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Should I buy Fairphone 2?

Hello,

I was wondering if anyone would be able to help with my questions about Fairphone 2?

Background:
I currently own a Fairphone 1 (First edition original batch). The USB port unfortunately stopped working, and the repair shop I took it to blew the motherboard when trying to fix it. So now I have a very dead Fairphone 1. I am considering replacing the motherboard, however as the Fairphone 2 is out I am also considering upgrading (fixing the motherboard is really quite expensive for what it is)

Questions I have about Fairphone 2:

  • Are the battery issues from Fairphone 1 solved? My battery percentage indicator was always all over the place, despite getting a replacement battery when my original started bloating.

  • Are the modules up-gradable in the future? - Will I be able to install, for example, a better camera and will the phone be able to handle that (obviously assuming this upgraded module is produced)

  • How future proof is the phone? One of my disappointments concerning the FP1 was that e.g. the operating system was not up-gradable beyond a certain point and that eventually the phone would be vulnerable to hackers. And that the phone was not 4G compatible.

  • How good is the camera? I’m not a huge fan of the camera on FP1 but I’m not sure what the specifications on the FP2 mean. Will it function in low light? Will I be able to focus on close objects? (Something that doesn’t seem to be easily possible on FP1)

I think those are my main concerns. I also think it would nice if us original buyers of the FP1 could get some kind of recognition / deal on the FP2, since we were the guinea pigs!

Thank you for your help!

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Hey Joelle,

as no one has a FP2 yet it is hard to tell what the FP2 is good for by now. You might want to check the tests of the final phones listed here :smile: The ones from number 19 and higher are the most recent ones.

That is not definite yet. I personally think it is likely that at some point in the future, a better camera module might be offered but there has not been any announcement about the development of module upgrades at all yet.

The FP2 is 4G compatible in (most of?) Europe. Also Fairphone chose Qualcomm instead of Mediatek as the SoC manufacturer to have higher chances of being able to provide new Software for a longer time. Whether there will be struggles with that or not is hard to tell by now, but I’m personally not worried about this.

The camera has been tested in several of the reviews mentioned above. We have a gallery of pictures taken by a FP2 in the forum as well (see here).

This has been discussed several times in this forum already. :wink:

Hope I could help a little,
all the best

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Joelle, I just summarize your points and will answer in italics inline.

  • Are the battery issues from Fairphone 1 solved? My battery percentage indicator was always all over the place, despite getting a replacement battery when my original started bloating.

They changed the company making the batteries. But there are no failure rate numbers for the batteries/their age/batches. I guess the new one will work better, because it’s … new :slight_smile:

  • Are the modules up-gradable in the future? - Will I be able to install, for example, a better camera and will the phone be able to handle that (obviously assuming this upgraded module is produced)

Yes, the camera module is open enough for an update of the same kind of camera, you could even update now, if you find a way to include the needed binaries into the phones ROM. I think they already set it up this way.

  • How future proof is the phone? One of my disappointments concerning the FP1 was that e.g. the operating system was not up-gradable beyond a certain point and that eventually the phone would be vulnerable to hackers.

It’s all about the software and the batteries … and later about the SoC. So if you don’t break parts, the software is the main issue. So far, it is not released, so no one can tell. But it looks better than before (that’s not so hard to do, honestly, as long as Qualcomm is doing all the work.).

  • How good is the camera? I’m not a huge fan of the camera on FP1 but I’m not sure what the specifications on the FP2 mean. Will it function in low light? Will I be able to focus on close objects? (Something that doesn’t seem to be easily possible on FP1)

Depends on what kind of pictures you normally take. Low-light pictures of your friends in a bar without flash? High ISO will eat up all the details … but switching to b/w will still make it look good, I guess. But pictures of your friends outside with lots of available sunlight will look very nice. I haven’t seen any “close objects” pictures so far.

  • also think it would nice if us original buyers of the FP1 could get some kind of recognition / deal on the FP2, since we were the guinea pigs!

They already said no.

My advise: Just wait and find out if the FP2 is what you want by waiting a bit longer. It’s much better than the FP1 judging by what was published so far. But I personally wait for the full facts release this time … once bitten twice shy, as they say.

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You already got most questions answered there are just a few things I’d like to add:

I guess you are asking if FP2 has a better battery than the FP1(U). I’d guess yes, but we’ll have to some months after first shipment if people report e.g. bloating batteries.
If your asking wheter there is a solution for problems with a FP1 the answer is yes: see Battery Guide.

Fairphone will continue to support the FP1 with security updates for some years so even stuck on Android 4.2 it will still be somewhat secure. With the FP2 they will hopefully get Android updates and they will surely provide security updates for many years.

I’m not an expert on current high end smartphone cameras but I don’t know of any phone (yet) that can make really good photos in the dark or make close-ups without an external objective lense.

So to answer the title-question:

If you need a phone and you set value on sustainability, then the FP2 is the best choice.

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Producing a new FP1 mainboard should be imho considered non-ethical, given the expected lifetime of the device. Therefore my suggestion: Give the working display etc. to someone who has a broken screen and get a FP2, if you can afford it.

You mean, “as secure” as it has been with the widely open Webview vulnerabilities for the last months? Oh yes, sure thing…

Thanks all for thoughtful replies!

Ideally my FP1 would have lasted a bit longer in time for reviews of FP2 / even the release of a FP3. But it’s happened now and I need a phone soon! (And, it turns out motherboards for FP1 are out of stock…)

I think if it were a bit cheaper I’d be more willing to take the plunge and risk it, so to speak. It’s also much larger than what I would prefer (even FP1 is bigger than I would like!).

But then Fairphone really does seem to be the best company for many aspects that I am concerned about! Hopefully user reviews start coming in as the Fairphone is shipped…

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Which other companies/aspects have you checked? Just wondering. Only a few people really go and check facts. It would be nice to know what other companies have tried to improve in the meantime or what kind of information they give out.

This are already two reasons for which I am not yet decided about getting one, together with their choice of (again) a proprietary hardware platform.

I don’t know of other companies which seem to pay much attention to the “fairness” aspects though, so if this is your main driver you probably don’t really have an alternative.

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Hi Sietse,
I am considering getting fairphone 2 at present i have an iphone 4s which i have had for a few years. I will not get another iphone once my present one stops working. I recently watched an amnesty report on cobalt mining in DR Congo of children some as young as 8 years old even younger working long days in harsh conditions under duress all for the luxury of someone like me with my iphone which uses cobalt mineral in my lithium-ion battery. I want to buy a phone which has parts which are ethnically sourced . Where can i see the breakdown of materials used in your fairphone and how they are sourced and workers are paid fairly and children are not exploited. I really think fairphone is an amazing company if it is genuine and i will fully support it and will let friends know who i know would be keen to purchase such a phone if it is ethnically sourced. Thank you for your time in reading this and i look forward to hearing back from you with a breakdown of materials or is there a link you can send on. Thanks. Aidan

https://www.fairphone.com/en/project/understanding-materials-mobile-phones/
In general, I think you will like to read the whole story: https://www.fairphone.com/en/our-goals/

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@aidankav indeed the links @danielsjohan gave should give you all the information you are asking for.
If not be sure to contact our customer support if you have more questions (if the forum community can’t answer them).

Hi there,

I know your post is quite old, i wanted to share my thoughts about a few things. I had FP1 and an FP2. The latter It is far too big and not very handy for day to day use in terms of portability. If you like bigger screen sizes, read below:

I put together my FP1 and FP2 and saw that FP1 actually uses the same amount of screen in a smaller size device. only that the FP2 includes the area of the buttons and on FP1 the buttons are a line below. Same usable space. So it is bigger but not more efficient. It does have a good resolution.

Also the icons are more compact. On the FP2you can fit 4 x 5 whilst on the FP1 4 x6 so we could actually fit more on the FP1 Screen and it is more convenient. The FP2 icons are far too large.

I find annoying not being able to see the battery life at one glance and having to double tap. i am always on the go and have to account for this due to FP2´s terrible battery drain.

I totally hate the fact that camera takes photos directly to google drive and does not save on the SD card, i have not been able to find this in its configuration.

However I adore the fact that it has multiple users allowing me to have my two Whatsapps installed separately without a problem.

I am very disappointed with the usability and practicality of FP2 in contrast to FP1 and the excuse that “the screen is larger” when in practice it is smaller as it is capable of holding less on it.

It does have a great camera and it is easy to disassemble it for repairs but the day to day use of it is more important to me than the odd needs.

I find Odd and silly to call file manager Amaze, but once i could finally discover where to manage files i thought it was cute to call it that way… though not very intuitive. I like that it is possible to create shortcuts to specific folders and that all files are organised by type.

I think i expected more from FP2 in terms of it being more efficient rather than voluptuous, for what i have read on forums, most people tend to want a practical good device rather than a voluptuous large inefficient one. Especially at the price it had. I dont believe the size justified the price. I rather have a smaller one reusuing previous parts (wasnt it about being more environmentlly friendly?) with a smaller cost or where the cost is justified in feature improvements.

I am sure there are lessons to learn for the following design. Whilst I still believe in Fairphone´s ideals, I hope in future the fairphone team does not forget its current customers who decided to join the movement, rather than “a generalised abstract consumer group” which may want this or that… I believe those of us that decide to purchase a Fairphone device is not because we are so easily labelled as the generalised consumer group, but those that did a good research, liked what you offered and were willing to pay a little more to have something special, not a common phone from the pile.

Thank you, however, Fairphone team for doing a great job, which is not easy, and carrying on with improving the brand…

Andrea

PS: I do miss the picture of the star in the logo!

Very true, but easy to fix: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.kroegerama.android4batpercent

(Works at least in Fairphone Open OS, can somebody confirm for Fairphone OS?)

As far as I remember, this is an Android problem. If you root the phone, you can get an app that makes the SD card writable. I don’t use the Google camera, but at least Open Camera gives you the possibility to select the saving location.

Personally, I think most of the issues you raise can easily be solved by searching the forum. Most “problems” are caused by the fact the FP2 comes non-rooted by default and the new Android version behaving different.

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