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