It’s easy to forget the environmental impact our rampant smartphone consumption is having on the planet. The modular line of Fairphone devices offers an environmentally conscious solution that is both ethical and reasonably affordable. So enter the Fairphone 3, the latest modular Android device that challenges our smartphone sustainability.

Considering that most smartphone OEMs have settled into a twice-yearly flagship release schedule, the three-year gap between the release of the Fairphone 2 and Fairphone 3 is pretty sizable. The goal remains the same, though, which is to build a more environmentally sound, mid-range device with longevity, repairability, and sustainability.

This phone is clearly not made for or marketed to everyone. The specifications are modest at best. The Fairphone 3 comes with a Snapdragon 632 chipset, 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of microSD expandable storage, and a removable 3,000 mAh battery.

The 5.65-inch LCD display has a Full HD+ resolution with an aspect ratio of 18:9. The display is flat, and there is plenty of bezel on show. This is a phone not trying to fully fit into the smartphone class of 2019. At the rear, the opaque case allows you to see some of the internals, while there is room for a rear fingerprint scanner.

The cameras will not set the world alight, but you do get a 12-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel selfie shooter. It will be interesting to see how these fare compared to the current crop of mid-range devices. There is also room for a headphone port, and the Fairphone 3 is charged via a USB-C cable — although you will need to provide your own charge cable and wired headphones.

It will ship with Android Pie right out of the box, although there is no word on whether the Fairphone 3 will get an upgrade to Android 10 in the future. At €450 ($499) this is not a cheap phone, but it offers a fully repairable and sustainable option for the environmentally conscious.

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