I upgraded my cellphone's digital camera with only a child screwdriver and my fingernails

Final 12 months, my outdated cellphone lastly determined it had come to the top of its life, and after a variety of analysis, I made a decision to interchange it with a Fairphone 3. A few days later, I unwrapped my shiny (and surprisingly weighty) new toy – and discovered that simply moments after I accomplished my order, the corporate had launched a Fairphone 3 Plus with improved entrance and rear cameras. Hassle.

That wasn’t an issue, although. The Fairphone is a bit totally different to your typical handset. Not solely is it made as ethically as doable, with manufacturing unit staff paid a good wage and metals sourced as responsibly as doable, it is also modular, so you should buy elements and easily change them your self.

A lot of the cellphone’s additional weight comes from the truth that it is held along with screws somewhat than glue, and it is even provided with a bit Philips 00 screwdriver to tempt you to open it up and begin tinkering.

(Picture credit score: Future)

All of it sounded glorious, so I obtained my arms on the substitute high unit and digital camera unit that will deliver my cellphone updated – then did nothing. Lots of my colleagues aren’t too keen on the Fairphone, regardless of its inexperienced credentials, however mine is a fairly large deal to me. It wasn’t low cost, both. What if, butterfingers that I’m, I broke one thing?

And so the items sat of their little blue packages till, virtually a 12 months after the three Plus laumched, I may lastly stand the guilt no extra and took up my little screwdriver. It was time to get began.

Open her up

The highest module (containing the 16MP entrance digital camera) and the 48MP rear digital camera module are bought individually, and are available in their very own little protecting packages. I opened one and fished out an instruction information providing a hyperlink to tutorial movies, some basic recommendation about making ready your workspace, and a warning that improper use of the elements may result in loss of life, harm, or environmental harm. Good to know.

Instruction booklet for Fairphone 3 replacement top unit

The instruction booklet for the cellphone’s substitute high unit provides grave warning in regards to the perils of improper use (plus the URL of a cheery YouTube video tutorial) (Picture credit score: Future)

First, the cheery girl within the YouTube video suggested, I wanted to take away my cellphone’s bumper and peel off the again case. No drawback – it is a versatile piece of translucent plastic that clips and unclips simply, and needed to be eliminated to suit the SIM on the primary day. Subsequent, I popped out the battery. No bother.

After that, issues obtained fascinating. The following step was to seize that little Philips 00 and take away a grand whole of 13 little screws holding the cellphone’s show unit in place. Undoubtedly ensure you’re doing this on a flat floor, and drop every screw right into a container as you take away it.

Unscrewing the Fairphone 3's display unit

The show unit is held in place with 13 screws. Ensure you preserve them someplace secure! (Picture credit score: Future)

That executed, it was time to take away the show unit. That is executed by holding the cellphone along with your proper thumb within the battery compartment, and urgent till it begins to unclip. This took somewhat extra drive than I would anticipated.

Ultimately although, it got here away, and after easing the 2 sections of the cellphone aside, I used to be able to get caught into the following stage: eradicating the highest unit.

Fairphone 3 with display unit detached

Eradicating the show unit took a bit extra strain than I would anticipated, nevertheless it got here away properly as soon as I used to be a bit extra stern with it (Picture credit score: Future)

Out with the outdated

The following job additionally took a bit extra oomph than I would anticipated. A small ribbon cable transfers knowledge from the cellphone’s high unit to its processor, and must be indifferent earlier than the unit may be eliminated. That is executed through the use of your fingernail to push down a small clip.

It appeared simple sufficient within the video, however like eradicating the show unit, took a bit extra drive than I would anticipated. It’s going to even be powerful for those who’re a continual nail-biter, and one thing just like the iFixit Opening Software will turn out to be useful for those who’ve gnawed yours down too far.

Detaching the Fairphone 3 top unit ribbon cable

The highest unit has a ribbon cable which you could detach with a fingernail (offered your nails are powerful sufficient) (Picture credit score: Future)

That executed, it was time to take out some extra screws – simply two this time. They’re an identical to these utilized in the remainder of the cellphone, so for those who’re following alongside at house, don’t fret about mixing them up.

Truly eradicating the outdated high unit proved to be essentially the most nerve-wracking a part of the operation. The video confirmed it coming out effortlessly, however mine gave the impression to be a bit extra solidly hooked up. The trainer appeared to ease it out by bending the cellphone ever so barely, however I may simply think about a sudden snap placing an finish to my DIY efforts.

Fairphone 3 with top unit detached

The highest unit was a trickier to take away than the video urged, however solely very barely (Picture credit score: Future)

Ultimately I made a decision to show the entire cellphone face-down and let gravity to a bit of the work for me. With solely the gentlest of twists, the highest unit was free, and the cellphone was prepared for its transplant.

In with the brand new

Becoming the brand new high unit was simplicity itself. I simply needed to take away the blue plastic overlaying the lens (one thing not talked about within the video however nicely price remembering until you are a very huge fan of Instagram filters.

That executed, I changed the screws, then pressed the ribbon cable firmly again into place. Emboldened, I then repeated the method to interchange the digital camera unit. It was precisely the identical, however eradicating the outdated digital camera was a lot simpler, as I used to be capable of gently press on its lens to launch it.

Unscrewing the the Fairphone 3's camera module

Switching the outdated digital camera module for the brand new one was even simpler than changing the highest module (Picture credit score: Future)

Once more, becoming the brand new digital camera was a matter of peeling off the sticky blue plastic, then poking the unit into place. I pushed the ribbon cable again into place, and set about changing the 15 screws (two for the digital camera, plus the 13 securing the show unit). 

I managed to not lose any, although I did sit puzzled for a few minutes once I got here to the ultimate screw and could not see its corresponding gap. It is price taking into consideration that it would not matter which order you take away and change the screws in, as long as you get all of them. I finally noticed the rogue gap on the right-hand edge, slipped the screw into place and tightened it.

Fairphone 3 with screws removed

The show unit is held in place with 13 screws. Do not lose them! (Picture credit score: Future)

Lastly, I slotted the battery into place, pressed on the rear cowl (it actually does make a satisfying click on), crossed my fingers and held the facility button.

To my aid, the Fairphone emblem appeared on-screen, and it booted as regular, however the true check was experimenting with my new additions. I grabbed the primary issues that got here at hand and snapped away. 

Even the very best digital camera cannot compensate for my shoddy composition expertise (Picture credit score: Future)

The operation was successful! The brand new digital camera would not ship the identical high quality as an iPhone 12, nevertheless it’s a giant improve nonetheless I’m now the proud proprietor of a Fairphone 3 Plus, a mere 10 months after its preliminary launch. I additionally examined the selfie digital camera, nevertheless it’s somewhat unforgiving so you will simply must take my phrase for it.

All in all, the method was extraordinarily simple, and I actually would not hesitate to seize that little screwdriver and get caught in once more. The group at Fairphone as pretty much as good as their phrase, and it truly is a breeze to open up the handset and get caught in. Hopefully there will be extra upgrades sooner or later. A brand new cellphone is simply 13 screws away.