Comparing specs of upcoming Linux phones

“GNU/Linux phone” describes the Librem 5. Only G might make people think of a very large technology company. But the Necunos lacks a cell connection, so calling it a GNU/Linux phone will mislead some. “GNU/Linux mobile handset” is more accurate.

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People say “phone” when referring to their landline phone which can only be used in a single location, so I think it is fair to call the Necunos NC_1 a “phone”. Its primary purpose is to be used to call people. If you want to be more accurate, you would say “internet phone” or “Wi-Fi phone.”

The original idea for the Librem 5 was that it would be an internet phone like the Necunos NC_1, since internet telephony is more secure and has less data collection than cellular telephony. In a 2016 interview, Todd Weaver said the Librem phone would not include a cellular modem, but it would have a slot if people wanted to add it.

It wouldn’t surprise me if most mobile phones will become internet phones in a couple decades, as internet access becomes more common. At some point, Socialists are going to get elected on the platform of “public internet for all” and the economics are on their side. The current privatized telecoms industry is very inefficient and has negative social consequences, so I don’t expect it to continue in the long-term.


Years ago Att and Verizon started using VoIP for international calls because it’s cheaper and better. So yeah, it’s just the matter of time

Considering the price point of the pine64, the fact that the librem 5 may still be a month or more before shipping starts, it appears it has better LTE bands available, comes with KDE as default I may get one of those to start with as a primary until the librem 5 get to the point where it’s actually useable

Purism has a better track record than PINE64 when it comes to the software for their devices. I expect that the PinePhone will have software issues at first, just like the Librem 5. The big difference is that Purism has more software developers on staff to solve those problems over time, whereas most of the focus at PINE64 is on the hardware. It remains to be seen whether PINE64’s approach of relying on community projects (postmarketOS, KDE Plasma Mobile, UBports) for the software will work well, but I really hope that both companies will succeed.

If you don’t want to go through the joy/pain of being an early adopter who is helping to debug the software, you might want to wait to read the reviews for the PinePhone before buying.

I don’t mind being an early adopter, but I work at a software firm, so I kind of expect it. :slight_smile:


Oh boy! Now he won’t buy a PinePhone neither. Oh well…

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Oligopolies have flourished in technology due to startup costs and to problems with regulations. For telephony or cable add limited band frequencies and FCC and other ‘guidance’ requirements.
Whether chip manufacture, Social Media, ISP or other aspects of function, entry into the market can be frustratingly problematic. The business with platforms and distributions has been less as Software restrictions have been less problematic with licensing made more open for a good many.
There is a notable presentation by Librem’s CTO now available through yesterday’s news update segment and at 45 minutes it is lengthy, though probably worth the viewing to see how convoluted a nearly free license smartphone may be to work out.
Between limited supplies and needed patent releases as well as more including needed Chinese manufacture for anything new and unique and needing to be in queue for anything of limited manufacture quantity–given all of that, it seems to be a mega-headache to have gone through with the whole business.
I salute the process, though I still wish some of it was a bit more thoroughly communicated where appropriate.
Broadmi use clarified in talk to offer an M.2 card to some areas with no band coverage. Finally I got the answer to that question of more than a month’s wondering. If only Librem had noted that with the final specs, I might have avoided a good deal of confusion and frustration.


I don’t mind being an early adopter or I wouldn’t have ALREADY pre-purchased a librem 5, I don’t care for the gnome platform all at and it seems that most of the development is geared towards gnome. Having a useable kde plasma phone I can integrate into a desktop account is ideal to me and it doesn’t appear that’s going to happen initially on the librem.

Librem 5 - “making gnu/linux mobile-compute-devices hacker-friendly since 2019”

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I know it’s not a Linux phone, so it might be off topic but I’m curious how these stack up to the recently announced Fairphone 3. If it does ship in early October as their promising, it might be tempting for some of us who are stuck waiting until Q2 2020 or beyond…

The Fairphone 3 is 9.9mm thick vs 15mm in the Librem 5. The Snapdragon 632 (14nm) in the Fairphone 3 is more energy efficient and its CPU (4x 1.8GHz Cortex-A73 & 4x <=1.8GHz Cortex-A53) is roughly 3 times more powerful than the i.MX 8M Quad and its GPU is roughly twice as powerful. Because the Librem 5 will have to do most of its video decoding and encoding in software, the Fairphone will be cool when watching video, whereas the Librem 5 will run hot and drain the battery.

The resolution of the cameras in the Fairphone 3 is basically the same as the Librem 5, but the Fairphone will probably be much faster, because it has a digital signal processor and image signal processor in the 632, plus it has a dual pixel PDAF, so its auto-focus will probably be better (although we don’t know at this point, what camera hardware the Librem 5 will have.

The Fairphone 2 was able to be opened without tools, but it looks like the Fairphone 3 will require a screwdriver, so it isn’t as unique in its modular design, but it is also 1mm thinner than the previous version. The new translucent case is a nice touch. The Librem 5 will probably be a little more difficult to repair if you want to do something like change the screen or replace the battery, but the Librem 5 is the only phone in the world that allows you to replace the cellular modem and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth. Plus, the Librem 5 is likely to get over a decade of software updates because it is based on Linux, whereas the Fairphone 3 will have more trouble providing software upgrades, due to Google’s compatibility tests.

If you want a phone that just works, get the Fairphone 3. If you want the most interesting phone that has been released in a decade, get the Librem 5. I mean that literally. See my list of innovations in mobile phones. Despite the fact that its hardware is outdated, the Librem 5 will be one of the most innovative phones ever created.


Apples and oranges :slight_smile:
the difference you mentioned in OS is the main reason why anyone interested in L5 or any other Linux phone would look away. Android is the most intrusive OS and iOS is the most controlling, so people who want to truly own their phones and keep their communications private as possible , won’t nothing to do with these 2 Giants.
On the other hand, for the sake of the fairness in trade, repairability and environmental impact, I can see a lot of people being interested. Especially, given that majority will have to wait 9 months to a year to get L5 and Pine phone. But then, on a second look, $540;is a lot to pay for a “loaner” :slight_smile:
Also, what I find important when buying another Android, is the OEMs track record on OS and Security updates. If Fairphone supports it’s devices for more than 2 yrs , than it’s truly a great option for those who want to fight planned obsolence. Otherwise, it’s better sticking with the pixels and Android One series.


You brought up a good point when it comes to compatibility with updates for Android. It’s not just Google to blame there. It’s also the chipset manufacturers. There were multiple occasions when Qualcomm was unwilling to continue support and those phones even though capable, couldn’t run newer software.
With L5 we can have full confidence, because Purism has the “control” of hardware and software. This processor may be outdated, but we get to have full access to it. Thank God, Purism is committed to FOSS hardware where possible.


Unfortunately, I can’t update my original post, but we now have new dimensions from the Aspen batch of the Librem 5:


Purism’s Librem 5 page is (at the moment) stating they will deliver i.MX8M (Quad Core) max. 1.5GHz processor. Does this max. reference mean they are about, with batch Evergreen, to switch to Rev. 1.1 version of the 1.3GHz processor? This Rev. 1.1 main processor name is MIMX8MQ7CVAHZDB, and having CPU speed grade of 1.3 GHz (seeing this as advantage) with code: HZ. Note: i.MX8MQ7 requires a Dolby Vision™ license. Another eventual and good option with HZ abb. would be Lite version of the same processor (without Dolby - 12 bit depth), IMO. If Dolby license is blob (requires additional proprietary software, besides hardware) by itself than we might already have partial answer (on my obsolete Dolby question) related to Evergreen.

All above is based on kindly provided opinion/answer within this post:

Edit: Removed unnecessary comment on memory types.

P.S. Maybe short opinion on energy consumption of DDR3L-1600 memory for phone usage from @lperkins2, please.

I’m afraid I don’t know much about memory power consumption. In the systems on which I work, memory power consumption is so low as to be trivial. Lower speed will often have lower voltage, and always use less power, 1600 is toward the top end of ddr3 speed, but again, the power usage is likely to be fairly minimal compared to the radios, screen, and CPU.

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@lperkins2, thanks anyway! My question was not clear … more related to comparison of LPDDR4-3200, DDR4-2400 and DDR3L-1600, if there exists some room/advantage in order to extend battery life.

I can’t remember where but I think Nichole said the v2 cpu was going to have a die shrink from 28nm to 14nm and have better energy consumption and thermals, but other than that functionally identical.


Not 100% sure my scale is accurate but, for the birch batch weight:
231.3g (With 2000MhA battery)
187.6 g (Without battery)


Are all 3 of these phones 100% free software (excluding the locked radio devices)? Or is it just the Librem? I really don’t care what OS the phone runs as long as it’s not proprietary and as much as possible the other components use free software.

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