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Long-term usability of Fairphone 2 - Shift5pro as an alternative?

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#1

Hey people =)

I’m a FP1 user since the beginning and primarily bought it to support the movement. As the technology advanced I’m now looking for an upgrade. Of course, the FP2 comes to my mind as an option but I’m also looking at the Shift5pro (see: https://www.shiftphones.com/) as an alternative.

So my question in this context is: How much sense does it make to still buy a FP2?

Performance-wise it uses an above-average processor from 2014, which means it should be medium now and not so good in 1 - 2 years. This part of the phone will not be upgradable (as far as I know, correct me if I’m wrong) via modules. Whereas the camera, which seems also to be mediocre already, at least has some hope to be upgradable in the upcoming time (see: ✏ FP 2/3/... Modules & Wishlist ) - but the exact time is unclear I guess.

That’s why I’m not so sure, if not in 1 year the FP3 will be anounced and I will be forced to switch to that one. What are the precise plans of Fairphone for the future? Upgrading the FP2 as much as possible? Producing a new phone in 1 year?

The before mentioned Shift5pro would be technically high-end and is yet to be produced - the release date gets pushed back so I’m also not so sure about the availability.

Long story short, I could go for a mediocre phone now and see what will happen in the coming months or wait for a high-end phone until… well, that’s not clear unfortunately.

Does anyone have some insight on the plans of Fairphone that would help me with the decision? :wink:

Greetings!
Gökhan


#2

This discussion might be interesting to you:

Amongst others I myself shared why SHIFT wouldn’t be an alternative for me. To be fair (pun not intended!), they have by now released their sustainability report (see the posts more to the bottom of that topic).

Since Fairphone soon will release Android 6 for FP2 and they are working on a camera upgrade, they won’t be releasing a FP3 soon. There haven’t been any announcements made about a FP3. A FP3 would basically mean a phone with a new chipset because that’s the only part of FP2 that cannot be replaced since the other modules depend on the drivers of the chipset.

Furthermore FP2’s technical specs aren’t so bad and you will be happy with it, if you don’t play heavy 3D games. Compared to FP1 it is a major improvement and I’m always amazed about how snappy FP2 feels when I hold it in hands (I’m still with my FP1).

Edit: What do you miss in FP2 compared to SHIFT5pro?


#3

Also, when the FP2 is not that good anymore and the FP3 comes out you’ll surely get a good price on the #marketplace::tag for your working FP2 or it’s individual modules.


#4

My father owns a Shift7+ and followed the Siftphones campaign, so maybe I can give a little bit of insight about Shiftphones in general.

First of all I should mention that both my FP2 and the Shift7+ run very well performance-wise and there is nor shortcoming when doing daily web browsing, listening to music etc. Everything except heavy gaming will run fine. From my personal experience, every smartphone build since 2012 is sufficent for normal usage and buying a “high-end” phone will gain you little. But thats really my opinion. If you play 3D high polygon games on your phone a lot (normal games will run just as well as on other phones) and if you prefer a good camera, then you should stay away from FP2.

Now back to the Shift7+. You said you support the movement, so I guess you are interested in sustainability and consumer rights? Shiftphones, unfortunately, does a very bad job at adressing sustainibility. My father received his phablet in April 2016 and so far it received no updates at all while my FP2 gets security updates every month. As Shiftphones is a smaller company than Fairphone but produces more phones, I seriously doubt that they will introduce a comparable update policy.

Secondly, Shiftphones promised a “sustainabilty report” 2 years ago but has pushed back the deadline ever since. Carsten Waldeck, the founder of the company, promised to deliver the report multiple times “next month”. He even did that in this forum but broke his promise as many times before. Shiftphones finally delivered a report in late 2016 but it stay incredibly vague and does not answer many questions. The section on shiftphones.com that advertised the phone as “fair” was silently removed from the website. On the backside of the Shift7+ though, you can still see “fair assembly in China”. The c’t computer magazine also mentioned this in an article, saying that Waldeck avoids responding to the press and delivering little proof that the smartphone is really “sustainable”.

Shiftphones uses the word “fair” as a marketing gag. With success. The media picked it up with slogans like “Fairphone from Hessen” but in the end it is just a false promise.


#5

@Stefan
I agree with you on the topic of fairness and transparency - I myself spent hours to find out, what exactly their approach is and what kind of impact it has on the local producer and worker. There is even a lengthy discussion on their board about the supply chain, which they just can not provide. Aside from their report, there is not much to see up to now.

The major difference between the two phones would be the unchangable parts of it I’d say - given of course, that modules will be delivered for a long time after the phone comes out. Also, if shiftphone provides better modules and more often, that would also be a factor.

@paulakreuzer
Thanks for the recommendation of using the marketplace. Such an approach would also be my favorite for now. A short note on this: shiftphone has an option of taking back the recent phone for an upgrade. You can kind of “borrow” an existing phone of them until the new one is released.

In the end, my major argument is this: I’m not sure, how long the FP2 will be kept up to date - hardware and software. I just looked it up and the FP2 was just announced roughly 15 months after the FP1 was sold. And now, the FP1 will not even get a further update on Android I guess (still in progress because of bugs afaik). For me, that’s not a long support period.

What kind of modules are definitely planned for the FP2? And in which period? Even if no FP3 is announced until now, if it happens in the coming year, that will reduce the invested time for FP2 improvement (again, hard- and software). Right after the sales of FP1 ended, the development of FP2 began. Now, FP2 slim version is being built and when that’s done… it’s 100 % about the modules?

I’d probably still go for FP2 now - but with a high possibility, that I’d replace it in a year or something.

Thanks for replying so fast btw, really appreciated =)

edit: didn’t see your post 'cause I was writing @HammerTyp - will read it later though.


#6

Well the FP1 runs on a Mediatek chipset and Mediatek makes it extra hard for phone companies to upgrade Android on their “old” chipsets. With that in mind Fairphone decided to go with Qualcomm for the FP2, which turned out was not a magical solution for the issue, but definitely gives FP more options. And upgrade to Android 6 will come (probably soon) and and upgrade to Android 7 (at least for Open OS) is theoretically possible.

You’d have to ask Fairphone that, but a “definitely” is never possible for a small fair player in a dirty game.

No that’s not how it works. One reason for FP to produce the FP2 at that time was actually to gain more funds again so they could afford continuing to work on the FP1. For the FP2 I’m sure it’s the same: Fairphone always do their best to exhaust the possible lifespan of their products unless it would be totally uneconomic. (E.g. atm no manufacturer will produce FP1 spare parts in the low quantity that is needed anymore at a cost that any customer would pay).


#7

I fully support Fairphones vision and I’m still happy with my FP1.
But, as a techie geek, I will not buy a FP2.
In Switzerland 2G will be disabled by 2020 and I really need a dual 3G/4G phone lasting longer than until 2020. So without chipset update, the FP2 is for me no option for the future.

And thanks for the explanation about shiftphone. I read their document and was a little bit happier about some facts but couldn’t find any hard facts, too.


#8

I decided to do a follow up to my previous post because a lot of arguments I wrote down apparently appeeared in the other post mentioned by @Stefan. I will do a product review of the Shift7+ in this thread (because I think it fits there more) if you are interested in that.

First of all I want to say that for a lot of crowdfunded products the fulfillment of their deadline is a problem. This is not unique to Shiftphone or Fairphone but happens to most Kickstarter projects as well. That said, a “high-end phone delivered in Q3 2017” can easily become a “mid-spec phone delivered in Q1 2018”. When Shiftphones started their crowdfunding campaign in 2014, the Shift7+ was considered a high-end phablet but the actual delivery date changed from Q2 2015 to Q1 2016 (same with the FP2 which was promised for Q3/Q4 2015 and delivered Q1 2016). This is something you have to keep in mind when watching for crowdfunded campaigns.

As a security engineer, I value the monthly updates way higher than upgrades on Android 6/7 because this is something unique for Android smartphones. Even Samsung provided only 3-4 updates over 3 years for my Galaxy S3 although they have the biggest market share. So if you care about updates, don’t focus too much on the upgradibility to Android 7, since you will be able to run most apps on 6 anyway. Monthly (security) updates are far more valueable than an upgrade every 1 1/2 years.


#9

@paulakreuzer
I am aware of the problem with the chipset for FP1 updates - but I was more talking about the bugs that are still existing and therefore not allowing FP to release an update for FP1. I’m sure, that the FP2 will have more support, and because of the modularity, will have more hardware support - at least it should. I guess I will approach FP with the question about the plans on modules as you suggested.
And thanks for the info on the FP2 production being started so early to raise funds - wasn’t aware of that.

@Dosc
I think we have to get accustomed to phones being things that you replace in 2-3 years - although I don’t like this idea either. So I’m not sure about your plan to use a phone from today until 2021 (Apple drops software support for their phones after 4-5 years and as HammerTyp mentioned Samsung drops it after 3-4 years). But maybe the shiftphone or the next Fairphone would be an option for you then :wink:

@HammerTyp
Thanks for your offer of an in-depth review! I fully agree with you on the point of reliability and fulfillment of promises. In that case FP is miles ahead I’d say. That’s also why I’d go for the FP2 now (just checked an app on the store for searching student appartments: my OS is not supported, argh) and hoping that many modules and updates will follow :slight_smile: But I’m sure the review will be interesting for others or the shiftphone community.

Will stick at the topic of modules (since that’s the major feature of FP2) and let y’all/the community know if there are any news.
Cheers!


#10

There is no “FP2 slim version”. It’s just a regular FP2, with an other back cover. You can uwe an old or a new cover on your phone, there is no difference.
So maybe you could see the slim cover as a first interchangeable module :wink:


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