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The most ethical is one you keep for as long as possible.

However, if you have to buy a new one, there are a couple of models you might consider:

@Fairphone - Modular made with a more ethical supply chain and greater environmental considerations. Available now:
fairphone.com/

@Purism - The Purism Librem 5 runs proper Linux (not Android) and is designed to be as private and open source as possible. Due out in April 2019:
puri.sm/shop/librem-5/

@switchingsocial buying phones second hand is also a good way to stay ethical, as you're extending their usable life and saving them from landfill.

It's also good from a penny-pinching perspective too. £200 plus a rolling SIM that only costs £10-20 a month is a lot cheaper than getting the latest feature phone on contract.

@bobstechsite

Yes, definitely! Wish I'd mentioned second hand on the original post :/

@switchingsocial
Well, to be fair: I'd say that buying used phones falls into another subcategory or so, given that the two you listed were intentionally designed to last longer than the standard couple of years. As opposed to an individual choosing to extend the life of a previously discarded phone.
@bobstechsite

@kiri @switchingsocial well, you say that. But try fixing a version 1 fairphone today!

They've consistently had problems keeping a steady inventory of spare parts. Now they've stopped supporting it altogether. I'm hoping they do better with v2 👍

theregister.co.uk/2017/07/24/f

engadget.com/2017/07/24/fairph

@bobstechsite @kiri @switchingsocial
That's why ZeroPhone looks promising, it using widely available parts is a huge plus.
But to be fair not everyone would call it a "smartphone". Still, you can program it so in a sense it's even smarter than most smartphones.

@switchingsocial @Fairphone @Purism @Ubports choosing one of these devices and flashing Ubuntu Touch would be another good option. devices.ubuntu-touch.io/

@switchingsocial @Fairphone @Purism I'm very sceptical of the Librem 5 still, with its (initial) lack of running Android apps you pay a crapton of money for very little features. I wouldn't recommend this to non-tech-savvy end-users at this point, maybe end of 2019 at the earlierst...

@switchingsocial @Fairphone @Purism
So looking forward to the Libram 5! I can't wait.. wonder if it will work on Verizon's network.. best service provider but they love to lock down phones..

@switchingsocial @Fairphone @Purism I totally agree with this. Unfortunately, most manufacturers design with an end of life in mind. I have only had my Kyocera DuraForce Pro for 8 months or so and it is already starting to show that it won't last more than 2 years probably.

@poetgrant @switchingsocial @Fairphone @Purism

For the most part, I agree.

But, buying a used phone is even better, if you can find a good one. Saves money and trash in the landfill.

@switchingsocial @Fairphone @Purism I really wish fairphone and purism had linked up to work on a phone together.

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