Re: Nice idea, but
Of course you have to pay more for a product with an ethical supply chain - especially a gadget which uses rare earth metals. I was happy to do that (and lucky enough to be able to afford it) when I bought my Fairphone2 a little over 3 years ago. And I have to say that the software update policy, and the reality of rollouts, is all that I could wish for.
But the problem is that compared to phones whose components are irrevocably welded together, the Fairphone's modular design causes connection problems between the different modules, resulting in unreliability. They've worked really hard to get this as good as it can be, but if (like me) you treat your phone quite roughly (keeping it caseless in your pocketses), reliability can be a real problem - I replaced three modules which failed in the first two years of use, and had to wedge the battery against the case using a bit of cardboard to stop it from disconnecting. It's great that modules are replaceable, and the replacements were cheap - but replacements take about 3 weeks to be delivered (to the UK at least), during which I had no Fairphone. I ended up keeping a spare phone, which made the whole thing rather pointless.
And when the Fairphone developed an intermittent fault with the screen becoming unresponsive, I replaced the screen module (a bit more expensive than the other modules) only to find that the problem persisted because it was a fault with the motherboard / system unit - which isn't available as a module and can't be replaced.
I really want the Fairphone project to work, but after this latest fault I've switched back to an unethical phone. If Fairphone ever produce a welded-together, non-modular phone whose components are ethically sourced and whose software is regularly updated for years, I would buy back in. But I fear that making the phone easy to repair inevitably makes it less reliable, at least in my experience.
You will find if you look at Fairphone's support forum that I'm not alone in this experience. But to be fair, my better half has had her Fairphone2 for nearly as long as I had mine, and it's behaved impeccably. That one lives in a case, in a handbag, and is probably treated much more gently than mine - even though it has way more hours of use on a typical day. Maybe mine was a Friday afternoon unit - or maybe I just treated it badly.