Experience from FP3 to FP4

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I wanted to share my experience in the transition from FP3 to FP4 as there may be others that can benefit from my thoughts. First, my FP3 suffered some water damage which led me to consider FP4 even though FP3 had lasted me 2.5 years with no problems. I would have not considered upgrading otherwise. I purchased the FP4 with 256GB, 8GB RAM and I have been using for about one month.

Although FP4 is a little bigger, it feels less boxy and clunky. I am still adjusting to the small increase in size which unfortunately does affect my ability to use it one handed. I was concerned with the no headphone jack but I have found it actually convenient and a non-issue. I do not notice any major increase in performance but I do not use my phone for anything more than communications, basic apps, and photos and never felt the FP3 lagged.

I am disappointed that the camera (and additional mods) are not as comfortable to use as the FP3. I also find the battery life to not be as strong as FP3, is it just me or was the FP3 battery and charging way above average? I’m surprised because the FP4 also only has one SIM card slot, which is very inconvenient for me in a developing country, but the battery does not last as long which I find counter intuitive.

One small thing but something I consider a major design flaw is the fingerprint sensor. One needs to first physically press the button, and then scan the fingerprint, making it a two step process. The FP3 only had to touch and it would unlock. The position of the sensor on the side took some adjusting but is not a big deal.

All in all I am actually considering giving the FP4 to my wife and purchasing another FP3. Has anyone here had similar experiences? If not, I hope my review is helpful for perspective buyers.

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You can change this in the settings under Security - fingerprint unlocking behaviour. I personally have it disabled as I touch the sensor when putting it Info the pocket e.g. and than its unlocked, i.e. due to the location its more likely to unlock the phone without wanting it.

Just for the records to avoid confusion: the FP4 is a dual SIM phone, the second “slot” is an eSIM.

Reg. Battery consumption: for me there is no real difference between FP3 and FP4

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Welcome to our community and thanks for your feedback, I hope it helps others (I for my part will stick to my FP3+ :slight_smile: ). You might want to cast a vote here: 📊 POLL: How satisfied or unsatisfied are you with your FP4? (and right there you find a link for an FP3 vote, too).

And always great to hear of Fairphones being used on other continents. :+1:

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For me notable differences are

  • missing information LED
    • as the LED on the FP3 intially was only used as charging indicator and only later became usable for notifications, too, I was alread accustomed to not having a notification light, so that’s fine for me
    • what I do miss sometimes is the charging indicator; so far I’ve never run out of battery but there were times when the phone was lying on a table for quite a while where I didn’t notice it was already down to 20%. A charging light would have made me connect the phone to power more in time
  • missing headphone jack
    • I bought an adapter that works fine, so not a problem for me
  • screen size
    • it became somewhat harder to use the phone with one hand; it’s still ok-ish
  • fingerprint reader
    • much more reliable than on FP3, for me it’s an improvement
  • battery life
    • I got 0.5 to 1 additional day on the FP3, so here it’s a downgrade for me
  • auto-rotation
    • it’s too sensitive, so I disabled it completely and do not miss it
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My experience:

  • Battery life: Longer with FP4 than FP3 (approximately 3-4 hrs more, under same usage patterns)

  • Weight: FP4 is way too heavy (or fewels like that) compared to FP3, which is a downgrade, especially if you try to use the phone with only one hand.

  • Missing infomation LED: A BIG downgrade…

  • Overall performance: FP4 is a considerable step forward when I compare it with the FP3, from the startup time to opening /processing documents&pictures, and the (video) call quality as well.

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@yvmuell , thanks for the fingerprint/unlock tip!

Yes, I suppose I should have checked the fine print a bit better with the “dual SIM” but that is not a common interface in the country where I am based. I don’t know how common the eSim is in Europe so perhaps that’s my fault but the marketing of “dual sim” with an eSim is a little misleading.

@Ingo great additional point with the LED.

It’s also interesting the battery life experiences seem to be varied.

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I have no FP4 yet and will definitely avoid it as long as possible and stick to my FP3. A few ‘features’ are an absolute downgrade. Most notable:

  • no indicator LED. This is essential since I can see what’s up without unlocking the phone + low battery warning.
  • no audio jack. I refuse Bluetooth headphones (yet another gadget I would need to constantly recharge).
  • size. It is already quite difficult to sit down with the FP3 in my pocket. If the FP4 is even bigger, where would I put it?
  • a great plus would be a better fingerprint sensor. The one on FP3 is next to unusable.

Just my 2 cents…

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I don’t think the overall size of the phone will be a problem. IIRC it’s about one or two mm higher and less than one mm wider [Edit: in fact it’s 4mm, see later posts]. The screen got bigger because the FP4 almost has no bezels so that the screen takes up basically all of the front side, which isn’t the case for the FP3.

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Never had a problem on two FP3s for two years, though there is some skill.

I only have one fingerprint and it seems to read well with the the left side of my finger :slight_smile:

However I work on the land multiple, wash clothes by hand etc. and I do have to wait until my finger dry as the wet fingers distort the fingerprint.

I much appreciate that you want too stay with your current device as long as possible!
Still two comments:

It’s possible too use an USB adapter for cable headsets. That’s still another gadget, but doesn’t have to be charged.

Some reported to fix their fingerprint sensor by putting a sticky tape over it…

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To compare the FP3 and the FP4, I went on gsmarena and the difference is more than 1 or 2 mm : Compare Fairphone 4 vs. Fairphone 3+ - GSMArena.com

  Millimetres

Model Thickness Width Length
FP3 9.89 71.8 158.0
FP4 10.5 75.5 162.0
Diff 0.61 3.7 4.0

Data from Fairphone sales specs: Unless I made an error :

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Yes, Alain, you are right, it’s 4mm, not 2mm. And the “less than one mm” is for the thickness instead of one of the other dimensions.

But I have put the FP3 on top of the FP4 and the difference is quite small. If someone for example has a trouser pocket where the FP3 still fits somehow and the FP4 doesn’t, I personally wouldn’t put the FP3 in there either as it’s too tight anyway in my opinion.

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Ok, a few mm might be tolerable. Thanks for the info.

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I put the two phones next to each her some months ago and I agree the difference between both is small especially in my big hands. But if the FP3 was already big for somebody, then the FP4 can feel like huge because of some millimetres more.

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I would add the following personal consideration: with the FP3, because I did not trust the plastic as frame material, I always used one of the cases. The FP4 makes a much more solid impression, so I use it without a case. With case on the FP3 the external size differences shrink to insignificance (especially with the enlargement-issue of the FP3-case…)
So that leaves the longer thumbs that you need because of the larger screen.

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True, no need to charge. Still a nuisance.

On first try this works surprisingly well. I’ll test more thoroughly. Thanks for the hint.

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Only curious as I’ve always used two hands with a phone so as long as I can hold one securly, usually the left hand my right hand is free to roam the screen :slight_smile:

And of course there is mention of a new One Hand operation mode in the ‘coming’ A12

Thirdly people who buy the phone due to it’s fair trade ethics, although maybe used to the convenience of a smaller phone may be prepared to do the extra work requires by two hands.

Mind you a smaller phone would suit me too :slight_smile:

RE fingerprint sensor on FP3 and FP4, I’d say that performance is pretty good in both cases as long as you take care with setting up your print records.

FP4 having the sensor on the power button is not as good as the FP3 in my opinion.

You might be interested in a post I wrote about setting up fingerprints for the FP3, equally applicable to the FP4 I would say.

Once you’ve got it working properly, a good rule to follow, is: as soon as you encounter a failure and have to fall back on your other unlocking method (PIN, pattern or whatever), go immediately to settings, delete the oldest fingerprint record and make a new one. This is inevitable as our fingertips change in time, especially with the seasons.

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For me the FP4 sensor is much more reliable in recognizing any finger ( and has its on obstacles of being too sensitive and to scan multiple times without lifting…)

The FP3 Sensor works fine in Apps and is a (nicely said) nightmare when it comes to unlocking the phone. The sticky tape as mentioned by Volker helps a lot and makes it okish reliable for me…permanently re-scanning my fingers would be quite annoying in my eyes…