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My 6 months with my FP2 have been a BAD experience

Hello this my first post in the forum. Although I’ve been a regular reader of posts in this forum I’ve decided to create an account to share the overall bad experience that I’ve had with this phone.
First of all I decided to buy this phone as a way to support an idea I still believe in, that is a more sustainable and responsible use of technology. When you first unbox your FP2 you’ll be aware that it is not as fancy as the regular smartphone brands. This didn’t bother me at all, as long as it worked I would be happy and proud to hold it in my hands. Sadly this was not the case. The first 3 months the phone run smoothly but soon after my cameras (both front and rear stopped working). What I did then was use every hint and tip provided by the great community is this forum, however, they ended up being temporary measures as the cameras stop working again after a while. More recently, my microphone has stopped working so now I can only make call while on speaker mode. I could somehow get by without taking pics or recording videos but the mic not working has rendered my phone useless. It’s saddening that after contacting the support team I’ve received no answer. I won’t give up my ideas for a more sustainable use of resources and technology but I expected more from this company. Many people have been having technical issues, specially with the cameras. The fact that the support team won’t even reply has been a huge let down too. I don’t know if you’ve had a experience like mine or if my case is one in a million but it is kind of frustrating. What I’m sure is that as of right now I can only but discourage my closest friends, family and social media followers from buying this product.

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How long are you waiting? Have you tried giving them a call?

You have 2 years guarantee, so you don’t just have to live with the issues you describe, but are entitled to free replacements or repairs.
The community can’t really help you, but support has to.

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Hello Paula,

I little update on my case. Following your advice I placed a call on the support team and from there on they have taken me more seriously. They are sending me a couple of modules to be replaced. Let’s hope this solves the problems I’ve been experiencing. Thanks for your interest. I’ll keep you updated.

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CKnight, good luck. You at least have hope.
I bought an FP2 from an Orange shop and it worked a charm for 1 year before it got unfortunately stolen. But I was happy with it, so I ordered a new one online, and boy was that a mistake.

3 months in, the camera stopped working anytime it was warm, cold, or basically if I was starting holidays. The screen just went all full of pixels. Pushing the back around the lens would make it work. And then maybe a few weeks later it would work normally again. But basically I couldn’t trust it would work when needed.

Give or take another 3 months, the microphone stops working. I’m down to using headsets or loudspeaker, because then there is a second mike at the top of the phone that will pick up my voice.

In the meantime, the battery starts going from 30% or 40% to 15% just like that, and then maybe 5 minutes later switching off. Other times it might last hours at 4% for example.
If I take the battery out and reinsert it to reboot, I’ll suddenly have 30 or 40% battery again. So I think it’s actually the controller, rather than the battery proper.

I try the software upgrades and tweaks I can, but once I read the instructions I’m not comfortable enough replacing any of the malfunctioning modules. No one around will touch the FP2 either for repairs. So I continue to stubbornly make do.

I notice also in the meantime that sometimes the alarm will not ring, just vibrate no matter what I do. Then the next day maybe it will just start ringing again. Fortunately I’m a light sleeper so the buzzing was enough.

A year after buying the FP2, the SD card reader out of the blue dies. Conveniently, right the day I’m doing a 100km trekking event. So I’m left walking for 24 hours without music. Further, the slot is so tight and has these annoying bumps to keep the card in place that it is virtually impossible to easily remove the card. A technician ended up having to struggle with special tweezers to remove it later. By then, however, I had broken the 64GB SD card trying to follow advice to remove it and reinsert it to get the thing running again.

Still, I was able to WhatsApp and surf, and I mostly called over voip and I didn’t have a replacement phone to use while this went for repairs, so I just kept using it and adapting around all the stuff not working.

At some point I start noticing that I get messages about missed calls that never rung. Well, coverage is notoriously patchy in some parts of my town, so I put it down to that… Until I tried making calls and saw the calls would not connect. Then I realised they would connect if I switched to 2G.
So from then on I was keeping the phone on 2G so as to have voice, and switching to 4G if i needed net. I read other brands having this issue, so, not an FP2 specific thing, but I sighed at my bad luck with it as kept going.

And then I get to December 2019. I realise I can barely hear people when I have someone on loudspeaker. If I play videos, or have ringtones play, it sounds loud enough, but the calls, no matter how much I fiddle with the volumes, I can barely hear anyone. Never figured out what was up there.

And a couple of weeks later, I travel abroad and find myself really struggling to get coverage. 2G, 4G, it doesn’t matter. One moment it shows, the next it disappears. One moment I’m online at high speed, the next it can’t find any operator. It doesn’t matter if I’m indoors, outdoors, where in town… it seems pretty random.
I make manual searches and it finds operators, but then tries and tries and fails to connect to them.
But sometimes it will also simply give an error that it is unable to search for operators.
Battery out, battery in, and it starts being able again. But it barely ever connects in demand. Sometimes it will just show up connected again without anyone touching it and I’ll know by the accumulated messages pinging in.

As the month progresses, the problem gets worse and worse. By Christmas, it will be out of the grid 60-70% of the time. But even when it says it has coverage, messages don’t go out or come in, and trying to call often leads to the coverage disappearing.

By New Year I had an SMS remaining ‘sending’ from around noon to midnight, at which point I went back to basics, banged the phone a couple of times against my leg and lo and behold, the message finally went. Not sure what is happening there. Another bad contact? It’s a mystery.

So, in conclusion, I had really planned for this phone to last me a long while.
My previous dumbphone lasted me close to 10 years.
This one I’m finally burying after about 20 months, and that’s including plain stubbornness for at least 15 of those. Most of my friends made jokes about my phone for most of 2019.
I also know two other people who bought these and were really activist about it, but they have also parked them at the back of a drawer a long time ago.

It’s still a great idea, but as it is it ends up being more wasteful than a big brand phone, because it can just generate so many issues that one gives up on it. At the sam em time, your non-sustainable neighbour will keep his going for years on end without a worry.

I can just guess that the problem is mostly with quality, rather than design. If you’re lucky, you can get one that works perfectly like the one I first had. But if you’re out of luck, wow, there are so many big things that seem prone to be causing trouble.

I’m with you. I’m warning everyone off it, much to my regret.
Shame.

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I have the same experience with the FP2. Unfortunately, because I am a FP user since the first edition of the FP1 and I like the concept and really want to give it a chance. But: I bought a new one -FP2- on the 4th of July this year. Since then it needed a new camera module and already 2 [two!] repairs. In sept 2019 it needed a new motherboard because the phone had died. Less than 2 months later it was making hiccups (it was impossible to activate it, it went repeatedly on and off) and it had to be shipped again!! I don’t call that a new phone anymore, it is a patched up one (in Dutch: opgelapt)! My questions about me not being able to save my data remained unanswered. The FP2 (I tried several) does not charge via laptop and is not recognized.
The forum is piling up with problems with the camera and other issues, but FP is not responding. Still from time to time the rear camera is not recognized. Annoying.
When the phone returned the (2nd) problem was fixed but now the calling up itself gives problems. People can only hear me talking when in speaker-modus. So that’s another issue/problem to this pretty ‘new’ device (again: I bought this one in July!). I really want to give it another chance, but I fear I’ll be forced to buy a much cheaper, but more reliable one. I would never buy a FP3 for this matter, also because of the very bad customer service. I really don’t understand, when the first motherboard-problem arose, they didn’t offer to exchange the phone for a new one? I do not understand why FP cannot provide this service to a loyal customer.
I have no experience with the FP3 in particular. The FP1 worked fine, by the way.

I moved your post here because it doesn’t contribute to the question at hand in the Fairphone 3 topic, whereas this topic here seems much more fitting.

I feel for you…BUT I have had every single issue with my fairphone 2 solved by the very friendly and quick support team. They have, over the years, sent me several new modules for free so I am surprised to hear your of your troubles. I hope you get it sorted soon.

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Did you contact support, as you did not mention this even once in your lengthy post?
Your’s should have been a warranty case from the first troubles you experienced.
You should have gotten a new phone in exchange or at least some new modules to start with.

@Tiny_Polderman as well:
While one can have bad luck with any brand, the FP2 has a serious design problem, as the clip-mechanism to open, close and connect the cover and the display and the very flexible frame of the core module spell trouble, if this phone is treated like every other phone (e.g. carrying the phone in a trouser pocket). Reasons: losing contact and dirt and dust entering the phone.

The FP3 is a totally different design, that is meant to avoid all thoses troubles the FP2 caused.
Therefore I guess, one can not judge one by the other.

Well, I would guess, that it is primarily a question of resources.
Fairphone most likely will not have that much pocket money, that they can afford to be too generous; even more so, when they are working on developing new devices and reaching more customers. (Not that I would not agree with your complaint.)

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I do not have anything to say about the support, except that I would like a website with solutions and faqs instead of just a forum. I guess I’m old school. I liked it when providers/companies had website with menus you could click through until you got to your answer, and then maybe had a forum for quirkier stuff.
Anyhow, I had a friend with the exact same problem with the camera, and the only option was changing the module. She even went there to the hq in Holland, and ended up shelving the phone anyhow. For me, one, I’m not comfortable doing the module switch myself and honestly, I can’t make heads or tails of the instructions and having to trawl a forum for possible solutions does not fill me with any extra confidence. And two, I barely used the camera except on holidays, so I kept on procrastinating on it and using an actual camera I had.
For the other things, no, because I always saw on the forums that it would mean sending the phone in, which I couldn’t do because I didn’t have a replacement to keep me going.
So I just kept using it. And as more things kept breaking down, I thought, so much for a sustainable phone if the only thing staying is the cover and the screen and everything else breaks down time and again. And in any regard, I started having second thoughts about just how much of the phone is sustainably sourced and produced after all, even if I agree it makes the most effort towards it.
At that point, besides not having the option of being without a phone for weeks or months, I had given up on it as an unreliable design so I called it quits and just waited for it to be beyond using.
My last phone, from a well-known brand lasted 10 years. I searched for straight reliability after the FP2. If this next phone reliably makes anywhere close to that distance, I figure I’ll have out-sustained the FP2 anyhow.

There is an online diagnosis and repair tool.

Did your friend go to Amsterdam with the phone expecting a repair on the spot? Because there are online tools in place to get phones checked and repaired, you can’t just go to company headquarters and ask the receptionist for a cup of coffee and a warranty repair.

Again, have you contacted FP support at any point about the issues your phone had? You can send the phone in to have it repaired like with any smartphone, but if you don’t want to do that you can read the iFixit guides to learn how to replace a part, find a friend who’s a bit more familiar with repairs who can look up the guides and perform the repair, or even see if there’s a Fairphone Angel near you who will do it. There are many options here, more than with any other brand of smartphone.

I understand that these defects must have been frustrating, but if your phone (which I surmise was within the warranty period when you stopped using it) has problems and you then make the conscious decision to not have it looked at and repaired for free, that’s hardly a knock on the phone or its manufacturer.

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The online diagnosis and repair tool did diddly squat except tell me to replace things, which was also what googling said. Some faults would be home replaceable, some had to be sent in, and some faults nobody seems to actually know what is wrong.

iFixit I did not find any help there. In fact, I have no idea whatsoever what it actually does or how it is ever supposed to be any help. Maybe it’s me, but I didn’t get it at all. More power to you if you think it’s useful.

My friend was visiting the hq unconnected to the fault, but since she was there chatting with them, she asked opinions. She also went to meet some sort of repair community around here. Everybody very nice, and very helpful, but it still boiled down to having to replace the part. I think she eventually actually even got a replacement phone at some point, but then a while later the battery died on her. She’s still a fan, but uses an old Nokia and shelved the FP2.

None of my friends would touch this phone, even the couple of them with a bit of tech genes. Repair shops don’t touch it either because they don’t know it. Which is fair enough, and not FP’s fault.

Yeah, I admit, I first procrastinated because the first faults weren’t essential features for me and I couldn’t miss the phone, and when the problems accumulated, I still couldn’t miss the phone, but I also gave up on it as more trouble than it was worth and decided that when it became absolutely unusable I’d just switch.
Could I have sent it to repair? Yeah.
Would it have been repaired? Maybe.
But I would have had to send it for repairs what? 6 times? I’d have to have a phone to backup my FP2 phone. Hardly seems normal.
Had I lost confidence in it? Yes. Absolutely.

Does this inaction on my part illibate the manufacturer or the phone? I beg to disagree and say no. It illibates the customer service, since I didn’t call them, but it is still not normal that a single phone, which is rather expensive, I might add, has so many faults appearing.
I don’t know if it’s bad design, or bad quality control. And frankly, I don’t care. It was still a bad product I got, and so I dropped it.
End of story for me.
If others want to fight on, more power to you.
But I thought people should know what they might be getting themselves into.

I really feel for you and can absolutely understand your reasoning and decision.
Just let me point some more things out:

  • Getting the phone exchanged by support at an early stage might have solved your troubles and your experience would have been a totally different one (as is mine for example)
  • Having to exchange modules is obviously a drawback for reducing waste, but it is absolutely feasible and easy done with the FP2 (you just have to be able to turn a screw in the right direction - that’s what the iFixIt page is for).
  • Fairphone is a rather small company. The FP2 was their second model and the first one, they developed themselves. They sold about 60,000 FP1 (if my memory serves me right).
    The modular design is a revolutionary new one, that no other manufacturer has ever done.
    Conclusion: Expecting that phone to be and to work like every other phone on the market was never realistic. It rather could be expected, that such new technological devices face unexpected problems (especially when done by a startup rather than by a global player).

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to put the blame on you, as they could have made that more clear, But on the other hand, I am sure, they did not expect so much trouble with the FP2.

And - finally - the FP2 experience can not serve as an example for the FP3, since they have changed the design effectively based on the experiences with the FP2.

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Hi! Just a small update on the FP2 experience! After getting in contact with the support team I was supplied with several modules to replace the original ones. Twice for the cameras and once for the microphone. Since none of those replacements fixed the issues, my phone was sent to the repairs team and they changed the motherboard. Let’s hope that this fixes my issues. So far the support team has been attentive, something that I consider important. I’ll keep you guys updated in the coming months. Thanks for all your feedback :wink:

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Hi guys!

So my microphone is not working again. Somehow I kind of expected this would happen at some point. I am starting to think that FP is a good project on the paper but an incomplete one in practice. I don’t see the point in trying to fix it it will most likely require a new shipment with new pieces of the phone. Overall, I think that so much failure defeats the purpose of a sustainable phone. Needless to say, I have had better experiences with iPhone. Yes they are more expensive and to some extent unethical. However, they last for 5 years or more and that means that i won’t be needing replacements and unnecessary shipments that contribute to world contamination.

The FP2 was an experiment in modularity?
It - obviously - took the concept that one step too far.

Still, what we don’t know, but what I personally guess (concerning contributing to world contamination):
Fairphone - especially when producing the FP2 - was a rather small company not exactly widely known in the market.
As a result, they had not the means to establish a testing of parts as thorough as the global players. But I am sure, that the global players will tollerate only the tiniest margin of error and if any delivery is not up to standard, they surely will refuse it and it will go to waste or the manufacturer in advance throws them away before delivering it.
So, my guess, there were more faulty parts being deilivered to Fairphone for the FP2 and ended up at the customers, that would have been thrown away, were they meant for Apple or Samsung.

In the end, I suspect, that many errors and defects wee caused by the modularity and the tear and wear coming with it. But at the same time there was a certain percentage of faulty parts, that would have been wasted with every manufacturer.

The one reallxý positive thing is, that Fairphone has learned from this and changed the construction for the FP3.

Plus:
Keep in mind, that the quantity of FP2s sold equals less than Apple sells in 12 hours.
Apple sold 38 million iphones during the second quarter of 2019 (Source: leftronic.com), which equals more than 400,000 phones a day!
By that measure, FP has a really steep learning curve. :wink:

I understand u. My FP2 is now 4 years old and I had plenty of Issues during this time: First twice the tranparent cover, then the mic and unintendet restarting and since the last year my display brings my constantly straight insight the matrix. All of this is annoying, but

1. The support and the community really supported me. (I got two new backcovers, now its fine. I fixed the restarting by narrowing the space for my battery. I got a new microphone module, ok its now broken again, but phoning via headset works fine for me)
2. I see the company and all Fairphoners working hard and improving with every phone, learning their lessons with every failure and making things possible I never expected. (Like I get Android 9 on my FP2, wow!, I never expected this after the Problems already faced with Android 7)

And most important: I know FP3 is only possible because enough people bought the first two phones. By knowing all this, its oke for me for having not a polished iphone, but a bit rough FP2.

And if I get asked what this unkown “Fairphone brand” is, I tell them about the vision and the problems, most of them are still impressend by the ambition; maybe it was too ambitious with FP1/FP2 and many buyers left the community because of the (obvious) problems, but I appreciate the speed of development and the “really steep learning curve” like mentioned by BertG.

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I just got a reminder from Facebook that I’ve had my Fairphone 2 for four years today. I also had problems with the microphone and as I don’t talk on the phone that much it took me ages to realize where the problem was. The first that broke was the case, and I couldn’t get a replacement in a colour I wanted (black). Then there was the mic, then the camera. I was never satisfied with the quality of the original camera so I bought a better one. That turned out to be faulty so I got a new one. Then this spring the screen stopped working (couldn’t swipe on it) and got a new one (just days before I ended in hospital because of Covid-19…). So during these four years I’ve had to change every part that can be changed (oh yeah, battery as well) and the cost of those amount to about the half the price the phone was in the beginning. Also the frustration when something wasn’t working properly was annoying. Don’t know if I’ve saved that much with buying new parts all the time, don’t know how long the other brands Android phones last (I refuse iAnything), but if I had needed to buy a new phone every time something broke on my Fairphone I have saved quite a lot of the Earth’s resources. :green_heart::earth_africa::earth_americas::earth_asia::globe_with_meridians::iphone:

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