Fairphone 5 review

GSMArena Team, 18 September 2023.

Introduction and specs

Two years after the previous generation, Fairphone introduced the Fairphone 5 with numerous upgrades to the hardware and tweaks to the design to fit the company's mission to reduce e-waste and promote sustainability. The company says more than 70% of the materials used are either recycled or are "fair-focused", meaning the materials are sourced from transparent supply chains with responsibility for the material footprint.

Fairphone 5 review

Additionally, the company offers 5 years of full warranty coverage, 8 years of software updates, which includes 5 major Android upgrades, extremely easy repairability and a removable battery. Not necessarily new features, as these were the staple for the Fairphones in the past, but it's still a unique approach in 2023. Lastly, for each Fairphone 5 sold, people working at the factories get a $2.63 living wage bonus.

Fairphone 5 specs at a glance:

  • Body: 161.6x75.8x9.6mm, 212g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass 5), aluminum frame, plastic back; IP55, dust and water resistant, MIL-STD-810H compliant.
  • Display: 6.46" OLED, 90Hz, 880 nits (peak), 1224x2700px resolution, 19.85:9 aspect ratio, 459ppi.
  • Chipset: Qualcomm QCM6490 (6 nm): Octa-core (1x2.7 GHz Cortex-A78 & 3x2.2 GHz Cortex-A78 & 4x1.9 GHz Cortex-A55); Adreno 643.
  • Memory: 256GB 8GB RAM; UFS 2.2; microSDXC (dedicated slot).
  • OS/Software: Android 13, planned upgrade to Android 14.
  • Rear camera: Wide (main): 50 MP, f/1.9, 1/1.49", 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS; Ultra wide angle: 50 MP, f/2.2, 1/2.51", 0.7µm, PDAF; Depth: TOF 3D.
  • Front camera: 50 MP, f/2.5, (wide), 1/2.76", 0.74µm.
  • Video capture: Rear camera: 4K@30fps, 1080p@30/60/120fps, gyro-EIS; Front camera: 4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps, gyro-EIS.
  • Battery: 4200mAh removable battery; 30W wired, 50% in 20 min (advertised).
  • Connectivity: 5G; eSIM; Wi-Fi 6e; BT 5.2; NFC.
  • Misc: Fingerprint reader (side-mounted); stereo speakers.

When it comes to hardware, the Fairphone 5 brings a bigger and better display compared to its predecessor, a purpose-built Qualcomm QCM6490 chipset with extended support, a duo of 50MP cameras - a standard one and an ultrawide one, aided by 3D ToF sensor and a selfie cam with another 50MP unit. It's evident that the OEM wants to offer a solid camera experience for the market segment. Battery life should also see some gains with a bigger 4,200 mAh battery and faster 30W charging.

Fairphone 5 review

The Fairphone 5 is undoubtedly a unique device that caters to anyone tired of changing a phone every two years and wants to have a bit more control over its product. However, it's still important to see the whole picture and assess the handset's competitiveness in the upper mid-range segment. We dive deeper into this review to see whether there are some unforeseen trade-offs you must consider before buying.

Unboxing the Fairphone 5

The handset arrives in a modest, recycled carton box with some user manuals inside.

Fairphone 5 review

The company says that it doesn't want to create more e-waste, and since the phone can charge with standard USB-C cables and standard chargers up to 30W, you likely have some lying around.

Reader comments

To everyone complaining about the price, the reason for the high price is because this phone is made by people who live in fair working conditions and are paid livable wages, unlike other companies who pay their workers minimum wage & fuel off of...

  • Anonymous
  • 23 hours ago
  • Xys

Well not specifically environmental activist but yes these is the sort of audience that buy a phone like this for example I know people who are into environmental stuff and low carbon footprint and all and they use Fairphone or want to buy it so I gi...

I think you have to be an environmentalist to buy this sort of product I appreciate the idea of this and the more you look into this it's what manufacturers should be aiming for, but the average joe wouldn't pay the price for it also the sp...