Sustainably built Fairphone Fairbuds XL headphones are repair friendly + easily swapped with new components

Fairphone smartphones are known for their ability to last, easily repaired and being sustainable. Now the Dutch social enterprise is extending this very design philosophy for a pair of headphones that are easily repairable and save you from buying a new pair when you feel like the audio drivers have gone obsolete.

Strangely called the Fairbuds XL (remember these are headphones, not earbuds) these over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones boast modular aesthetics for replacing components like battery, earcups or audio drivers with utmost ease. If Fairphone must be believed, the headphones can be fixed using just a Philips head screwdriver which is a damn good prospect!

Designer: Fairphone

The modular design consists of 13 separate parts that include a pair of speakers, headphone battery, joystick control, flat cable, headband base, and all the cushions and covers that make up this audio accessory. So, the next time the manufacturer releases a new pair of improved speaker drivers, simply swap the old ones to extend your audiophile journey without breaking the bank. The same goes for the 500-charge cycle battery which can be replaced once it reaches the end of life.

On top of this, the foldable Fairbuds XL is made from 100 percent recycled aluminum, pure recycled tin solder, 80 percent recycled plastics and fair trade gold. Thus, making it the preferred option for music lovers who are considerate of their planet-conscious choices. The IP54-rated headphones weigh just 330 grams and are easy to store given their compact form factor.

The cans are loaded with 40mm dynamic drivers that deliver 20–20,000 Hz frequency response and have 32-ohm impedance. Active noise cancellation is also present courtesy of 2 microphones on the left and 4 on the right earcups. Fairbuds XL support Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity and when the juice runs out they can be connected via the USB-C or USB-C to 3.5 mm audio adapter.

Supported codecs include aptX HD (plus AAC and SBC) and multipoint connectivity is another feature that should keep buyers interested. 800mAh battery on the headphones should last around 26 hours with the ANC mode turned on and 30 hours if turned off. Fairphones has given fast charging a miss here, so they’ll be fully charged after a painstaking wait of 3 hours.

Given all the specifications, the Fairphone Fairbuds XL should deliver respectable sound and ANC performance. Can they compete with the likes of Sony WH-1000XM5, Bose QuietComfort 45 or Apple AirPods Max is still a consideration. Currently, they are up for purchase at a price tag of €249 in Europe and shortly in other parts of the globe too. Fairphone also plans to introduce replacement parts soon, so these headphones should be the next favorite for content creators and music lovers of course.