Fairphone concept is great, phone isn't

However I really love the concept of fairphone, I am not satisfied at all. I maybe didn’t expect a phone with the same quality I used to use, but I did expect a camera that makes photos that are usefull, a GPS that guides me on the road and proper reception of GSM and WiFi signals.

These three expectations aren’t met at all:

  1. Photos are greyish with poor contrast and focus
  2. GPS is failing almost all the time. Very often I seem to drive meadows and wilderness.
  3. Reception of GSM and WiFi signal is always weaker than it shows on other phones. Not a problem at home, where signals are strong, but while travelling it’s really annoying. I just came back from Guatemala where I had to use some elses phone all the time (everyone else had perfect reception of WiFi and GSM).

I really hope it’s all my fault, because I love the Fairphone philosopy and want to continue advocating for the concept. Is there any way to solve my problems? I run Fairphone OS Chestnut 1.3 (Android 4.2.2) on a first batch Fairphone.


Greetings, Willem-Jan

I have a second batch FP and I’m quite happy with it for my part. Display quality and photos look gook enough to me. It’s a phone after all, not a camera.

Maybe the latest update will be able to help you with all your issues.


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Hi there @wjvdv,

I have a first batch Fairphone, and I actually love it. I’ve taking many pictures (including abroad, at concerts …) and they all turned out great! They even look more amazing when viewing them on my computer.

As far as GPS and WiFi: I’ve never encountered any problems with WiFi, however I agree that signal (i.e. the wifi-bars) appears weaker than on other phones, but it works as well. For the GPS: I’ve had trouble locking the firs time (it took up to 20 minutes) but after that I’ve used my GPS quite a lot of times for running and in my car, and it works all the time. When I use it for running (for example with Runkeeper) the accuracy is extremely high.

Maybe you should contact the support team (support@fairphone.com) with specific questions and problems and see if they can help you. Or you can give us some more details about your problems here in the forum, and maybe we’ll be able to help.

Kind regards,


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Question. For GPS, do you need 3G ?

No, I’ve never enabled my mobile date when using GPS :slight_smile:

Hi @wjvdv

Like you I’ve had significant issues with the GPS but I recently discovered this link here at XDA developers from the Known Issues pages on the Fairphone website, which tells you how to go about turning on A-GPS and EPO (I managed the latter but I’m not sure the former has worked, yet) and that seems to have improved things (will know better tomorrow after I’ve cycled to work and back), so that might be worth a look.

GPS is a bit hit or miss here. Most often it does work fine, other times it takes a very long time to get a location fix.

WiFi/GSM reception is fine for me.

Camera is decent enough. There is a clear quality difference with the camera in my gf’s Galaxy S4 mini, but for quick snapshots, FP performs well enough. If you want really pretty pictures, buy a digital SLR :slight_smile:

What @hyperion4001 wrote increased my GPS perfomance a bit, but the latest update seems to really have pushed my GPS performance. I also had issues with that since I got the phone, so far 1.6 really looks like a huge improvement there.

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Just tried to use the gps using some application from the store (and with no wifi). I abandonned after half an hour, it wouldn’t connect. :confused:

Hi, Zoidberg

This is how I managed to get my GPS working.

  • Download “GPS Status & Toolbox” from the Play Store.

  • Plug in your phone into a charger

  • Go to Settings > Developer Options (scroll down) > And check “Stay Awake (Screen will never sleep while charging)”. When your screen goes black automatically, while on battery, the GPS will stop searching for satellites.

  • Go back to “Settings”, scroll down to “Location acces”, click it. Now check “Acces to my location” and enable “GPS Satellites”. Now press the word “GPS Satellites” (not the on-off button, but the actual word). Check “GPS EPO assistance” and check “A-GPS”. Click “EPO Settings” check “Auto Download” and afterwards press “Download” at the bottom. Go back.

  • Now open “GPS Status & Toolbox” and make sure your phone is plugged into the charger. Now, let the app try and lock on to the sattelites. If it did, the next time you use your GPS for any app, it will go a lot faster.

Kind regards,



Thanks for all the info, I’m trying right now. It doesn’t seem to work too well for now… still “looking for gps location”…

Yeah, it might take a while… Give it 20 minutes to half an hour, or maybe even an hour. If it doesn’t work after that, try again but this time with WiFi enabled. First GPS-fix might go faster with WiFi. Also, try and go outdoors when doing this or place the phone near a window. Using a GPS indoors never works as good as outside.

Kind regards,


Been trying for like two hours now, relatively close to the windows and with wifi enabled… to no avail… :confused:

That’s really strange, have you downloaded the A-GPS data etc. ? Otherwise, I think we might have to move this to “bugs” or you’ll have to contact the support team.

I concur for 2. and 3.

I don’t take much pictures, thus I can’t confirm 1.

The GPS always takes ages to get position. Not only the first time, and this has been reported many times by many people. It provides wrong information whenever I go running (wow I do 50km/h!) and this is also a well-known bug. I didn’t try yet with the new OS version. Anyways, even if it fixes it, it took 8 months to get here and that is unacceptably long to fix such a bug.

The GSM reception is systematically worse compared with other smartphones. I tried by putting my sim card and can see a clear difference.

About the SW, there is a serious issue here. I would say that there are no fundamental flaws in the HW but the SW messes is up. You can have a good camera, a good GPS chip, a good antena, if your SW is bad the result will be bad. And what makes things worse is that the SW is being developed in a very slow and 80’s oriented way. I expect at least one update per month to quickly provide fixes to users.

I see many people defending FP every time we raise such issues. I undertand that we, early adopters, are enthusiasts who committed money even before any product existed. However it should not blind-fold us. Even if you do not experience such problems, one should acknowledge that those are recurrent problems reported on the forum.

I love the FP concept but the implementation is hurting it. And that is bad.


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I think I have downloaded the EPO file, agps is checked, that is all…

Hi there @Barth,

I agree with the fact that there are multiple post reporting on these issues (GPS etc.) However, I’ve always found a solution by reading thoroughly through the forum. My GPS was bad at first as well, but this, I fixed. I’ve never had any problems with reception/signal (well I’ve had, but this was to blame on my mobile operator.)

I think a lot of (small) issues are fixed with the new software update, and I have the feeling my phone runs even more smooth than before.

I would suggest to address your specific problems to @anon90052001 or anyone from the support team. It’s in my best believe that they’ll try their best to find a solution.

Kind regards

This is very abnormal. Maybe, instead of putting it near a window, try really going outside. Away from anything that can disturb the signal (thick walls, modems, routers, aluminium/steel constructions, in general electronic devices …)


I have had a similar issue since I got my FP1, my GPS has never worked (it triangulates roughly off WiFi and/or mobile masts, but this is never accurate enough to be helpful - and especially not when I’m out of signal range).

I was hoping the Cherry update might fix this, but it has not.

I should add that I’ve not been able to get past ‘Update EPO files failed’. I’ve tried it again post-update, but no change.



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I get that message too when I try to update.

GPS is not a sought out feature by I but now I’m kind of bummed out it doesn’t work.

Trying again at my place, I’m a bit higher. But wait an hour outside to see if the gps will eventually work is not interesting, and I’m not even trying to use it actively, just testing… as i it’s of no use to me either. :stuck_out_tongue: