How reliable is your Fairphone?

Hi all,

I am looking into buying a Fairphone soon and was wondering about the reliability. I have read lots of stories online about lack of reliability through, for example, no service on the phone, internet is poor etc. so I just wondered how many of you have had trouble free experiences and how many not?


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Hi @eekological,

my FP2 needed a new screen after approx. 4 months, but besides that I’m totally fine. Of course I’ve also got some of the software bugs, but none that would be really disturbing. Firmware is on current FP OS 1.5.1. Usage is mostly messaging, email, internet, calendar, playing music, so rather basic usage profile.


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Well yes, in a support forum (like here) you will find the users collected that have problems. But also users who are happy with their phone, like me. I use it since December as a work phone, and it has proven to be reliable to me.
That said, it seems that the revolutionary, modular design, may also cause issues in some cases, and I have read a couple of time that re-assembling the phone helped with problems. In other cases, some modules had a hardware issue and needed to be replaced.

I’d say, over all, it is safe to buy it as a reliable phone. If some part or the whole phone should be faulty, you will get it replaced under warranty.

And here comes the down side: Currently the support staff is still overworked and has a huge backlog. Having to wait for over a month on a support request frustrated many people, understandably. However, Fairphone just doubled the size of the support team, and wants to be back on track until September (so that an answer doesn’t take longer than two days). If they keep up this promise I think it is totally safe to buy one, as then an issue should be resolved quick. Until then you may need to accept longer than usual waiting times for getting served with a request, in case you belong to the few people that may experience a problem. That said, there are many customers - like me - for whom this doesn’t matter, because the phone just works perfectly fine :slight_smile:

Around my friends I recommend getting a Fairphone if someone asks me, and I can do the same here! Go for it! I’m truly satisfied and happy with my Fairphone 2! :slight_smile:


Hi @eekological

I guess one can become quite scared if one reads through this forum. But keep in mind, people only come here to report their problems. Once the phone works, people don’t even look at the forum anymore. There are hundrets of different post here; all stating another problem. And I can assure you, that I only encountered problems mentioned in about 10 posts. For example my internet is working perfectly and I always have service on the phone (I didn’t even know that people have reported such problems).

I have my fairphone for about 6 months now and most of the time I am quite happy with it. I encountered minor problems (the phone doesn’t charge with some charges, at low brightness the screen flickers, sometimes the proximity sensor doesn’t work properly and the phone stays black during or after calls). However, three days ago my phone suddenly crashed out of nowhere and since then I can not turn it on at all.

Eventhough my phone isn’t working at all, I am still a fan of fairphone. However, every now and then a problem arises and that can be really annoying. So far I allways could find a solution for my problems. The forum here is really great and there are many people out there trying to help. Furthermore the support team is technically really good. Once you reach their attentention they try to help and are really tolerant with replacements. But nevertheless, there are these problems and you have to invest some time to figure out the problem and to find other people with same problems. And that is the reason why once in a while, I whish for another phone.

I really like the idea behind fairphone and for me that was the only reason why I bought the phone. I use the phone only for some messengers and to read the newspaper on the way. I could have bought a much cheaper smartphone fulfilling these little needs, but for me it was more important to support fairphone as a company.

I guess it’s important what matters most for you. For me, the only reason to buy a fairphone at the moment, is because of their philosophy. And if you go for it, you can expect a moderate phone that fulfills all basic needs and that works most of the time. However, you should be prepared, that you might encounter some problems on the way and that there might be some minor problems (as a misbehaving proximity sensor), you’ll just have to live with. You have to be prepared to be a bit patient with fairphone as a company and with your phone.

If you are looking for a phone that simply works 100%. If you want to never ever look at that forum again, because everything just works as it should right from the moment you receive the phone, to be honest, I woulnd’t recomend you to buy a fairphone right now. In that case I would go for another (maybe seconhand) phone and wait until fairphone fixed all their present troubles.

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hello, i’m a happy Fairphone 1.5.1 user since the last update. I doo owns it since January. I need it for business as dual sim and connection for heavy emails , GPS navigation and long phone sessions. for my uses to view all kinds of documents its a good solution. On weekends my daughter use it as a game pad with some heavy wify and 3d loads. of course the battery doesn’t hold too long in this mode and the phone gets very hot but this is a good time limiter. As a google phone I had to do some personalisation to have it to work for mee. in ex: rooting to get access to the SD card, and a lot of alternative software to upload. it’s still not perfect but close to. the volume and ringing are not very situational but this is android issue like all other things. to resume it’s a good hardware that I recommend for environmental raisons. but don’t expect the last thinest and geekest smartphone…

The latest software update (1.5.1) has made my fairphone 2 completely unusable, and I cannot get any help from fairphone - I emailed them last week and have still received no response, and cannot get through to them by phone. I really wouldn’t recommend it on the basis of their terrible customer service, as if you have a problem there is no way to get it fixed apparently. Even before downloading 1.5.1 I had more problems with this phone than I have ever had with another - I would recommend getting a different phone if you want it to be reliable, and want help quickly if you do experience problems

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I have mine since mid July so I cannot say anything about long term reliability. But so far I am really satisfied with this phone. As a self-employed person a working mobile is essential for me and I did not have any trouble with it. In the contrary I have to say that signal reception is much better than with the Galaxy S3 mini I used before - probably mostly due to the larger size and better tuned antenna.
I agree with some of the other posts that looking in this forum might give you a negative impression, but it’s the nature of community support forums that they attract people who experience problems with their devices and (mostly constructive) criticism.

Very satisfied too!

I used the Fairphone Open OS with pico-GAPPS (only the strict necessary to got Play Store) and it is perfect for me. Battery is really better than with normal Android and the phone is fast.

There is just the camera which isn’t really good, but I don’t really care as I have a proper camera for “real” pictures :slight_smile:

Smartphones nowadays have so many different functions that reliability depends on your requirements to this Fairphone device. Instead of telling anonoymously my own situation I would recommend to read as much as you can from this forum including official known-bugs and the confirmed bug-reports on this forum. There is also a category called “commonissues” that maybe not only contain common issues. On the official Fairphone Blog you find a statement of FP’s support leader about the backlog and how more personal in near future will close this gap. However he also still today gives the advice to possibly try to contact the official support only if you have very urgent problem of an unusable device. This told me that the support team is still fully stretched and overloaded by these cases that require deep repairs or replacing parts or even complete devices. For more than half a year a support team of only 8 people have been fully stretched by mostly replacing parts or complete deivces. Thits tells also something about the reliability even though the support has only 8 people.

Let me try to be a little bit humour about your question: Some people say there are certainly some monday devices. I would extend this there are also tuesday devices and maybe even half of the wednesday some devices that cannot fullfill your requests. This is not only sarcastic humour because sometimes for different outtages of different main functions there are also different days.

I received my Fairphone 5,5 months ago and ever since it has proven to be reliable to me. Yes, I had to reboot it once and the flickering and the bluetooth-bug were a little bit frustrating in the beginning - but these problems have been solved by updates a long time ago. But I have never missed a single call nor has the alarm failed. So it has been a reliable phone to me so far :slight_smile:


Hello all
my problem with the loudspeaker is solved.
Thanks to the Fairphone service team; good support !


Daily reboots/ freezes, jumpy screen (which is now usable with updates but not working as well as fp1) and a case that splits after 7 months with average use means I cannot recommend it on the reliability side of things…yet…

Statistics could help here. It would be nice to know what percentage from all phones shipped have issues and what kind of issues these mainly are (hardware/module, hardware/design, hardware/firmware, hardware/faulty, software, user fault).

This kind of data was never published for the FP1, but I had hopes for a more transparent approach with the FP2. But I fear this will not happen, again. I assume that there is a tactical benefit for companies not to share this kind of information. Bad press, more questions, more people that refrain from buying the item until all open issues are fixed or they buy other items in the meantime … At least this is how I think it is.


I am not sure if the phones are actually the problem, or if many of these problems are more or less “typical” android problems: In my experience with different android versions I noticed that many/most(?) problems related to freezes, reboots or other unruly behaviour could be traced back to a corrupted so called “Dalvik Cache”. In simple words this cache stores the apps after they have been optimized for the system. Although the “Lollipop” that our FP uses runs a different system (ART), Dalvik is still used. “Wiping” this cache does not cause any data loss, but triggers a recompilation / optimization of the apps after a reboot. This process will take a few minutes, but I often experienced a nicely running phone afterwards.
The good news is that TWRP, the standard recovery of the FP Open Source version has a tool to wipe the Dalvik cache, the bad news is that stock FP OS has no such tool - It would be good if both OS versions would offer TWRP as recovery.


There are programs to test the stability of the phone. You can run them to differentiate between issues from apps and issues caused by the hardware/OS combination.

The problem is: Most users can not differentiate those … they only focus on their problem and they often have already install tons of apps.

This is why I think multi boot phones would be interesting. No only to test different roms and OS’es, users could also easier check if their hardware is “healthy”. They just could boot into a pretty plain debug-able Android that tests the phones hardware for a night and logs issues.


Edit: TL;DR, when developers of Android replaced Dalvik with ART, they didn’t change the cache directory

You are overall right, but let me clarify some points, just for completion:

  • Android apps are written in the Java programming language
  • Java code is compiled to bytecode —machine code— that needs a runtime to be run (a virtual machine, to be more specific)
  • Dalvik VM was the runtime used pre-Lollipop. It featured an Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler, which means every time you open an app, Dalvik compiles the code and runs it
  • To make this process more performant, Dalvik stores some cache on the /data/dalvik-cache directory
  • On the other hand, post-Lollipop Android use the ART VM. It features an Ahead-Of-Time (AOT) compiler, which means it compile the code only when you install an app, and just runs it when you open the app. Neat, uh?
  • Guess where ART stores the cache it generates? Right! On the /data/dalvik-cache directory!

So it is a matter of naming —no Dalvik is used on Lollipop, :wink:


I particularly think clearing the ART cache and feeling the device smooth in the long-time is more like a kind of placebo. It’s indeed an improvement in the short-time, but once you’ve opened all of your apps almost once, the device is on a similar state as before. This is undocumented and just the personal opinion of a person that has tinkered with and coded for a lot of Android devices (and gave a long life to most of them!).
I honestly encourage you to try clearing the cache and do observe the improvement on your own, but often a simple reboot (clearing RAM) fixes most of the things, :slight_smile:

Edit: Those points were longer than I thought they would be. Sorry for that, :confused:


Hi @eekological,

I have been using my FP2 for 6 months, and the software updates have fixed most issues I have had so far (stereo reversal, headphone volume, screen brightness setting, camera focus and shutter noise being always on, LED setting). I use my phone for the occasional phone call (dual sim, one is roaming), but mostly Gmail, Exchange Email, messaging, Tumblr, podcasts. I only recall having had 4 random reboots, two while using GPS and two unexplained (GPS may have been on).
The phone has not let me down, and the frequent updates are improving things and incorporating android security fixes. Support the movement and consider buying the FP2!

PS: the issues that I still have are the black screen after phone calls (just enabled power-button-end-call option so that is worked around) and my case is starting to expand/bend/stretch around the volume buttons (does not affect the buttons function, just slight aesthetic issue)

Even easier: Make the emmc (the “harddisk/flash”) replaceable …


Good detailed explanation :slight_smile:

This is true if you look at performance, but I have experienced Dalvik corruption happening after both System or APP updates and wiping Dalvik made the phone usable again - even in the long term.

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Even the annoying backup question would be solved … just clone it to a new eMMC module. Just buy 6 eMMC modules from FP and use a few for backups and others for new roms. Just like SD cards, but hopefully of good quality.

Afraid of loosing them? Crypt them and use the back usb port for a crypt key.

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