sorry to say, but I curse it every day ;(

    Am I the only one to feel this way?

  • Inge

    I am very sorry for spreading negative insight on Positive News. Really I am, but I have to be honest about my experience with the Fairphone, which will hopefully help improve the phone in the long term – which is positive!

  • Eve

    Hi Inga,

    What a shame your experiences have been so negative. It can be a real culture shock when you move from one phone to another on a good day but on a bad one when things don’t seem to iron out phew, how frustrating!

    My partner has the original fair phone and has had very few problems with it. I think compared to most phone company’s they are way ahead of all their rivals when it comes to transparency and ethics. It’s great you feel so passionate you’ve managed to support them all this way.

    Seeing as your hearts really with them on this and it can be really tricky to sort out issues that crop up when your not feeling techie minded, perhaps you could go to a techie forum and ask if any one would like to buy it off you and put some of the money into a new hand set or the fair phone two?

    Then you could put your heart back into the fair phone ethics and hopefully have a better experience before buckling and going back to the giants.

    Just an idea. Either way, I hope things work out :)

  • Claudia Cahalane

    Hi Inga, the Fairphone 2 isn’t out yet, but early indications are that it will be more user friendly. I recently transitioned to Android (my iPhone broke and I had a friend’s old android) and I find it really hard to use!

Start typing and press Enter to search

Pin It on Pinterest