A new milestone in fairer electronics: Introducing Fairphone 3+

Originally published at: https://www.fairphone.com/en/2020/08/27/introducing-fairphone-3-plus/

There are days that make me especially proud and excited to be part of the Fairphone movement. Today is one of them. Our entire team has been working hard to create a revolutionary development that I’m super pleased to announce….but first let me give you a bit of the background.

Today marks a giant leap forward, but it’s a journey that’s not going to be quick. Seven years after the launch of our first phone, many of the issues in our industry are the same – or even more urgent – than when we first started.

The Challenge

The phone industry is driven by innovation. But these days, innovation is increasingly incremental. That means there’s only the tiniest difference between one model and the next, and in fact, most new smartphones are very similar.

The industry has created a habit of hunger for the latest improvements, and consumers have embraced the fashionability of owning the latest model, even if their old phones are still working. Even if some of the attractive new features that seem like siren calls at the time of purchase never actually get used.

This behavior is having a massive impact, and it’s not a positive one. Most people replace their phones after a little over 2 years, and only 20% of their old phones are properly recycled. This means 1.4 billion new phones are sold every year… It’s no surprise that electronic waste is now the world’s fastest-growing waste stream.

Our mission

Our make-use-dispose attitude has a negative effect on every step of the supply chain, from working conditions in the mines, to wages in factories, not to mention the strain on natural resources.

If you’re already a member of the Fairphone community, I don’t have to tell you how urgently I feel the need to see this change. It’s what drives all of us to do things differently. By establishing a market for ethical electronics, we’re motivating the entire industry to act more responsibly. By making the ethical choice to buy a Fairphone, you’re signaling to friends and relatives how their choices affect people and the planet.

Introducing the Fairphone 3+

And today, instead of announcing a new model of Fairphone that makes the last model obsolete, we’re improving the existing phone on a modular basis, with our current users in mind. It’is a perfect example of why we focus so much on modular design. We can upgrade just a few parts of the Fairphone 3, without needing to redesign the entire phone. Getting a better camera is one of the top reasons that many people buy a new phone. We listened to that – Just like we’ve done before, with our camera-upgrades for the Fairphone 2.

We’ve also been able to increase the amount of fair materials; the Fairphone 3+ is now made with 40% post-consumer recycled plastics — a big jump from the 9% we were able to manage for the Fairphone 3.

The Fairphone 3+ will ship with Android 10, an upgrade which will be available to Fairphone 3 users as of September 7th.

The Fairphone 3+ is our next step in addressing the smartphone industry’s constant cycle of make-use-dispose. We are showing consumers and the industry that you don’t need to buy a new phone to get an upgrade, or toss a phone away because one part fails. We’re also showing phone manufacturers a different approach to design: you don’t need to create a new model when you can launch new, improved modules. Doesn’t that just make more sense?

Beyond that, this launch is the latest example of our commitment to a different way of doing things. Of striving to find the fairest way. The most humane way. The most transparent way. Making electronics longer-lasting, repairable and upgradeable is an important part of the journey toward a brighter future. Together, we’re showing the world that a fairer, more humane, more transparent way of creating electronics is not just a possible business model, it’s a proven one. And that a fairer future is in our hands.


I like the idea of modularity but I think it is wrong to create new modules less than a year after releasing a product. I wonder how many people will buy them whereas the current ones work perfectly well… It is too early according to me.

By the way, the sensor used by the FP3 is also used in one of the Pixel phone but the result is not as good with the FP3. Instead of creating a new hardware module, and so create waste, I would have found better to improve software which does not require mining…
I personally use more and more often Open Camera and get very interesting results, most of the time better than with the native app.


It will be done as well. Both hardware and software will be upgraded.


As much as I understand the software upgrade to improve the image quality, I disagree with the need of more megapixels to do it except if the idea is to enter the marketing race on megapixels.

I forecast next year a new camera module update with even more pixels and / or more sensors :wink:


I think one important reason they created new camera modules is that they can offer more reasons to buy a Fairphone to new customers and not only to provide an upgrade for existing Fairphone users.
And to get more customers a new camera module is - I think - a good choise.

Have you already tried some of the GCam-ports? Those camera-apps offer a huge increased picture quality :slight_smile:


Yes you are right. I agree with you for the race for MP (though as you said, they need it fo marketing). But the new camera module also offer improved spects (I’m waiting to see the exact specs to compare with does of the FP3 camera).

Btw., the “old” modules that are sent back will be reused/refurbished for normal FP3s, which they still sell). So not to much e-waste.


I think it’s a good idea to have the choice between lower price and better camera. The camera seems to be one of the biggest concerns about the FP3 when I look at social media. If Fairphone can now reach people they previously couldn’t, why not?


Meine zwei Cents dazu: https://teezeh.de/2020/08/27/fairphone-3/


Exact module specs can be found here:

[Make sure to “fold out” the individual parts’ specifications]


A newer sensor does not imply automatically better photos if the software is not optimised. How possible using gcam or Open Camera gives better results than the native camera app? The FP3 does good photos if enough light if you use the right app…

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By the way, the Fairphone 3+ does not come with the bumper anymore (the Fairphone 3 still does).

That’s not really “fair” indeed, are you sure of this @urs_lesse? Would they want people to break their phone if they didn’t buy an (expensive) protective case?

I’m basing this on the “Accessories” section, right under the specifications.

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What is the status of the collaboration with /e/ OS?
Will there be an offer to buy FP3+s with /e/ preinstalled like we can for FP3s?
I don’t really care about Andro 9 vs 10 versions but I’d need the new cameras working with /e/…


So is it true the 48 MP camera only works with FP3+? In that case I feel cheated. I compromised on my camera to get a fair product, with no reason to expect a new model this soon. I could’ve easily waited 9 months for this phone, and it would not be sustainable at all to trade in my brand new FP3 for the FP3+. I’m honestly gutted.

Looks like it’s compatible :slight_smile:



@Linn don’t dispair! the new cameras are also working with the FP3! And FP3 will also get the Android 10 upgrade soon. So technically the “old” FP3 will be a FP3+, without being produced with more fairer materials, which they could achieve in the meantime for the FP3+. :slight_smile:


how do you figure? the camera+ upgrade modules are precisely for the FP3 without the +. Try not to spread disinformation. Thanks.

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I asked a question to receive information. Not to spread it. The website is very unclear about this!

Technically (without taking into account the importance of recycled materials and better working conditions), the FP3 with the new cameras modules is EXACTLY the same as the FP3+. Same core module, same battery, same bottom modules. Just not the same backcover (I prefer the transparent one) and no bumper included, sadly.