- A button is nothing that can be easily replaced on the FP3
- A repair costs 390EUR
- The FP3 likely accumulates moisture over time
After four months of use, my volume down button stopped working. I know which day it happened, because the phone was stuck in a reboot loop for approximately two hours (with no way to stop it), until it just stopped rebooting itself and started working again, except for the volume down button.
Okay; so not being able to lower your volume easily is a minor annoyance, you can just press volume up and then adjust the volume up and down on the screen as you wish. But as I planned to use the phone to 2024 or so, I took the time to open a support case with Fairphone, which resulted in me having to send it in for a warranty repair.
UPS delivered the phone to France in a few days, and a day or two after it arrived there, it was diagnosed and I got an email back. According to the repair center, the phone was oxidized due to moisture. I was offered to 1) have it repaired for 390EUR (i e, almost the price of a new phone), 2) have it returned unfixed for 19EUR or 3) have it disposed at no cost.
The thing is, I don’t know how the moisture went into the phone. On the particular day, it was sunshine and partially cloudy (I went back and checked the photos taken that day to verify). I’m sure it has not been submerged into water. Had I used the phone in foggy or even rainy weather earlier? Maybe, but if so, that was weeks before, and if so, not extensively.
So the only theory I have is that somehow using the FP3 in bad weather causes moisture to build up inside the phone, causing it to malfunction at some random point later. I’m open to other theories if you have any. But it makes me feel uneasy if I can’t trust the phone to work when I need it to.
For me, FP3’s longevity is one of the top reasons to buy the phone in the first place. Fairness aside, if you can use it until 2024 (launched in 2019 and with 5 years of security upgrades), possibly with a new battery half way, then it’s actually a cheap phone. But that argument is completely moot if something as simple as a button can not be replaced, and I end up having to sending it in for very expensive repairs.
Is the FP3 more sensitive to moisture than other (non waterproof) phones? If it has been outside in foggy or rainy weather - even if only inside a pocket - is it mandatory to remove the bumper and back cover and let it rest for a few hours indoors? What are your experiences on the matter?