Fairphone's Earbuds Challenge Disposable Tech With Repairable Design

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Following in the footsteps of the Fairbuds XL repairable headphones launched last year, Fairphone has unveiled the Fairbuds earphones that pairs repairability, which has the potential to reducte in e-waste. The device allows owners to responsibly swap out things like batteries and order single replacement ear tips. This is something Greta Thunberg could get behind.

reta Thunberg

People's reliance and thirst for consumer electronics has also caused a global e-waste problem. At their end-of-life cycle, users are given no option but to toss the entire piece of kit into the waste even if the rest of the equipment is in perfect shape. For that, we are glad that companies like Fairphone and Framework exist. Their ideology of sustainability and repairability keeps working parts of a device away from the landfill, while giving users the power to quickly swap out old or defective ones. 

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Replaceable battery on the case.

While it would've been cool if Fairphone Fairbuds owners could replace things like the drivers or PCB components, a fresh battery swap can be done on the buds and case by removing them from their respective cradles (the company claims that ALL the batteries can be changed in 30 seconds). There's also the option to purchase single ear tips if one replacement is all you need. 

The earphones don't seem to compromise too much on specs, either. There's active noise cancellation with Bluetooth 5.3 on-board supporting AAC and SBC audio codecs, plus multi-point connectivity. Nothing fancy here, but at least it's competitive.

Sound is pumped through 11mm titanium drivers, with claims of up to five hours of listening time with ANC on, which is a little on the mid-lower end of the class. There's no mention of wear detection sensors, Google Fast Pair, or wireless charging, so there were some compromises to balance cost, environmentally-friendly materials and processes, as well as repairability. 

If you fancy yourself a pair, the IP54-rated Fairbuds run 149 Euros right now, in basic black and white colors. The company backs its earbuds with a generous three-year warranty.