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Good News! You Can Now Buy the De-Googled /e/OS Smartphone from Fairphone

Fairphone is known for its ethical (or fair) approach of making a smartphone.

Normally, the ethical approach involves that the workers get paid well, the smartphone build materials are safer for the planet, and the phone is durable/sustainable. And, they’ve already done a good job with their Fairphone 1 , Fairphone 2, and Fairphone 3 smartphones.

Now, to take things up a notch, Fairphone has teamed up with /e/OS which is a de-googled Android fork, to launch a separate edition of Fairphone 3 (its latest smartphone) that comes with /e/OS out of the box.

In case you didn’t know about the mobile operating system, you can read our interview with Gael Duval (Founder of /e/OS) to know more about it.

While we already have some privacy-focused smartphones like Librem 5, Fairphone 3 with /e/OS is something different to its core. In this article, I’ll try highlighting the key things that you need to know before ordering a Fairphone 3 with /e/OS loaded.

The First Privacy Conscious & Sustainable Phone

You may have noticed a privacy-focused smartphone manufactured in some corner of the world, like Librem 5.

But for the most part, it looks like the Fairphone 3 is the first privacy-conscious sustainable phone to get the spotlight.

Fairphone 3 Battery

The de-googled operating system /e/OS ensures that the smartphone does not rely on Google services to function among other things. Hence, /e/OS should be a great choice for Fairphone 3 for privacy-focused users.

Also, to support /e/OS out of the box wasn’t just the decision of the manufacturer – but its community.

As per their announcement, they’ve mentioned:

For many, fairer technology isn’t just about the device and its components, it is also about the software that powers the product; and when Fairphone community members were asked what their preferred alternative operating system (OS) was for the next Fairphone, the Fairphone 3, they voted for /e/OS.

So, it looks like the users do prefer to have /e/OS on their smartphones.

Fairphone 3: Overview

Fairphone 3

To tell you what I think about it, let me first share the technical specifications of the phone:

  • Dual Nano-SIM (4G LTE/3G/2G support)
  • Display: 5.65-inch LCD (IPS) with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection
  • Screen Resolution: 2160 x 1080
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 632
  • Internal Storage: 64 GB
  • Rear Camera: 12 MP (IMX363 sensor)
  • Front Camera: 8 MP
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • NFC Supported
  • USB-C
  • Expandable Storage supported

So, on paper, it sounds like a decent budget smartphone. But, the pricing and availability will be an important factor keeping in mind that it’s a one-of-a-kind smartphone and we don’t really have alternatives to compare to.

Not just how it’s unique for privacy-focused users, but it is potentially the easiest phone to fix (as suggested by iFixit’s teardown).

Fairphone 3 with /e/OS: Pre-Order, Price & Availability

Fairphone with e OS

As for its availability – the Fairphone 3 with /e/OS is available to pre-order through the online shop of /e/OS for €479.90 across Europe. 

If you are an existing Fairphone 3 user, you can also install /e/OS from the available build here.

You get 2 years of warranty along with a 14-day return policy.

My Thoughts On Fairphone 3 with /e/OS

It’s important to consider that the smartphone is targeting a particular group of consumers. So, it’s quite obvious that it isn’t meant for everyone. The specifications on paper may look good – but not necessarily the best bang for the buck.

Also, looking at the smartphone market right now – the specifications and its value for money matter more than what we privacy-focused users want.

But it’s definitely something impressive and I believe it’s going to get good attention specially among the privacy-aware people who don’t want their smartphone spying on them.

With Fairphone 3’s launch with /e/OS, the lesser tech savvy people can now get an out of the box privacy-focused smartphone experience.

What do you think about the Fairphone 3 with /e/OS? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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  • Dont forget, no matter how de-googled a phone is, google and the like still use bluetooth mesh (low frequency 1/2 mile range), in conjunction with “the internet of things” to send data “daisy chain style” without you knowing. Always on. Always streaming. Pull the bluetooth chip. Better still always shield your phone in a pouch while out and about.

  • the /e/ os data is stored on nextcloud based servers and the devs can’t even figure out how to implement 2FA log in and you want to call this privacy minded? what a joke!