936

But of course we all know that the big manufacturers don't do this not because they can't but because they don't want to. Planned obsolescence is still very much the name of the game, despite all the bullshit they spout about sustainability.

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[-] restingboredface@sh.itjust.works 118 points 1 month ago

What I don't get is how no company seems to have worked out a legitimately good service and maintenance model for tech products. Fairphone hasn't invented the wheel here. They're going to make money on maintenance, parts and repair.

I would think there would be lowered costs involved in not having to push out a new product every 6 months and market it to customers who just bought something less than a year ago.

[-] Diplomjodler3@lemmy.world 103 points 1 month ago

The business models of the current tech giants are very much based on planned obsolescence. Selling you a gadget for $ 1000 every two years will always be more profitable than selling you one very five years and doing service in the meantime.

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[-] BearOfaTime@lemm.ee 28 points 1 month ago

The costs (overhead) are too high. They make more by simply manufacturing and selling.

Otherwise they'd be doing it.

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[-] NuXCOM_90Percent@lemmy.zip 20 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

The service and maintenance model is largely "replace it".

Everyone looks to a desktop computer where you swap out a stick of ram or whatever. But the real key is to look at laptops. Yes, a LOT of vendors solder the god damned ram in place and so forth which is bullshit. But repairs are generally less "okay, let me re-solder this one connection" since that connection is a via that is embedded in a circuitboard. So it becomes "let's replace that board". And yes, efforts can be made to split up the board more but you lose latency savings and increase the complexity of the boards because you now need to add connection points and so forth.

And then you look at earbuds where... do you even have room for connectors like that? Near as I can tell, Fairbuds let you replace a few pieces of plastic, the rubber earplugs, the in-bud battery, and the charger (possibly just the battery?). That is definitely a step in the right direction but it also becomes a question of how much that even matters. In particular, I am wary of the value-add of the internal batteries since charging a lithium battery is largely "solved" and these have an external controller (the case) that can preserve the battery.

While I think we can do better in some spaces, the reality is that a lot of modern tech is fundamentally un-repairable. Not because of evil conspiracies but just because it is a lot easier to print a PCB and slot in some components than it is to connect vacuum tube diodes. And when so many of those components are fairly complex chips and the damage is less "oh, the metal prong on this chip broke" and more "oh, the via shorted out"?

Stuff like the fairbuds just seem... real stupid to me. Fairphone level "replace and repair" is kind of borderline but I think is generally good. And while I have series issues with how Framework does it and the resulting e-waste, I love the ethos of their laptops.

But We need to pick and choose our battles to be ones that make sense. Will Smith's Tested's Adam Savage just uploaded a video where he gushed about how easy it was to repair a kitchenaid mixer and that is an AWESOME video. That is the kind of repairs that people can meaningfully make. Using an x-ray machine to detect a possible short in a chip and hoping that was the only short... is not.

And in those cases? We need strong warranties AND strong e-waste recycling programs and incentives. Electronics are increasingly disposable for good and bad reasons. The junk drawer full of old phones and swelling batteries is bad.

[-] Zak@lemmy.world 13 points 1 month ago

I am wary of the value-add of the internal batteries since charging a lithium battery is largely “solved” and these have an external controller (the case) that can preserve the battery.

Li-ion batteries wear out with normal use, or even sitting on a shelf fully charged. I suspect the battery is the primary reason most devices with onboard charging become unusable over time, and ensuring that it is user-replaceable will greatly increase average service life.

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[-] trebuchet@lemmy.ml 109 points 1 month ago

This article seems to omit the most important fact about headphones - how do they sound?

I love repairability and all, but it hardly matters if I don't want to use them in the first place because they traded off too much quality for repairability.

[-] twig@lemmy.dbzer0.com 53 points 1 month ago

I get what you're saying, kind of...

But also, most modern earbuds usually sound quite good. Quality in general has become such a bizarre moving target, but here's my take: We've become so used to constant improvement at the expense of satisfaction. I can barely notice the difference between 1080p and 4k. In my mind they're both "good quality" and therefore I'm satisfied. Same goes for audio quality. I've used a few pairs of earbuds and they have sounded "good."

As a culture, we need to stop with throwing away of perfectly good devices, because it's extremely harmful to the planet's occupants.

[-] TJDetweiler@lemmy.ca 24 points 1 month ago

1080p and 4k isn't really a fair comparison for great earbuds and shit earbuds in my opinion. The comparison there is like 4k and 480p. There is a massive difference between the 2. I have had $30 earbuds that you couldn't listen to a podcast on, and I currently have $250+ Bose earbuds that are fucking amazing for just about everything.

Unless of course you're saying that these earbuds are in fact "1080p" quality. In which case, fair point. I have yet to see someone who's actually used these and commented on the sound quality though. What I've seen from fairphone products is they are consumer friendly at the expense of quality.

[-] Blackmist@feddit.uk 12 points 1 month ago

My wife had some Logitech headphones that for some godforsaken reason were operating in some voice only ultra low bitrate by default. I mean, they weren't fantastic even after I fixed that, but the quality was unbelievably low, like somebody making a phone call from the moon, and how she'd put up with it for nearly a year I'd no idea. I only found out after I noticed her swapping between a wired set for general use and wireless for Discord.

[-] AnyOldName3@lemmy.world 14 points 1 month ago

Some Bluetooth controllers can't handle the bandwidth required for sound input and output at the same time unless it's at very low quality, and if Windows suspects such a device is in use, it defaults to the low quality mode as users are more likely to be able to tolerate it than tolerate their headphones not working at all. It's overly cautious, though, and uses the low quality mode far more than it has to.

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[-] whereisk@lemmy.world 34 points 1 month ago

I don't think the writer has them on hand - this is a news article not a review.

[-] OrkneyKomodo@lemmy.sdf.org 19 points 1 month ago

Codec support is a bit of a bummer. Otherwise I would have bought them.

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[-] Jax@sh.itjust.works 17 points 1 month ago

Biggest complaints I've seen aren't with sound quality, it's with the noise cancelling being bad and the shape of the ear cups (the latter could have just been the shape of that user's ears were the problem).

Mind you, these were reviews from Fairbud XLs released about a year ago. Things could have improved or gotten worse in that time, in any way. I can't tell you for sure.

That said, I don't think it makes sense to correlate focusing on repairability and quality of the product going down. I actually went out and found the reviews I'm referencing simply because the concept is absurd and I needed to know for sure.

Always keep in mind what you say online, Poe's law is forever in effect.

[-] trebuchet@lemmy.ml 13 points 1 month ago

Nah I wasn't being sarcastic.

As I understand it, in engineering these types of mobile space constrained devices you essentially have a "budget" of space. Every hardware feature you include generally eats into this budget and if you want things to be user accessible or repairable it eats into this budget majorly.

That budget has to come from somewhere, so you can pay it with things like reducing the size of your battery or reducing the size of your drivers which in turn represents a reduction in sound quality.

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[-] kadu@lemmy.world 106 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

There are indeed good aspects to this product.

But I won't join the "Fairphone good" circle jerk and give them the free publicity, because just like Apple and Samsung, they removed the headphone jack from their phones soon before the launch of these headphones, in other words, artificially creating the problem and need to sell you their expensive solution.

You don't get to ride the "we are pro customer!" free publicity train while also wanting to be the next Apple.

[-] BreakDecks@lemmy.ml 47 points 1 month ago

I understand people's desire for a headphone port, but I really don't understand the hate for devices that don't have one. It would be one thing if they vendor-locked Bluetooth headphones so you had to use theirs, but it really just seems like a common sense move in a world where Bluetooth reigns supreme.

As long as a USB-C adapter still provides the same functionality, I really don't see anyone's choices being taken away. If it is one less physical port on the device that helps streamline the hardware, I'm all for it too.

And if it is a dealbreaker, you don't have to buy a fairphone.

[-] sugar_in_your_tea@sh.itjust.works 29 points 1 month ago

The problem is that there are fewer and fewer options with a headphone jack. My current phone has one and I use it all the time.

Bluetooth sucks for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • not private
  • needs to charge (I've had BT headphones die on road trips or whatever)
  • not great sound quality

I also like using bluetooth headphones sometimes, but having an option is good, and I don't want to bring a dongle around everywhere.

[-] BreakDecks@lemmy.ml 20 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

Most Bluetooth headphones are encrypted with a key shared only by the headphones and the host device. Not sure why you think they aren't private. Maybe really cheap or really old headphones might not be so secure, but the vast majority of Bluetooth headphones in use today absolutely are.

Charging and audio quality are legitimate concerns, but again, you still have a headphone port... It's just part of the USB-C port on the bottom of your phone. A $5 adapter completely absolves you of having to use Bluetooth.

I really don't see how needing an adapter is a big enough deal to care about the way people here seem to.

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[-] d4f0@lemmy.world 31 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

The fairphone 4 doesn't have a jack and its from 2021.

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[-] thisisbutaname@discuss.tchncs.de 25 points 1 month ago

I bought the Fairphone 5 and yeah, I miss not having the jack and I see no reason to take it out

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[-] blssflbreeze@lemmy.world 81 points 1 month ago

I'd rather they just give me a headphone jack tbh

[-] kinther@lemmy.world 25 points 1 month ago

I'm right there with ya. I know many people prefer wireless earbuds, but I like ripping cables out of my ears at random. Makes me feel alive.

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[-] yrmyli@sopuli.xyz 17 points 1 month ago

This. I hate to charge my headphones everyday

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[-] Azzu@lemm.ee 17 points 1 month ago

Am I the only one that can't stand the few hundred millisecond delay of Bluetooth audio?

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[-] moitoi@lemmy.dbzer0.com 68 points 1 month ago

This the type of business the EU has to develop. An entire ecosystem from phones, earbuds to computers and software. It's how you create a conscious and a model.

[-] jol@discuss.tchncs.de 34 points 1 month ago

Unfortunately most people don't care. And since they don't care, they don't buy. These earbuds cost 150€ because they can't afford to buy huge amounts like Apple. I wish they could lobby the EU to subsidise these kinds of devices.

[-] kureta@lemmy.ml 24 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

And standards. EU please enforce standards and interoperability, and open APIs.

[-] Dariusmiles2123@sh.itjust.works 51 points 1 month ago* (last edited 1 month ago)

I love what fairphone and some other companies are doing.

Still some of their earphones got a 1/10 reparability on ifixit, so I’d really check how reparaible these ones are.

[-] FJW@discuss.tchncs.de 44 points 1 month ago

Those were the first earbuds they offered, which were just OEM-ones where they main point of attention was on getting the workers a living wage (which is fair enough, they are called “fairphone”, not “repairablephone”), just like the Fairphone 1 where they apparently wanted to collect some experience in the space first.

I have them because I bought my fairphone 4 like one week before they had a free pair with every purchase on offer and wrote to their support, who graciously gave me a voucher as well. I don’t use them a lot, because I do have pretty good over-ear headphones, but they do come in handy on occasion, as they fit into my handbag, which means I am more likely to actually have them with me.

[-] Dariusmiles2123@sh.itjust.works 17 points 1 month ago

Yeah apparently the newer ones got a 10/10 on ifixit so it’s way better and it’s what I would probably buy if I was on the market.

[-] Gigan@lemmy.world 30 points 1 month ago

I wish all their stuff wasn't EU only.

[-] Diplomjodler3@lemmy.world 16 points 1 month ago

It's hard for a small manufacturer to start selling in overseas markets. It would take a certain volume for them to have the capital to set up shop in the US.

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this post was submitted on 11 Apr 2024
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