Ethical Cell Phone Update: LG Review

Earlier in the year, I wrote a post about cell phones that covered a few social and environmental issues, from repairability and longevity to sourcing of (conflict) minerals. I said I would post an update once I chose a new phone and wrote a Green Stars review, and so, here I am! Based on the research that I did for that post, I had come to the conclusion that Samsung is one of the worst choices (of those I considered) and that Fairphone is perhaps the most ethical choice, but not so practical for me (4G network coverage is only available in Europe). While researching the subject, I discovered (to my surprise) that LG is actually one of the best Android phone makers when it comes to social and environmental impact. That’s only my opinion, of course – I’d love to hear yours!

So, in the end, I chose an LG phone – specifically the LG X-Power, which has a super-long battery life. The larger battery has almost eliminated communication breakdowns at midnight in San Francisco (not completely – other people’s phones still run out of power *cough, Jorge*) and also makes it highly unlikely that I’ll need a new phone/battery because of declining battery life.  So, here’s my review of that phone, which I’m posting here as a reminder of what a typical Green Stars review looks like:

LG X-Power Review

A review doesn’t have to be that long, of course, so don’t let the length put you off. I sometimes write very short reviews that point out just one or two positive or negative aspects of a product or company.

Also, I originally posted the review on Amazon even though I didn’t buy it from them (I bought from Virgin Mobile, who I considered to be one of the better network providers – see this post on phone network operators). The review had a pretty good readership on Amazon (based on the number of votes it received and its position on the product page), again demonstrating that reviews are a good way of spreading information about corporate practices, even if you didn’t make your purchase online. In other words, writing Green Stars reviews is a form of consumer activism.

If you’d like to see other examples of Green Stars reviews, please check out these posts on Converse High Tops, Nestlé Kit Kat, Nutiva coconut oil, a recycled laptop sleeve, and also the Example Reviews page.  

11 thoughts on “Ethical Cell Phone Update: LG Review

  1. I have a Samsung LG phone – but unfortunately it is old – maybe 5-6- years. I can’t afford to upgrade. Battery life? I can run it down in no time flat. It goes dead during the night if it’s on.Phones have gotten so expensive. I need a new tablet before I buy a phone 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For sure, some phones are too expensive. I paid around $100 for the LG phone that I reviewed here. Many of the high-end phones can cost $600 (or even more for the latest iPhones) and are actually no more ethical than cheaper phones. I’d much rather buy a $100 phone and put the money I save towards buying sustainable food (or charitable donations, etc.) than hand over $600 to Samsung for a phone that’s actually worse in many ways than my $100 phone. (The latest Samsung phones may have a slightly better camera but that’s the only advantage – they fare worse on ethics, longevity, repairability, OS upgrades, and other factors).


  2. Hi Miranda.

    I love your work and I do think this is an important issue to be addressed. I’m glad you have started this excellent work in synthesising multiple ratings on ethical smartphones.

    If you’re planning on updating the list, you might want to consider including this report from The Enough Project (Callaway, 2017) and Greenpeace report 2017

    It paints different light on established brands such as Apple and Google. Samsung still performs poorly however, but HP is a sweet surprise. As stated in your article, it seems these reports only cover more established brands and leave out smaller brands such as Oneplus.

    Happy New Year from Jakarta,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for the updated info, Willy, and happy new year to you too!
    I should write an update at some point, and perhaps take a deeper look at Apple.
    I haven’t covered laptops yet so perhaps that will be a good opportunity for an update on electronics.
    I’m glad to see that the 2017 Greenpeace report is a bit more in-depth. I love Greenpeace but their former guides to electronics were a bit lacking in detail. Have you ever written a review of an electronic item?


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