I’ve worked doing humanitarian work in conflict zones in Africa in places where the minerals (coltan+++) where part -if not just the source- of the problem and I’ve witnessed the suffering it provoked. I am very much sensitized about the ecological problem that electronics and its overconsumptions represent (especially with all the programmed obsolescence thing). I am also very much aware of how the international labor division harms some socities so rich countries can have cheap products while others have to work on almost slave-like conditions. For all those reasons I felt in love with the Fairphone project initially (I crowdfunded the FP1 and patiently waited for the FP2 once my FP1 was getting old enough). Finally, when this modular idea came out it was like the full dream coming true. Even though the more than 500€ looked lika a bit expensive for a phone I though that with all the moduls thing I was going to have mobile phone for at least 5-6 years… so you are paying for a phone of some acceptable specs, that you could just replace moduls when they start failing, but mainly for the whole philosophy behing, isn’t it? But, at least, you should get a working phone that will last… especially if, as many people does, you rely on it for your professional activities.
So I finally got my FP2… and some time -months- after it started failing… the screen, the apps, almost everything. After some ping-pongs and having to send it for repair TWICE to France (with all the inconveniences that it represents about having to set-up again all the phone and the back-up one and so on) I got the screen replaced and something done with the software and it worked for some time on a decent manner (a few weeks). During the first repairs, the support guy admitted that the FP2 came with some design/production issues… something about a problem with the contact of the screen provoked some general performance issues (besides the obvious display ones). Some time after that repair, it started failing again. Same issues: screen doing weird things, the phone not responding to even the turn-on button. Apps crashing. Etc, etc. After contacting the support again the same advices were given: “remove apps to see if its one of them, do the factory reset… but if everything fails, the warranty being expired we could just offer to take your FP2 for 40€ if you decide to purchase the FP3”. Hahahahah. And that’s how my love story with FP finishes. I love the idea, the concept, the philosphy behind it but I still need a phone and I am not rich enough as to be expending every couple of years more than 400-500€ in mobile phones.
Up to this day, when someone would ask me about Fairphone I would be a militant of it. Not anymore. From now on I will get a proper working phone (a cheaper one, of course) and give up with FP. If someone asks about it I will literally say: “the issue with the minerals and with the electronic waste, and with the working conditions of people producing mobile phones is very concerning… something needs to be done and Fairphone is trying to do something about it. But their products are not good enough and are very expensive. So if you just care about the principles and all those things but you don’t need to have a reliable device, you should buy a Fariphone… unless you really care about the product itself and you need a reliably performing one. If that is your case, Fairphone is not for you”.
Anyway, all the best for the Fairphone team… I hope you’ll get to a good product at a competitive price soon. Maybe one day if that is the case I will come back “to be part of the movement” without needing to be rich to do so… maybe by then I will not feel like I’ve been scammed.