Fairphone has been an intriguing brand for some time. It’s a Dutch company that came out with the eponymous phone, and it has recycling and repair at its core. And now they have the Fairbuds XL, an over-the-ear headset that you can repair yourself. WANT editor Dennis Mons gives you five reasons why you should definitely consider this headset.
The Fairphone came out in 2014 and turned the world of cell phones upside down. The phone was almost completely recycled and self-repairable. So now the company is also coming out with an over-the-ear headset: the Fairbuds XL. These go one step further in that regard.
Fairphone Fairbuds XL make you feel a lot less guilty
Although companies like Apple are also doing their stinking best to recycle as much as possible, Fairphone is actually leading the way. Ever since the first Fairphone until now, the company has been doing everything possible to detail this philosophy. So too with the Fairbuds XL. I got to test them out and here are five reasons why the headphones might be the best choice for your next purchase.
1. A fair headphone from Fairphone
One of the core features of the headset is that, like the Fairphone itself, it is made from many recycled materials. For example, aluminum, plastic and tin that have been used before are used in manufacturing.
In addition, the Fairbuds XL is made from Fairtrade gold, among other materials. Also, the ear pads and headband are made of vegan leather.
And finally, it is important to Fairphone that working conditions during the production process are fair and humane. Wages are commensurate with the earnings of the headphones and Fairphone has programs for new suppliers for production to apply this as well.
Also available in black. (Image: Fairphone)
2. Tinkering with your Fairbuds XL.
A very intriguing (and fine) feature is that you can repair your headphones yourself. Literally every part can be replaced yourself. This is, of course, good for the environment. With existing competitors, this is a lot harder or you have to have it made, which often costs quite a bit of money and is not worth it. And then the headphones end up in a landfill.
So in theory, you never have to buy a new headset again(!). And maybe you can keep upgrading when there are new parts with better specs. By the way, I do wonder if it is much more expensive to order all the parts separately and build the headset yourself. Bit of technical Lego, so to speak. By the way, you really don’t have to be a genius to do that, taking it apart and putting it together is a piece of cake.
By the way, all the individual parts can be found in the app. Here you will find out what the names are and there is an immediate link to Fairphone’s shop to replace them. And it looks cool too, like the Fairbuds XL is a Transformer.
Complete repair. (Image: Fairphone)
3. Fairphone has made the headset very comfortable and cool
Some over-ear headsets can become irritating when worn for long periods of time, such as at work or during a flight. This did not bother me at all. The Fairbuds XL are light and the ear cups are pleasantly soft.
In addition, they look cool (as far as I’m concerned). The Fairbuds XL are available in two colors: black with speckles and green with speckles. I tested the green version and although it took some getting used to, I have to say that it does make for a classy, eye-catching color.
Old-fashioned buttons are nice
4. Excellent interface and multipoint on your Fairbuds XL
Not entirely unimportant is the way you operate the Fairphone Fairbuds XL. In this case, it’s not fiddling with touch controls, which is sometimes the case with some competitors. The Fairbuds have an “old-fashioned” button and even a small joystick. I found that particularly pleasant.
Also nice is that the headset has Bluetooth 5.1 as well as multipoint. That means you can connect multiple devices. So if you are listening to a podcast on one device and want to quickly check a video, all you have to do is press play on the other device.
Old-fashioned analog interface, (Image: Fairphone)
5. Fine sound that is customizable
Thanks to the 40 mm dynamic drivers, highs are clear, mids are full and there is deep bass. In all honesty, I do think my Sony WH-1000XM4 (in the same price range) sounds a bit better, but that is very subjective.
And of course the Sony’s don’t have that wonderful aspect of a modular design. So I can well imagine that the sound of the Fairbuds XL is more than excellent for people who find that more important.
By the way, the sound is of course customizable in the Fairphone Faribuds XL app with presets (developed in collaboration with the renowned company Sonarworks). The same goes for noise cancelling, so there’s bound to be a profile to choose that’s entirely to your taste.
So for 249.99 euros you get a headset with a nice design and fine sound. And the aspect of recycling and self-repair undoubtedly makes you feel good. As far as I am concerned, other parties should learn from this and make similar products like the Fairphone Fairbuds XL.