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Two weeks ago, Apple announced that it will now sell iPhone repair parts to homes and businesses for the first time. Although this move was under pressure from regulators, public opinion and the media, it made headlines about the topic of smartphone repair and how manufacturers encourage or prevent it.
American site iFixit is now the go-to site for repair enthusiasts. They offer detailed instructions and a full store with everything you need to repair different devices. You may be familiar with the site because it digs into the devices and ranks the difficulty of fixing them. A very unusual smartphone received a perfect score of 10/10.
The company that makes smartphones you won’t have to replace
Fairphone is a manufacturer that has tried to do things differently than other manufacturers. They design their smartphones with net thought in place about the appearance and use of the devices as well as the repair options so you can make them. Firefox doesn’t want you to have to buy a new device each time your screen gets cracked or your camera is damaged. It’s so simple and fair. The company also wants to disable FOMO whenever a new device is released and allow you to upgrade your camera to the latest module for a few tens.
Fairphone’s new Fairphone 4 was unveiled in September. This week, iFixit released their Teardown Guide to the new device – which earned it an impressive 10/10 rating. Remember when you could just carry an extra battery in your laptop, and then just open the back and insert it? Fairphone 4 makes it possible. The device is IP54 water- and dust-proof, but its back can still be removed and the battery can simply be removed – there are no cables, soldering, gluing or soldering required.
Each component is clearly marked and easily replaceable
You will notice that the Fairphone 4’s body does not burden or confuse you. Instead, each component is clearly labeled and easy to find. You will find an expansion slot for MicroSD cards beneath the battery. This means that you don’t have to replace the device if the internal storage capacity is not sufficient.
Other parts like the rear cameras and speakers are held in position by simple Phillips screw. This means that you don’t need a special-head tool to remove them. The cables are also very simple for connection and disconnection. You will need a Phillips screwdriver to replace the screen and 8 simple screws to remove it. Only the motherboard is held in place by “star” screws. You can also purchase a basic kit and a screwdriver at any local store.
These components can all be replaced or upgraded in the future. The company’s YouTube channel has easy-to-understand videos and the video does not exceed 6 minutes. iFixit warns that even a device is rated 10/10, it doesn’t mean it is perfect. They also claim that access to the button sensor and fingerprint sensors is a bit more complicated and that certain components are combined so that if one fails, you will need to replace them all. The Fairphone 4 does NOT have a classic headphone connector.
What’s the deal with the competitors?
You might be wondering what makes the Fairphone 4 different from the iPhone 13? For example, it received a 5-6 correction score on iFixit. In the case the iPhone 13 Pro model, the website misrepresented its large variety of screws. The fact that the glass on the back is still fragile and hard to replace. And the fact that Apple decided not to allow Face ID to be used for anyone replacing the screen outside of its own labs (and then canceled it after a storm). Apple is generally criticized for using too many glue and unusual screws, making it difficult for labs access to its parts, which does not help the site.
Microsoft’s Surface Duo scored 2 out of 10. There were complaints about the battery glue and the difficulty of disassembling and replacing them. The USB-C port is soldered directly onto the main board. And there are also unusual screws. Motorola’s folding razr already has a score of 1. This is due to the fact that you have to use an excessive amount of adhesives and the device must be disassembled almost completely in order to replace the battery. Sometimes it’s just poor engineering decisions. Other times it’s deliberate decision making that will force you to pay high prices for repairs or warranty expansion plans that you wouldn’t purchase if your smartphone was repairable yourself.
By the way, the Fairphone 2 & Fairphone 3 were the last devices to score a 10/10 in iFixit.
The bonus: Have an Android device with 7-year support?
Fairphone didn’t stop with the Fairphone 4. If you had two years of security updates and software upgrades on other Android devices, you can thank Fairphone for that. The Fairphone 2 was released in 2015 and has now been made available to the public. The device will be supported for 7 years. It was also upgraded from Android 5. According to her, the update took 10 months to complete. This is significantly less than the 18 months it took for her to update the device.