With some weird caveats, of course.
After a decade-long wait, Fairphone is finally selling one of its user-serviceable products in the United States. But the details are a bit strange: The Murena Fairphone 4 uses a non-standard operating system, only works well on T-Mobile’s network, and is expensive.
The Fairphone 4 originally debuted on the European market in 2021. It’s not the most powerful or flashiest smartphone, but it’s incredibly sustainable and repairable. Most of its components, including the cameras, battery, and screen, can be removed and replaced with very little effort. Fairphone sells spare parts on its website, of course.
In recent years, Fairphone has drawn a lot of attention from people living outside of Europe. The iFixit team did a detailed teardown of the Fairphone 4 and stamped it with an excellent repairability score of 10/10. And the Fairphone 2 enjoyed plenty of coverage thanks to its seven-year lifespan.
But customers in the United States are getting something a little strange. Fairphone is not rebuilding the Fairphone 4 for North America. Instead, it’s selling a variant of this device through Murena, a privacy-focused (and essentially anti-Google) smartphone and cloud services brand.
The Murena Fairphone 4 runs /e/OS, a customized version of Android that bypasses Google apps and services. This operating system won’t feel too unfamiliar, but it packs plenty of Murena-branded apps for email, cloud storage, and other services that Google would normally comply with. Some people will love the “ungoogle” experience, but others won’t.
And while the Murena Fairphone 4 is unlocked, T-Mobile is the only recommended carrier. If you’ve ever imported a European phone into the United States, this limitation won’t surprise you all that much. But it’s still a big limitation.
But the price is probably the biggest problem. If you want the Murena Fairphone 4, you need to shell out at least $630. And that’s for a two-year-old phone with 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a slightly outdated Snapdragon 750G 5G chipset, and an LCD screen.
This is not the most impressive smartphone. Sure, it’s got some nice features: an IP54 rating, Gorilla Glass 5 protection, a microSD slot, a five-year warranty, and of course, user-repairability. But it’s hard to justify the price, especially when you can buy a more powerful one. used smartphone for a few hundred dollars.
If you believe in Fairphone’s mission, or just love tinkering with things, the Murena Fairphone 4 might be worth buying. However, I’d suggest looking at used and refurbished phones first. (In any case, keep an eye out for Fairphone’s new user-serviceable headphones, which I’d like to love to view in the United States.)
The Fairphone 4 is finally available in the United States via Murena. This variant runs a non-Google version of Android and is only recommended for T-Mobile networks.
Source: Murena via The Verge