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Do you recommend the Fairphone 2?

I can not recommend FP2.
I had two, both stopped working in less than half a year. Right now, I am waiting for 1.5 months to send the second back.

The ideas and ethics behind it are great, but if your priority is a fast and reliable phone (or customer service), you should buy another one…

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I can - if you’re willing to take the risk and are at least a bit tech-savy. Besides a warranty display change in May 2016 my device is working reliable and absolutely fine for my purposes.

My reasons to recommend it were all mentioned (esp. ethics, longevity, modularity, this community, the OS alternatives, frequent security fixes).

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Yes, if you’re willing to buy another phone to use while your FP2 is misbehaving/broken.
I’ve been waiting for 2 - 3 months now for a replacement display.

Do I recommend the FP2? No.

I waited months for it, and when it finally arrived it is an OK mobile device, but is unusable as a phone. The proximity sensor misbehaves so every time I’m on the phone I open loads of menus with my ear, and now after only one month the primary microphone has gone wrong so that callers either can’t hear me, or can only hear loud static.

It seems the hardware is unfortunately not very reliable.

Have you calibrated the sensor?

https://forum.fairphone.com/t/proximity-sensor-tool-or-how-to-fix-the-proximity-sensor-issues/21411?u=anotherelk&source_topic_id=32738

For many it is, for some it isn’t, it is inconsistent and that is of course not good.
Defective hardware is covered by warranty … here’s the Fairphone 2 Troubleshooter.

Yes, I’ve calibrated it about 20 times. It makes absolutely no difference.

The warranty requires sending the hardware to the Netherlands and waiting … that’s fine if you have another phone to use, but if I had another phone I wouldn’t have bought the FP2. The FAQ also says the repair also wipes all the data on the phone. That’s not acceptable for me right now.

I chose to take a chance on the FP2 because I believed in the goals of the project, but if somebody asks me if I recommend the phone then if I’m honest I have to say no. It’s not very good. The FP1 was more reliable, and if my batteries hadn’t stopped holding charge I’d still be using it. The FP1 lasted me 3+ years, not 1 month.

Update: I ordered a new bottom module, which arrived very quickly, was easy to replace, and it fixed the problem. And Fairphone support were excellent - so those are very good things in the FP2’s favour. (Try contacting another phone manufacturer, or replacing a part yourself!) But I still have the problem with my ear swiping things on the screen while on a phone call, which is not a problem I’ve ever had with other touchscreen phones.

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I have been using one for a few weeks now after having had the FP1 and have been disappointed over a few features:

  1. Buttons are placed very awkwardly all around the phone so it is impossible to hold it comfortably, especially as there is a button for the camera on the side so it’s difficult to avoid taking photos. Really annoying and so stupid cf FP1, which was very comfortable to hold.
  2. And why change the hole for charging to the bottom so it is now the other end from the hole for a headphones. Now cannot use phone while charging, eg recharge and have headphones on at the same time while phone is in case.
  3. I thought the battery might be a bit better than the one for FP1 but it is worse, discharging completely in about three hours after taking 10 photos. (Yes, I have reduced screen brightness etc.) And why doesn’t it give battery amount on the top of screen as it did with FP1? No colour alert either, which was handy with FP1.
  4. The camera quality is worse than the one for FP1, very poor indeed.

So I can’t recommend the phone but as I have never used another except for FP1 have nothing to compare it with.

Susannah

Hi everyone, thank you for all your feedback! I think I will order the FP2 as I believe in supporting companies that go into the right direction, even if the products are not prefect yet. Moreover, I think if other companies had a Forum like this, similar or more concerns would become clear too! Greenpeace’s study also helped to convince me:

However, I am left with 2 questions:

  • What is the estimated lifespan of the FP2? I understand there might be a problem with Google updates?

  • How does the new camera rank compared to the iPhone camera?

Thank you!

Have a good day,
Petz

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It’s hard to estimate something like that if you can’t look into the future. FP expressed the goal to increase the average lifespan from 2-3 years (average smartphone) to 5 years with the FP2 and I’m sure that with good care and smart use you can meet that goal.
There are #software:alternative-oses so you are not dependent on Google (that much) for security updates. Obviously if you wanted to keep using the official FP OS no matter what you’ll probably stop receiving security updates one day - and if you buy the FP2 now it will be a shorter usage until then than if you bought it when it came out.

The camera isn’t going to be near the quality of the latest iPhones which are one of the best if not best in the smartphone market but neither is the price. Fairphone also doesn’t have the throttling issue iPhone 6 has wrt batteries, but the power it has under the hood doesn’t remotely come close either. The SoC in the FP2 (SD801) is old. The most recent 800 series (SD835) draw circles around it. I don’t know if anyone did a side by side comparison of both phones on the same moment/place because that’s a way to do some kind of vis-a-vis comparison but you can check out some pictures here: FP2 - Pictures Gallery

As per this test on Tweakers.net (Dutch), price/performance mid-range phones of ~280 EUR less (~250 EUR give or take) compete easily with FP2 every year, and they get better while FP2 doesn’t (except for camera). Its increasingly more common that devices in this range both 2.4 and 5 GHz WiFi, NFC, 4 GB RAM, Quick Charge, 1080p screen, decent battery life, good speaker, and decent camera. Not each model has each of these advantages, but the Motorola G5S Plus is a suffice choice if you want a cheap, decent, durable phone which lasts a while without a premium price. Though it is a moloch and will get official software updates for 2 years, another competitive option is Xiaomi Mi A1 though the camera lacks compared to the G5S Plus. But it is less bulky.

Of course you don’t get some freedoms you do get with a FP2 like modular hardware and by default unlocked bootloader (voids your warranty with Motorola when you unlock it) but 5 years lifetime of FP2 means end of 2020 as the phone is from end of 2015. Although with LOS (with or without GApps or MicroG) you can expect to be able run up2date software on it the same’s true for postmarket mid-range phones if you unlock the bootloader (possible with Xiaomi and Motorola and generally possible but do verify). Except maybe the firmware of specific chips. And these phones aren’t fair for the environment or workers either. That’s a thing you pay for when you buy a Fairphone as well.

That said, you could buy a what we call in Dutch tussendoortje (in-betweenie?); a decent phone for a couple of years until the FP3 comes out. The ones reviewed in the link I mentioned are mid-range around the 250 EUR range. You can go cheaper or more expensive, but it’d require a recent, other review and of course you will get what you pay for (following the review’s advice). If you can afford an iPhone, Apple does very good for the environment according to that recent Greenpeace report but that’s just one thing.

If you consider iPhone, you should also have a look at comparisons between FPOS Android 6 (or 7.1.2 if you run LOS) and the latest version of iOS which is I think 11.2.x these days.

Also, a valid advantage of an iOS device (especially high-end ones) is its resale value. But you did pay for that.

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In that case I’d recommend a used phone, for example a Samsung Galaxy S5 (with LineageOS) or an iPhone 6 or higher (because the iPhone 5 doesn’t receive updates anymore and the iPhone 5S will probably stop receiving updates soon).

A FP3 is rumoured to be announced by the end of 2018 / early 2019.

iPhone 5S sports a 64 bit SoC, that’s why it has still been receiving updates while iPhone 5 doesn’t. The iPhone 5S (running iOS which some like and some don’t) has one advantage which the newer and more expensive iPhone SE also has: its size! It is flat out unique these days to have a phone this small and elegant. Personally, I love it. However nowadays, smartphones have small bezels (with screen to bezels ratios of ~70%), even budget-range phones in price classes of 150-200 EUR or mid-range of around ~250 EUR have that more often than not. Also, dual cameras is more common (see the linked review it is from today). I’m also curious what HMD (Nokia) is going to do with updated 2018 versions of Nokia 5/6/8 (budget/mid/flagship respectively with the flagship not being Samsung/Apple-esque).

Apart from hygiene I like second hand, but with electronic devices it has been a hit and miss for me (with quite some miss, YMMV). Its difficult to decide what works and what doesn’t. Especially for laymen, or if you lack the time. At least check the screen carefully for scratches, dead pixels, and before you buy ask how good the battery still is. Especially with iPhone 6 this can massively affect performance. SGS5 has a SD801 as well, and seems to go for 120-140 EUR second hand on eBay.de. But if you get a device which is a little bit more powerful (mid-range) then you can easily get through 2020 with it. If you want to go for a FP3 right when it is available then a less powerful device like the one you suggested does make sense.

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A small detail your comparison lacks: a Fairphone is somewhat more ethically responsible :wink:
For me, that beats any camera, speaker and other stuff.

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I very much agree in principle and have been advocating Fairphone for more than three years, but in last week have had interesting experience after the theft of my FP2… using a non-Fairphone for a few days has been pretty revelatory. Half the price and superior in several ways, inferior in none. Above all I can use it for a whole day without the battery needing reboosting. Maybe FP3 really will be an improvement and I will be glad to renew my faith in the company.

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Fair enough that such a phone has a lot of advantages but I haven’t heard of phones which have user-replaceable screen for 85 EUR + S&H or user-replaceable battery for 20 EUR + S&H or by default unlocked bootloader (without whining that it breaks warranty) or like @danielsjohan said is ethically responsible (e.g. low environmental footprint).

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Yes, of course, but would you be satisfied if you couldn’t use the phone after just buying it (nearly 500 euros) because the battery was so poor and the support staff messed you about and didn’t reply to requests for help or be prepared to change it?

I would give them a call, als you could read on many places on this forum! Personally, my experiences with support where all very smooth, professional and satisfying…

Yes, but it is expensive to call from outside the Netherlands. In the
end I got through after a comment on Twitter (it has its uses) and
eventually staff agreed that my battery was faulty, sent me another one,
but that was nearly as bad as the first. Then she said that users should
expect to have problems with batteries and have to charge and discharge
them several times before they would work properly (this was supposedly
a new battery). This had never been the case for the three batteries I
got through with FP1. The whole thing was resolved two weeks later when
someone nicked my phone, I still can’t quite understand how, and it has
never happened before. The thief will have been disappointed with the
phone though.

Even if I had the money to pay for a new FP2 I wouldn’t have been able
to do so given long wait to buy them, so I bought another model and
still feel very guilty. Hoping there will be better reports about FP3
some time in the future. My new phone costs half the price of the FP2
and works a lot better. I can get through the whole day on one battery
charge, which I could never do with FP1 even, and the FP2 battery lasted
about 3 hours max. I feel disillusioned now as think Fairphone should
provide better service and take more care to get the product up to a
decent standard. They even ran out of FP2 batteries recently I gather.

Nice of you to write, sorry for ranting on!

For a while there have been should be phone lines from other countries, but at the moment I cannot find any phone numbers on Fairphone’s website. Can anybody find them?

You can find them under #contactsupport.

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