First impressions Fairphone 2

Hello,

Disclaimer : I’ll update this post with my impressions as the time goes (hence lying a bit with the title of this topic, since these won’t be my first impressions …).

It seems that I’ve had the bugs everyone had (flickering screen, the phantom touch inputs, the HIGHLY CRITICAL wifi symbol glitch, the rebel apps, bluetooth sound issue and the notification light problem).

For me the bluetooth issue is quite painful, since my mesh has the issue. I don’t have it on my car, however, the sound is crystal clear.

Context: my previous phone is a Sony Xperia V. It has a 4.3" display, 1GB RAM (700-ish usable), LTE, a 13MP camera, NFC, and an sd-card slot. I’m using it running CyanogenMod 11 (based on Android 4.4.4). Because of some apps I’m using, the phone is rooted.

Delivery: the phone was delivered to my place on the 4th of January, for an estimated delivery date in December. Not bad, given the end of year holidays. I was a little bit disappointed to receive it on the end of my holidays, but overly happy to finally have it !

Packaging: A nice recyclable minimalist package, which contains what’s needed : the phone, the back cover and a quick start guide (@anon90052001 : thanks for not having cut down a forest for the usual paper brick we can find in the phone boxes, along with the ton of plastic bags that usually present as well).

First contact: the phone is beautiful. It’s quite big in my hand, but I guess I’ll get used to it. The battery charging animation is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING. The phone is quite long to boot though, I think it’s a bit longer than my previous phone (quickboot is disabled, as I like my phone switched off, when I switch it off :smiley:). The black background with the components got my vote, it’s fabulous. I also like the default ringtone.

Playing with the back case: it’s quite difficult to wrap around every corner. I think this is a very positive thing, as the FP2 is solidly tucked into its case. Plus, after a few tries, it begins to be easier and easier.

The system: in spite of the several bugs aforementioned (which I don’t doubt will be fixed, as many users seemed to have experienced them), the system is smooth ! The animations are very fluid, all components are responsive. I’m not quite used to the Fairphone launcher 3, so I have installed (for now the catapult launcher).

Storage: I had a hard time with my sdcard: the exFAT filesystem was not recognized. @keesj : do you know if the driver is present in the FP2 kernel / as a module ? To solve my issue, I have emptied it and formatted it with the storage app. The microsd slot is quite tricky to operate : I have to put a knife under the card and pull it gently, else it doesn’t pull out (this is not really a defect : I don’t change my sdcard once a week). A great feature : it’s possible to directly mount the sdcard (i.e. without using MTP) via USB ! That’s great !

My wishes:

  • Some instruction to root the phone (I know this is a polemic topic, so I won’t detail what’s already on another topic).
  • The possibility to customize the notification color depending on the notifying app (for example, blue if I have an SMS, red if I have a mail, and purple if I have missed calls)

Some drawbacks:

  • It’s quite hard to listen to music while charging the phone, as the USB port is on the “bottom” of the phone

Some things I don’t understand yet:

EDIT 2016-01-13 : the last 3 items of the “I don’t understand” + changed the “fastboot” term to “quickboot”. My apologies, @Stefan and @MaartenD.

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Where? I don’t seem to find it…

Settings > Sound & Notifications

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It wasn’t disabled… So that’s not it…

Gesture typing doesn’t seem to work with the AOSP keyboard, you will need to use the Google keyboard or something else.

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I was tempted to make a photo of the Post NL fan with the delivery man walking to my door, but I hesitated for I think it would be an invasion to his privacy, so I made a photo of the unpacking instead:

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First impressions:

size Not as big as I thought it would be, it does fit in my pocket after all, no need for a belt sleeve.

SIM The SIM slid in easily (though I had to get rid of the glue on my card that got there by having me put the card into an adapter for the few days that I had it cut down to micro-SIM size but still needed it in my old phone before the FP2 arrived).

micro SD-card The Micro-SD didn’t slide in easily nor does it get taken out easily due to two tiny protuberances that keep it place. Also, it makes the rubber band round the screen bulge a little where the SD-card sits (it’s a vulnerable spot for the rubber band, as there’s a slot for the on-off button in almost the same place. I did take the SD-card out, as I don’t really need the storage space, I just thought it would be an easy way to get my old music back).

protection It was quite hard to get the back cover round the phone, especially to get the rubber band to slide round the screen, I used a letter opener made out of a non-sharp material but with a tiny point to get the rubber slide round the screen, just as I use a tool to get a rubber tyre fit onto the wheel of my bike. But as I wrote above, the place where the SD-card and on/off button sit, shows a slight bulge in the band, where it’s a bit loose and doesn’t fit well round the screen. The screen itself is protected by a foil, that gets held in place by the rubber band that goes over the screen for half a millimeter on all the edges, but the foil is maybe more meant for transport than for permanent protection? I left it on though, even though it’s a bit loose - handling the phone while trying to fit the back cover easily makes air bubbles beneath the foil that needs to be pushed out again.

USB connection My old cables, stemming from mp3-players and tablets had mini-USB connectors, I found out the micro B-USB that’s needed for the FP2 is different (even tinier) so I had to get into town first to buy a new cable. USB speed was fast when loading data (music, documents and movies) from my computer onto the FP2.

screen I immediately downloaded my favourite viewer apps from the Google Play store (I did use my old Google account created for my tablets, so I could make use of the apps I paid for for my tablets): FoxIt for pdf’s and Moon Reader for epub’s. The screen is large and crisp enough to read books upon without straining the eyes, which was a surprise to me. One of the benefits of having a smartphone, is having books with you at all times for lost moments.

One thing I do miss on the screen, is the ability to put more than 4 app shortcuts next to each other on the homescreen, nor is there a bottom bar that stays on all screens. I could use the Nova launcher instead that I installed to make my Samsung Tab faster and that allows for many more apps to be placed on a screen, but that would mean losing the quickstart screen for most-used apps that’s opened by swiping from right to left, that Fairphone advertised and could be handy, once I make a habit of using it.

music quality A much bolder sound than I’m used from my Sansa Clip +, it has power, but is also a bit rough, can sometimes rumble a bit in the mid-low range. My gripe with my Sansa Clip was, the quality was good, but I had to position my Sennheiser CX300 earplugs very specifically balanced in my ear to get a full sound or I would just hear the higher frequences. The Fairphone has so much power, it doesn’t seem to matter much how well my ear-plugs are placed. It does lack a bit on definition though. But my experience with audio devices, be it amplifiers, earphones or mp3-players, is the more high-end a device is, the more time it takes for the sound to ripen. Any amplifier, headphone or mp3-player I owned that was worth it’s money, sounded a bit dull and lacked the higher end frequencies in the beginning. I expect the Fairphone to behave the same. Best thing to do is play pink noise for a long time on high volume, but lacking a pink noise generator, playing lots of different genres in alternation for a long time works as well and that’s what I’m planning to do.

stability My FP2 has been fast and stable on this first day and there was only one bug I encountered: the exclamation mark appearing next to the Wifi icon after getting back in Wifi range when returning home. I’ve read on the forum that when it’s giving that warning, it uses a lot more battery power than without. My workaround: activate flight mode, than immediately deactivate it and the exclamation mark is gone. ‘Flight mode’ is a strange thing though to have on a Fairphone: for the exact same reason I own a Fairphone, caring about this world and it’s future, I have never and would never fly in an aeroplane. The ‘Flight mode’ would be more aptly named ‘close wireless connections’.

TL;DR and too many details? Blame my autism for not being able to differentiate between the essentials and the details.

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It just arrived! :heart_eyes: Now it’s charging with the Fairphone charger I bought together with my FP1. Works perfectly. It’s really beautiful and I love the charging animation a lot. In the meantime, I’m going to get one of my SIM cards cropped and buy a micro SD.

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I held my FP2 against a colleague’s Samsung Galaxy Alpha, which he keeps in a rubber bumper for protection - so it has a bumper like the FP2.

Same size, same screen size and quality, the FP2 is a little thicker (1 - 2mm?). The samsung feels a little “sleeker” as the FP2 cover has some distinct “edges”. About the same weight. I like the FP2 user interface better than samsung’s.

I love the transparent back.

Music sounds good to me too btw (without any warm up with pink noise … whatever). I guess it depends on the source material (I’m only playing high bit rate MP3, though through nice “shure” headphones). It does take a bit of confidence to push the headphone plug far enough into the socket though - quite tight!.

Screen jitter issue needs fixing of course (though grounding yourself to something “earthy” now and again does help. WiFi exclamation mark a pain - but FP2 isn’t the only device to suffer.

Very happy with it so far. I am so impressed that a cool little company like fairphone can produce something so professional - which in so many ways so much better than the big corps do.

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Pink noise : I’m pretty sure you can find generators on the play store, or why not simply playing a pink noise FLAC or WAV ? I would be interested in your opinion, as some said here that the sound quality was not very good.

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I first thought that with “pink noise” you mean:

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… and White Stripes for the white noise

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My previous phone was the FP1 which has served me well. I was so disappointed on receiving FP2.
Firstly, customer service has been awful. I received an email notifying me of impending delivery via DHL with the tracking details. The phone had already been ‘delivered’ 30 hours beforehand! But not to me! I then spend 5 days chasing my phone via DHL (who had bizarrely delivered it to a house without checking the name or address).
I contacted ‘customer services’ at FP but they did not bother to help or reply to my emails…
Eventually, the phone was delivered. I opened the box and find a phone that I feel will fall apart in 5 minutes. FP1 was a good quality product that served me well, whether I was working on the farm or in an office. I even accidentally ran it through a wash cycle and it survived!
I cannot see FP2 surviving a damp day let alone a washing machine. The phone has a cheap feel to it, the outer case flexes and it just feels poorly made for a high priced phone. The phone case is slippery and in my slightly arthritic hands it keeps popping out.
Transferring from FP1 to FP2 has been a pain as nothing seems to work…but that maybe my skills.
I bought FP2 because I like to support the notion of what FP is trying to do…but I feel I have been let down a lot after all the waiting.

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Just in case you’re not aware, if you regret ordering the Fairphone 2 you have up to 14 days after receiving it to notify Fairphone support that you want to return it for a refund (just file a support ticket here or look for the details on phone support at the bottom of this page and they’ll tell you what to do).

I find that impression quite interesting.
My personal impression was that with this thick back cover it rather feels very sturdy, even a bit too much for my taste. I usually take care of my things, in 20 years of mobile phone use, I never broke a phone. I would have rather wanted it to be a bit thinner even if that means more fragile.
Anyhow, my first impression was rather the opposite of what you described here :smile:

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This reply is more related to the first impression on delivery than the first phone experience itself. I received my package terribly broken by DHL. I suppose they suspected it to be a drug delivery from the Netherlands, and looked inside. Only the phone itself was not violated, saying that the outer package, inner blue package and the styropor were all damaged. The “Open it, it’s yours”-seal was free of damage but it could be easily have been reglued, since the styropor inside was damage too. Furthermore, I wasn’t at home when my FP2 arrived, and the postman just put it on top(!) of the mailbox, acessible to everyone. No neighbour, nor I, was informed - which is likely bacause of the damage done to the package.

I have googled on this and found out that normally the customs department has to inform you by their seal when they open your mail beacuse of suspicions. I did not get such an information. I am really disappointed about such a practice, however, I was very glad that the phone was inside and functioned well!

Does anybody had similar experiences?

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The outer part of my DHL parcel was also broken, but only at one edge. Inside was all OK.
I was a little bit disturbed not had to show my passport for receiving the parcel, in your case obviously nobody hat even to sign.
That’s the contrary how it was handled for the FP1 (only personal sing and passport)…

Did you contact the support team? They should know about this issue!

Thanks for the tip. I was wondering how to find a pink noise soundfile, but instead found an app called Pink Noise that does just that: play pink noise for how long you want to (it turns out it used for ‘soothing quality’ as well, I wasn’t aware of that, I know pink noise as a way to test a concert hall for frequencies that peak in the building and need to be tuned down when adjusting the PA to the venue).

No, I just have contacted DHL right now, because there are many (additional) obscure things about this package. Tracing showed 2 items to me (have screenshots), DHL sees only one. These two items, have gone different paths with different timings but arrived at the very same time. DHL said they will contact me again.

That was also my thinking. Why not signing for such an expensive item. There is no proof who recieved the parcel.

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