No notification LED and no replaceable microphone in FP4

Hi @mikiballester, thanks for joining the conversation. I do wonder what the 3 holes are at the front of the device. Knowing what they are should clarify any doubts. Because in the spec sheet it does list a LED for the core module while the camera module lists a flash. See screenshot below for clarification, note the small red rectangulars. So to me it does look like the core module has a LED, listed in the same row as the items that are at the front of the phone such as the ambient light sensor and proximity sensor. And then of course the flash is listed for the camera module, which is at the back.

What was the reasoning behind removing the notification LED by the way? A camera flashlight cannot really replace its functionality. It’s at the back of the phone, so you cannot read the notification that’s on the screen. It’s also super bright, that’s not ideal, and having it flash every 2 seconds (because that’s what a persistent notification does) would drain your battery as well. And talking about batteries, a notification LED is ideal to indicate the charging status or alert you about a low battery. A camera flashlight cannot substitute that.

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Anyhow, no LED means there is no.

Discussion in this regard can therefore be ended, as it leads nowhere. Even if it will be difficult to accept for one or the other.

Only a feature request for upcoming models can be set.

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Technical specs say there is a LED, Fairphone employee says there is no LED :slight_smile: I think there is still room for some questions and answers, like the ones in my previous comment :nerd_face: You’re free exclude yourself if you’re satisfied with the information provided of course.

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Hi @UPPERCASE,

You are referring not to the specs but to an article that points to the pricing of our spare parts at the repair center. There was a mistake in that article that has already been fixed. If you are curious, the 3 windows at the front panel of the display are for the light, ambient colour and proximity sensors. That helps regulate your FP4 display.

Thanks!

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Thanks for getting back to me. I still find it a bit strange that one other employee clearly said there was a LED, but just not part of the user experience. But it wouldn’t make any sense that FP installed a LED and by no means wants to enable it, so I guess there is no LED.

The spec sheet is now indeed updated without listing the LED, but also not this color sensor you mentioned. Could you update that as well?

I also do wonder why a notification LED was not included. If you could please answer that last question, then the community has all the information and we can refer to this thread when people bring up these questions again. That prevents speculation and long discussions.

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@mikiballester 's answer is slightly different from the answer I recently received from support:

Hi
To be clear: the Fairphone 4 does not have an LED that is visible. So no, there isn’t an LED there to be used.
However, you could look into third-party apps that simulate a notification LED. These actually show notifications on the display but provides the same effect as an LED. Please be aware though that such apps cause heavy battery drain.
If you have any further questions please let me know. I am happy to help!

So there is an LED on the core module that is not visible?

I really miss that there is no complete teardown yet where you could see details of the core module. I’ll have an FP4 in my hands soon and I will take the opportunity to teardown the core module :upside_down_face:

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hi there,

I am Head of Product Management. We and our engineering team have been designing and working in the engineering of this phone. So you are getting first-hand information.

@UPPERCASE the list you refer to is not a spec sheet. Is a list of prices and there were several mistakes that we have fixed. It could be that we used a same template as for FP3 and some items were legacy. Led was not included as a design decision like many other decisiones were made. We simply did not think that it was adding enough functionality, we gained some space on the PCB and it was one component less to use.

@HolosericaCaligo There is no LED in the core of the phone as I already explained. I will make sure that customer support also knows this. We used to always have a detailed teardown done by iFixit, but this time around they made a video where fewer details are shared. It is not in our plan to provide our own teardown at this moment.

Thanks for your attention!

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OK, thanks for last clearing words
Discussion is hopefully ended now

equal if the decision is good or not, i like, that we have direct contact to the developers. thats a cool Advantage

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C‘mon @mikiballester, it’s the internet! You can not convince people just by pure facts. :grimacing::grimacing::grimacing:

I’m following this topic for quite a while now with amusement.

Next steps will be further speculations about Fairphone’s true intentions.

I mean, Fairphones plans are too obvious, don’t you think? :nerd_face:

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Not everyone is susceptible to facts, that’s true. As far as I can tell there wasn’t yet a clear answer from FP if there was a LED or not and why it was removed. That has now been cleared up, thanks @mikiballester!

I updated this wiki with a list of design decisions. Getting answers straight from the source with the technical reasoning prevents these long discussions with a lot of speculation. Discussions will still take place, of course, and that’s fine. But at least the community now has a reference of why FP took these decisions. So finally the community doesn’t have to guess and argue about that anymore :slight_smile: I suppose that’s already 75% of the discussion in this thread.

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In my defense, I wrote these highly elaborate plans before I started being employed by Fairphone.

Come to think of it … I wonder if that was the reason that I got hired :wink:

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We also infiltrated @z3ntu into Fairphone HQ, so yes, there seems to be a plan behind…

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As mentioned several times in this thread, the absence of notification LED is only a definitive problem when the screen isn’t viable for AOD.
But we’re talking about a Fairphone so the screen is replaceable, just like the FP3’s camera. So simple question, is a screen upgrade envisioned for the people who want persistent notifications (along with a FP4+ for people who want it directly without buying a phone with screen plus a screen)?

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Hi and welcome to the forum.

Hopefully you are aware that this is only a user forum and you will get no ‘definitive’ answer. However I imagine it is unlikely.

A new screen, new software, would it need . . . more than that.

You can contact Fairphone and ask but . . . . . .

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I also miss a notification LED, especially when you need to call back to important people but you have to set it to “Do Not Disturb” while working.

@Mikiballster

There is a setting so that the display is switched on briefly when there is a message.
Couldn’t you provide more options here (in an update)?
Repeated switching on of the message display with setting options for frequency, interval, period (and possibly apps).

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I’ve requested a similar feature, but then a longer wake time. But indeed, a recurring notification would be welcome as well. Persistent notifications allow you to interact with the smart features of your phone. Without them a disconnect is formed. These feature requests can glue things somewhat together again.

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This is the first Android I’ve ever had that doesn’t have a persistent LED notification of some kind. I cannot understand why this decision was made, when all my previous phones of many brands always included ways to disable it if desired. I quite like my new FP4 but this makes me a bit crazy, constantly waking up my phone to check for notifications instead of just glancing at it while the screen is asleep.

Anybody who has any suggestions for tweaks that might help make this less annoying? I see there has been a request to wake the screen for a longer initial notification, but that too would then disappear, so if you don’t see it, and the phone goes back to sleep, you don’t know if you got any.

The flashlight workaround also sounds like a battery drain, since as far as I know, we can’t adjust the brightness of the flashlight (?).

Any other ideas? I’m debating returning my phone because of this–it’s such a basic issue that comes up dozens of times daily…

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Hello and welcome to the forum. There are many workarounds, some of them were already mentioned, but I guess it’s somewhat difficult to navigate in this long thread.

  • As you have already mentioned, one of the options is to use the flashlight. There are lots of apps on Google Play, or you can use a custom Automate script, for example this one. If the battery drain is too large, you can adjust the duration of the flash and also the delay between individual flashes.
  • If you don’t want to press the power button to wake up the screen, you can use WaveUp. But be aware that there are currently some problems with the proximity sensor, especially on direct sunlight.
  • If you spend most of your time on a PC, you can sync the notifications using KDE Connect or any similar app.
  • The last option I can think of is using a smartwatch. I personally use Amazfit Neo with a custom Automate script that periodically notifies the watch when there is an unread notification.

If none of this suits you, then FP4 is probably not the right phone for you. (And that’s absolutely okay.)

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There is also Missed Notifications Reminder on F-Droid. My phone is setup to vibrate every one minute when there is a notification.

(Of course, that’s still a workaround and it goes without saying that I’d rather have a notification LED or an AOD.)

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