Brand new quality phones with a removable battery?

I am considering a new phone and would like something that respects privacy. I am quite familiar with the AOSP and probably would go in this direction. My issue is that I do not pay close attention to changes in the phone marketplace, innovations, trends, etc.

I was considering a Pixel 5 because based on what I have seen, it has the best balance of a good camera and battery life. But, my main issue is that so many phones these days do not have a removable battery. Those that do, tend to be brands that seem like they might be poorly made or Chinese clones of American designs (yes I know they are all made in china more or less).

I have searched high and low and do not know what to choose without going through hundreds of hours of video reviews.

Ideally, I’d like a phone I can run LineageOS on. Any other AOSP type OS is alright as long as it is trustworthy.

Here are my needs:

  • Very good Camera. I do make videos and I currently have one of the best phones with one of the best cameras from it’s class and “era”. I am aware that these days software plays a role in that.
  • Good battery life, ideally something above 4,000 mah.
  • Processing power needs to support occasional web use, reading news, very ligh BS games (sudoku for example), and email.
  • I have no interest in high refresh rate, special features and so on. I am simply looking for a good phone that fits those specs with a removable battery from a reliable manufacture…something that will last for years (not 2, but 5+)

Any ideas?

If you need a removable battery, here are some choices. Of those, the only ones that have AOSP-derivatives are:

The E6 has a garbage camera. The G5 and V20 were flagship phones in 2015, and a Snapdragon 820 isn’t that bad of a processor even today, but their cameras don’t compare to a Pixel 5.

If you are serious about having a good camera, you are going to have to drop the requirement of a removable battery, because most flagships lost removable batteries in 2014, and by 2017 there weren’t even decent mid-range phones with removable batteries.


Thanks for this. So really what options do consumers have? I read about phone manufacturers saying that removable batteries were about giving consumers a “more luxurious feel”.

What is your take on removable batteries in general? Does this seem like big tech trying to lock people in? It is like the trend of having SSDs/RAM being soldered onto a mobo so if something breaks, it is tougher to fix…

I would say so, and I wouldn’t be surprised if fast chargers played a role in this. I’ve been wondering lately if I shouldn’t get something slower since I only ever charge my phone at night, maybe it would help the battery last longer.

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I agree.

My camera requirements basically focus on me making videos for a video channel I have. I am willing to drop the video requirement if a camera could take hi-res pictures with at least decent camera quality (12 mpix with decent rendering).

I then could get a separate camera for my video anyway.

Because I travel the older (USC-A i think or USB-C) would be most convenient. From what I understand, fast charger cables should have a chip in them that regulate the charging and should not degrade the battery. The key word is “should”. Whether they actually do or not, I am not so sure.

Another question…is repairing a dead or non-functioning battery actually a viable option in the event of a battery failure? Do these services actually work on a relatively consistent basis?

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Having non-removable batteries is even worse than soldered SSD/RAM, because at least the SSD and RAM are designed to last the lifetime of the product, whereas the lithium-cobalt battery used in mobile phones typically starts to degrade after 500 recharge cycles between 0% to 100% of its capacity. That same battery can last up 3000 recharge cycles if it is only charged and discharged between 20% and 80% of its capacity.

There is a Battery Charge Limit (.apk) app that limits the maximum charge percentage which works with some Android models to extend the battery’s lifespan. However, you have to start doing this when the battery is new for it to really extend the lifespan, and most people won’t think to do this until they start to see battery degradation, when it is generally too late.

I never buy a new phone without doing the following things:

  • Check on the XDA Developers forum to see how well that model runs AOSP derivatives. I read the comments at XDA about the AOSP ports for that model to verify that everything works. It is a pain to deal with a phone that only half works. In theory you can keep upgrading the phone’s OS even after the manufacture stops releasing updates for the phone, but it is crap shoot whether this will happen with your particular model. There may not be volunteers to make the ROMs for your model. Android/AOSP releases only support 3 kernel versions, and it may not be possible to upgrade the kernel for your phone, because the drivers released by Qualcomm, MediaTek or Samsung may not work with a more recent kernel. It is generally better to look for phone models which guarantee 2 or 3 years of OS updates (Google Pixel, OnePlus, Galaxy S/Note/Z, Android One models), because it is much easier to do an AOSP port to the next version of Android when using sources from the OEM.
  • Check whether the Battery Charge Limit app works on that model–often I can’t find this info online, so it is necessary to try it after buying the phone to find out.
  • Lookup the model on the iFixit website to see how hard it will be to change the battery. Sadly, most phones today have glass backs, which makes them liable to crack when trying to open the case. For most recent phones, you need need some kind of heating device (heat gun, heat pillow or blow-dryer), suction cups and a plastic prying device (spudger, guitar pick or credit card).

Thanks a ton for this!

By the way, check out the Librem 5 community FAQ for more info on planned obsolescence in phone design:


That, and because it allows them to make phones more water-resistant and thinner. Allegedly.


I read that too and I do not buy that because they haven’t changed much about the design, only that the the components are not easily accessible. Thin o-rings and seals could do this. Battery re-designs as well…

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Only few pieces left (somewhat complicated device but worth every cent). Supports two charging modes (works preferably with QC2.0 or even with QC3.0 but there is switch to PC-F mode and that one supports DCP coding − sometimes the one that should be preferred. But what is sure with this device? That its manual needs to be reread several times (otherwise might turn out as it is another, regular one). Charges PinePhone battery with just over 1.6A (4.53V with my current setup) in DCP coding, both setups same wattage. In PC-F mode setup, Qualcomm® Snapdragon 845 phone with removable battery currently charges from 24% with 4.57V/1.42A, DCP coding, and this current is well under what would be speedy charging wattage when QC3.0 protocol used (as and when normally negotiated). And anyway, in AUTO mode, this USB-A to USB-C cable will switch to green LED light (charging stopped/disabled) when your Android smartphone battery full.

Please note that above device (and cable at the same time) is not related to Librem 5, as not needed there.

I’ve have had the same thought (please understand and comply with your main processor charging requirement, coding or protocol, at first place, before trying to reduce some/any charging amperage, also note it is just me and therefore the one that do not think that charging over USB port from some laptop helps any and certainly not big to prolong connected smartphone battery life), therefore (sounds strange to rely on some cable but good starting point to preserve/prolong some battery life) my link above:

P.S. Only comparable cable to the above one would be: Charby Sense Auto Disconnect Cable with its switch-button to DCP coding, but not available as USB-C any more (its Charcol Sense would be the almost useless one or rather far away from my expectations).

Two words for you: planned obsolescence.

Not so much locking people in as increasing revenue by forcing you to junk the whole phone once the battery is no longer adequate.


exactly…theoretically, one could buy multiple phones with removable batteries and use them for the lifetime…3 or so phones should work and given their aged nature, they should be relatively cheap. Crappy options though.

Yes and if those are called Librem 5.

Not to get too real, but from what I have seen, if you are lucky enough to get one in the mail, you won’t be half as lucky to use it…or?

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Yes, there is nothing that I’d like to add, change or disagree with you. I just wanted to say that those people that can plan on advance (and those that are already receiving their Linux smartphones from Purism in their mail), think in advance if you will, should invest in product that is easy to repair and have knowledgeable Team behind as direct support (not as secondhand support, at least not currently) when there are things that I (means someone) cannot recover (software) or repair:

But there is definitively tomorrow for the Librem 5 phone, even if we start counting this future just from today (if you will). And as your thread says you are looking today for a brand new smartphone before your old dies (several post confirm this within this Forum). Or invest today in very cheap one (PinePhone Pro might serve the purpose as well, same software over there, similar HW, not to be strict).


I honestly love my Librem 14. I am happy with it. I just wish some of the devs did not have the dev mindset. As far as I see it, the linux based products are a must have today. The only thing they are missing is the ease of use and polished looks to make it to mass market. It is a big-ish leap but really would save the world from big tech.


There’s a new phone out called Brax2, its 48mp camera, android AOSP. I’m not sure about a removable battery but its 4500mAH so it should last a while. Its $379.

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… and then there is the Fairphone 4, although I am not sure if they ship outside Europe. Well built from fair trade components, very repairable and even partially upgradable hardware and a good battery. Comes with an AOSP derivative from the manufacturer and is also sold with /e/-OS by a third-party company targeted at people who desire elevated privacy.
For the real privacy nerds (recommended by Edward Snowden himself) there is also a Build of GrapheneOS available for the Fairphone.

They don’t.