Enlarge / The Fairphone 3+ shown here is a bit more bulky than a standard smartphone – but this volume makes it much more repairable and even upgradeable according to today's news.
Last year, the iFixit repair guide tore down the Fairphone 3 and gave the modular phone a rare perfect 10/10 repairability. Today, Fairphone showed how far its philosophy of modular phone design can take its users by offering owners of the previous Fairphone 3 the massively updated cameras of its newly released Fairphone 3+ model.
Fairphone designs are significantly bulkier than typical smartphone designs – but they have a reason to be. The components have been divided into seven interchangeable modules to extend the life of each Fairphone. Battery is getting weak? It's interchangeable. Did you drop your phone and break the screen? Not only interchangeable, but guaranteed to be interchangeable – and interchangeable for reasonably technical end users – thanks to easy-to-purchase parts ex works.
enlarge / Imagine if you could update a phone bit by bit like you are used to from an older but still solid PC.
The original Fairphone 3 was launched with a 12-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front camera. The newly released Fairphone 3+ is essentially the same phone but features an update to the camera modules so that the rear camera is 48 megapixels and the front camera is 16 megapixels. Owners of the original Fairphone 3 can upgrade by simply purchasing and replacing replacement modules from the Fairphone Store.
The list price for the Fairphone 3+ 48MP rear camera module is € 59.95 (approx. $ 71) and for the "Top + module" (including the 16MP front camera) € 34.95 (~ $ 41). Fairphone is offering Fairphone 3 owners a combo deal until the end of September, in which both modules are offered for a total price of € 70 (~ $ 85). Both options are quite cheap compared to the € 469 (~ $ 555) cost of the Fairphone 3+ itself.
Unfortunately for our US readers, the Fairphone is still a phone only in Europe with no counterpart to the US market. The Fairphone's 4G radio does not support the mid-bands used in the US market. Even if you somehow manage to get one, it won't be a very good phone here as it only has limited connectivity in the lower bands.