Fairphone 5 scores a perfect 10 from iFixit for repairability
Middling performance, but check out the longevity
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 and found the device just as repairable as its predecessors, albeit with one or two compromises.
As before, opening the phone is a simple matter of popping off the back of the case. The beefier battery – 4200 mAh instead of the previous 3905 mAh – remains easy to remove, although the bigger size has implications elsewhere in the device.
Replacing the USB-C port remains simple thanks to a metal lip that allows it to be removed easily. Individual cameras can also be replaced, a nice upgrade from the all-in-one unit of the preceding phone.
However, rather than something along the lines of the Core Module of the previous phone, the iFixit team found a motherboard and daughterboard more akin to other Android handsets. According to Fairphone, the bigger battery made the change necessary, but it's still a little disappointing.
Still, the teardown team noted clear labeling to stop cables from being accidentally plugged into the wrong places. It said: "That's what intuitive repair design is all about: it should be easy to do the right thing and complicated to do the wrong thing."
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On the other hand, the Fairphone 5 is hardly a ball of fire when it comes to processor power. Though it comes with the fastest industrial chip (not a Snapdragon) made by Qualcomm, that puts it squarely in the mid-range rather than rubbing shoulders with more exotic devices.
Yet that misses the point when considering the longevity of a device. According to iFixit, this chip receives longer support compared to Qualcomm's consumer products. Fairphone promises five Android version upgrades and at least eight years of security updates, with an aim for a total lifespan of a decade. Whether it will have sufficient horsepower to run all a user's applications is a different matter.
Considering the glue-filled horrors out there, combining software longevity with something that has retained much of its predecessors' modular and repairable design is an impressive feat. As such, the iFixit team awarded the Fairphone 5 its highest score: 10 out of 10.
According to iFixit co-founder and CEO Kyle Wiens: "Fairphone's promise of five Android version upgrades and over eight years of security updates with the Fairphone 5 is a bold statement in an industry that leans towards fleeting product life cycles. This is a significant stride towards sustainability and sets a new benchmark for smartphone lifespan.
"At iFixit, we believe in tech that lasts, and Fairphone is making that belief a reality. Fairphone's effort to attain a 10-year lifespan is not just impressive; it's unparalleled." ®