Though its devices aren’t available in the United States, Fairphone is by far the most well-known sustainable phone brand. Its products are easy to repair, come with crazy-long warranties, and receive software updates several years after their release. And now, iFixit’s teardown of the Fairphone 4 shows what manufacturers like Apple and Samsung need to do if they want to make repairable devices.
Here’s the short of it—the Fairphone 4 is extremely easy to take apart and repair. The display is held together with screws, the battery connects with contact points instead of wonky cables, and the camera array sits on a large board that’s impossible to install crooked. All of the phone’s small parts are modular, and ignoring a few torque screws, you can take this bad boy apart with a single Philips head screwdriver.
After watching iFixit’s teardown, I have a feeling that most people could perform basic Fairphone 4 repairs without any guides. The phone’s internal components are clearly labeled, and because the battery is encased in a hard shell, there’s no chance of penetrating it and starting a big fire. Still, Fairphone provides a ton of repair guides on its YouTube channel, ensuring that anyone can fix a Fairphone 4.
There are a few things we don’t like about the Fairphone 4, namely its small 3,905mAh battery and lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack. And as iFixit notes, some of the company’s manufacturing techniques, such as combining the rear camera and antenna components, could lead to waste or other problems if taken to the extreme. (Though in this case, combining the parts makes installing the camera easier—the video’s right there if you need an explanation!)
iFixit gave the Fairphone 4 an impressive repairability score, but I won’t spoil the story. Watch the teardown video now to see the impressive device’s internal layout, which we hope other manufacturers will use as a template for their own products.