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Leaving a movement (FP3 Era)

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This thread serves as a consolidation of “leaving the Fairphone movement” posts/threads. Such discussion is welcome, but please don’t open new threads about such. We will merge such threads into this one during the FP3 era.

Old thread (from FP2 era)

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I have been a Fairphone customer since the release of FP1. I have recommended the phones to everyone I know, and some of them have bought FP1 and FP2. I am not recommending it any longer. I even convinced my mother one year ago to get one, unfortunately her calls kept dropping randomly. She initiated a phone replacement, and Fairphone returned her phone back after a factory reset because “they could not replicate” the issue. Guess what? the issue persisted.

After buying an FP2 in January 2018, this will be the last Fairphone for me, my reasons are the following:

  1. The devices, since FP2 are unreliable, expensive for their features and specially they don’t last as long as promised.

  2. One of Fairphone’s policies that attracted me the most was to build phones that would last more than the rest. I accepted the short-lived FP1 because it was their first phone, and I believed things would get better. Unfortunately the FP2 has also been cancelled three years and 9 months after its release. Even though its modular design increased its cost significantly, I believed it was a design made to last: the modules could get upgraded as the hardware improved being even possible to upgrade the motherboard with a new CPU, etc… but that never happened. One year and a half after I was able to get the FP2, Fairphone is now selling FP3… WTF!!

  3. Unsolvable unreliability: The first FP2 I received suffered from the continuous reboot issue. Luckily it was replaced, but the second one, even though did not reboot itself constantly, still suffers from a multitude of issues:

3.1. Cannot be used as a reliable phone: calls are dropped too frequently.
3.2. The microphone fails randomly, sometimes people can hear me on the other end, sometimes they can’t, or they hear strange noises.
3.3. The compass is a joke, there’s no way to calibrate it properly. You can spend the whole day making 8 figures with your phone, the compass never gets calibrated.
3.4. The battery duration is also unreliable. My first battery had to be replaced after a few months. I educated myself on how to make the battery last longer, to no avail. Some days it lasts for my whole working day (9 hours), some other days I need to rush home to charge it. If you go on a trip and you need your phone, make sure you can charge it along the way.

  1. Instead of improving the reliability of their product Fairphone decides to make and sell yet another new phone… WTF!

I hope I can come back sometime in the future when Fairphone finally delivers on their promises. Good luck and so long!

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What do you mean cancelled? It isn’t produced anymore, but how does that affect you as someone who already has the phone? All parts are still available and everybody who bought it in the last 2 years still has warranty.

This was never realistic. FP always advertised the modularity mainly as a means for repair, not upgrades - especially not upgrades of the main module. Even if upgrading the main module was possible it wouldn’t be sustainable. Upgrading the core module is basically the same as buying a new phone. FP wants people to keep the core module for as long as possible and only replace smaller modules if they break - that way you reduce wasted energy and resources.

Again: How does that affect you?

If you ever come back to Fairphone please don’t hesitate to have a faulty device replaced within warranty instead of complaining about the phone afterwards.
There is also a very helpful forum which you haven’t used for more than a year even though you have multiple issues with your phone. That’s what I don’t get.

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The camera upgrades were a bonus, but the FP2 was never intended for endless upgrades. An endlessly upgradeable phone just isn’t feasible at this point, and FP never claimed it was. The FP2 was never marketed as upgradeable or as lasting forever; the mark was five years, and they seem to be keeping their promise - and now, with that mark approaching, if FP want to keep themselves going and change the market as they say they do, they’ll combine their ethical charter with keeping up with what most people actually want. Which isn’t five year old smartphones.

While I understand your frustration at what sounds like a spate of bad luck with the hardware, I don’t think that the points you’ve mentioned are proof of the unreliability of anything but the specific handsets and modules that you and your mother have used - just as my unfailingly positive experience with my FP2 isn’t proof that all Fairphones are faultless and fully functional.

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In my opinion you misunderstood what a Fairphone is. What you believed did Fairphone afaik never promise. In the smartphone market after a few years a product is old; the components Fairphone depends on are not made to be exchangeable with more modern and powerful parts - as long as Fairphone is only a very small player in the market that’s beyond their influence. Whatever effort they put into FP2, it would never be a modern device again. And it does not make sense to sell a device that’s outdated to much. We, who are concerned about sustainability of course don’t like that, but we can’t change it overnight. We just can stretch the possibilities of what can be done today and try to accept the downsides; and hope that this supports a long-term trend that changes the market. A FP is not designed to be a modern device for a longer time that other brands are. Its designed to to be used a few years longer if you accept to have an outdated device. I think this is what can be done today, if we like it or not.

The result of improving their product is FP3! Obviously with the design of FP2 it wasn’t possible to eliminate all that cases “unsolvable unreliability” some FP2 users are reporting. Together with the fact that the technical specs are outdated, isn’t that a good reason to stop selling it, and try to improve the design?

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That pretty much sums it up.

@pedro
I really feel for you and understand your frustration.
My FP2 suffered from random reboots, that could easyly be solved by a small plastic-shim I got from Fairphone for free. That’s it. Apart from that my FP2 works just fine. I even have the first battery for more than 3 years and it lasts me a day no problem (though that’s not really special, since I don’t use wifi on the go or data-connections).

But your description is quite correct.
There were a lot of problems with the FP2 obviously.
As I see it, the reason for this is the revolutionary modular design, with it’s easy way of disassembling the parts, especially the display.
That construction obviously was not sturdy enough, and lead to loss of contacts between the modules.
Insofar us FP2-users, we have been beta-testers, though they did not intend it to be this way for sure. It just happened, that the FP2-Design did not deliver on all aspects they wanted it to do.

So they have learned from the experiences with the FP2.
The cover is more sturdy, the display is fixed with a lot screws, the modules are more compact and fixed as well. They even add a bumper, to better protect the case and the display against falling and being hit.
I guess, those kinds of improvement are reason enough to present a new phone; instead of sticking to a flawed design leading to dissatisfied customers like you and your mother. Though they obviously still service it and you can claim warranty for 2 years. (You sure would not want, they stick to a design causing unwanted errors.)
And, as I see it, nearly 4 years is a rather long product-cycle for a smartphone. You surely will be challenged to find a phone, that is right now produced and sold by one of the big phone-companies and that they have presented 3 years ago or more.

The core-module and the SoC on the other hand will still not be upgradeable due to technical reasons. Other than computer-chips, the SoC of a smartphone can not easily be replaced, simply because the software has to be made to fit the hardware. Exchanging the SoC therefore would mean to get a new phone.

I appreciate, that you are still watching the further development of FP despite your frustrating experience. And I am sure, that the FP3 will show those improvements and it will prove to be a great step towards the mass market. I might be proved wrong, but I don’t hope so.

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I also face a long list of different failures with my FP2, which started when it first came out of the box and have grown in number since then. I have also been super-unimpressed with FP’s customer “service”, which does not at all feel like it comes from an ethically-minded company. In my view, ethics should include ethical treatment of customers who have bought significantly defective products.

I am also sorry to say that I too will be out if here soon … and it will take a LOT to convince me to come back to FP.

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I really can understand your decision.
Support (at least at times) has been a disaster.

That’s why (or so I guess), this: First Line Support is Coming Home

When a Fairphone owner needs some help, I want the person who answers the call to be the customer’s champion. Someone with an empathetic ear and a passion for Fairphone’s mission. That’s why I’m excited to announce that we’re moving our first line customer support to the place it belongs: in-house, here at the Fairphone headquarters in Amsterdam. And you might know – or be – the perfect person to become a part of this team.

So we can hope, that there will be improvement to that regard as well.

While all the companies still are outsourcing their service, Fairphone is making a difference there too.

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Thank you all for your responses.

I’ll try typing this response from my phone, but it will not be easy, yet another issue with it: the touch screen just goes crazy every evening, and it takes for ever to type, correct, correct the church f tri I in… here we go again. I meant: to type, correct, correct the correction… I’ll continue from my laptop pp… This is ridiculous…

As some of you pointed out, I probably misunderstood the initial goals for the FP2 in that it could be upgraded by upgrading the modules, including the CPU, fair enough. I would really like to have a phone that lasts more than a couple of years, which is what my current phone is going to last. Five years sounds reasonable, but that only works if you are one of the lucky ones who get them when they are initially released. I had to wait for months for both, the FP1 and FP2… actually I had to wait for more than a year to be able to purchase the FP2.

I honestly wish the Fairphone project and ideals to succeed, not only for mobile phones, but for every other piece of technology.

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The idea of producing and selling Fairphone is great.
The use of Fairpphone is dissappointing. I have a FP2 since feb 2016; my wife since april 2016.
The past 3 years we had so many issues and problems with our FP, repair was necessary, battery charging is a problem, parts were not available at FP store so we had to buy them somewhere else, FP is getting too hot, … answer from support takes ages or not at all.
NOW, after the latest Update, my FP2 cannot be switched on anymore.

It is a pity, the idea of FP is nice, but they first should develop a system what is working well
Herbert

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I just want to tell my story about Fairphone.

I got into it because of a tech savvy friend of mine told me about it. I was really enthusiastic about it. The concept of not having to pay in blood, sweat and tears together with a modular design was very appealing.

At first it was handy because the main microphone stopped working, which was sorted after a while. After two replacements.

Next was the screen, which had a band that didn’t respond to touch anymore. Which was replaced without a cost.

Yet after a year or so that replacement screen started to just turn black and sometimes it worked again.

And than I had numerous problems with Wi-Fi connections after an OS update. Which could only be fixed by reboots multiple times a day.

These problems, together with the fact that Fairphone announced that they had sought private investors but weren’t looking into developing a new phone, made me loose hope for a stable Phone by Fairphone.

I didn’t bother anymore because Fairphone had cost me sweat and tears. I was willing to put up with some issues but it rather seemed systematic: the quality of the parts wasn’t there.

So the whole isn’t viable anymore.

Hopefully one day, I will hear the news of a real stable Fairphone without quality issues, so I can consider buying one again.

So fair well!

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So I bought a FP2 at the beginning of the crowdfunding campaing (and had to wait 6 months for it to arrive). The phone had the one issue after the other, and was finally replaced by FP because still within warranty. The second phone too had several issues that were solved one after the other with FP’s halep, but mainly it’s camera never really worked properly. Because this isn’t a vital function, I never really gave it priority. When I started digging into it with FP-Help, they diagniosed it as an issue of the motherboard… so not fixable (after I already bought a new camera module). Because out of warranty, I bought a new phone and decided my old phone would serve for spare parts. But the new phone, soon had major issues. It just dies unexpectedly and can stay dead for several weeks, after which sometimes it revives miraculously. I don’t understand. Meanwhile, I kept using my second phone, while replacing some parts with parts from the new phone (screen, battery, charging station), now this second phone has died too. completely shut off, doesn’t charge and do nothing, while the third phone too doesn’t seem to revive anymore. I own two dead FP2’s, I’ve spent around 1.500€ in phones and spare parts, I accumulated four years of frustration from running from one issue in another, subdued substantial ridicule from friends and family for holding on, plus frustration from their part because very regularly I just wasn’t reachable. Although heklpdesk was often helpfull, I end my FP-story here. I have no trust FP3 is going to be any better. I switched back to a big-tech company phone, although refurbished to keep some of my ideals up. I don’t rally for FP anymore, as I used to, and I don’t recommend it to anyone asking my advice. I’m sorry, it’s over. Ciao.

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Hi,

If I understand you correctly you mean you have bought THREE FP2s ?!? If the first one was not under guarantee anymore then the second should have been, unless you bought it second hand… Then you could have found it for much cheaper…

I’m sorry for you that you couldn’t find how to use the most of your FP2s’ warranties: next time don’t hesitate to ask questions in this forum and contact the support within the warranty period, so that even if it is over between the moment you open a ticket and its resolution, you can claim it - I’ve done it - to keep it prolonged as long as the problem is unsolved - they have to.

I also had a lot of troubles with my FP2 but all these were solved under the guarantee period (that I used extensively), except for the microphone issue of the bottom module but then, buying a new module goes with having another 2-year guarantee on the new piece.

My still working FP2 will now continue its life in my father’s hands because I have fallen for the FP3 (FP2’s battery was way too short to me, and the OS was slightly outdated for my usage), and I can tell you they have improved : the FP3 runs perfectly smoothly, nice technical improvements, almost no bug so far (not more than for any other phone company) and is much more up to what a standard phone company would produce, but with much more ethics in it.

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Thank you @paulakreuzer for your response.

That’s what I meant. The fact that it’s not produced anymore affects me and everyone who still needs spare parts. Unfortunately the motherboard is no longer available, and there’s no information on how many of the other spare parts are left… will still be batteries left when I need the next one? Probably not, as it happened to me and a friend of mine with the FP1.

After spending a few weeks reporting all the issues that persist on my phone, and disassembling, and testing, I finally sent it back a couple of days ago. Unfortunately the issues I have (all but one) are not persistent, the worst one is that the phone shows it is connected to the mobile networks when in reality it isn’t: it can neither receive nor make any calls.

The problem is, I mostly receive calls so I’m not testing, nor do I want to be testing whether I can make calls in order to detect the issue, restart my phone and hope it will receive calls again… which is quite a basic function I would say.

Fair enough.

I can no longer buy a motherboard, which I need to fix my mother’s phone.

IMHO the phone should be reliable to begin with, having to contact support and sending my phone to be “diagnosed” may also cost me in case they cannot replicate the reliability issues it has. This actually happened with my mother’s phone, apart from the fact that I now need to use my old and dear FP1 while they hopefully repair it because I don’t have any other phone! which brings a whole of other issues.

I also have a life, I spend most of my time in front of a computer and, when I come home, the last thing I want is to have to search through the forums to solve the innumerable issues that the FP2 evidently has… I must admit that the forums are pretty good though.

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Source?
It isn’t sold in the shop, and wasn’t at least most of the time. A reseller sold it only for a limited amount of time, too.
Fairphone can still exchange core modules as a repair job …

True.

Fairphone 1 users can use generic batteries. Better than nothing.
Whether there are fitting generic batteries for the Fairphone 2 would be worth some research I guess, but right now you can still buy original ones.

You could try to buy a second hand module or a second hand Fairphone 2 containing a working core module via the #market.
Or you could try whether Fairphone can give you a quote for exchanging the core module, although I suspect they would want to make sure whether that’s where the issue lies. You’re right that reliability issues are tricky in that sense.

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If your core module is broken, you are probably best off selling or getting rid of the other modules and get a new smartphone. Then, other people will be able to use those parts for when their FP2 core module works but some other module is broken, or it can be recycled. In the end, someone won, and yes you can do this with iFixit aftermarket for non-fair hardware, but it is much less easy to repair these. (FWIW, I’m not good with repairing, unlike my father was was good with such.)

That’s really helpful to hear about improved design hopefully leading to less hardware issues.

I don’t know if I’m leaving yet, I’m still trying to decide. Unlike others I didn’t have any big expectations about upgrading the phone. If it worked as well as it did at first (minus the random reboots) I would be quite happy with it.

I chose the FP2 for ethical reasons, I’m not very techy and wasn’t interested in replacing hardware myself. Although as it happens I have replaced the bottom module twice and did find it unexpectedly empowering to be able to do that myself. On the other hand, I’ve never really experienced issues with hardware in my previous smartphones so it feels to me like the modularity is actually the source of most of my problems.

From what I remember of previous smartphones, they lasted around 2 years before going into a slow decline leading to me eventually replacing them. If there was a more immediate issue I could go to a local shop and get it sorted out in a matter of days.

With FP2 I have had multiple issues that made the phone or important elements of the phone unusable. This leads to a slow back and forth with support and a very long wait if you actually have to send the phone away. On the whole I’ve found support to be helpful but it just takes forever to get to the source of the problem.

I recently replaced my bottom module but then the camera stopped working. The battery life is also very poor for reasons I can’t divine. So I’m thinking my FP2 is coming to the end of its usefulness. I’m tempted by the FP3 but I would be paying triple my current monthly bill. The other option I’m considering is a refurb of some normal phone.

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I guess, you are right on spot there.
As Bas van Abel is cited in this techcrunch article Can Fairphone 3 scale ethical consumer electronics?:

“You don’t need the phone to be so super smooth in taking apart to be able to repair it,” he says. “Fairphone 2 goes beyond the idea of repairability. It’s more a show off phone in that sense. And that also comes with risks.”

And it seems, they have learned and fixed this problem with FP3.
I full well understand, if you consider buying a second hand phone, as the FP3 is really expensive, even if you could get one for 400,- Euro now:


(and maybe this one is sold already).

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That’s encouraging. I feel more like leaning towards the FP3 now. Buying the handset outright is financially out of reach right now but I’ve just noticed the cheapest handset + bundle offered by the phone co op (UK) is actually £25 a month, not £36 as I originally thought.

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