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Fairphone 4 smartphone review - 5G phone with environmental focus

Sustainable and more modern. The Fairphone 3, with its thick display edges, looks quite outdated. It was time for a new edition. The Fairphone 4 offers a more modern design and 5G mobile, but is it still as easy to repair and sustainable?
Fairphone 4
Fairphone 4
Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G 8 x 1.8 - 2.2 GHz, Kryo 570 (Cortex-A77/A55)
Graphics adapter
Memory
6144 MB 
Display
6.30 inch 19.5:9, 2340 x 1080 pixel 409 PPI, capacitive touchscreen, IPS, Gorilla Glass 5, glossy: yes, 60 Hz
Storage
128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash, 128 GB 
, 110 GB free
Connections
1 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, USB-C Power Delivery (PD), Audio Connections: audio per USB-C, Card Reader: microSD up to 2 TB, dedicated, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 5.1, 2G (850/​900/​1800/​1900), 3G (B1/​B2/​B4/​B5/​B8), 4G (B1/​B2/​B3/​B4/​B5/​B7/​B8/​B12/​B18/​B19/​B20/​B28/​B32/​B38/​B40/​B41/​B71), 5G (n1/​n3/​n5/​n7/​n8/​n20/​n28/​n38/​n41/​n71/​n77/​n78) , Dual SIM, LTE, 5G, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 10.5 x 162 x 75.5 ( = 0.41 x 6.38 x 2.97 in)
Battery
3905 mAh Lithium-Ion, 20W charging (Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+)
Charging
fast charging / Quickcharge
Operating System
Android 11
Camera
Primary Camera: 48 MPix f/​1.6, phase comparison-AF, laser-AF, OIS, dual LED-flash, Videos @2160p/​30fps (Camera 1); 48.0MP, f/​2.2, wide angle lens (Camera 2), TOF sensor
Secondary Camera: 25 MPix f/​2.2, Videos @1080p/​30fps
Additional features
Speakers: stereo speakers, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, 60 Months Warranty, SAR: 0.494W/​kg (head), 0.993W/​kg (body), FM radio, IP54-certified, MIL-STD-810G-certified, 1x Nano-SIM, 1x eSIM, fanless
Weight
225 g ( = 7.94 oz / 0.5 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
580 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Possible competitors in comparison

Rating
Date
Model
Weight
Drive
Size
Resolution
Best Price
80.5 %
02/2022
Fairphone 4
SD 750G 5G, Adreno 619
225 g128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash6.30"2340x1080
76.5 %
02/2020
Fairphone 3
SD 632, Adreno 506
189 g5.65"2160x1080
79.1 %
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2
208 g128 GB eMMC Flash6.30"2340x1080
80.6 %
05/2021
Nokia X20
SD 480, Adreno 619
220 g128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash6.67"2400x1080

Case and features - Modular, but a bit clunky

A modern smartphone consists of hundreds of components, and most of them require raw materials that are not easy to come by. Nevertheless, most devices end up in the trash after a few years or even months because they are broken or a new smartphone is needed.

Fairphone wants to change that and has always made its phones as easy to repair as possible, tries to purchase raw materials fairly where possible, and wants to improve the conditions of workers throughout the production chain. The manufacturer's latest device is called Fairphone 4 and is supposed to combine modern features with sustainability.

To check these promises, the buyer can access comprehensive reports about every single phone on the website or trust the numerous sustainability seals that the latest Fairphone 4 or the manufacturer has, among others the Blue Angel or the 9.3/10 for repairability at iFixit.

Spare parts can be replaced quickly and easily thanks to normal Phillips screws and the simplest possible design, and the battery can also be removed and replaced easily. This brings the disadvantage that the build of the Fairphone 4 cannot be as slim as other phones, and the weight is also quite high at 225 grams (~7.9 oz).

The chassis is made of aluminum, whereas the removable and rubberized back is made of recycled plastic. Here you can choose whether you want gray, pure green or green with visible colored pieces of recycled plastic. Additional back covers can be purchased from the manufacturer for just under 20 Euros (~$23). The casing is protected according to IP54, so dust cannot cause any damage, nor can splashing water.

128 GB mass storage / 6 GB RAM or 256 GB storage / 8 GB RAM are available as options. The smaller model costs 580 Euros (~$654), the better equipped 650 Euros (~$733). Charging cable and charger have to be purchased separately. The Fairphone 4 is of course a bit more expensive than the absolute bargains of the upper mid-range here, but you at least get a long warranty with 5 years.

The SD card reader is separate and achieves normal transfer rates with our reference card Angelbird V60. Only a physical SIM card can be inserted, but an eSIM can also be used.

Fairphone 4
Fairphone 4
Fairphone 4
Fairphone 4

Size comparison

168.9 mm / 6.65 inch 79.7 mm / 3.14 inch 9.1 mm / 0.3583 inch 220 g0.485 lbs162 mm / 6.38 inch 75.5 mm / 2.97 inch 10.5 mm / 0.4134 inch 225 g0.496 lbs158 mm / 6.22 inch 71.8 mm / 2.83 inch 9.89 mm / 0.3894 inch 189 g0.4167 lbs157 mm / 6.18 inch 75 mm / 2.95 inch 10.5 mm / 0.4134 inch 208 g0.4586 lbs
SD Card Reader - average JPG Copy Test (av. of 3 runs)
Average of class Smartphone
  (10.9 - 59.2, n=84, last 2 years)
26.4 MB/s ∼100% +24%
Fairphone 4
  (Angelbird V60)
21.3 MB/s ∼81%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
  (Angelbird V60)
17 MB/s ∼64% -20%

Cross Platform Disk Test (CPDT)

0510152025303540455055606570758085Tooltip
Fairphone 4 Adreno 619, SD 750G 5G, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash; Sequential write; Angelbird V60: Ø27.5 (13.2-39)
mobilcom-debitel rephone Mali-G52 MP2, Helio G85, 128 GB eMMC Flash; Sequential write: Ø35.4 (25.7-46.1)
Nokia X20 Adreno 619, SD 480, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash; Sequential write; Angelbird V60: Ø34.4 (19.9-40.8)
Fairphone 4 Adreno 619, SD 750G 5G, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash; Sequential read; Angelbird V60: Ø78.8 (31.7-86.4)
mobilcom-debitel rephone Mali-G52 MP2, Helio G85, 128 GB eMMC Flash; Sequential read: Ø71.8 (8.15-83.2)
Nokia X20 Adreno 619, SD 480, 128 GB UFS 2.1 Flash; Sequential read; Angelbird V60: Ø76.1 (15.3-86.7)

Communication, software and operation - On request also without Google

NFC for mobile payment services and other applications is on board. It is nice that Fairphone installs a fast USB-C 3.1 port that speeds up data transfer and can also serve as a DisplayPort for the monitor connection.

The Fairphone 4 also comes with WiFi 5 and is thus fast on the Internet. Compared with the predecessor, clear progress can be seen in the speeds and the stability of the connection. The mobile Internet is now also up to date: 5G is supported with some frequencies, and there is also a sufficient number of 4G bands so that the smartphone can often be used abroad.

Android 11 is preinstalled, and the manufacturer promises at least 5 years of updates from the end of 2022. The latest security patches were from December 2021 at the time of testing and are thus still quite up-to-date. Widevine-L1 certification is available, so streaming services can also be used in HD.

If you would rather have a Fairphone without Google services, you can download the specially adapted /e/OS download or buy a Fairphone with preinstalled /e/OS from the e.Foundation.

The touchscreen can be operated smoothly, and a fingerprint sensor is integrated in the standby button on the right. It also works reliably and unlocks the device quickly. You can choose whether you want to press the button first to activate the fingerprint sensor or whether it should always be activated. The always-on mode is obviously more convenient, but the sensor reacts very sensitively if you accidentally touch the standby button with another finger.

Networking
iperf3 transmit AX12
mobilcom-debitel rephone
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
347 (332min - 353max) MBit/s ∼100% +6%
Fairphone 4
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
327 (315min - 331max) MBit/s ∼94%
Nokia X20
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
222 (126min - 326max) MBit/s ∼64% -32%
Fairphone 3
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
92.3 (43min - 227max) MBit/s ∼27% -72%
iperf3 receive AX12
Fairphone 4
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
344 (337min - 348max) MBit/s ∼100%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
315 (254min - 325max) MBit/s ∼92% -8%
Nokia X20
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
313 (190min - 343max) MBit/s ∼91% -9%
Fairphone 3
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
275 (235min - 293max) MBit/s ∼80% -20%
020406080100120140160180200220240260280300320340Tooltip
; iperf3 receive AX12; iperf 3.1.3: Ø344 (337-348)
; iperf3 transmit AX12; iperf 3.1.3: Ø327 (315-331)

Cameras - High-quality 48-megapixel camera in the Fairphone

Recording front camera
Recording front camera

The main camera of the Fairphone 4 has a resolution of 48 megapixels, but only takes 12-megapixel photos by default. In return, 4 pixels are combined into one, which enables a higher light yield. However, photos can also be recorded with the full resolution if required.

The photos of the main camera also look quite sharp in detail and show a quite clean image. However, low-light situations are not the camera's strength.

The Fairphone 4 also has a wide-angle lens with a high resolution. This can also produce decent pictures, but you should not enlarge them too much; they are quite inaccurate in detail. A hybrid zoom between the cameras is possible. If you like, you can also take macro pictures with this camera.

Videos can be recorded in 4K at 30 fps or in 1080p at 60 fps. The recordings are decent, but the smartphone acts a bit abruptly during brightness changes. The autofocus does its job quickly and quite accurately. The wide-angle camera cannot be used for videos in the preloaded app.

A 25-megapixel camera is found on the front, but its pictures look quite unclean on closer inspection.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Main camera PlantMain camera EnvironmentMain camera Low LightWide-angle camera
click to load images
ColorChecker
9.4 ∆E
3.8 ∆E
3.5 ∆E
16.9 ∆E
3.9 ∆E
3.6 ∆E
3.6 ∆E
12.1 ∆E
6.4 ∆E
9.2 ∆E
5.7 ∆E
6.4 ∆E
10.6 ∆E
8.8 ∆E
6 ∆E
3.1 ∆E
7.2 ∆E
3.1 ∆E
7.1 ∆E
4 ∆E
2.4 ∆E
4.3 ∆E
5.5 ∆E
2.4 ∆E
ColorChecker Fairphone 4: 6.2 ∆E min: 2.37 - max: 16.88 ∆E
ColorChecker
28.9 ∆E
54.5 ∆E
39.1 ∆E
37.3 ∆E
44.2 ∆E
64.1 ∆E
54.2 ∆E
34.8 ∆E
43.1 ∆E
26.7 ∆E
65.8 ∆E
64.5 ∆E
30.2 ∆E
48.3 ∆E
36.6 ∆E
76.8 ∆E
42.6 ∆E
44.8 ∆E
93 ∆E
70.7 ∆E
52.1 ∆E
36.6 ∆E
23.5 ∆E
13.2 ∆E
ColorChecker Fairphone 4: 46.9 ∆E min: 13.2 - max: 92.98 ∆E

Display - No PWM with the environmental phone

Subpixel recording
Subpixel recording

The Full HD IPS screen has the brightness typical for the class, but cannot keep up with OLED screens in this respect. However, it should be sufficient for occasional outdoor use.

The black value is quite high in our measurements, which causes the contrast ratio to drop below 1000:1 and colors to no longer look as bright.

We did not notice PWM flickering and colors are rendered reasonably accurately in the adjustable color mode "Natural", but OLED screens are ahead here as well. A slightly brownish color cast is visible in the grayscale.

472
cd/m²
478
cd/m²
481
cd/m²
482
cd/m²
513
cd/m²
489
cd/m²
486
cd/m²
537
cd/m²
486
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 537 cd/m² (Nits) Average: 491.6 cd/m² Minimum: 6.5 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 88 %
Center on Battery: 513 cd/m²
Contrast: 950:1 (Black: 0.54 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.96 | 0.59-29.43 Ø5.4
ΔE Greyscale 3.6 | 0.64-98 Ø5.6
99.6% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.321
Fairphone 4
IPS, 2340x1080, 6.30
Fairphone 3
IPS, 2160x1080, 5.65
mobilcom-debitel rephone
IPS, 2340x1080, 6.30
Nokia X20
IPS, 2400x1080, 6.67
Response Times
-7%
20%
24%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
46 ?(21, 25)
57.6 ?(27.6, 30)
-25%
31 ?(17, 14)
33%
43 ?(23, 20)
7%
Response Time Black / White *
30 ?(15, 15)
26.8 ?(8, 18.8)
11%
28 ?(13, 15)
7%
18 ?(5, 13)
40%
PWM Frequency
22320 ?(99)
Screen
-55%
-46%
-26%
Brightness middle
513
511
0%
503
-2%
646
26%
Brightness
492
489
-1%
471
-4%
617
25%
Brightness Distribution
88
92
5%
88
0%
89
1%
Black Level *
0.54
0.48
11%
0.3
44%
0.7
-30%
Contrast
950
1065
12%
1677
77%
923
-3%
Colorchecker dE 2000 *
2.96
7.4
-150%
8.54
-189%
5.71
-93%
Colorchecker dE 2000 max. *
5.55
14.2
-156%
13.32
-140%
8.9
-60%
Greyscale dE 2000 *
3.6
9.5
-164%
9
-150%
6.2
-72%
Gamma
2.321 95%
2.21 100%
1.869 118%
2.122 104%
CCT
6032 108%
9381 69%
8942 73%
8256 79%
Total Average (Program / Settings)
-31% / -46%
-13% / -32%
-1% / -16%

* ... smaller is better

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
30 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15 ms rise
↘ 15 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 73 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (23.3 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
46 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 21 ms rise
↘ 25 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.692 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 72 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (36.8 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 21851 (minimum: 5 - maximum: 3846000) Hz was measured.

CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN color accuracy
CalMAN color accuracy
CalMAN color space sRGB
CalMAN color space sRGB
CalMAN Saturation
CalMAN Saturation

Performance, emissions and battery life - Fast, but also warm

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G is used as the SoC. It offers good mid-range performance. There are certainly devices from Xiaomi or OnePlus that offer more power for much less money, but then without a focus on sustainability.

The Fairphone 4's power is definitely sufficient for everyday use, even when more complex apps are used. Compared to the Fairphone 3 or other sustainable phones, the Fairphone 4 is much faster. Thanks to UFS 2.1, the device can convince in terms of storage speed.

The test device heats up considerably under longer load: We measured a maximum of 47.7 °C (~118 °F) on the case. That is already very noticeable, although not yet unpleasant. However, we also measured at room temperature; the device's exterior could actually get too warm in very hot environments.

Stereo speakers are included in the sustainable smartphone, but they sound a bit thin. At least the trebles are not unpleasantly overemphasized. Users can connect external audio devices via USB-C or Bluetooth, and all current aptX codecs are supported.

The battery with 3,905 mAh lasted 13:24 hours in our WLAN test. That is not a bad runtime, especially since you can double the runtime by replacing the removable battery. Compared to the Fairphone 3, the successor also runs significantly longer. However, other sustainable phones offer slightly bigger batteries and thus even more stamina.

The smartphone can be charged with a maximum of 20 watts, but you have to provide the charger and charging cable yourself; they are not included in the scope of delivery. Charging is completed in a maximum of 100 minutes.

Geekbench 5.3
64 Bit Single-Core Score
Average of class Smartphone
  (58 - 1755, n=251, last 2 years)
668 Points ∼100% +6%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (632 - 658, n=8)
647 Points ∼97% +2%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
632 Points ∼95%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
510 Points ∼76% -19%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
344 Points ∼51% -46%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
271 Points ∼41% -57%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score
Average of class Smartphone
  (248 - 4914, n=251, last 2 years)
2187 Points ∼100% +18%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (1792 - 2009, n=8)
1904 Points ∼87% +3%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
1855 Points ∼85%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
1663 Points ∼76% -10%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
1308 Points ∼60% -29%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
1233 Points ∼56% -34%
PCMark for Android - Work 3.0
Average of class Smartphone
  (4436 - 18567, n=143, last 2 years)
10123 Points ∼100% +26%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (8035 - 9800, n=4)
8801 Points ∼87% +10%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
8672 Points ∼86% +8%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
8035 Points ∼79%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited
Average of class Smartphone
  (149 - 13121, n=222, last 2 years)
4912 Points ∼100% +20%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
4098 Points ∼83%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (4040 - 4120, n=7)
4084 Points ∼83% 0%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
3639 Points ∼74% -11%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
1855 Points ∼38% -55%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
951 Points ∼19% -77%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Graphics
Average of class Smartphone
  (122 - 31940, n=222, last 2 years)
6838 Points ∼100% +60%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
4278 Points ∼63%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (4211 - 4298, n=7)
4261 Points ∼62% 0%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
3842 Points ∼56% -10%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
1702 Points ∼25% -60%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
814 Points ∼12% -81%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Unlimited Physics
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
3573 Points ∼100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (3469 - 3651, n=6)
3563 Points ∼100% 0%
Average of class Smartphone
  (651 - 6394, n=220, last 2 years)
3233 Points ∼90% -10%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
3070 Points ∼86% -14%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
2706 Points ∼76% -24%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
2323 Points ∼65% -35%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1)
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
2787 Points ∼100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (1757 - 2828, n=8)
2644 Points ∼95% -5%
Average of class Smartphone
  (78 - 9138, n=178, last 2 years)
2510 Points ∼90% -10%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
2419 Points ∼87% -13%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
1415 Points ∼51% -49%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
513 Points ∼18% -82%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
2644 Points ∼100%
Average of class Smartphone
  (62 - 11573, n=178, last 2 years)
2609 Points ∼99% -1%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (1593 - 2667, n=8)
2478 Points ∼94% -6%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
2289 Points ∼87% -13%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
1254 Points ∼47% -53%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
419 Points ∼16% -84%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
3435 Points ∼100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (2749 - 3588, n=8)
3390 Points ∼99% -1%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
3017 Points ∼88% -12%
Average of class Smartphone
  (688 - 5318, n=178, last 2 years)
2846 Points ∼83% -17%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
2577 Points ∼75% -25%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
2363 Points ∼69% -31%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited
Average of class Smartphone
  (91 - 11528, n=230, last 2 years)
3988 Points ∼100% +35%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
2955 Points ∼74%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (2910 - 2990, n=8)
2947 Points ∼74% 0%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
2536 Points ∼64% -14%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
1441 Points ∼36% -51%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
568 Points ∼14% -81%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Graphics
Average of class Smartphone
  (73 - 19364, n=230, last 2 years)
4950 Points ∼100% +76%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
2814 Points ∼57%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (2738 - 2845, n=8)
2793 Points ∼56% -1%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
2440 Points ∼49% -13%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
1270 Points ∼26% -55%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
468 Points ∼9% -83%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Physics
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
3583 Points ∼100%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (3452 - 3659, n=8)
3570 Points ∼100% 0%
Average of class Smartphone
  (635 - 5793, n=230, last 2 years)
3231 Points ∼90% -10%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
2941 Points ∼82% -18%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
2730 Points ∼76% -24%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
2281 Points ∼64% -36%
Wild Life Score
Average of class Smartphone
  (216 - 10062, n=180, last 2 years)
3209 Points ∼100% +185%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (644 - 3658, n=7)
1406 Points ∼44% +25%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
1124 Points ∼35%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
980 Points ∼31% -13%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
719 Points ∼22% -36%
Wild Life Unlimited Score
Average of class Smartphone
  (174 - 11700, n=180, last 2 years)
3366 Points ∼100% +201%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
1119 Points ∼33%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (635 - 1119, n=7)
1036 Points ∼31% -7%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
974 Points ∼29% -13%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
715 Points ∼21% -36%
Wild Life Extreme
Average of class Smartphone
  (22 - 3080, n=135, last 2 years)
985 Points ∼100% +190%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
340 Points ∼35%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (193 - 340, n=4)
300 Points ∼30% -12%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
182 Points ∼18% -46%
Wild Life Extreme Unlimited
Average of class Smartphone
  (101 - 2864, n=131, last 2 years)
970 Points ∼100% +191%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
333 Points ∼34%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (189 - 334, n=4)
296 Points ∼31% -11%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
180 Points ∼19% -46%
GFXBench
on screen Aztec Ruins Normal Tier Onscreen
Average of class Smartphone
  (1.5 - 98, n=247, last 2 years)
28.6 fps ∼100% +59%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
18 fps ∼63%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (7.1 - 33, n=8)
17.3 fps ∼60% -4%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
16 fps ∼56% -11%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
8.8 fps ∼31% -51%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
3.7 fps ∼13% -79%
1920x1080 Aztec Ruins Normal Tier Offscreen
Average of class Smartphone
  (1.9 - 123, n=248, last 2 years)
33.9 fps ∼100% +70%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
20 fps ∼59%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (17 - 20, n=8)
19.4 fps ∼57% -3%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
18 fps ∼53% -10%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
9.6 fps ∼28% -52%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
3.9 fps ∼12% -80%
on screen Aztec Ruins High Tier Onscreen
Average of class Smartphone
  (2.1 - 69, n=248, last 2 years)
19.8 fps ∼100% +80%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (6.7 - 21, n=8)
11.7 fps ∼59% +6%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
11 fps ∼56%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
9.9 fps ∼50% -10%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
5.5 fps ∼28% -50%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
2.1 fps ∼11% -81%
2560x1440 Aztec Ruins High Tier Offscreen
Average of class Smartphone
  (0.7 - 47, n=248, last 2 years)
13 fps ∼100% +78%
Fairphone 4
Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G, Adreno 619, 6144
7.3 fps ∼56%
Average Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G 5G
  (3.3 - 7.6, n=8)
6.9 fps ∼53% -5%
Nokia X20
Qualcomm Snapdragon 480 5G, Adreno 619, 8192
6.5 fps ∼50% -11%
mobilcom-debitel rephone
Mediatek Helio G85, Mali-G52 MP2, 6144
3.4 fps ∼26% -53%
Fairphone 3
Qualcomm Snapdragon 632, Adreno 506, 4096
1.3 fps ∼10% -82%
Fairphone 4Fairphone 3mobilcom-debitel rephoneNokia X20Average 128 GB UFS 2.1 FlashAverage of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
-68%
-49%
15%
-4%
29%
Sequential Read 256KB
917
132.9
-86%
308
-66%
489.3
-47%
774 ?(427 - 1011, n=98)
-16%
923 ?(45.6 - 2037, n=246, last 2 years)
1%
Sequential Write 256KB
214.8
130.1
-39%
190
-12%
462.7
115%
282 ?(13.6 - 719, n=98)
31%
465 ?(11.9 - 1485, n=246, last 2 years)
116%
Random Read 4KB
158.5
71.3
-55%
105.8
-33%
165.4
4%
149.6 ?(92.6 - 239, n=98)
-6%
165 ?(13.5 - 345, n=246, last 2 years)
4%
Random Write 4KB
168.7
16.96
-90%
22.9
-86%
144.6
-14%
127.6 ?(18.2 - 290, n=98)
-24%
158.3 ?(56.5 - 458, n=247, last 2 years)
-6%

Temperature

Max. Load
 45.1 °C
113 F
40.1 °C
104 F
38.8 °C
102 F
 
 45.2 °C
113 F
40.3 °C
105 F
39.7 °C
103 F
 
 45.1 °C
113 F
40.9 °C
106 F
39.6 °C
103 F
 
Maximum: 45.2 °C = 113 F
Average: 41.6 °C = 107 F
34.9 °C
95 F
39.7 °C
103 F
38.8 °C
102 F
36.3 °C
97 F
40.3 °C
105 F
45.5 °C
114 F
35.5 °C
96 F
39.8 °C
104 F
47.7 °C
118 F
Maximum: 47.7 °C = 118 F
Average: 39.8 °C = 104 F
Power Supply (max.)  45.3 °C = 114 F | Room Temperature 21.1 °C = 70 F | Fluke t3000FC (calibrated), Voltcraft IR-260
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 41.6 °C / 107 F, compared to the average of 32.8 °C / 91 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(-) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 45.2 °C / 113 F, compared to the average of 35.1 °C / 95 F, ranging from 22 to 52.9 °C for the class Smartphone.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 47.7 °C / 118 F, compared to the average of 33.8 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 30 °C / 86 F, compared to the device average of 32.8 °C / 91 F.


Heatmap Front
Heatmap Front
Heatmap back side
Heatmap back side

Speaker

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2035.741.72539.240.83130.935.34033.736.4503737.96330.234.58021.42510019.92112514.617.416012.525.82009.933.72509.341.53158.248.14008.556.75009.366.26309.869.180014.567.2100011.473.3125010.375.616009.376.720009.273.4250010.673.8315011.771.4400011.468500012.169630012.665.6800012.861.91000013.567.7125001465.61600014.453.3SPL23.883.9N0.554.3median 11.4median 66.2Delta2.111.133.635.23535.724.821.224.922.528.525.7272815.717.416.521.615.722.614.437.79.141.39.6467.549.410.655.612.358.218.760.817.66515.772.711.574.210.875.89.974.41372.116.468.115.461.71761.318.266.120.27420.475.217.361.817.84528.383.40.952.2median 15.7median 61.72.813.1hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseFairphone 4Nokia X20
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Fairphone 4 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.9 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 35% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 6% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (8.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 3.4% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (23.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 50% of all tested devices in this class were better, 12% similar, 38% worse
» The best had a delta of 12%, average was 23%, worst was 65%
Compared to all devices tested
» 69% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 23% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 20%, worst was 65%

Nokia X20 audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (83.4 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 25.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (11.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 8% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (7.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 6.8% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (8.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (26.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 73% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 20% worse
» The best had a delta of 12%, average was 23%, worst was 65%
Compared to all devices tested
» 83% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 13% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 20%, worst was 65%

Battery life

Fairphone 4
3905 mAh
Fairphone 3
3000 mAh
mobilcom-debitel rephone
4500 mAh
Nokia X20
4470 mAh
Average of class Smartphone
 
Battery Runtime
WiFi Websurfing
804
662
-18%
898
12%
879
9%
906 ?(438 - 1953, n=253, last 2 years)
13%
Battery Runtime
WiFi Websurfing
13h 24min

Pros

+ many components are interchangeable
+ comprehensive equipment, including eSIM
+ screen without PWM
+ fast USB-C port
+ fair production conditions
+ good camera pictures
+ long warranty

Cons

- mediocre speaker sound
- bulky case
- strong heating under load
- nervous fingerprint sensor
- wide-angle camera not usable for videos
- comparatively expensive

Verdict - Sustainably convincing

In review: Fairphone 4.
In review: Fairphone 4.

The Fairphone 4 modernizes the concept of the modular, fair, sustainable smartphone in many ways. Of course, the casing is not as slim and chic as current high-end smartphones, and there are certainly more powerful phones for around 600 Euros (~$676).

However, we had the impression in the test that Fairphone managed a good compromise of high-quality appearance, performance suitable for everyday use, decent camera and the sustainable concept of the phone. This includes the screwed and easily replaceable components, fair production conditions, comprehensible environmental balances, and also the freedom of choice regarding a Google-free Android.

It is also nice that the manufacturer confidently avoids small stumbling blocks in DRM certification, update times or the USB-C port and supplies good equipment in all areas. The close contact to the community was and is certainly helpful here.

The Fairphone 4 is a modern, well-equipped smartphone that convinces with its modular and sustainable concept.

If you want to have a somewhat calmer conscience when buying a smartphone, if the exchangeable components including battery are important to you, and if you still do not want to do without modern features like 5G, fast Wi-Fi, and high performance, you will get a good overall package in the Fairphone 4.

A cheaper alternative is the rephone from mobilcom-debitel, but it is hardly available outside Europe. Nokia also tries to become more sustainable with long update cycles and fewer accessories, and offers a new device with the Nokia X20 a cheaper, but also less repairable smartphone.

Price and availability

The Fairphone 4 is available directly from the manufacturer (DE), and the Speckled Green color is exclusively available there. It is also available on Amazon (US) for $834.70.

Fairphone 4 - 01/29/2022 v7
Florian Schmitt

Chassis
85%
Keyboard
65 / 75 → 87%
Pointing Device
91%
Connectivity
47 / 70 → 67%
Weight
88%
Battery
90%
Display
87%
Games Performance
29 / 64 → 45%
Application Performance
77 / 86 → 90%
Temperature
84%
Noise
100%
Audio
64 / 90 → 71%
Camera
65%
Average
75%
81%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Fairphone 4 smartphone review - 5G phone with environmental focus
Florian Schmitt, 2022-02- 2 (Update: 2022-02- 2)