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Headphone Jack Removal - Lost Customer

Let me start with the following: Fairphone just lost me as a customer.
I have waited almost a quarter of a year by now for them to release the FP4. And I was properly excited when I saw it was ready for preorder today. I looked through the product page. - Which seemed entirely fine.

Only when I decided to watch some first impressions of the device I saw the complete travesty of a design decision that is the removal of the headphone jack in the Fairphone 4.

And that’s where they lost me as a customer.

I have many, well working - even some good - wired headphones I want to use. That’s not something I am willing to give up. And neither am I willing to invest into wireless ones which have a lifetime of at most a few years. (For comparison: My good headphones have been reported to last upwards of 20 years). Not to mention that wired headphones contain way fewer hard-to-recycle components like batteries.

So, apart from my personal annoyedness - if you think about it - the removal if the headphone jack entices exactly the opposite of the behavior Fairphone pretends to support.

And after having looked around for a “why” I have found the reasoning they tried to push is that it was necessary for the IP rating. - And honestly, I’m not buying that.

Firstly, there is a precedent of waterproof headphone jacks (see certain Samsung devices).
Secondly, much in the same vein, I had a phone which was perfectly waterproof in tests (albeit without a rating), which had a headphone jack.
Thirdly, you could make a rubber plug for it, like on an old rugged phone I own.
Fourthly, you could even make it an optional module, which people who want a jack can buy and install.

In conclusion, they have just taken the untrue excuse Apple used to remove that feature and hoped no one would question it.

And last, but that is more of a personal point: I honestly do not care about waterproofing, as long as it is somewhat splash-resistant. Why? I don’t take my phone swimming or to the bathtub. And neither do I hold it over any water if I haven’t got a good grip. - Though I understand some people think otherwise, and it in and by itself wouldn’t be an anti-feature in any way.

All in all, it is a real shame that this anti-consumer pro-throwaway-hardware decision was made.
I am thoroughly disappointed in Fairphone, one of the few companies I believed really cared and will only reconsider them if the next model fixes this.

I just felt I needed to air this, because I don’t think I’m the only one who thinks that way. I also felt it was only fair to let Fairphone know why I chose to shop elsewhere, in the honest hope this misstep will not be repeated.

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Me neither, the FP3 had a headphone jack and an IP54 rating…

All in all, I’m also disappointed about this decision, and even more how it was justified, but well, you can either buy some bluetooth module or an adapter and that’s fine enough by me if I would need a FP4, and the FP4 is an improvement on too many other things for me refusing to be a Fairphone customer for the only reason the headphone jack disappeared.

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I hoped for the headphone jack too, but actually there are also good headphones with an USB-C cable. Since the USB port supports OTG, there should be no problem to use them, and because the USB-C is becoming more and more an universal standard I think it is quite future proof. Together with the replaceable USB port (well done!) it is actually not the worst choice.

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This is a user forum :slight_smile:

Fairphone won’t know your views unless you contact them support@fairphonedot*com

I think the issue is more of the USB port getting stressed from multiple uses, and not being able to use ‘your’ favourite headset without an adapter etc.

On the use front @charging is usually a static option and not stressing the USB continuously, but being used as a headphone socket is probably 10,000 times more stressful in just an hour of use, unless you are lying in bed and not jogging.

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The only point which “would” bug me if I were to belong among those users urgently wanting an extra headphone jack would be not practically being able to use a magnetic connector for charging as it would always have to be removed when wanting to listen to music with cabled headphones which this way would nullify the benefit of having a magnetic charging cable. But Bluetooth here is alright for me.

I didn’t want to spam their support lines and thought they’d be seeing what’s up in their forum. (Quite a few similar companies do, in my experience).

But I’ll probably do that, if that’s not the case.

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Yes I agree with not loading support, and yes I’m sure Fairphone have already got the message of disappointment, but they will survive and carry on regardless.

However the underlying principal is fair trade for the down chain labourers, are you happy to give that up because you didn’t get a headphone jack socket ??

You could buy an FP3+

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I don’t expect the adapter to be very “stable”, especially when walking around. There is also no confirmation until now if charging at the same time is possible with some Y-adapter.

Well, I am “happy for now” with the Fairphone 3 which seems to have slight problems with the USB connector now (sometimes it is just some dust?), but not with a wired headset.

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In all honesty: It will be hard to find a different phone; I might even go back to my old dumb-phone or at the very least buy a used one.

FP3+ is kind of a hard sell to me at the moment, because I think the hardware is too outdated to keep up the next 5 years or more. - Which is exactly why I waited for the FP4.

In other words: No, I do not place my headphone jack higher than avoiding child labor, but I will not bodge as long as I have viable other options (as little as there may be). - And I also want to make it clear that it is unacceptable to me, which is why I choose to “vote with my wallet”.

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Yeap! I agree but would have bought the FP4 over the FP3 I have.

Does USB 2 allow for data transfer, I think it does :slight_smile:

Digital data for both audio and function controls are transmitted over the data (D+ and D-) USB pins, although there are a few different specifications that define exactly what information to transmit over those pins. Using a USB on the go (OTG) cable to turn external audiophile DACs into host devices has been a bit of a workaround for a while. However, this only transfers audio data. The best way to use the full set of available audio features over a USB port is to build devices, like headphones, that work with the USB Audio Device Class (ADC) specifications. Version 1.0 dates back to 1998 and still works well, but the latest 3.0 revision is far more interesting and important for modern headphones.
USB Audio and USB Type-C headphones explained - SoundGuys

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Thanks for your finding on Indiegogo, I also backed some interesting projects there in the past. Such a multi magnetic cable isn’t new to me as I’m already using them since a few years.
What’s to find out by me is how a magnetic cable matches with usb-c headphones. It would require to have the charge & data cable with compatible magnet plug to the used usb-c headset type. I couldn’t find anything that looks matching.

Otherwise I would have to unplug for attaching usb-c headphones and then again insert the magnetic plug for the compatible charge cable. This would not decrease any wear on the socket.
Something similar to this universal magnetic adapter with usb-c tip would just be fine.

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By the way I believe this initiative is connected to the Impact Hub Amsterdam (https://amsterdam.impacthub.net/) so the crowdfunding is pretty trustworthy.

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Hi all,

IIRC the reason they gave for not including the 3.5mm socket was not due to waterproofing but due to 1) longevity concerns and 2) space taken up in the device which prevented something else being included or would have necessitated a bigger device.

  1. Is not the real reason, I believe, because as has been said elsewhere the module could easily have been a replaceable one. Maybe they were concerned about it not lasting the 5 year warranty period? I can kind of understand this as a 3.5mm jack is actually quite a significant lever (force multiplier) so over time could fatigue connections, but this is not a new problem, it has been addressed multiple time over the decades.

  2. I think this is the real reason but it’s still disappointing to hear. If Fairphone didn’t package up their modules with extra plastic to make them less intimidating for the average person to replace then there would be the extra space needed for this module.

Overall, I’m disappointed too but I rarely use wired headphones anymore because even my lightest ones keep falling out of my ears and my main use case is for listening to podcasts whilst exercising, and BT ones are much more convenient for that, so the loss of the 3.5mm socket won’t affect me too much…

…until the BT headset battery dies then I’ll be incredibly irritated! :rofl:

Cheers :slightly_smiling_face:

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Don’t miss the boat

Usually stressed USB ports are assembled wrong by a design flaw. On a Fairphone 4, the USB-C port is user-replaecable.

You can opt for a BT headset which has a user-replaceable battery.

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Another obvious statement, but like me I’m sure others don’t want bluetooth with removal battery or not.

I don’t want the battery or the bluetooth. Just a simple jack would be preferable.

But I get it, King Bluetooth is going push Jack the Lad to the sidelines.

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Why not? It makes the product much more sustainable. Its very good that some devices in this industry have this option.

Jack the Lad sits happily with their USB-C converted 3.5 mm lightsaber…

Here’s the issue. I don’t consider it sustainable for what I want as it doesn’t coem near to being a satisfactory product.

It does the planet no good at all.

The only ‘good’ thing is the fair trade, and a jack wouldn’t interfere with that.