The Fairphone 2 Is a Modular, Recyclable Android Smartphone

Is it like Project Ara? Kind of, but not really.

Fairphone 2 modular smartphone

The main difference between the two is that the Fairphone 2 is, in fact, a traditional-looking phone, whereas Project Ara comes with an aluminum frame with slots for modules. Still, you can swap old parts with new ones on the Fairphone, just like you would on e.g. your computer. You simply remove the back cover and start fixing up your phone.

Take It Apart and Build It Back Up Again

According to the company behind the handset, the Fairphone 2 consists of seven main building blocks which make it really easy for you to swap old parts for new ones solely with your hands and the help of a screwdriver.

There’s the external case, the replaceable battery, and the transceiver i.e. the core of the entire system (comprises the main chipset, modem, memory, flash storage, SIM and MicroSD card slots, antennas, radios, and power management). Other components include the front- facing camera, the rear camera with the flash, the noise-cancelling microphone, the display unit (LCD module, touch-sensing driver, and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 lens), the headset connector, etc.

The best part about all of it? The Fairphone 2 and all of its parts are not only repairable, but also recycable – the company wanted a device that would have as little impact on the environment as possible.

“It is important to note that all of the electromechanical components are easily replaceable — none are soldered, apart from the microphones, which need to be. The buttons, which are part of the transceiver, sit on flexible printed circuits that are spring-connected to the main board. The units themselves are also built in a modular way to enable refurbishment,” said Olivier Hebert in the company blog post.

The Fairphone 2: Not About Specs

Fairphone 2

Specs are really not the point of the Fairphone 2 (you’ve probably realized this by now), but it’s definitely nice to see that the company created a phone you can place somewhere between the mid-range and flagship smartphones currently available on the market. Here are what we know about the handset so far:

Display: 5” HD, Gorilla Glass
Resolution: 1080p
Chipset: Snapdragon 801
RAM: 2GB
Storage: 32GB (expandable)
Battery: 2,420mAh
Rear Cam: 8MP
Connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0
OS: Android 5.1 Lollipop
Other: dual-SIM support

The Fairphone 2 will become available in Europe in the autumn of 2015, but there’s still no word whether it will arrive to other countries worldwide.