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General Fairphone 3 discussion

Tbh I am not super convinced with the fairphone 3 specs.

I have been interested in a fairphone for longer, as I think it is important to promote a more sustainable society. However, so far I have always got second hand phones which is ofcourse even more sustainable than buying a new one. Currently I have a Samsung galaxy S6 edge that I had for close to 3 years now. It still works fine in general but the battery performance is decreasing, so I will need a new phone sometime in the future.

I do not need a super fancy high end phone, I mainly use my phone for browsing and taking pictures. However, when I compared the specs of my current phone with the fairphone 3 it seems barely an upgrade. RAM is better, battery capacity increased, and more memory. However, the screen seems worse, the camera seems worse, and the fairphone is bigger which is a disadvantage for me as I have small hands and the S6 is already big for me.

I am quite hesitant to get a new phone that is barely an upgrade to my current phone. I am very much willing to pay more for something that is sustainable but I am using my phone so often that I do not want to downgrade. Is there something that I am missing? I am not very tech savvy so I might not be able to interpret all specs correctly :slight_smile:

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I am no techie either, I am just reporting, what I read in other threads plus my own opinion of course.
The specifications are one point.
The experience is something completely different.
Do you feel the need to get a faster phone with better graphics, as you are playing 3D-games or the like? Is there anything your phone does or should do, that is not the way you like it?
If that is not the case, the specifications are ok for you and you do not need better ones.
Most likely, if you are using just the basic functions (including social media), you will not even recognize any difference, when using a high-end phone.
Same goes, if you use a phone with slightly lower specs.
Maybe read this article:


that is already mentioned in this thread, or this one:

They are both really interesting and might help you decide.

And finally: With Fairphone you get that special feeling, that no other phone can offer. :grin:

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Like me, you have a phone that works. Replacing it, even with an ethical, repairable, recyclable phone is not doing the world any good! So I also won’t be buying an FP3 for a while … 'till the FP2 becomes unusable! Then, yes I guess I will stump up the cost of two refurbed iPhone 6s or two new Motorolas (or 50% of the cost of a slave built almost unrepairable iPhone X) on an FP3 … or FP4 if the FP2 keeps going a couple more years ;¬).

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Nice that Fairphone takes back old phones for recycling. But best for environment is to use your device as long as possible.

I have bought the FP2 in order to use it as long as possible.

  • Are the parts of FP3 compatible with 2, e.g. can I replace broken parts of my current FP2 with the new parts of FP3?
  • For how long will FP2 supported?

My daughter is using an iPhone 5S and she still receives Software Updates. 5 year software gurantee does not seem very special.

FP3 modules are not compatible with FP2 as it’s a completely different architecture.

FP2 should still be supported 3 more years as I recall an announcement when they released it with Orange in France 2 years ago and said it would still be covered for 5 more years for spare parts and software updates… Which would make a total of… 7 years of maintenance for the FP2! Let’s hope they’ll be able to do it! It’s very special for such a small company to keep it this long… And remember if Apple keeps updating, it’s great… But also to slow the phone down, supposedly to protect the battery life (changed for the small amount of 90€!), but what a damn luck, just before every new iPhone release… to make you want to change it?

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Hey Twijfelaar,

Small hands is the key point of your post, IMO. The FP3 seems like it will stay nice in the hand (given the back, given reviews I read, and given the way it looks) but it will be a tad bit longer than FP2 (I read here on forum 10% but I did not verify).

With regard to hand size, the bigger smartphones are horrible for you, which is the recent trend, but as long as the size goes in length it is OK I suppose. What I don’t know for sure, is how the fingerprint reader is going to be for different hand sizes.

A second hand smartphone does not market itself as being sustainable. Other people don’t know or see this. But that is a bad argument to buy a FP3, one Fairphone would disagree with. So for you, perhaps an other second hand smartphone which suits your hands well is perhaps a better solution.

You might want to read some of the reviews. I’m aware of 2 in Dutch but you might appreciate them in other languages as well.

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@BertG Thanks for your input. You are right that I do not need better specs at the moment. But what about the coming years? My previous phones all had to be replaced at a certain point because they could just not handle the newer apps anymore. And I am a bit worried about downgrading camera wise.

I read different reviews but they usually compare to current phones and say it is not a high end one, which is fine by me. I was just a bit surprised that it is also not so much better than a 4 year old phone model.

@JeroenH Thank you for your response. Indeed the current trend of bigger phones is super annoying imo. I travel a lot with public transport so the length is already a bit of an issue with my current phone as it is hard to reach the top of the screen with one hand (I generally need the other one to prevent myself from falling over :stuck_out_tongue: ).

I think for now I will just do with my S6 and read some more customer experiences with the fairphone 3 once my battery really died, and decide at that time whether indeed another second hand phone would suit me better. That would be unfortunate though, I really like to support sustainable businesses

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Why don’t you look for somebody, who puts in a new battery into your device? That would be the most worthwhile way in regards to our environment.
To keep up with the software development and security updates you coud install a Lineage custom rom (https://www.cyanogenmods.org/forums/topic/download-lineage-os-16-for-galaxy-s6-edge/).

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@JeroenH yes, but the VCX score for the FP3 isn’t on the VCXX website, or at least I can’t find it :confused:

@mheiber thanks for the technical explanation. You’re also right to reference the SoC specs and other smartphone with the same SoC, as that will tell us what we need to know (unless for some reason FP did not put the required pin connections in place on the USB-C port? - from what I can tell, USB 2.0 and USB3.x use different pins).

@Katherine1 and @Paul-Gabriel_Wiener, I think that @ChuckMorris is correct about the network compatibility of the FP3 on Verizon - it will work on 4G most of the time as most 4G/LTE bands for Verizon are supported on the FP3. However, if Verizon is still using CDMA for 2G/3G (I don’t know, but I assume it is as otherwise millions of people would no longer be able to use their phones…) then the FP3 will stop working as soon as you lose reception on one of the LTE bands it supports. So, in general, I would say that no the FP3 will not work on Verizon (or any network which still has legacy CDMA infrastructure).

In addition Verizon should just say “no, you can’t use the FP3 on our networks” because the FP3 has not been certified by the FCC :wink:

Actually, I just saw this on the FP website, which says that FP3 will not work on 4G/LTE in the USA: https://support.fairphone.com/hc/en-us/articles/360032577632-Connectivity-of-the-FP3-outside-of-Europe

@tomgey actually Samsung do make their own SoC, the Exynos range, which is fairly comparable to Qualcomm’s and is used in the Galaxy range in many parts of the world. However, you’re right to say that FP cannot design and make their own SoC, that really would be overreaching themselves! (and losing sight of their mission).

What about me? I fully support Fairphone’s aims, ambitions, goals and the way they are going about it. However, I’ve no need to buy an FP3. My smartphone and my wife’s are currently working fine (her Moto G3 seems to be indestructible, so repairability is not an issue, although no more security updates is) but I will be encouraging my friends and family to get a FP3 when they need a new smartphone - in fact they’re probably already sick of me on FB/Twitter! :laughing:

I notice that the FP3 is now listed on Sky Mobile for 15 GBP per month SIM free: https://www.sky.com/shop/mobile/phones/fairphone/fairphone-3?handset=15394&swap=36MSWAP24… strangely with the ability to upgrade after 24 months! I don’t think this means to an FP4, I think it’s just part of their standards offers… which kind of defeats the point of the Fairphone! Still, is 15 GBP for FP3 as a service too much? The total contract length is 36 months, so it would be 540 GBP in total and I presume without the full FaaS effect. I also see that Sky Mobile aren’t listed on the Fairphone page with operators: https://www.fairphone.com/en/for-business/?ref=footer

The Phone Coop was listed as a partner in the press conference, but there is still nothing about the FP3 on their website.

I’m also a bit disappointed that iFixit don’t yet have the repair score on their website, although they do have an article there: https://www.ifixit.com/News/the-fairphone-3-is-here-and-its-not-the-only-sustainable-phone-on-the-way

Cheers :slight_smile:

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@JeroenH you can add the iFixit review I linked above and this TechRadar one to your list: https://www.techradar.com/news/fairphone-3-brings-eco-friendly-materials-to-a-modern-budget-smartphone

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A strange question maybe: Will there be different colors like for the FP2?

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I also don’t like the translucent cover

Oooops! You’re totally right! Let’s just say it’s out of reach for most brands then

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Any idea how many FP3 units have been sold already? I guess it’s many as the earliest shipping date has been increased from “mid-September” to “early October” [shop.fairphone.com]. That is good news actually :star_struck:

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Just a few hours ago (aroung noon), it was still “late-September”.
So it really seems to sell.

My daughter is using an iPhone 5S and she still receives Software Updates. 5 year software gurantee does not seem very special.

It is, in Android-world. iOS - while worse in some regards, like openness - is better in this regard for sure. Even the very special Android One* only promises 2 major OS upgrades and 3 years of security updates - from the release date! So if you buy a device with Android One installed 12 months after the initial release, you are already down to 2 years of security updates and like only one major OS upgrade.

One thing to note regarding iOS, the cheaper iPhone 5C, which was released the same day as the 5S stopped receiving updates 2 years ago**

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Android_One
** https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_iOS_devices
- nevertheless is the OS support significantly longer for these phones by Apple controlling the hard- and the software.

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A 2008 laptop? That’s awesome, congrats!

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True, because it was a 32-bit ARM SoC (Apple A6) while Apple ditched support for all 32-bit ARM SoCs in iOS. The iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 are 64-bit ARM SoCs but their support gets ditched in September with iOS 13. The iPhone 5S and iPhone SE have received rather long-term support, but that is hindsight 20/20, and there hasn’t been a successor for this physically smaller format. With a Fairphone 3 you know you’ll receive 5 years official support.

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I have always loved the unique, chunky, modular design on the FP2. The modular design especially, because it was a world-first and really made the phone stand out. So I’m disappointed that it’s taking a backseat now: in the techcrunch article they called the FP2 modularity “radical” and said that the company had decided to turn it down somewhat for the FP3. I was hoping instead they’d make it even more modular, i.e: make it so more components have a module to themselves. But I respect Fairphone’s decision. They’re probably doing what is best for themselves as a business and therefore for the industry in general.

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I disagree with the techcrunch article. Instead of a combined bottom module (primary microphone and charging) in the FP2, the FP3 has 2 separated modules. I find this a big improvement.

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