How long do you plan on keeping your Fairphone?

I’m with LittleWhorle. Thought it would be better, but so many bugs and issues (many posted elsewhere but there are plenty of little things that I haven’t yet posted about), and I don’t think its future in resale is very bright. I say this because when it was released it was already missing quite a few of the latest features (e.g., 4G/LTE, and the new wifi), so basically it started out as if it were already a couple years old. This was not a good decision by FP imo. If I’m going to buy a new phone it’s with the intention of using it until it dies, so the more of the latest features it has, the longer its useful life. This is the first new phone I have bought in ten years, and it was a big bummer.

My last two were used iPhones, and my next one will be too (waiting for a family member to hand her 4S down once she gets her new phone). My old iPhones (3G and 3GS) still work, but the battery and memory on the 3G are terrible (not even enough to load the SMS app), and it’s stuck on iOS 4, which means no app updates and no new apps could be installed for a few years now, so it’s basically a paperweight. The 3GS is stuck on iOS 6, which does allow some app updates, but fewer and fewer as the days go by. Soon it will be obsolete as well. It works, but it is incredibly slow, and I am afraid the FP will suffer the same fate.

Pros over Apple that FP must keep for future: replaceable battery, SD slot, dual sim, FM radio, ability to open it easily, rooted.
Things they need to pay attention to in order to extend the useful life: OS upgrade compatibility, memory/speed, and including the latest Bluetooth, cellular network, camera, and wifi technologies.

So for me, for now as far as usability goes, I prefer to be green by buying used iPhones and use them until they become unusable. So, anybody want to buy a used FP1? Seriously…



after recently (a couple of months ago perhaps) formatting and re-installing the OS on my Fairphone, it has felt like a new phone (the internet speed improved - possibly, and most likely from improved settings - which might have been wrong before); and of chance its a chance to clear-out accumulated clutter, reset settings (e.g. how many text messages to store per person), and re-install all the apps - which strangely gave me newer versions which hadn’t updated to such new versions previously…

… so all-in-all, recommend a clean-install if your FP is feeling at all old (!), :slight_smile:


I’d never trade a rooted-by-default Fairphone, on which even I average user can easily install a couple of F-droid simple apps that control everything in and out, with a locked iPhone.

At this moment this is my main concern with tablets: once used to Fairphone, any (unrooted) tablet feels catastrophically uncontrollable; this is the main reason I’ll probably buy a Jolla tablet, even though they are not Fair trade, even though I don’t really need to switch.


I held 10 years the glory old Sony Ericsson t65 (and still works, I suppose…).
I hope to keep FP at least the same period of time, if it will break I’ll fix it (until the repair it will be not so expensive…)

[quote=“consuela, post:45, topic:3060, full:true”]
I say this because when it was released it was already missing quite a few of the latest features (e.g., 4G/LTE, and the new wifi)[/quote]

I think that if you try to keep pace with technology every (max) 6 months you will need to change device.


I would love to have my Fairphone for years till it came into pieces just as I have a 6year old MacBook that I don´t plan to replace anytime soon.

However it does not fulfil my user needs and don´t think I can keep it more than 6 months more.
As a regular user I can´t use it with my bank app (same problem as other people here and here) because it´s rooted and there is no unrooted version available.
As a open source advocate, I would not mind this if at least I could play with alternative distros or upgrade my software. But this is not possible.
And last but not least, as an amateur food photographer, the camera is not good enough and there’s no replacement in the market. I feel disappointed as I expected Fairphone to be slightly more modular.


I’m in the habit of replacing only equipment that became useless or has fallen apart (and is unrepairable). So I would guess 5 or 6 years would be reasonable for a phone.
I don’t need the latest gadgets, but I’m worried about the not-OS-upgrade policy of FairPhone, as has been expressed in several topics. For the sake of being compatible with apps, but especially because of security updates, the OSs of our phones really needs to be reasonable up to date.

If it would turn out that I have to replace my FP only because the OS has become obsolete, this is my first and last FairPhone. But I still hope that the company finds a way around this.


To be fair, it’s not their “policy”. You decide on a policy. FP simply can’t provide an update. As far as I understand it, MediaTek has not yet provided the production partner with appropirate drivers. And the code is closed source, proprietary, and allegedly full of binary blobs.


[quote=“humorkritik, post:52, topic:3060”]
To be fair, it’s not their “policy”. [/quote]
Yes it is. FP is the producer of the phone, so they decide(d) the upgrade policy.

And besides: Android 4.2.2 and 4.4.2 use the same kernel version (3.4), so the same drivers can be used.

Erm. They decided on the MediaTek chipset. We are stuck with it. See above. And I really don’t think it’s that easy just to update form 4.2 to 4.4.

You should probably head over here, and stop venting your frustration. Also, take your time to read what @keesj wrote on the matter of software updates. Including the link to the post why an update from 4.2.2 to 4.4 is difficult.

It’s not as Fairphone just chooses not to give us what we want. It’s a small company, with basically no leverage. Which is sad, but true. And for being that size, they already achieved a lot. Which is good, but of course not good enough from a consumer’s perspective who wants to have a device which gets all relevant security updates.

If you want that, you should have gone for a iPhone. But hey, you probably actively decided not to buy from Apple, right?

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I’ve read it all, before even posting here.
And that doesn’t change the fact that it is FP’s choice, made recent or in an earlier state, not to upgrade to 4.4.

And no, of course I don’t want an iPhone (or any other non-fair phone for that matter). I want this phone to be durable, which simply requires OS-updates.


Pray, what part of the following quote says anything about a “choice” made by Fairphone not to update?

@keesj wrote:

In order to receive an update to Android 4.4, we need support from two
external partners: our production partner, Guohong, and the chipset
manufacturer, MediaTek. […]
[S]upport for […] updates is prioritized for manufacturers
that produce a high volume of devices. Smaller manufacturers (such as
Fairphone) cannot expect to receive support in the near future or will
be required to move to the next generation platforms as the older ones
are being phased out.

That’s not much of a choice, if you don’t get what’s needed to roll out at least a stock Android. I am as annoyed as you are that my Fairphone will be less sustainable than an iPhone. But perhaps you should really vent your steam elsewhere. This is a community forum, after all. Not many Fairphone employees around here.

(Footnote regarding the “less sustainable than an iPhone” remark: Apple provided the current iOS updates even for the 4S, which is available since Oct.2011. According to people I know it starts lagging a bit, but at least they get some security updates and can use the current apps, which is especially important since Apple is such a badly locked-in walled garden.)


No need to repeat postings; as I said I read it all. What you don’t seem to understand, that it was FP’s choice to do things this way… Maybe a dedicated choice, maybe because of having forgotten to think about the (near) future.
But as I said before: drivers (so that’s MediaTek’s part) for both Android versions are the same, and that is usually the biggest problem.

Anyway: if it turns out that I indeed have to get rid of this phone premature (due to the lack of OS upgrades) this was my first and last experiment with FairPhone. I do already accept serious drawbacks of the hardware; if the firmware is to follow that would be a bridge too far.


I don’t think you can say it’s FP’s choice, and it’s clearly not as simple as you make it out… if it was, then there would be millions of ports of 4.4 to many thousands of handsets that have been left behind by their manufacturers.

The choice that FP made in choosing Mediatek was indeed their choice, but made in good faith at the time. We can’t keep going back to that decision because what you don’t know you don’t know. So we have to stop blaming for that decision. It’s done. It’s happened. We can either move on, or fester on the point. I suggest moving on.

Plus hope is not dead yet, it’s unlikely but it’s not an absolute no.


I brought this issue up in relation to the topic at hand. As it looks like now, the not updating OS policy (no matter what the cause is) will end the life of my FP premature. And that contradicts completely the idea I had in mind when buying one.
All my devices always last very long, until they literally die beyond repair, and now it seems that my FP makes an end to this tradition. I think you will understand my disappointment.

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How long I plan on keeping my Fairphone depends on the alternatives.

Until 10 years ago I was a real Nokia and RIM fanboy. My fandom cooled down parallel to Nokia’s and Blackberry’s demise. After many years without a new phone, finally there was a ray of hope: Jolla with Sailfish, Geeksphone with Firefox OS (Developer Preview), and Fairphone with pretty plain Android and some hints at open source. I got them all. But even though I receive tons of positive feedback from almost every one, especially on the Fairphone, and despite Fairphone’s noble intentions, I can’t say I am happy with it. I was just as naive as Fairphone was. Well meant, poorly executed.

My next device will be fair to me as a user too, which means as free and open source as possible. Replicant OS is a minimum requirement. Ideal would be a free baseband. I’m not even sure if I want a Blackphone or a Cryptophone. Considering GSM is actually broken beyond repair, I’m not even sure I want any mobile phone at all. If FP2 fails (again) with respect to a serious free open source approach, I might just as well opt for a paper and pencil solution (notebook Hemingway style). Fuck the convenience!


And the answer is… 7 months. Sadly, time is up, I’ve had enough. I am now looking for my replacement, probably a used SGS4 which comes with all the features missing from Fairphone. Not sure how I find a new owner for a disappointing FP.

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Sorry to hear. Would you like to tell us what has been the reason to leave the Fairphone? And, btw., there are sometimes people looking for second hand fair phones here, so feel free to sell it via the forum.


Hi Ben,

I’ve been meaning to do this, I am so keen on the principles of Fairphone and so want to the project to succeed, so here are my reasons. I do often get asked about the phone, it’s great to say why it’s good and what the point is, but disappointing that I can’t actually recommend it to anyone who might actually be in the market for a phone.

Most critically the screen touch sensitivity and screen response is poor. All the issues below annoy me, but this is the one that actively irritates me every day and the one I can’t put up with any longer.

Screen resolution is poor. It’s not an issue for phone functions, but the more you want to use for internet/email the more it irritates.

OS version was out of date when phone released. It was a disappointing step backwards in functionality and useability from the Cyangenmod 10 running on my SGS2 at the time. This has not improved.

Lack of OS updates has been discussed extensively. I hoped for a while SW updates to catch up with where my SGS2 was, until it became clear that this would never happen. It is good to read that security updates will still be released, though it’s clear it’s not happening as quickly as it needs to.

Camera quality is generally disappointing.

I’m currently suffering the issue with the OS upgrade download fails, repeats and fails.

The 1.6 OS upgrade disaster shouldn’t have happened. Regular users shouldn’t have to take to the forums just to fix a failed OTA upgrade and get their phone working again.

The newer Launcher was a PITA. (Personally I solved this one with Apex, an improvement on the initial and replacement FP launchers, but especially the latest).

The keyboard feels far too cramped, I manage to miss-type on it often enough that even with all the benefits of autocorrect and predict it bothers me more than it did on previous phones. I can’t judge if this related to the above issues, or personal. I’d not long moved from a similar 4 inch screen and it was a positive choice I was happy with to chose the Fairphone with a 4" screen.

The soft Home button means that I hit that frequently when typing, a problem that do not have with any of the other phones, in fact I don’t remember it being an issue on the Atrix which also has a soft home. This one not a fault and I presume it reduces build complexity and cost so I can understand that, but it’s not a design I’m happy with.

Speed - the lack of it.

GPS accuracy makes tracking apps useless and SatNav frequently has location issues. I can see a long, contradictory and confusing thread about this which suggests that some third party app might solve it. This is far from satisfactory for an issue that doesn’t occur on other android phones.

Case fit is poor and holes are too small for either headphones or usb connectors to fit easily, frequently at all.

There is no screen protector available, so my screen now has a couple of scratches.

Messaging app is missing features such as delayed send and cancel.

On the other hand, I do like:
Overall size
Battery life, better than any phone I’ve had before, even the Atrix which was the best available for a long time, but the SGS3 does match it, (can get 7 days on standby!) even with the stock ROM, so not a USP.

As a reference, my previous phones as comparison, with screen size, nothing high end so far:
HTC Hero 3.5 inch.
Motorola Atrix 4.0 inch.
Samsung Galaxy S2. 4.3 inch.
Samsung Galaxy S3. 4.8 inch. (current work phone, so daily comparison with FP, for better or worse…)

Next Phone, most likely:
Samsung Galaxy S4. 5.0 inch.
It’s always going to be a used phone with good cyanogen support and a replaceable battery.
If FP2 can tick this I’ll give it some serious consideration.

Best wishes.

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Hi @LittleWhorle,

thanks for your - quite extensive - list. I agree on a lot of you points, i see them as critical as well. I am glad Fairphone took the required actions for FP2 by a) choosing a processor from well known high-quality supplier (Qualcomm), b) be more involved in design processes, c) switching the manufacturer for final assembly (the current FP1 has so much small problems here and there that i start to question the manufacturers capabilities). I guess that leads to higher quality components and a better crafted device. I am excited to see what the FP2 will look like.

Points i disagree to are “lack of speed”, the keyboard (which is the standard Google Android Keyboard) and camera quality which is fine for me.