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Ear to the Ground

The Guilt-Free Phone Made Specifically for Socially Conscious Buyers

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Posted on Aug 26, 2014

Fairphone

Smartphones are amazing, but they’re also made by exploited workers using illicit materials that help foster war and add to global toxic pollution when we’re done with them in about two years.

Enter the Fairphone. According to the Dutch company (and we have not verified these claims), the phone is produced using conflict-free tantalum and tin. It’s made by workers who are, the company says, paid fairly and have a voice at the table. The phone is designed to be more easily recycled than most mainstream phones, and it’s also built to be attractive to used-phone buyers in the developing world.

So, in a lot of ways, it’s the best phone a person of conscience can buy.

There are two major catches. First, they deliver only in Europe.

Second, and perhaps more important, the specs on the device are really weak. Compared to a Moto X, which can be had for about the same amount of money, you get a slower processor, a low-resolution screen, a bad camera, and an old, customized version of Android. That’s a big swallow, even for the well intentioned.

Why can’t we pay even more and get a conflict-free pro-labor phone with the latest technology?

Well, for those who take their commitment to social justice more seriously than their love of LTE download speeds, fly over to the Continent and try one out.

More details on the Fairphone can be found here.

—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer

 

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