Why buy a FP3 rather than a standard 175€ mobile phone?

Dear friends,
Don’t get me wrong, I really support the values of FP but I’m in serious doubt. Why spend 450 € - 3 times what I’d spent on a normal mobile phone - on something whose durability is not guaranteed (will it last more than 4 years?) and with expensive spare parts. My last phone costed 175€ and I spent around 175€ in repairs (broken screeen, battery and one reset). It lasted four years. Also, I’m seriously concerned with phones getting robbed or lost all the time.
What do I do? Don’t be mad at me, I’m playing the devils advocate.
I want to hear your reasons.


If you’re happy with your 175€ phone and manage to keep it for long then the FP3 is probably really not for you. It’s more of a high end phone and addressed at people who want a phone with great tech specs and also great “fair specs”. Sure, longevity is not guaranteed, or only for software, but at least you can repair it yourself.


Well, Fairphone had a cost breakdown available for the Fairphone 2 (when it initially cost >500 EUR) …

Here’s an interactive version, too:


Why not wait until they have the cost breakdown ready for the Fairphone 3?
(I would be very surprised if they wouldn’t do it again.)

Until then, the only thing one can really say to all those “Why is it so expensive?” questions is … Think the other way around: How can your so-called “normal” or “standard” phone be this cheap in comparison?
Hint: It’s not only the larger quantity. Somebody along the way pays the price you don’t.


I’m interested in the phone model you had before, since a 175€ phone can’t have good tech inside. This however brings me to my next point: Since a low-end phone was enough for you for four years, maybe you can use it even longer?
The best phone is always the one that has already been produced. Speaking of that, you could maybe also buy a used phone (maybe a FP2), which probably suits your needs :slight_smile:


Is it though? I thought the FP3 is quite reasonably priced compared to, well comparable phones.


For most of us here, of course, but if that was the general consensus, we wouldn’t have such discussions :wink: .

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I have a BQ Aquaris A4.5 riddled with failures: battery, memory (just 1 GB), camera. In other words, it’s near death. I wholly take your point of the used (maybe fair) phone. For around 200 €, I can get a fair upgrade to a used FP2 but buying a second hand mobile phone poses an extra risk which I’ll have to mitigate.
Thank you people for the feedback!!!

I see your point here. A fair trade chocolate bar costs me two to three times a so-called normal one, that’s 3 € vs 1 €, but in this case I’m up against a 300€ difference. That’s what makes me think. The price difference will be absorbed by lower salaries, stolen materials from communities and injustice being passed on to others.


No daily used, mid-range smartphone from this decade is going to last for 4 years (nearly 1500 days) with the same battery. Most smartphones don’t allow you to replace the battery yourself. At least not in a relatively easy manner.

Fair concern. Use cryptography, and a cheap (2nd hand) smartphone (burner). Recycle it.


And Fairphone - even before the cost-breakdown - is quite open about all things Fairphone, i.e. where the money is going to:
E.g. working conditions:
Besides a bonus for workers, there is training in communication, health and safety etc.

That’s something, you hardly get from any other phone manufacturer.
Of course, you have to have enough money to spend it on a Fairphone.
And it’s ok by me, if someone can not afford it or does not want to spend that much.


Or save enough money. If you can afford one 200 EUR smartphone every 2 years, you only need to save a little bit more to afford a Fairphone 3 for 4 years.


Quite true!
Still I was thinking of those, that would like to get a Fairphone for all the right reasons, but will have to make do with a 200,- Euro phone for 3 to 4 years or even longer.
Best would in that case be to buy a 2nd-hand phone of course; yet I fully understand the reservations towards that solution. I would be hesitant as well.

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So you after all paid >300€ for a probably not so good phone. Guarantee is one thing, but a good treatment is another. Actually no one can give you a guarantee for how long the device or spare parts will last.
Well considering that one can replace broken parts in his Fairphone by himself I think without extra costs the spare parts are not so expensive.

I am not concerned about robbed or getting lost phones. This is totally depending on me (maybe neglect being robbed). Loosing, dropping or leaving a device of >500€ value unattended for being stolen obviously does not hurt enough. Maybe double the price may help people to care more of their personal assets. I would even take great care if the price would be half.

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If you compare the FP3 with an similar phone which has nearly the same facilities, then you will find nearly one phone that matches this criteria. That is what I’ve done the last days. My requirements for a new phone are:

  • Bluetooth 5
  • NFC
  • Gorilla Glass
  • double SIM card plus SD-card, without shared slot (which means that there are only 2 slots, one for a SIM and the second for another SIM or SD-card)
  • navigation possible with Galilleo satellites
  • if possible I want to be “master user” (root) to install a firewall, x-privacy, …

If you take these few point as a “must have” for a phone I found only one which meets this criteria but since few days I know that there’s a second one, the FP3. The other one was the Motorola Moto G7 Plus which costs something between 250 and 300 Euros. So my decision is now made to order the FP3 which has additionally 5 years of support.


I bet you’ll end up buying 3 of those phones and spending more money than you would just one of these and, say, a new battery and screen.

To answer your original question, why did I spend € 450,- on a phone with the same specs as a cheaper phone? In matter of fact, I never made a calculation like that. Privacy/security is a major issue for me and after running several phones that were way more expensive than a fairphone, worse in hardware, locked-down/closed source and that got unsupported after 2 years, I was delighted to get a fairphone 2 with fairphone open OS. I can take the security in my own hands and it still stays supported. The investment of securing the phone myself on top of the purchase of the phone has paid itself back hands down.

And still: I am willing to pay 50% more for fairtrade and ecological clothing, I find green electricity and hosting more important then the price. So why not pay a bit more for a sustainable phone?

So the whole discussion about the price/performance ratio of a fairphone is not that interesting for me. The phone has advantages that are way more important for me.


I think that is the wrong question. The correct question is: Why are other phones so cheap.
The answer to those questions: Because resources and parts are produced by underpaid (understatement) people and abuse of child labor.

Sometimes the cheapest ‘deal’ is not the best deal, even if the deal (for you) is economically better.


True, but how would we communicate such to the consumer? When the consumer goes to the store to buy a chocolate bar, they see the fairtrade logo clearly, and there were commercials made for the bars. Word of mouth also worked with them. How would you translate such to the Fairphone?

Well, I would say first of all everything about the Fairphone needs to be decent enough. The camera on the FP2 on release wasn’t. This is not only a solved issue; the camera is actually quite good now, on par with the famous Pixel 3a camera.

Tbh, I don’t think that’s a major part of it. I’m pretty sure the biggest reason why some companies produce their products cheaper than others is mass production.

If Fairphone would sell their phones in iPhone numbers they could make the devices cheaper, pay the workers more, invest more in their impact programs and probably have enough money left to upscale their software team, hire @chrmhoffmann, @z3ntu, @mal and others and officially support 10 different operating systems.

Hm. Seems like I’m plotting again.


keep going, you just have a run :rofl: