We’re big fans of Fairphone’s more sustainable smartphones, which are designed to be repaired and upgraded rather than replaced every time a new model comes around. Sure, they’re not the fastest, most powerful, and most feature-packed options in the category, but we definitely appreciate the modular design and the extended support periods. This time around, they’re applying the same concept to headphones in the form of the Fairphone Fairbuds XL.
Just like their smartphones, the headphones prioritize sustainability in its manufacture, using 100 percent recycled aluminum, 80 percent recycled plastics, and even 100 percent recycled tin solder paste in its construction. They come in a modular build, too, making it easy to replace any component using off-the-shelf spare parts with no need for a full tech toolkit, so you can do any repair or upgrade on your own.
The Fairphone Fairbuds XL has a modular design that consists of 13 individual parts, namely two speakers, two speaker covers, two ear cushions, a headphone battery, a joystick control, two headband base sections, an inner headband, a headband cover, and a flat cable to connect the left and right speakers. It’s built to be easily taken apart if you want to replace any component, with the outfit itself offering spare parts for each component. That means, this is easy to repair on your own. And if the outfit ever decides to offer better speaker drivers, you can also opt to order just those parts, instead of having to buy an entirely new pair.
How good are these compared to regular headphones? We’re not sure, of course, but they’re definitely not slacking as far as pure specs are concerned. For instance, the headphones come with 40mm drivers, which are, pretty much, the standard size for these types of headphones, so, at the least, it should not be lacking in power for music playback.
The Fairphone Fairbuds XL also has active noise cancellation, so it can tune out ambient noises to keep you focused on what’s playing, along with an ambient mode that you can activate to allow outside sound to get in. According to the outfit, the drivers are tuned by Sonarworks, so there’s some credentials there for good sound quality, along with multipoint Bluetooth 5.1 support, so you can connect up to two devices simultaneously. It also supports SBC, AAC, and aptX HD Bluetooth codecs. Basically, it’s got most of the basic features you want in a modern pair of headphones, all while coming in with a much more sustainable design than, pretty much, anything else in the market.
It has an 800mAh battery that’s rated for 30 hours of operation with ANC running, so you can definitely use for this for a good couple days between charges. Other features include IP54 water-resistance (so you can wear it at the gym without worries), built-in mics for voice calls, and a companion app where you can make EQ adjustments, download firmware upgrades, and, once they are available, order replacement parts for any headphone component.
The Fairphone Fairbuds XL is now available in Europe, priced at €249.