Fairphone 5: Three key features of the only sustainable smartphone

Fairphone promises to deliver a phone that lasts longer and is environmentally friendly.

Established in 2013, Fairphone is a Dutch company dedicated to making smartphones that offer great technology, while also being environmentally sustainable and produced ethically. 

But what truly sets Fairphone apart is its B Corp certification. These are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. In a world awash with gadgets, Fairphone’s offerings stand as the only certified sustainable phones available today.

Now, after two years of development, the Fairphone 5 is set to make its debut this month. It promises a whole lot of additions that will appeal to those that love their tech, but don’t want to compromise on their sustainable values.

Interested? Here are three reasons why this smartphone should be on your radar.

A blue sustainable Fairphone 5 sat on a globeCredit: Fairphone
Fairphone produce the only certified sustainable mobile phone on the market

1.It’s designed to last for years

This is no phone flash in the pan

How often have you had to replace a phone because it’s stopped working or the operating system is no longer supported by the manufacturer? The Fairphone 5 is fighting against this tide of electrical waste.

Through its ingenious modular design, the Fairphone 5 has been created for an extended lifespan, reducing the necessity for frequent upgrades. There are 11 spare parts available to buy, so you can easily fix any problems that may arise yourself. Apparently, all it takes is a screwdriver, which not only reduces your environmental impact, but also saves you money.

It’s also backed with a warranty of up to five years. Compare this to Apple and Google, which offer just one year, and Samsung, which has a two-year warranty, and you can see why the Fairphone 5 is a better choice for reducing environmental waste.

Fairphone guarantees that this phone will receive software and security updates for a whopping eight years, until 2031. This is much longer than most other smartphones, which typically only receive updates for two to three years.

Apple and Samsung are the only other major smartphone manufacturers that come close, offering updates for five years (but only for certain models).

This means that you can be confident that your Fairphone 5 will stay up to date and secure for years to come, and you won’t have to worry about it becoming obsolete or vulnerable to security risks.

To enable this long support window, the Fairphone 5 uses a Qualcomm QCM 6490 processor, which is not usually used in mobile phones and is often found in devices like Amazon Echo smart speakers or Ring doorbells. It’s not the most powerful processor, but was chosen for longevity, however if you’re just using your phone for calls and web browsing, you’ll be fine

2. It’s sustainable and ethically made

Kind to people and the planet

Dubbed as its most sustainable phone so far, the Fairphone 5 is built with more than 70% fair or recycled materials. It’s made from recycled and Fairtrade-certified materials, including recycled plastics, Fairtrade gold, and conflict-free minerals.

“The Fairphone 5 claims to be the most sustainable phone in the world,” says Lara Dresser, carbon reduction scientist at Tunley Environmental.

“Not only does it boast ethically sourced batteries but it is guaranteed 100% e-waste neutral and looks to recycle even more than just their own phones.

To ensure that the Fairphone 5 is e-waste netural, the company collects and recycles 212g of electronic waste, which is the weight of the phone itself.

E-waste is a major environmental problem. It is estimated that more than 50 million tons of e-waste is produced each year, and much of this ends up in landfills or incinerators, where it can release harmful pollutants into the environment.

“Electronic waste or ‘e-waste’ if not properly processed has a huge impact on the environment,” Dresser tells us. 

“Due to the components of, for example, phones and other electronics this waste is typically highly toxic and dangerous, as it can leach heavy metals, carcinogenic chemicals and other toxic compounds into the soil and also water. Therefore, designs such as the Fairphone, which promote a longer life of 8-10 years followed by recycling at the end of life, are much more sustainable options.”

Fairphone also works closely with production partners, labour rights experts and non-profit organisations to improve working conditions, provide a living wage and ensure all its workers are happy in their jobs.

3. You can add extra storage

Never run out of space again

Ever found yourself having to delete apps or precious photos to free up more storage space on your smartphone? Apple and Google get round this by offering cloud storage at a monthly cost, but the Fairphone 5 allows you to expand on 256GB of internal storage physically.

The Fairphone 5’s microSD card slot allows you to add up to 2TB of additional storage. This equates to roughly 200,000 photos taken on your phone. It’s a simple way to futureproof your phone and ensure you have enough storage space for years to come.

The other stuff

Cameras and fast charging

As well as its sustainable credentials, the Fairphone 5 has all the things you’d expect on a smartphone. It comes with a 50-megapixel main and selfie camera and has an OLED display which ensures great quality visuals, even in direct sunlight. 

The battery is produced from ethically sourced lithium and offers 30W fast charging, promising a 50% charge in just 20 minutes. According to the blurb, you can get 32 hours of daily use on one single charge (dependent on what you’re doing on the phone).

All these features come at a cost, though. At £619, it’s not the cheapest smartphone out there, however, the idea is that you keep it for at least eight years, thanks to the support and ability to fix it yourself.  That then works out at around £77 a year. 

For Dresser, the benefits outweigh the cost, especially as the phone is designed to last several years.

“To encourage customers to continue using their phone, Fairphone offers a discount for every year that you look after your phone and do not claim any repairs,” she says. 

“Fairphone is actively making a conscious effort to reduce the impact of phones on the environment by claiming to offer a long lasting and recyclable phone.”

Featured product

Fairphone 5

RRP: £619

Fairphone 5
Jayne Cherrington-Cook

Written by Jayne Cherrington-Cook she/her


Jayne is the Senior Editor at Saga Exceptional. She cut her online journalism teeth 24 years ago in an era when a dialling tone and slow page load were standard. During this time, she’s written about a variety of subjects and is just at home road-testing TVs as she is interviewing TV stars. A diverse career has seen Jayne launch websites for popular magazines, collaborate with top brands, write regularly for major publications including Woman&Home, Yahoo! and The Daily Telegraph, create a podcast, and also write a tech column for Women’s Own.

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