I’ve finally bought a Fairphone 4 after a months-long deliberation.
It hasn’t seen much use yet, so i can’t give a definitive response to the poll. I’d say i’m fair-ly satisfied but for now i’ve chosen a neutral response. If Discourse allows me to do so, i’ll keep this post updated.
History & reasoning for buying FP4
My previous (or current, depending on my experience with the FP4) phone was a Samsung Galaxy S5 running LineageOS.
It had everything; OLED screen, IR blaster, headphone jack, 3 physical buttons, 802.11ac WiFi 2x2 MIMO, replaceable battery, SD card slot,…
It’s lasted about 8 years and is still alive, but the batteries aren’t what they used to be and compared to current entry level phones, it’s slow. It can’t even keep three apps in memory without swapping and quickly killing those processes, and every new LOS update since this year fails to install correctly .
If i’m going to buy a new phone, then it’d better last at least as long!
The primary reason for choosing a FP4 was the replaceable battery.
I don’t care about workers’ wages, living conditions, etc. Sure, it’s nice that Fairphone is living on a pink cloud but they’re uttering more marketing than doing the right things. They’re part of the “look at me fishing for likes social media addict” generation.
Experience during the ordering process
First things first, this phone is expensive! Yet, for longevity, i chose the more expensive model.
There were two active discounts at the time; -50 EUR for newsletter subscribers, and -5 EUR discount on shipping. Neither were applied during checkout and it took a couple back- and forths with a customer service representative to get it resolved (order canceled ).
I eventually bought the FP4 via a third-party webstore where it was priced over 100 EUR cheaper.
It’s a Dutch company, so it was easy for me to communicate with them in my native language.
The first reply arrived after a painful 7 days of waiting, but subsequent replies took less than a day.
The representative was courteous, offered a 5 EUR discount but refused the 50 EUR discount because i wasn’t already a subscriber to the newsletter. The terms and conditions didn’t say anything about the time one had to be a subscriber to be eligable for the discount, but it did say it’s at their sole discretion to give or revoke discounts.
When i asked to cancel my order, the rep didn’t try to change my opinion or chase the sale for commission, he just did what i asked and that’s admirable.
When i read things like this, i don’t feel bad at all.
The hardware in general
Compared to my S5, it’s a huge step up, but objectively the specifications are weak.
For now, the FP4 has been able to run all of my favourite apps without struggling for resources.
- No OLED screen, but IPS.
- More power hungry, worse colours, but less susceptible to screen burn-in
- No notification LED
- Guess i’ll have to occasionally check the phone?
- Perhaps it’ll help people give up on their addiction to smartphones?
- No 3,5mm jack
- I’ve recently bought a wireless headphone so it’s less of an issue now but i’d still like to quickly plug in- and out without losing quality. I’ve yet to test any USB-C to AA adapters.
- The built-in speaker is a boombox!
- It’s much louder than my S5.
- Battery life
- It lasts for over a day with partial use, that’s longer than my S5.
- Battery cover
- This may be a good or a bad thing, depending on the number of physical battery changes but the back cover is somewhat difficult to loosen.
- WiFi only 1x1, no MIMO support
- It’s a phone, who even needs MIMO speed boosts? I probably don’t, and when used for actual downloads, the eMMC probably can’t handle such speeds (please link me to some technical documentation if you have it), but it’s a bummer. I want the bragging rights to boast about my expensive phone and WiFi access points! My laptop easily reaches double of these results.
Objective measurements attached:
I can’t judge about the quality their software, because i installed CalyxOS.
At this time there’s no support for the wide-angle camera nor the ToF sensor, but times may be changing.
The camera apps are noticeably slower than the ones on my S5
The fingerprint sensor is fairly accurate at recognizing me when i position my finger the same way i did during the initial setup, but when i rotate my finger it’s rejecting the scan. Is this a ubiquitous response in all phones?
Bluetooth 5.x connections have a much further reach than what my S5 offered, and they haven’t dropped out yet.
It’s too early to say. I love to complain (or so it seems when i read my own post).
Most of my opinions are purely subjective, and in comparison to my previous smartphone.
For now i’m fairly satisfied, but the few issues that i’m facing in addition to not fully having tested everything made me choose the neutral option in the poll.