back to article Fairphone 5 scores a perfect 10 from iFixit for repairability

Fairphone has retained top marks for repairability, with the Dutch manufacturer's fifth iteration scoring high for software longevity, even if some components are starting to get a little more "conventional." The iFixit team pulled apart the latest in the line of modular phones with little more than tweezers and screwdrivers …

  1. Lurko

    it should be easy to do the right thing and complicated to do the wrong thing

    I conclude they've not encountered many humans

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: it should be easy to do the right thing and complicated to do the wrong thing

      It's hard to meet the hoi polloi if you live in an ivory tower and gated mansion.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not a Snapdragon

    WTH cares? You need AI Assistance to send a Tweet FFS? It's a phone, not a Cray Y-MP.

    Like you need a cutting edge smartphone to send a LOL or smiley face.

    "People. What a bunch of bastards."

    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Not a Snapdragon

      You need powerful phone so that all the spying apps can do processing on your device rather than on costly servers of whoever is running the spying apps.

      1. yetanotheraoc Silver badge

        Re: Not a Snapdragon

        We need a powerful phone so it can handle spyware processing and El Reg posting at the same time.

        1. Doctor Tarr
          Coat

          Re: Not a Snapdragon

          You need a poweful phone for all the spyware our new El Reg masters have secretly installed.

          Long live El Reg!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not a Snapdragon

        Also those spyware programmers (google, meta, twitter, bbc etc) are lazy these days making slow bloated code ; )

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not a Snapdragon

      "WTH cares? You need AI Assistance to send a Tweet FFS? It's a phone, not a Cray Y-MP."

      True, today's phones are quite more powerful than Cray Y-MP were. Unfortunately, you can't sit comfortably on them, which shows how technological progress sometimes comes at the cost of personal comfort.

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: Not a Snapdragon

        Question: does this phone run hotter or cooler than a Cray love-seat?

        If you had one phones in each back pocket, things may feel surprisingly familiar. And, being more powerful than a Cray, modern phone love-seats can, in real time and without using vector arithmetic, control a vibration interface :-)

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice! Too bad about the price.

    I don't mind low power no frills. But I can get those for < $200. This would be a 4x price hike even if it were available in the US.

    1. 43300 Silver badge

      Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

      Yes, but compare the expected lifespan to those cheapo ones (which will probably be virtually unrepairable, and with a updates for a much shorter period).

      1. Chz

        Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

        A Pixel 8 is regularly on sale for cheaper than this thing. Much, much more powerful. Much, much better camera. Waterproof. And support for 7 years, only one less.

        Yes, you can't repair it as easily but I've never had a phone that I've needed to repair beyond replacing a battery. You give up a LOT to get that repairability. Whether or not that's worth it to someone is really up to the user to determine.

        Alternatively, you can get a Redmi Note for 1/3 the price with the same performance and get a performance upgrade every three years by buying a new one. (should you want to) Wasteful, yes, but on pure value to the consumer seems a lot better bet, and you can always opt to keep it for a bit longer.

        I like the concept of the Fairphone, but they need to find some ways to cut corners while keeping it repairable. For the most of us, it is simply too expensive for what you get.

        1. chuckufarley Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

          I agree with you about the repairs part. Just because my phone never leaves a flat surface inside my home unless the expected happens. I am one of those people that attempt to refuse to participate in the All-We-Can-Slurp Data Buffet built into Apple, Microsoft, and Google software. I know for a fact that there are large communities of people that focus on custom Android builds for specific devices but these have a small audience due to the lack of scrutiny they get from the press. How can I know that Dev Alice's LineageOS release is more of less trust worthy than Dev Bob's Lineage OS release if I don't have the time to do my own homework on the matter? Why should I have to be a Linux security expect to know? This an information space that is ignored because it's small, and in my opinion it is also small because it is ignored. Great things could happen there if the right people cared to care.

          You have to make a real leap of trust to install third party software on a handheld computer that contains so much PII.

        2. seven of five

          Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

          I have a FP3+, now four years old. Got Android 13 this fall. This will certainly be the last update, no matter how many Fairphone might offer: The CPU is beyond its useful life now, performance fell off a cliff with Android 13.

          This will be the same fate an FP5 will suffer five years down the line. Latest, given the medicore Processor at launch. Google will make sure of that.

        3. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

          Virtually any premium phone, a few years old is cheaper and better than this thing.

          1. Roj Blake Silver badge

            Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

            Apart from the updates.

          2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

            Re: Virtually any premium phone, a few years old is cheaper and better than this thing.

            I feel like you're missing the point. And probably aren't the target market.

        4. AVee

          Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

          "I like the concept of the Fairphone, but they need to find some ways to cut corners while keeping it repairable."

          While repairability is will play a part in the costs I'd guess that the cost could still come down quite a bit if they could produce in bigger numbers. Right now they really don't come close to the scale other manufacturers have.

    2. elsergiovolador Silver badge

      Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

      and you still can't repair it. What if you connect something to the USB port that fries some chip on the motherboard?

      Good luck getting that chip.

      1. 43300 Silver badge

        Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

        Should be able to get a replacement motherboard.

        1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

          Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

          Did you read the article?

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

            I did. Did it say that having a motherboard meant you couldn't replace it? It said that the design wasn't as good, not that repair of that part was impossible, and given that you can disconnect basically everything that connects to the motherboard, it shouldn't be hard. More expensive, more time, but still possible in a world where it's generally impossible on anything else.

            1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

              Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

              You can't buy the replacement motherboard. So how are you going to replace it?

              1. Intractable Potsherd

                Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

                Second hand?

                1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

                  Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

                  Right, so it's like Apple then...

                  1. Crypto Monad Silver badge

                    Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

                    No it's not. Apple doesn't allow you to swap parts from second-hand devices, because they're ID-locked to the original phone. You need to be an authorized service center to have the tools to pair the parts.

                    1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

                      Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

                      Apple Phones comparable to Fairphone are not "ID-locked".

              2. doublelayer Silver badge

                Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

                You can't buy the replacement motherboard now. That may be because they just released the devices, so the motherboards they have are all going into new units. It may be because I've never seen anyone who actually broke a motherboard, so they're probably not that in demand. However, if we had these phones and decided motherboard replacements were important, we could probably contact the company and find a way to obtain one, and if enough people asked for it, nothing prevents them from putting them on the parts list and a user replacing them.

    3. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

      I'm with you on this. I've had an Ulefone Armor 5 for getting on for 5 years now. Waterproof, rugged, long battery life, SD slot. It cost £100 new, and my only (occasional) gripe is the poor camera module.

      1. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

        The major difference is that that device is, as far as I can determine from the internet, still running the Android 8.1 it shipped with. I don't have any data about the security patch level, but I'm guessing that's not much better. Maybe you don't care about those things, but they do matter to me.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

      Me! ME! I UNDERSTAND THE PRICE OF EVERYTHING!!!!!!

      1. cyberdemon Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Nice! Too bad about the price.

        Are you David Cameron?

        You didn't reckon on the price of B****t though, did you.

  4. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    If only an official Qi backcover would be available.

    There are some "plug into the USB connector" style extensions, which I really do NOT like.

    I don't understand why they left out Qi charging. I hope it will come. This is the missing feature for me, I dislike plugging in a cable when I can just put it on my table with the builtin Qi charger.

    1. hairydog

      Re: If only an official Qi backcover would be available.

      Wireless charging is hopelessly inefficient. Far better to use a cable. A magnetic connected one is OK, unless you have metal shavings in your environment,

      1. Catkin Silver badge

        Re: If only an official Qi backcover would be available.

        Is the inefficiency such a problem if the total energy consumed (and, therefore, wasted) over the lifetime of the product is so small?

      2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

        Re: If only an official Qi backcover would be available.

        Qi, if implemented the right way, is near 90% efficiency. Far from the 70% it had in the beginning, or what the first generation of Apple Qi had.

        Above 95% was achieved in lab environments over five years ago, even before Apple started with Qi. Above 97% was achieved with 120 kw power too, but not with Qi standard of course. See Oak Ridge Laboratory report from 2018. And you can check it manually: If a phone gets charged wireless with 50 Watt or even just 25 Watt, with only 70% efficiency the phone would be too hot to touch. Just use the available numbers and think.

        I don't get it how so many people are still stuck in the past with their numbers. It is like comparing the fuel efficiency of today's cars with the fuel efficiency from cars 'round the 1960s... Or comparing the energy usage of 20 year old computers, rated by their computing power per watt, with today's machines. Or comparing the solar cell efficiency from 2003 with the current typical efficiency.

  5. elsergiovolador Silver badge

    Gaslighting

    So you can replace a USB port and display and some other modules and that gets 10/10?

    You can't even buy individual parts, not to mention the motherboard.

    Seems like a misleading and sponsored article.

    It's like saying you can 10/10 repair your TV remote, because you can replace AAA batteries. LOL

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Gaslighting

      You can't even buy individual parts

      Hmm... this page must be a figment of my imagination. My imagination's integration with my web browser surprises me sometimes.

      1. elsergiovolador Silver badge

        Re: Gaslighting

        These are modules, not individual parts. If you are at this website, please find a motherboard for that phone to buy.

        1. seven of five

          Re: Gaslighting

          The main module can not be replaced as it contains the IMEI.

  6. David Newall

    it should be easy to do the right thing and complicated to do the wrong thing.

    Apple, Google, Samsung, etc beg to differ. It's all a matter of perspective.

  7. Piro Silver badge

    Huge

    It's huge, and there's no headphone jack. It's also quite expensive.

    If they could make a smaller version (preferably no bigger than 140x70), with a headphone jack and two physical SIM card slots, i'd be interested.

    One physical SIM and e-SIM is no good for me. Oh well.

    This whole thing about phones needing to be huge to have big batteries is a lie. A Xiaomi Redmi 4X is 139x70x9 and has a 4100 mAh battery. And it has a headphone jack. and an IR blaster.

    Heck, my RAZR MAXX HD is 136x68x9 and has a 3300 mAh battery. I miss its form factor badly.

    It also doesn't need to be huge to have a removable battery and two physical SIMs and a microSD. A Galaxy XCover 5 is 147x71 and has a removable 3000 mAh battery (I admit, that's small, especially compared to the previous two examples with fixed batteries), but it has a headphone jack, two SIM slots and a microSD slot.

    1. Piro Silver badge

      Re: Huge

      I have been keeping my eye on ASUS ZenFone lineup though, they seem to be doing a lot right. If only the battery was removable, had a microSD slot and the updates were guaranteed for many years. It's something I like about the XCover 5, the long update cycle.

  8. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    Long time Fairphone 4 user here!

    Yes, it cost more to buy than a similar spec mid range phone. Yes, it doesn't fulfill the 'Shiny! Shiny!' that some people require.

    But it does everything that I ask of it. And it is NOT pre-loaded with so much bloatware that you're straight into micromanagement of the phone just to keep enough performance to be usable.

    And considering that my last two phones were replaced because non-replaceable components (battery, GPS aerial) failed, I am quite happy with the purchase that I made.

  9. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Alas . . .

    I would love to have one, but they're not available in the US. Also 700 euros is a bit steeper than I would want to pay, but I suppose it all comes out in the wash when you consider device longevity.

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