Recycled plastic earbuds: Fairphone Fairbuds vs Nokia Clarity Earbuds 2+

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earplugs made from recycled plastic

‘A better environment starts with you’… is this slogan tailor-made for you? And are you currently looking for suitable earplugs made from recycled plastic? Then we wrote this article for you! NL News Anke compared the new Fairphone Fairbuds with the Nokia Clarity Earbuds 2+. Both are made from recycled materials and the Fairbuds can even be repaired by you (if necessary). What if that isn’t sustainable?!

Let’s take a look at the specifications side by side…

At NL News we prefer not to look at specifications, but rather at the ease of use of devices and the associated software. However, in this case we put the figures side by side, to show that on paper there is actually not much difference between these earplugs made of recycled material.

Fairphone Fairbuds Nokia Clarity Earbuds 2+
Format 28.7 x 24.6 x 21mm 35 x 23 x 16 mm
Colour Black or white Black, pink or purple
Weight 5 grams per earplug 4 grams per earplug
Waterproof? Splashproof Splashproof
20 – 20,000 Hz 20 – 20,000 Hz
Noise Canceling Active Noise Canceling, with detection of ambient noise Active Noise Canceling
And during (telephone) conversations? Wind Noise Reduction algorithm Dual microphone with noise cancellation and Clear Voice Capture technology
Battery earbuds (no ANC on) 6 hours without charging 7 hours without charging
Battery storage case 26 hours 35 hours
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.3, can connect multiple devices Bluetooth 5.2, can connect multiple devices
Price 149 euros 79.99 euros

On paper there are some small differences between the in-ears, the most notable being the battery life of the storage case and the price of course.

Fairphone FairbudsFairphone Fairbuds
Fairphone Fairbuds

Earplugs made from recycled plastic – practice

Design & fit

In terms of design and fit, the wireless in-ears can hardly be compared. The Nokia Clarity Earbuds 2+ have a ‘fairly general’ design, as you often see from other manufacturers. An earplug with a stem on it, the technology hidden in the thick part between the stem and the ear-tip. Not that exciting, but solid. Unfortunately, the material of the storage case feels a bit cheap.

The Fairbuds, on the other hand, have a more massive design. The stem has been replaced by an oval ‘button’, but you cannot press it. (You can do other things with it, but more later under the heading ‘Ease of use’). At first glance, the part between the ear tip and the oval ‘button’ also seems a bit thicker than on the Earbuds, but on closer inspection this is not so bad and is mainly an optical deception. Both the in-ears and the storage case look good quality.

It is also striking that the ear-tip of the Earbuds is slightly further away from the technology: a longer piece has been used to press into the ear canal. This makes the in-ears appear slimmer and more elegant than the Fairbuds. In terms of fit, I also notice this in use. For example, the Fairbuds fit less well in my right ear (because: small ears + a daith piercing). It hurts a bit when I wear a Fairbud on that side, but surprisingly the left side works fine. The Earbuds fit well in both ears, but they seem to be a little less stable when clamped in the earcup.

Nokia Clarity Earbuds 2+

Ease of use

The ease of use of both in-ear sets is good. You can quickly connect Bluetooth to your phone by simply scanning which Bluetooth devices are nearby. You click on your set, and hop… connection is established,

Both manufacturers have included a number of hand gestures in the devices. If you tap the side of your in-ear once, the music will pause. Another tap on the in-ear makes the music play again. Swiping to the side lets you skip a song. You can easily accept/hang up telephone calls, or enable the Voice Assistant. Very user-friendly, that applies to both Nokia and Fairphone.

Sound quality

On paper, the Fairbuds and Earbuds 2+ offer a range of 20 to 20,000 Hz. This should guarantee high tones and low bass sounds. And honestly: the sound from in-ears also sounds great these days, but I still have a clear preference when I listen to both products. The Earbuds 2+ offer better high tones, the sound sounds clearer in that area. The range seems to be higher than with the Fairbuds. In terms of lower tones, the in-ears are not inferior to each other, although both devices naturally produce their own characteristic sound.


The USP of the Fairbuds is of course their sustainability factor. The more recycled materials, the better it is. And in that respect there is a really significant difference between the products. The Nokia in-ears consist of 60% recycled plastics. In that case, the Fairbuds do much better: not only are they made of 100% recycled plastic, the tin and magnetic material is also 100% ‘second-hand’. You can expect a 100% fair trade policy for all precious metals.

In addition, it is also important to mention: you can repair the Fairbuds earbuds yourself if they are damaged. Of course, we’ve seen that before from parent company Fairphone! The Fairbuds are wireless earbuds, a product category that is known to be difficult to repair yourself. The Fairbuds will have replaceable batteries, supplied with a charging case and additional replaceable parts. That makes it sustainable in additional parts. -pun intended-

Fairbuds spare partsFairbuds spare parts


To be honest: if I were to buy one of the two sets, it would be the Nokia Clarity Earbuds 2+. This mainly has to do with fit and the sound range that these earplugs can achieve. When I look at the sustainability aspect and that the earplugs must be made from recycled material, then the Fairbuds are the clear winner. The fact that you can repair them yourself contributes enormously to the added value of the product.

Ultimately the choice is yours. Which do you choose?

Also read:

  • 3 tips for when your earphones don’t make contact
  • 5 reasons why people are using wired earbuds again
  • 3 things you as a woman should pay attention to when buying earplugs

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