Introduction and specs
Two years after the previous generation, Fairphone introduced the Fairphone 5 with numerous upgrades to the hardware and tweaks to the design to fit the company’s mission to reduce e-waste and promote sustainability. The company says more than 70% of the materials used are either recycled or are « fair-focused », meaning the materials are sourced from transparent supply chains with responsibility for the material footprint.
Additionally, the company offers 5 years of full warranty coverage, 8 years of software updates, which includes 5 major Android upgrades, extremely easy repairability and a removable battery. Not necessarily new features, as these were the staple for the Fairphones in the past, but it’s still a unique approach in 2023. Lastly, for each Fairphone 5 sold, people working at the factories get a $2.63 living wage bonus.
Fairphone 5 specs at a glance:
- Body: 161.6×75.8×9.6mm, 212g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), aluminum frame, plastic back; IP55, dust and water resistant, MIL-STD-810H compliant.
- Display: 6.46″ OLED, 90Hz, 880 nits (peak), 1224x2700px resolution, 19.85:9 aspect ratio, 459ppi.
- Chipset: Qualcomm QCM6490 (6 nm): Octa-core (1×2.7 GHz Cortex-A78 & 3×2.2 GHz Cortex-A78 & 4×1.9 GHz Cortex-A55); Adreno 643.
- Memory: 256GB 8GB RAM; UFS 2.2; microSDXC (dedicated slot).
- OS/Software: Android 13, planned upgrade to Android 14.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 50 MP, f/1.9, 1/1.49″, 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 50 MP, f/2.2, 1/2.51″, 0.7µm, PDAF; Depth: TOF 3D.
- Front camera: 50 MP, f/2.5, (wide), 1/2.76″, 0.74µm.
- Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, gyro-EIS; Front camera: 4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps, gyro-EIS.
- Battery: 4200mAh removable battery; 30W wired, 50% in 20 min (advertised).
- Connectivity: 5G; eSIM; Wi-Fi 6e; BT 5.2; NFC.
- Misc: Fingerprint reader (side-mounted); stereo speakers.
When it comes to hardware, the Fairphone 5 brings a bigger and better display compared to its predecessor, a purpose-built Qualcomm QCM6490 chipset with extended support, a duo of 50MP cameras – a standard one and an ultrawide one, aided by 3D ToF sensor and a selfie cam with another 50MP unit. It’s evident that the OEM wants to offer a solid camera experience for the market segment. Battery life should also see some gains with a bigger 4,200 mAh battery and faster 30W charging.
The Fairphone 5 is undoubtedly a unique device that caters to anyone tired of changing a phone every two years and wants to have a bit more control over its product. However, it’s still important to see the whole picture and assess the handset’s competitiveness in the upper mid-range segment. We dive deeper into this review to see whether there are some unforeseen trade-offs you must consider before buying.
Unboxing the Fairphone 5
The handset arrives in a modest, recycled carton box with some user manuals inside.
The company says that it doesn’t want to create more e-waste, and since the phone can charge with standard USB-C cables and standard chargers up to 30W, you likely have some lying around.