FairPhone 2 In-depth Review: Everything You Want to Know

FairPhone unveiled its first modular phone two years ago and became a pioneer recyclable phone maker. The idea behind the first FairPhone was to make an environment and economy friendly handset, with replaceable and repairable individual components, so with the advancement of technology, faster processor, larger RAM, better cameras can simply be put into your modular phone instead of buying a new one.

One can argue that if FairPhone was such a prolific idea, why did they produce FairPhone 2 instead of upgrading components of the previous version? The answer lies in the novelty of the technology, which is still evolving. It will take some time before timeless modular phones are introduced into the market, which can last decades. Thus, given the small start that it had, FairPhone 2 should be seen as a sign of success.

The company has already sold 60,000 units of FairPhone 1 and the newest model is accordingly expected to do even better. However, FairPhone isn’t the only modular phone in town, big guns like Google is also working on their own version of a modular phone, and then there is PuzzlePhone as well. But these devices are still limited to factories and labs, the ground is clear for FairPhone 2.

FairPhone 2 Review: Impact on Manufacturing Process

When saying ‘the best thing about FairPhone’ you will find yourself in ambiguity because there are so many. One of them is their pick on social issues of manufacturing, which directly affects the workforce and their standard of life. FairPhone (company) vows to help workers with their needs and concerns by creating a system of worker association, which will represent their voices, train them through workshops and establish a fund which will address their financial requirements.

FairPhone has teamed up with its manufacturing partner, Hi-P International Limited, for the aforementioned Worker Welfare Fund, which will not only upgrade their existing structure of workers welfare but let their representatives’ select where the fund will be invested. The company claims that it employed the same strategy with FairPhone 1 and part of the profit from each unit sold contributes towards the Workers Fund. If true to every word, this is a great recipe of economic growth and a friendly environment.

FairPhone 2 Review: Outstanding Specs

5-inch HD LCD display made with Gorilla® Glass 3
Resolution of 1080X1920 with pixel density of 446 pi
Android™ 5.1 (Lollipop)
Dual SIM
Qualcomm® Snapdragon ™ 801 processor
8-megapixel rear camera
32 GB internal storage
2420 mAh removable lithium-ion battery
Slim: 11mm, Light: 145 g

FairPhone 2 Review: Under the Hood

FairPhone 2 Review

The Promise of speedy performance is delivered by the Snapdragon 801 processor and 2GB RAM serves enough room for the table. So needless to say, FairPhone 2 can easily handle requirements of 3D games and HD videos. With an 8MP camera, buyers might feel it’s a little outdated, but to remind you, it is upgradable and your FairPhone 2 may soon get it. Furthermore, the company is negotiating with software makers to offer custom ROMS.

The deal gets a whole lot better with dual SIM support and ability to connect to 4G LTE networks. Loaded with all the parts that can be disconnected, FairPhone 2 is still light at 145g, with a slim body. The cost is paid by its not-so-impressive outlook, but for now, that will do in the arena of modular phone race where it is the sole seller.

FairPhone 2 Review: Open Source OS

Although, getting to the root of Android is not everyone’s cup of tea, but FairPhone is making sure that those who can drink from it get ‘Fair’ access to its development resources. The operating system (OS) source code and development environment is available for the open source developer community to use, review, modify and improve the software.

FairPhone plans to find an alternative OS, which unlike Google’s Android will have an independent developer base with the entire community would contribute towards debugging and modification of subsequent FairPhone OSes. This could serve as a huge opportunity for Linux enthusiasts, as Android is also a modified version of Linux OS. In a layman’s language, FairPhone could end up with their own Android releases. You won’t have to wait for Google to finish its alphabet sequence (FYI: progressive Android releases follow alphabetic order e.g. Ice-cream Sandwich, Jellybean, Kitkat, Lollipop, Marshmallow etc).

FairPhone 2 Review: Designed to Last Longer

Average Looks, Promising Future
Average Looks, Promising Future

The best thing about… actually we are already past that, FairPhone 2 in many ways, is one of a kind, including its design. Keeping in mind the basics of a modular architecture, the design has been focused around its easy disassembly and repacking. Although, PuzzlePhone has comparatively a more vivid picture of putting this together, the mechanism of opening and closing FairPhone 2 isn’t too bad either.

Increased modularity means maintenance and longevity of the device becomes the responsibility of their owners. How simple is it to disassemble FairPhone 2?

How to Dismantle your FairPphone 2 in 5 simple steps
How to Dismantle your FairPhone 2 in 5 simple steps
  1. Remove the back cover
  2. Remove the battery
  3. Remove the frame
  4. Open camera panel with screwdriver
  5. Remove the bottom panel.

That’s it; each FairPhone components have been dismantled. It requires no technical skill, but PuzzlePhone beats it with by not using screws at all.

Use of screws is a set back for FairPhone 2
Use of screws is a set back for FairPhone 2


FairPhone 2 Review: Perks of DIY

The FairPhone 2 is designed in a way that every user can understand and get into its soul. Modularity here is defined by ease of physical operations, if you want to repair a damaged camera or upgrade your RAM, you don’t have to go to a repair shop, just do it yourself. Unlike complicated electronic circuitry of our current smartphones, FairPhone 2 has integrated components in individual packages, so identifying one component from the other and replacing it becomes a piece of cake.

How would you benefit from it? We can give you a few scenarios, for instance, you are going on a trip and people tend to lose or forget things on the way back. You can reduce the risk of losing your precious components by replacing it with a cheaper one. In future, you could take out your 4 GB RAM (who know in a year or two 8-16 GB might be available… pricey accordingly) and replace it with 1 GB; likewise the processor, leaving only the high-megapixel camera in it to capture your beautiful moments. Don’t have a good camera? No problem, exchange it with your friend over the lunch, so FairPhone 2 will also let you know which of your friends have an open heart.

FairPhone 2 Review: Future Tense

Possibilities are limitless. FairPhone 2 has been billed as one of the successful future mobile technologies, which will push the marketplace to its edge. Imagine the power of a handset, which doesn’t age, every new feature in-stores will be at your disposal without purchasing a new phone. Doesn’t matter how advanced processors, RAMs and cameras of smartphones get, you will get a bite, by just paying for a component, not the entire phone.

Looking further into the future, we might see optical zoom integrated into cams to take on travels, extra slots for RAMs to multiply modular phone’s graphic capability and who knows, even dual battery installation might become possible. Modular technology is very nascent; at its peak it promises you a world of possibilities.

FairPhone 2 Review: Summary

FairPhone 2 is the introductory facet of a more advanced communication system, which will not only cut down prices of mobile phones but also extend add-on facilities in it. More built-in components that come integrated with your smartphone will disengage from typical packing and give you the liberty to replace or upgrade them.

But the most tempting feature of FairPhone 2 remains to be its recyclability, a one of a kind offer not seen anywhere previously. FairPhone is opening the doors for everyone to be part of the dream, touching the void of imagination and making the user experience more influencial. On its website, FairPhone 2 has rightfully defined itself that,

“Fairphone is not a solution in and of itself – it’s simply a vehicle for change.”


Muhammad Waqas
Muhammad Waqas
Muhammad Waqas is an active technology journalist and news writer. He keeps his readers entertained with the hot and happening in the world of innovations and delivers the latest news as it breaks.

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