Should I continue trusting Fairphone?

Dear Fairphone community,

This post is to ask the community for reasons to keep trusting the fair phone movement.

I bought a Fairphone 1U around 3-3.5 years ago because I thought it would be a sustainable phone but it turns out that it didn’t. I paid an astronomic amount of money that I can not afford working as a volunteer for a charity. I made this big investment not only because of the free conflict minerals but also to support a “movement” that I believed it would be sustainable. But sustainability is not about changing your phone every 3 years.

Currently, I begin to have problems with my Fairphone 1 due to the lack of support on the system. (Lots of apps are not compatible with my device and the google search appear to be really slow).

I am thinking if I really need to give another chance to Fairphone and order a Fairphone 2. I think is a great idea de modular design and there’s no other ethical option available in the market. However, I have some doubts.

On one hand, It’s again a huge investment and I don’t think it’s fair that only wealthy people have the opportunity to be ethical. I have already invested on fairphone 1 and it wasn’t as lasting as I expected. Would I have a reduction in the cost of the fairphone 2 then? or are there any kind of help for people with low income?

On the other hand, this phone should be long lasting but you only offer warranty for 2 years. How can I be sure that you are not going to create a fair phone 3 in 3-5 years leaving the fairphone 2 obsolete?

I try to apply sustainability to all aspects of my life, but I can’t really afford to pay £500 every two years, apart from the fact that it wouldn’t be sustainable to do so.

I really would like to continue believing in you, can you help me?



Dear Laura,

I understand your problem, there are a few operators where you can buy an FP2 for a reasonable price together with a contract. On the other hand for me it turned out that buying the phone separately from the SIM contract (both credit and debit) makes the contract rather cheap compared to when you include the phone. Practically in Germany the operator takes between 10 and 20 Euro per month if you get a phone from the operator, which turns out to be up to 480 Euro in two years plus an initial price for the phone.

For me the FP1 appears much faster without Google services installed. If you are depending on certain apps which use some Google services functionality then maybe you have heard about microG. Give it a try in case. For apps just listed in Google Play Store but not requiring the Google Services you can also get the apps from Yalp Store. Just please be careful with your phones’ built-in website rendering engine. Rather use other browsers like IceCat (which is rebranded Firefox in F-Droid app store).

When you run into issues that you can’t fix yourself with hints given from the forum because you experience someone must have a closer look, in case you stay near one of the voluntary Fairphone Angels of the Fairphone Community then maybe someone can even help you with this.

I hope with these ideas you can still use your FP1U for a while.


Dear Laura,

first of all, I am afraid, I honestly can’t answer that question for you, as trust is a very personal thing.
But I can tell you, that I still do trust Faiphone, although I had some problems as well with my FP1 and FP2.

Here’s just some thoughts from me:

In a way you are right of course.
On the other hand, Fairphone still is a small business, lacking the funds as well as the power to strike bargains with suppliers of raw materials, hard- and software.
Therefore I see it this way: the wealthy people are needed to start this movement, so it gets momentum and becomes affordable for everyone. It’s the same with almost every technical thing. Early adopters pay higher prices paving the path for the mass-market.

There’s this statement by a fairphone employee:

Whereas “refurbished” means a used one, that has been checked by Fairphone.
To be found here in a long thread discussing many a question you might have asked yourself:

I don’t know about this, but it’s a interesting question. There is a German newspaper, that offers various kinds of subscriptions (reduced price for low-income people; standard price; solidarity-price for the ones who can afford it and want to supprt the subscriptions at a reduced price).
Should be interesting to learn, if people would be willing to pay such a political price; for example: 325.- / 525.- / 575.-; so four “political customers” would support one “low income customer”. When subscribing to that newspaper, it’s yours to choose, how much you want to pay. Tbh, I have my doubts that it could work like that for a smartphone.

Well, there is no warranty, even if it seems to counter their principles.
As I already said, Fairphone still is a small company and therefore can not be compared to the global players like Apple, Samsung, HTC, etc.; them having support and durabilty problems of their own.
Anyway, the FP1 can not be compared to the FP2 when it comes to supportability, as the 1 was an off the shelf phone by a Chinese manufacturer (that is no longer producing phones btw.), while the 2 has been developed by Fairphone itself, giving them way more influence in the process and on behalf of the parts .
Therefore I really do hope, that support for the FP2 is destined to last longer. Still, one never knows what might happen, even Fairphone can not foresee everything and might be forced to a change of plans. (They just should be more forthcoming about such developments.)

My impression is, that Fairphone is very dedicated but might be a bit challenged to stay on top with all the tasks at hand (keep in mind: this list is just plausible guesswork on my behalf):

  • Developing a FP3 (or 2.1)
  • Developing new modules (better camera)
  • Keeping the software updated
  • Producing FP2 for delivery by end of October
  • Fixing flaws
  • Providing support and handling warranty cases
  • Making business plans and most likely negotiating with retailers and mobile service providers

This may not seem a long list, but from what I know, every one point on that list is tieing up a serious amount of workforce and I don’t expect that list to be complete.

As far as I am concerned, I am really surprised what has been achieved already, especially with regard to this active and able community, developing various OS, working on bugfixing and helping each other.
This all - in my opinion - makes up for the shortcomings of my FP2 and is reason enough to keep my trust.

Well, that has become a bit long; and still its far from all I have been thinking about.
Maybe you would like to browse #community, as there are some threads, that might be interisting for you; and it’s not just unanimous praise of Fairphone. :wink:


You mention you work for a charity. Fairphone on the other hand is a company that needs to be profitable to be sustainable. To trust in Fairphone, you also need to have some trust in their business decisions and from that perspective, there was no alternative to the decision to stop supporting the Fp1.

Regarding sustainability of the FP1: The FP1 was a licensed design that was only very slightly improved. You say it was hard for you to afford, but it’s not been expensive for a long living phone. Larger companies either don’t even produce phones at that price point (like Apple) or don’t really support them after they are on the market. 325€ is still a rather cheap phone.

The Fairphone 2 cost 525€ and I personally belief that it should not get much cheaper. That’s because I think the costs to support such a phone an the need to be profitable in the long run (to be able to continue) support seems to be pretty expensive.

There have been really helpful posts already above. I suggest you keep looking in this Forum for a FP2 that is used or look for a used Apple Smartphone from your friends and family (because of long software support). You can keep reading the blogs of Fairphone or have a look at the forum to see if Fairphone is able to regain your trust. Don’t buy a full priced 500€ FP2 if you don’t trust the company and need to keep an eye on your budget.


To underscore what you said let’s not forget that, as has been mentioned many times throughout this forum, the most sustainable smartphone (or any piece of tech) is a used one. :wink:


Don’t forget that 3.5 years of phone usage is pretty long when looking at the market. Most people cycle through phones every 2 years, so 3-and-a-half year isn’t bad.


Dear Laura,

I think that Fairphone is trying hard to fullfill their mission to change the way mobile devices are produced, repaired and recycled. Sadly it failed to continue to provide spare parts for the Fairphone 1.
The reasons were explained in this blogpost:

As it was said already the FP1 was not designed by Fairphone, which led to the current situation that it is financially not possible anymore to provide spare parts. That should be different with FP2 as it was designed completely by Fairphone which gives much more freedom to choose suppliers.

If you want to keep your FP1 as long as possible and if you need spare parts, contact the closest “Fairphone Angel” to your city. We try to provide spare parts as long as possible by collecting FP1 spare parts and broken FP1 phones and redistribute re-usable parts.

If you are thinking of changing to a FP2 you could get one of the refurbished FP2 which should be cheaper than the “brand new” ones.

As I visited Fairphone twice (#EFCT16 and #EFCT17) and I was talking to the team I trust Fairphone and it’s community that they give their best to make a sustainable, repairable and fair phone possible and change the way mobile devices are made.
I hope that helps to answer your question :wink:


A post was merged into an existing topic: Fairphone 1 maintenance comes to an end