Fairphone 5, Unveiling the Swappable Battery Challenge - A DxOMark Deep Dive

Fairphone 5

The Fairphone 5, celebrated for its commitment to sustainability with easy battery replacement, is now facing scrutiny due to a detailed analysis by DxOMark, which sheds light on its battery performance. While the quick swapability of the 4200 mAh battery is a commendable feature, DxOMark's findings reveal some significant drawbacks.

DxOMark's Verdict

Scoring a modest 83 points, the Fairphone 5 finds itself in the 165th position on DxOMark's best list. Only five smartphones fare worse, with the European Samsung Galaxy S22, equipped with the Exynos 2200, among them. The culprit behind Fairphone 5's subpar performance is identified as the Qualcomm QCM6490, based on the Snapdragon 778G. This processor proves to be inefficient, leading to battery drainage in less than two hours during camera usage. Gaming endurance is also lackluster, lasting just under five and a half hours, putting it far behind its competitors.

Battery Performance Across Loads

The Fairphone 5 demonstrates near-competitive battery life under very light loads, such as making calls or streaming music. However, even moderately demanding applications, particularly those in the realm of social media, significantly impact the battery life, reducing it to around five hours. For tasks that require substantial resources, like GPS navigation, the Fairphone 5 can sustain operation for only four hours on a single charge. Only with moderate use can users expect a runtime of over a day.

Charging Efficiency

Charging the Fairphone 5 is facilitated through USB-C, reaching a maximum output of 30 watts. Despite this, a full charge takes 02:19 hours. In comparison, the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G, with a larger battery and longer runtimes, can be charged in a quicker 01:40 hours. However, the Fairphone 5 offers a silver lining – a charge from 0 to 80% is achievable in just over an hour, providing a relatively quick boost for users with limited time.

The Pros and Cons of Fairphone 5's Battery Design

The Fairphone 5 distinguishes itself in the market with its commitment to sustainability. The ability to easily replace the battery aligns with the brand's ethos of reducing electronic waste and promoting a circular economy. However, this positive aspect comes with its own set of drawbacks, particularly in the realm of battery life.

While users can appreciate the ability to swap out the battery in a matter of seconds, the overall battery performance raises concerns. For users who rely heavily on their smartphone cameras or engage in extensive gaming sessions, the Fairphone 5 may fall short of expectations. The Snapdragon 778G's inefficiency becomes glaringly evident, making the Fairphone 5 less suitable for users with high-performance demands.

On the positive side, under light usage, such as making calls or streaming music, the Fairphone 5 offers a near-competitive battery life. This might cater well to users who prioritize simplicity and sustainability over cutting-edge performance. The GPS navigation limitation, however, might pose a challenge for users heavily dependent on location-based services.

Considering the Charging Landscape

USB-C charging is the standard for the Fairphone 5, and while it provides a versatile and widely accepted solution, the 30-watt maximum output may seem underwhelming compared to some competitors. The 02:19 hours required for a full charge might test the patience of users seeking a quick turnaround. The Samsung Galaxy A54 5G, with its faster charging time, highlights the Fairphone 5's lag in this aspect.

However, the 0 to 80% charge in just over an hour is a redeeming quality. This feature caters to users who need a quick boost before heading out and showcases a thoughtful compromise between overall charging time and providing an efficient partial charge. The Fairphone 5 attempts to strike a balance, acknowledging the need for quick top-ups while maintaining a commitment to sustainability.

Final Thoughts

The Fairphone 5, with its easily replaceable battery and sustainability focus, has its share of strengths and weaknesses. The DxOMark analysis exposes the limitations, particularly in battery life, brought about by the Snapdragon 778G processor. For users who prioritize ecological considerations and the ability to extend the lifespan of their device through battery replacements, the Fairphone 5 remains a compelling choice.

However, potential buyers need to assess their usage patterns and preferences carefully. If camera usage and extended gaming sessions are integral to their smartphone experience, the Fairphone 5 might not meet their expectations. On the other hand, users valuing simplicity, sustainability, and the occasional quick top-up might find the Fairphone 5 aligning well with their needs.

Despite its battery-related drawbacks, the Fairphone 5 makes a notable contribution to the market by championing sustainability. The choice between cutting-edge performance and ecological responsibility ultimately rests with the user, and the Fairphone 5 provides a unique alternative in this evolving landscape.

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