Dear friends from the Fairphone community,
Please let me share with you my (bitter) experience. Spoiler alert: the story doesn’t end well
In March 2020, after months looking at Fairphone with glowy eyes, I purchased a Fairphone 3. I didn’t need a high-performing camera or massive capacity to play 3D games on my phone, but I was charmed by the potential of a long-lasting device I could repair myself with benevolent guidance.
Towards the end of May, I started encountering dysfunctionments of my screen (I would later know it’s called “ghost touches” by technicians). As you probably know, the device system to test my screen proves useless in such case since it shows that everything works fine when it works, but you cannot access the screen testing when your phone misbehaves! Back then, I still hoped that these were technical glitches that would go away with updates of my phone, and 80% of the time I could use it normally so it was fine.
But these dysfunctionments multiplied over time and on 24 August, after days of trying to get someone from the support service on the phone, I created a ticket (request #379779 to be factual) on Fairphone website. The support team proved to be reactive (answer 25 hours after submission of my ticket), and informed me that such a problem was recurrent with the new device and was called “ghost touches”. It consists in the phone behaving as if you pressed touches and navigated (like calling contacts, turning on apps, etc.) while the user doesn’t. Simultaneously, contact touches don’t respond when the user presses them. The instruction I then received on 31 August was to "open the phone, remove the display, and clean the contacts using a soft cloth with a few drops of cleaning alcoho"l.I did, and it proved effective… for a few days.
On 21 September, I encountered the same problem, and on top, my phone abruptly restarted 5 times in 24 hours, which made me question the state of the phone when I received it. 6 months before. This is at this particular moment that I started to doubt. I submitted a new ticket (Request #386622) which was answered 3 days later: “to exclude the possibility of a software configuration issue, I recommend performing a Factory Reset”. I proceeded and, surprise surprise, no improvement.
On 17 November, while the phone was hardly under my control a good 50% of the time, I submitted another request (Request #400205) asking to send it to the repair center. This is when the ugly truth unveiled. First I was informed that Fairphone team “have recently been investigating this issue and have a solution for these ‘ghost touches’” and that “In order to solve the issue, we will need to replace your display module”. Then I was asked to choose between changing the display module myself or shipping my display module to the repair center. In both cases I would need to send pictures of the device to “verify the condition of the device”.
On 9 December, upon reception of the requested pictures, the support team indicates that my phone “has suffered physical damage, as it appears to have oxidation marks (water damage) and internal scratches. Therefore the manufacturing warranty on it has expired” and that “The costs involved for a repair might be covered by a personal insurance, so I recommend you check that with your insurer”
Needless to say that besides consulting my phone at times when it was starting to rain, I didn’t forget it in the pocket of my bathing suit or in a pair of trousers before turning on the washing machine (see pictures attached that date from today)
I don’t have a brand recommendation unfortunately, and I still have to think about another alternative, however keep that in mind…