Innovative 'Fairphone 2' Beats LG G5 And Google Project Ara To Market With Modular Design

Have you ever tried repairing a broken screen on your smartphone? It can be done, though in most cases, it's not easy—smartphone makers don't build handsets with a mindset towards DIY repair or upgrades. That's not the case with Fairphone's second generation handset, the Fairphone 2, a modular handset that's now available to purchase.

The idea behind the Fairphone 2 is that repairs and upgrades should be easy and affordable. To that end, Fairphone CTO Olivier Hebert demonstrated at Mobile World Congress 2016 just how fast and painless it is to replace the screen on the Fairphone 2. From start to finish, it took him just 23 seconds. (Video at the bottom of the post showing the process in detail)

Fairphone 2 Screen

Various modules comprise the Fairphone 2. Some of them pop off rather easily—to replace the screen, you have to open the back cover, remove the batter, pop the screen off, snap in place a new one, put the battery back in, and put the back cover on—while others require a Philips head screwdriver. The ones that must first be unscrewed are clearly visible with screws sitting inside blue circles.

Fairphone 2 Modular

None of this would matter if the modular components themselves were cost prohibitive, but that's not the case. A spare screen costs €87 (around $95 in U.S. currency), which is a far better alternative to spending several hundred dollars on a new phone. Likewise, a spare battery runs €20 (~$22) while a camera replacement costs €35 (~$38).

The phone itself sports a serviceable spec sheet to begin with. It has a 5-inch Full HD display protected with Gorilla Glass 3, Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM, 32GB of eMMC storage, 2MP front camera, 8MP rear camera, 4G LTE connectivity, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, microSD card slot, 2,420 mAh battery, and a few other odds and ends. On the software side, it ships with Android 5.1 Lollipop.

The Fairphone 2 is available now overseas for €525 (~$576).