Level 38
Content Creator
Dutch company Fairphone believes smartphones can and should be completely repairable and free of conflict-sourced materials. Ars covered the Fairphone 2 launch back in 2015 and performed an assisted teardown of a late prototype model with the company's CEO. This time around, repair guide site iFixit got the pre-launch prototype and took it down top-to-bottom to see if Fairphone still makes good on its promise.
iFixit did the complete teardown disassembly shown above with only a spudger and a 00 Phillips-head screwdriver. If you want to go a step further and take apart the modules themselves—not something you'd do in the course of normal repair—you'll need to add a T5 Torx driver and an opening pick to your toolkit. Nothing was hot-glued together. The headphone jack, flash LEDs, and proximity and ambient light sensors are soldered onto the breakout board; the USB-C port and mic are soldered into the bottom module. In addition to the full 10 out of 10 score on repairability, the Fairphone 3 uses ethically sourced components and labor.

Bad news, US readers—you're going to need a friend somewhere in Europe if you want to buy one. The company is only shipping to European countries, although the phone itself should work to some degree with most American mobile companies (except Verizon) if you can somehow get one. European readers can preorder a Fairphone 3 now, with shipping expected to begin in late October. The phone costs €450.00 plus shipping (for the UK, shipping is DHL, with cost from €10.20-13.20). By way of comparison, that's a bit more than a Pixel 2—and you do get the assurance that if you break the screen, it can be easily and cheaply replaced (possibly at home!), the battery can be even more easily replaced when it degrades