Considering the big Switch, some questions before I do

So, I’ve been a long-time Samsung user, but am more and more tempted to switch to a Fairphone in the Murena variant, so, E/OS. I support it’s core tenets and while I’m not a heavy app or google user, I will still find ways to completely cut the big G out of my life.

Some questions I have been able to answer, but many are still open, I’m hoping to find the answers here.

  • When I use the app lounge in the ‘free’ (anonymous) form, I can only download free apps (logically). Because my aim is to, one day, completely remove my google account, paid apps are off the table. But what about apps that are free to download and offer optional subs? Stuff like Spotify for instance? I have a separate subscription with them, not tied to any facebook or google stuff, can I download the app through the app lounge and log in with my own credentials without needing a google account?

  • The same question extends to many other apps such as 2FA ones. Can I use the 2FA apps from companies like Steam and Blizzard? Do I need to abandon those?

  • Banking apps? NFC for payment? I won’t be using google pay of course, but are banking apps still available for use?

  • What is the update cycle like?

  • How customisable is the OS? I’ve never rooted a device before and I’m certainly not in the habit of hacking my Android experience, but I do not like that a commercial android takes away so much of my sovereignty on a purchased device. What’s the E/OS experience here?

Normally I’d say I will try all this myself but a FF is not a cheap device so I need to be reasonably sure of my choice before I take the plunge. For reference, I’m coming from an S23 Ultra device though that’s mostly because of the battery, I have the entire phone set and configured for max battery life (about 3 days when used sparingly). I do use it for navigation when underway and for practical things like 2FA, electric car charging, browsing and pictures.

Regain your privacy! Adopt /e/OS the unGoogled mobile OS and online servicesphone

I started from the same point of you (Samsung phone → Fairphone and google/Samsung services → /e/os and murena).

First point: No problem. I use Spotify as well and it works without problems. One noticeable thing is that group listening sometimes doesnt work (one reason is the Spotify tracker which has to be enabled) but it might also be that Spotify is buggy. Which wouldnt be a surprise as this feature specifically is buggy on Samsung phones as well.
So yeah, works in the regard you asked without any problem.s
For other paid apps like Threema I downloaded them seperatly and update them within the app.

Second question: At least for steam it was no issue for me in the past altough I switched to alternative 2FA-Apps like Aegis (highly recommend!) as they are open source, allow for easy encrypted backups and are centraliced on my phone.

Banking apps are different for every bank. I suggest looking into this thread and search for your bank: [LIST] Banking Apps on /e/OS

Update Cycle is every couple of weeks as far as I remember, might be a bit different nowadays. I stopped updating rigorously since some updates the battery life suffered a bit. Now I update if there are big security updates or when the next updates arrives. For example when 1.5 is released I installed 1.4 since I then had time to read all the user reviews for the 1.4 update. If you choose to always stay up to date I suggest you wait a couple of days until there are a couple of reviews in the update feedback thread.

Last point: In my experience Samsung had ways less features (I think they disabled a lot of them for some reason). But I also didnt look to much into hacking android. I just use stock /e/ and am happy with it for my use case (daily use, watching videos, listening to music, texting and phone calls).

About the battery life: Maybe it would be a good Idea to buy a separate FP Battery and take it with you in a safe case? Sadly I have not yet found a battery-case but it should be easily producible via a 3D-Printer.

Hope that helped, sorry for the rough English :smiley:

Edit: My FP4 lasts for about 1.5 to 2 days. 3 Days might be possible if you use it less than me. No Idea about the FP5 battery tho.

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Thank you for your quick reply! The banking list already mentiones my country and specific bank so I’m safe there it seems. For the battery I was indeed planning on getting a spare (it has been ages since that was possible!) but I was honestly banking on having to charge more often anyway. Since I can often charge at my desk or in the car that’s not really an issue and when outdoors I can bring the spare, a battery bank or a solar panel.

I’m in the US, and I just switched from a Motorola Google Verizon One 5GUW Ace phone to a e/os Fairphone 4. The Motorola was a fine phone until an OTA update last August made it unbearably slow. I was trying to hold out for a Fairphone 5, but could not stand it anymore. So I’m coming from a horrible place of phone user experience, but I’m happy with the Fairphone’s performance so far. Only negative I’ve seen is that it has suddenly restarted itself a few times. Not sure if that’s some kind of OTA update thing, or a hardware bug, or a software bug. The nice thing is that a restart takes about 1/4 of the time that most Android phones take to restart. :man_shrugging:

I’m about 10 days in now with the Fairphone and Murena’s e/os. Motorola’s OS is pretty close to stock, so the e/os experience feels familiar and comfortable to me.

I opted for the Murena Mobile T-Mobile MVNO. One point of caution there, it seems that there is only a minimal website for Murena Mobile, and no app, so now that I want to port my old number to my Fairfphone, I’m spending days in back-and forth by email to do a task that I figured would take a minute or two to do in an app or website. So if you are in the US, and like to interact a lot with your mobile provider, T-Mobile might be a more conventionally user-friendly option for customer service.

I’m not certain, but I think if you can pay for an app’s premium features on a website, and it doesn’t require Google Play services to buy, paid premium features work ok in apps like Spotify. By contrast, my old pod/rss catcher had a free version, and if you wanted premium, you had to pay in the Play store for the premium unlocker app. I don’t think I can do that now on e/os.

I’ve not tried messing with alternative 2FA apps yet. I needed the Microsoft 2FA app for work, so I just kept that one, and it works OK on e/os.

My bank is a tiny credit union, only about 5 branches, and its app is available in the e/os app lounge and works fine.

AFAIK there is not a good option for NFC payment without Google yet.

I scoped getting a battery for the Fairphone 4, and Murena sells one in their US shop for $30. I’m not hard on phone batteries, but so far the FP4 is outlasting the battery performance I had on the old (underpowered) Motorola.

Good luck!

Thank you for replying. More and more is becoming clear about this switch and it’s looking good - I’ve just encountered a possible hurdle though. I can purchase the Fairphone directly through their shop - my preferred option. I can purchase it through Murena because honestly: I don’t fancy having to code for 2 days to install E/OS myself, I’d MUCH rather just outright purchase it and the small increase in price Murena is asking is worth it to me.

BUT: Warranty will have to then run through Murena and FF will simply point me to them if there is an issue. I can’t find on the Murena website how they handle warranty, does anyone have additional info on this?, section Guarantees – Smartphones … I guess.

Yes, I completely read that. But I can’t figure out if they require me to send it in always (and where), if I can visit any local repair shops, or if they offer pickup service. In other words, the actual process )) so I sent them an email to ask after it.

From what I have read on the Forum you will, have to send. But the e-mail response from them should be best in that regard.

The answer is they seem to offer a collection service because their service location is based in France. There is no way around this if you want to utilize warranty. They do not offer to ship replacement parts - the Fairphone is designed to be user-repairable, but they don’t work this into the warranty plan. It’s either send it in (losing it for probably a couple weeks + a factory reset) or swap out the parts yourself at cost. That’s not a really good prospect, honestly. I’d rather have a shorter turnaround on repairs and/or a more local option.

Just adding to this for completeness. I contacted Fairphone themselves. When they have a warranty request they will offer you the option to:

  1. repair it yourself (they will send you the part under warranty)
  2. send it in for repair (but… surprise: they will send it to france, 2 weeks turnaround)

so all in all when you repair it yourself under warranty fairphone directly will certainly offer the swifter option, but if you elect to send it in, there is basically no difference between buying from Murena or FP directly.