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I tested: replacing my AirPods Pro with Fairbuds, eco-responsible headphones

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You can repair them yourself

I tested: replacing my AirPods Pro with Fairbuds, eco-responsible headphones

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This is Fairphone's main differentiating argument: its headphones (like its other products) are eco-responsible. Concretely, how can the brand ensure that it respects this commitment ?

First by selecting materials that are at best recycled (rare earths and plastic), at worst from fair trade (gold for example). When it has no other choice but to use “new” materials, the brand invests in Fairmined (for gold) and Fairtrade (for gold) credits. silver and cobalt) to offset its carbon footprint.

Result: Fairbuds are neutral in terms of electronic waste, assures the brand. The 78 g of the finished product is offset by the recycling of 78 g of electronic waste explains Fairphone.

On the human side, the company is full ” the gap between the minimum wage and a decent wage “ and works « actively to improve working conditions work with factory management ». It is difficult to verify this information without carrying out an in-depth investigation, so I will take Fairphone's word for it (pending a future report).

I tested: replacing my AirPods Pro with Fairbuds, eco-responsible headphones

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What is certain, however, is that you can repair the Fairbuds yourself, without the need for in-depth knowledge of electronics. The company offers to repair seven elements: the earphones, the battery, the silicone ring, the tips, the shell of the charging case, the shell of the charging case as well as its battery.

This last element is undoubtedly the most important, the decrease in autonomy over time being the main reason for the hasty renewal of a pair of headphones.

Finally, this excellent repairability is accompanied by a manufacturer's warranty extended to 3 years, when the rest of the market does not exceed both years.

If you are looking to equip yourself while limiting your carbon footprint as much as possible, Fairphone does better than the rest of the market, by far.

They are tough

I tested: replacing my AirPods Pro with Fairbuds, eco-responsible headphones

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The advantage of larger headphones (I'll come back to this) is that they generally include larger batteries. As a result, Fairbuds are very enduring. I used the headphones for almost 7 hours with noise reduction activated. This is two hours better than the figures announced by the brand.

The case allows four complete recharges: approximately 2 hours for the case and 10 minutes to recover 1h30. Overall, I was able to start my week with the Fairbuds and only recharge them on Friday evening. A real asset compared to the correct autonomy but nothing more of the AirPods Pro.

Noise reduction is effective

I tested: replacing my AirPods Pro with Fairbuds, eco-responsible headphones

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If there is one area in which my AirPods Pro give me complete satisfaction, it is noise reduction. Apart from a few rare references (Bose, Sony), no other brand has ever managed to make me abandon the AirPods Pro.

If the Fairphones will not change my mind (logical given their price positioning), they prove very effective in this exercise. Equipped with 6 microphones, the headphones detect ambient noise and cancel or amplify them depending on the listening mode chosen.

The ANC of the Fairbuds reduces most of the most problematic parasitic sounds: the street, transport, wind. However, they do not make sparks and do not lock us in an acoustic bubble either. The transparency mode is less flamboyant. Accustomed to the excellence of that of the AirPods Pro, I felt a big difference with the Fairbuds. Thus, the reproduction of surrounding noise is very approximate.

Despite these technical weaknesses, the result remains very correct for headphones sold for 149 euros. The Fairbuds are neither better nor worse than their competitors. And that's not so bad.

Sound quality

I tested: replacing my AirPods Pro with Fairbuds, eco-responsible headphones

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The Fairbuds are equipped with an 11mm transducer coated in titanium. Quality construction for headphones in this range. Is the result up to par?? It all depends on what you are listening to.

The main weakness of the Fairbuds is at the bass level, much too discreet to satisfy fans of hip-hop or electronic music. The application's equalizer can slightly improve everything, but it doesn't work miracles.

The Fairbuds, on the other hand, reproduce the midrange very well, especially vocals. If you like text songs or podcasts, you will be very satisfied with this. Especially since the excellent stereo management allows for beautiful reproduction of the soundstage.

So everything is not perfect, the whole thing holds together, but headphones sold less expensively offer a much more attractive sound signature. By playing the balance card, Fairphone can hope to convince a wider audience, whatever. The most listened to sounds in 2024 are rather bassy…

The imposing case

I tested: replacing my AirPods Pro with Fairbuds, eco-responsible headphones

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Like most headphone users, I made this choice of accessory to avoid the bulkiness of the headphones. So I appreciate being able to slip my equipment into my pocket for example.

With its giant dimensions (65 x 65 x 27 mm), the Fairbuds case is anything but discreet. The price to pay for integrate the removable battery and the double thickness opening system.

On a daily basis, this size is not at all practical: heavy and bulky, Fairbuds are most often stored in a backpack (or handbag), a fanny pack or a coat with large pockets. Forget the pants, even a little wide, they fit but hinder your approach. Too bad.

Headphones lack comfort

I tested: replacing my AirPods Pro with Fairbuds, eco-responsible headphones

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Like the case, the headphones are also heavy and imposing.Their fit is also not the most comfortable. For example, I didn't even try to take them with me for a half-hour run. Again, this bulkiness is explained by the possibility of opening each earbud in order to replace the battery, if necessary.

This discomfort is all the more annoying since you control the music from their touch surface. As soon as you press on it, the earbud moves slightly, which requires you to reposition it almost systematically. So I spent my two weeks of testing putting my headphones back in my ear every five minutes. A pain.

Will I keep the Fairbuds instead of the AirPods Pro ? The answer is no, for very personal reasons: I'm an audiophile and I travel a lot, so I need lightweight headphones with good sound quality.

However, with its first wireless headphones, Fairphone makes a rather clean copy: without being exceptional, the sound quality remains pleasant, the noise reduction is convincing and the autonomy is excellent. Above all, the Fairbuds stand out for their eco-responsible design which involves a high level of repairability. A manufacturing process that makes the whole thing bulky and heavy. Acceptable drawbacks if you want a more ecological approach.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116