Fairphone 3 SoC (Snapdragon 632) life span

Ok maybe it’s just me. I felt I wanted to support this project because I bought my FP2 in January for environmental reasons. After 10 months I’m left with a refurbished phone worth less than 200€ on the second hand market , I had to send it twice to repair, meaning I was left with no phone for more than 2 months over this period. In the meantime I also had to repair and change 4 modules, so the environmental impact of all these shippings is definitely worse than having a durable normal phone. So I also want fairer phones, but I don’t want to lie to people about it, because as it is, this phone is not more environmental friendly than an iPhone for sure…
But if your opinion is different that’s OK, but maybe we should point out how the comments on this forum are biased in favor of the company because we want to strongly support the project. Then it’s up to the person to decide if (s)he believes in it as well or not

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As I see it, no one here claims, that the FP1 or FP2 worked flawless. There are way to many problems mentioned here in this forum. And you will find more than one thread like “leaving a movement” or “I wanted to love it, but…” So the voices on this forum are not just in favor of …
But this forum is meant to help people and that of course needs a positive attitude.

Besides, I had very little trouble with my phone and the thing I always tell is this:
Faiprhone is a small company that has set out to change the industry.
On their way they have done a lot, e.g. with regard to sourcing of raw materials and workers rights and wages.
At the same time they wore working to make the phone fair to the customers as well, by making it repairable and giving the opportunity to change the OS. Name me one other phone, that came with a google-free OS plus a community that made /e/ and ubuntu-touch and sailfish possible for the phone.
I did not use any of those different OS, but that’s something really special about this phone.

Taking on all those tasks at the same time might have been too much, but one can the the steps they have taken and the progress they made.

Us useres of the first two models have been kind of beta-testers of the FP concept phones.
Especially the FP2 has taken the modularity to the max (with the display just clipped on) thus finding out, that this was - in general - a step too far. Connections were not strong enough, the phone as such was not rigid/sturdy enough, bending easyly and obviously too much. Due to these design features the wear and tear on some of the modules could be too much, depending on the kind of useage.
E.g. taking apart the phone and reassembling it quite often, for showing off or carrying the phone in the backpocket of your jeans can be too much stress for some parts of the phone like - especially - the display and it’s contacts.

The FP3 is the next step, keeping the modularity, but avoiding all the problems of the FP2. The display is fixed with 13 screws; and, as I understood, they started with much less screws and added one at a time, until the phone was sturdy enough. And that (in my opinion) Fairphone themselves expect the FP3 to be finally a good enough phone for the mass market, is shown by the way they presented this new phone and by offering it via many resellers as well.

So, yes, us early adaptors payed a price for helping to get the FP3 done.
Everyone who bought the phone, not taking into consideration, that FP is a new and tiny company doing their first phones, was maybe driven to be “fair” but a bit naive as well, when expecting to get a phone like all the others.

When it comes to environmental friendly, I don’t know, how the FP2 in the end will be ranking. We will never know, how many parts are going waste during the production of phones by one of the large manufacturers for example. And there are so much more factors to be considered, that to me only one thing is for sure. As FP themselves say: the fairest and environmentally best phone is the one you have. Keeping it for as long as possible is what counts.


And here is the other side. I have my FP2 for three years and 9 months now. The only thing not working as it should is if i leave it on the charger overnight it will reboot. I’m on LOS since available. (BTW, my wife’s s7 was dropped by Samsung, now it’s reactivated and gets updates every three months… Let’s see for how long still. )


Nobody here gets paid by Fairphone unless they have a ‘F’ symbol on their avatar, and it says ‘Fairphone employee’.

As for your perceived bias, of course. If I go to a Samsung support forum, I get some Samsung fanboys. I I go to a iPhone support forum, I get some iPhone fanboys. If it is specific about one product/company, you’ll get some fanboys. However, ask yourself, when you visit such a forum (including this one), are you not biased?

Also, I’d like to set this record straight:

Yes, the last miles of delivery are bad for the environment. The worst thing of work and shopping is also the commute and drive to/from grocery store. However, the delivery last mile is doing multiple drops. If more people order, the impact is reduced. It is akin to a bus, train, and boat impact due to numbers.

As for your 80% value drop, feel free to share your maths on it.


Regarding bias you should also consider that every person may have different priorities.

I would assume that many forum users here value the “fairer trade” aspect much more than the phone performance or quality.
Honestly I have no clue whether the fairphone or an iphone has the better hardware and software quality. But my choice is not based on quality. Although I do care about quality, I prioritize the “fair” aspect and am willing to accept lower quality for that.

Similar thoughts here. It is difficult to compare environmental impact of different phones.
But you can influence this yourself.
Are all repairs strictly needed or are some just the insistence on consumer rights (and expectation of “normal” quality that seems to become increasingly rare)?
When I got ny FP2, parts of the touch screen were defect. So I got a replacement. Later the “bright spots on display” problem appeared. But I decided not to turn in the phone again for environmental reasons. After all the phone is working and the spots are just an annoyance I can live with. And the same display is now working for 3,5 years :slight_smile:


And that can bring us back to the original question: Is the Snapdragon 632 powerful enough for me to keep the phone as long as possible.


To come back to this: I don’t remember exactly what one of the developers told me a month ago about the FP3 software, but I believe he said the FP3 makes use of it already.


If i take the cpu performance of the fp2 now, i think for me the deciding factor is 4GB, and this should be enough the next 5 years…


Good point, while this is not related to the performance, it’s equally important. I checked this again and according to Google, all devices launching with Android 9 must support Project Treble: „Going forward, all devices launching with Android 9 Pie or later will be Treble-compliant and take full advantage of the Treble architecture to deliver faster upgrades. “

Hmm, 4GB ist probably fine, but still it makes me wonder if a Pro/Plus/Performance/S Version would be interesting from a market perspective as well. Faster SoC, more RAM, higher price. 🤷
If I knew such a device could be coming, I would think about buying a FP3 now and resell it when a faster Fairphone is coming. If not, I would rather opt for a faster device now to keep it longer.

What do you think?


If that is an option for you, go for it.
If you later buy a faster FP or another brand should not be the deciding factor. And that way you later will get an even faster phone than now; at the same price.
I guess it’s not exactly the “Fairphone-way”, to switch phone every two or so years. :wink:

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If you think you’ll need a faster phone i think the way to go would be buy yourself a high end phone now and keep it as long as possible (i.e. more than two years, which would imply a pixel or oneplus, as the market strategy of the (other) large suppliers is support for two years…)

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There were two questions about the Snapdragon 632 at the beginning of the topic:

  • Will it still be powerful enough in 5 years?
  • Will it be still supported by Qualcomm

The first question has no answer since it basically depends on your use of your smartphone.
For the second one, I think the project Treble helps a lot in terms of software/security updates which is important (for example, without software updates, many apps don’t work anymore after some years). The only problem left is the cases like the Meltdown and Spectre exploit critical vulnerability that will need Qualcomm to mitigate them.

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For me, I have a young child, so the fact I can replace the display module relatively cheap is a plus (although the FP2 lacks some features I desire which the FP3 has). I’m buying a smartphone with a good camera for my partner because that is her primary concern (that, and she needs it tomorrow, not “somewhere in October”).

It is your decision. I’d say you’re making sense, and indeed a high-end from a company who support OS updates for a long time.

It isn’t just 4 GB RAM. It also has a good camera, 64 GB storage (with microSD as option). Let me ask a different question:

Why do you believe the SD632 SoC is going to be inadequate, performance-wise? What do you expect you want to do on your smartphone which won’t be possible on a SD632? From my PoV, there is not enough difference between mid-range and high-end smartphones to warrant spending more on it. Especially not if you also get a similar amount of time of support.

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It’s basically the same performance as a 2016 Google Pixel. So I was a bit sceptical. In the end it’s me thinking boxes:

  • better performance then my current phone :x:
  • very good performance in three years :question:
  • better camera with optical stabilisation :x:
  • replaceable battery :white_check_mark:
  • latest Android version :question:
  • long support :white_check_mark:
  • good repairability :white_check_mark:
  • fair :white_check_mark:
  • stereo speakers :x:

It’s me knowing myself and being very picky with my smartphones and caring a lot about fluidity (is that a word), quality and quick software updates. I want to buy a phone that sticks with me and that I keep for long. I know It would be more sustainable to just life with the phone for 5 years and not envy more high end phones, but at the end, I don’t know if I am able to make that compromise.

More checkmarks above would mean higher chances for a longer relationship.

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I’m glad Fairphone went with a mid-range SD600 series. Though I am not against a “Pro” version, it should not be the main focus. I believe this one has more potential to reach buyers because of the lower price. In fact, I believe Google made big mistake to never make a a-series of the Google Pixel 1 and Google Pixel 2.

Google Pixel line get 3 years guaranteed software support which is neat. Most vendors give max 2 years. Compare to Motorola (Lenovo) who only guaranteee one major Android version (the one which is released with the smartphone is likely already out of date). I suppose what one could do in your situation is keep the current smartphone till it breaks or is no longer updated (you could consider e.g. /e/ or LOS at such point, as it should have great aftermarket support like Nexus line), and then look for a FP3 or successor. But lets be honest here: even though FP2’s SD801 was officially a high-end SoC, at the end of 2015 (when FP2 got released) it was already out of date. I have not verified, but I’d assume mid-rangers from 2016 would already be on par if not beat it.

I wouldn’t demand “the latest Android version”; what I’d demand is security and reliability fixes. I’d also compare camera and features like NFC. Also, it has 3.5 mm which say Pixel 3 does not have (3a does).

Is it possible you replace the Pixel’s battery yourself following an iFixit guide?

As for me, as I am the one who decided to go for these smartphones I’ll give my partner the one time option to trade my FP3 for her Pixel 3a. I believe that is a fair choice.


I agree with you
In fact, the question is not if it will be still powerful enough in 5 yers, but if it will still be maintained over 5 years.
I still have an old sony xperia SP (2013), still working great. Specs: dual core snapdragon & 1 Gb RAM ! and I upgraded the OS with lineageOS 15.1.
So no doubt the FP3 will still work and be useable after 5 years IF the OS is supported… which is the case.
Second question about Qualcomm is right.


Quote from Wikipedia: " The Snapdragon 632 was announced on June 26, 2018. Pin and software compatible with Snapdragon 625, 626 and 450; software compatible with Snapdragon 425, 427, 429, 430, 435 and 439." So, the 632 ist compatible with older models, this way it is easier to upgrade a soc. Probably there will be a chip with 5G support and better camera support in the future compatible to the 632. Therefore I assume, that Fairphone can easily design a new motherboard with a new chip for exchange of the 632 soc?

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That quote only includes SoCs of an earlier date, so not much to upgrade if you choose one of those. What could be interesting are pin compatible SoCs of a newer generation, but I haven’t found such a SoC so far.


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