The modular Fairphone 4 arrives in the US for the first time

The device, which uses a 'deGoogled' version of Android, starts at $599.

Photo by Daniel Cooper/Engadget

Fairphone is at long last bringing its sustainability-focused smartphones to the US. The company has teamed up with Murena to start offering a version of the Fairphone 4 in the country. The Murena Fairphone 4 is available to order now. It starts at $599 for 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, according to the Murena store. A variant with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage will run you $679. Storage is expandable via microSD.

Those prices might seem fairly steep for a two-year old device with a mid-range Qualcomm chip from 2020, but the Murena Fairphone 4 is about much more than the pure specs. For one thing, it's a privacy-centric device with a version of Android that's detangled from Google. Murena's /e/ operating system eschews Google's stock apps. For instance, rather than Google Maps, you'll get an open-source alternative by default. The device has its own directory that gives each app a privacy rating. As such, you'll have some information about how each app tracks your data before you install one.

You can still install Google-built apps. Murena purports to snag apps from the Play Store without directing your information to Google. You can install a standard version of Android if you like, but Murena warns that this will void your warranty. (For what it's worth, Fairphone 4 buyers in Europe can opt to have either stock Android or /e/ out of the box). Murena plans to provide software updates and security patches for at least five years, while Fairphone offers a five-year hardware warranty.

Fairphone's ethos centers around repairability and as such the smartphone is designed to be long-lasting. The Fairphone 4 has a 10 out of 10 repairability score from iFixit. It has a modular design and it's said to be the first such phone with an IP rating of IP54. That means the phone should be protected from dust and rain. None of the components are glued together and you can use a regular screwdriver to swap them out.

The Murena Fairphone 4 has a 3905mAh battery as well as 5G and dual-SIM support. On the camera front, you'll get a dual 48MP rear camera and 25MP selfie camera. The device's body, camera array, loudspeaker, USB-C port and 6.3-inch display are all individual parts and you'll be able to buy replacements from Murena. Meanwhile, the Murena Fairphone 4 doesn't come with a USB cable, power adapter or headphones in the box. Murena sells those separately as it encourages buyers to use cables and adapters they might already have stuffed in a drawer somewhere.

Although the device is unlocked, T-Mobile and mobile virtual network operators that use the T-Mobile network are the only recommended carriers for it in the US. Fairphone is framing the device's US debut as a pilot as the company is primarily focused on the European market. "This collaboration with e/OS/ is a great opportunity for us to pilot selling devices in the US market with a long-standing partner and learn more about the American market," Fairphone CEO Eva Gouwens told Engadget in a statement.