Fairphone - possibly fair but not a phone

Hello everybody,

I just wanted to share my experiences with 2nd generation FP1 with you.
About this time last year, I had to send in my FP due to GPS and loading issues. After FP support misdelivered my phone to another user I got it back after about one month. At least most of the issues were solved.

After the repair I was rather satisfied with the phone, that is I could accept its shortcomings without being too annoyed. Mostly the issues included cases of pocket-dialing and an overly sensitive screen.

Earlier this year, I was involved in a car accident. Immediately after the accident, I wanted to call my wife to make sure she knew that I was OK. Even though the place had reception AND my FP seemed to have a strong signal, I could neither send a text message nor a What’s App message. Phoning also was out of the question. Before I could use the phone, I had to restart it - luckily nobody was seriously injured, because I wouldn’t even have been able to make an emergency call to the police or the medics.
As far as I can tell, the phone doesn’t suffer from any external or internal damage.

I’ve had several other occasions when my phone was unable to place a call even though the reception was good in the area.

In addition to that, my phone now suffers from severe cases of pocket-dialing now - it actually called several people while the screen was supposed to be locked. Maybe that’s supposed to outweigh the issues with me being unable to call anybody.

On the other hand, my FP is extremely unreliable when it comes to accepting calls: Sometimes people call me in an area with full reception, but they get my mail box and I get a text message telling me that I have been called a few seconds earlier.

My wife’s phone has a similar issue (FP 1st generation): Many people call her, but the phone doesn’t ring - and that’s about one in two (!!!) phone calls. Also, after 2 years of use, her battery is already going dead. It’s virtually impossible to charge the battery with the FP running - we’ve tried different chargers and cables. It only seems to be working when we charge it in the car.

To cut a long story short:

I’m getting another cell phone this week. I really love the idea of a somewhat fair phone and I am aware that the phone can hardly compete with companies such as Apple, Samsung or Huawei, simply because it lacks their resources. I am also aware, that the price for the phone has to be higher than that of its competitors, possibly including less features.
However, I cannot accept that a phone has very obvious shortcomings when it comes to the actual task of placing phone calls. Both my wife and I have experienced similar issues now - after slightly less or slightly more than two years time. A phone that doesn’t do the phoning can hardly be called sustainable - and I don’t know anybody personally who faces similar issues with his/her mainstream phone. Sustainability is only possible with a certain amount of quality and unfortunately, this is what my fair phone is missing.


Are you sure it’s not a sim card problem? Some issues you describe (unable to place a call) sound like it. Maybe replacing your sim card will do more good than replacing the phone.
Good luck anyway.


That’s true, I had this behavior in India with some mobile providers as well. Reception was good, but calling not possible. Most of the time disabling and reenabling of the simcard helped.
I replaced my FP1 battery after two years and now it’s working good again and I’m waiting for Android 4.4 :-).

Hi Ulix, Sorry about these experiences. I had a similar issue, but only after my Fairphone dropped into water :open_mouth:

However, I know of quite a few people who have all sorts of random issues with their (non-Fairphone) phones, and I think that this is quite general to modern electronics. I am currently working in what could be described as a “harsh environment”, and people here don’t rely on their smartphones for calls but rather very old-school phones which seem to work the best…

I wish that electronics could become more reliable, even if it meant less cheap.

[quote=“Ulix, post:1, topic:20811”]Sometimes people call me in an area with full reception, but they get my mail box and I get a text message telling me that I have been called a few seconds earlier.[/quote]I am very familiar with this problem, and I can say that I have experienced it with every smartphone that I have had, including my current one - a Samsung flagship from 3 years ago. I understand your frustration, but you really can’t point the finger at Fairphone for this problem.

I have the impression I read these kind of disappointed threads quite often around here. Most of them conclude with saying “I loved the idea, but it doesn’t outweigh the phone’s shortcomings so I’m switching back to a mainstream phone.” I can’t and won’t stop you, but please bear in mind that the FP1 was mostly about the “fair” idea and didn’t focus on the hardware. As a result, the FP1 is a rather cheap MediaTek China phone that definitely has its shortcomings, despite the guys at Fairphone doing their best to provide software updates and spare parts. Fairphone has acknowledged this and the FP2 is doing a better job in this aspect.

However, many of the problems you describe are common on all sorts of phones out there. Batteries die after a maximum of 2 years, if you (dis)charge it daily, it’s closer to 1 year. I have experienced the pocket dialing myself and worked around it by setting up a PIN to prevent accidental unlocking.

My “friends” kept making fun of me and my FP, telling me to “get a real phone”. But, having used many phones over the last couple of years, I can assure you: If you should go back to buying a major brand phone, you will see that after a year, at least some of the issues mentioned above will begin to haunt you again.


I’ve got a feeling, your problem is SIM/Roaming related.

I have a FP1 2nd gen. too, with dual SIM installed. Both SIMs are Dutch KPN prepaid; one is for private usage, the other for (semi-)business. Here in the Netherlands KPN has full coverage and I do not experience any problems at all.

BUT: as soon as I cross the border, be it Germany, Belgium, France or the UK, in other words: as soon as I my phone starts roaming, more than often I see your problem with at least one KPN SIM; (very seldom with both).

  • Sometimes both SIMS have full reception, but I can make calls with only one of the two.
  • Sometimes only one of the two KPN sims has reception, while the other one keeps searching.
  • Seldom: both SIMS can not find a network, while my wife can use her Iphone (Vodafone) w/o problem. But sometimes that’s excactly the other way around…

My substantiated guess: these problems must be SIM/Roaming related. Having read other comments of people, claiming having seen this happen with other brands of smartphones, reinforces my guess…

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