Comparing specs of upcoming Linux phones

Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part, but I think that Purism will need to increase the RAM and Flash memory if the company is going to charge $799 for Fir. At that price point, it is going to be hard to convince people to buy if they aren’t getting better specs.

Looking on the internet, I see that 3500 mAh Li-Po batteries weigh about 50 grams, so that gives us a final weight of 237.6 grams for the Librem 5.

I looked on’s phone finder, and these are the three closest models to the Librem 5 in terms of screen size and battery capacity:

  • Xiaomi Redmi 5, 5.7" 18:9, 3300 mAh, 157g
  • Haier I6, 5.7" 18:9, 3300 mAh, 145g
  • LG G6, 5.7" 18:9, 3300 mAh, 163g

If we say that a normal phone with a 5.7" 18:9 screen, non-removable 3500 mAh battery, sealed case, and integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GNSS and cellular baseband in the SoC should weigh about 170 grams, then the Librem 5 is 40% heavier than a normal phone.

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I can’t comment on the nueros but the pinephones software is just as open source as Purism’s software is. Both pinephone and librem have blobs they have to deal with but on the OS side both are FOSS

The Librem 5 is a bit closer to the ideal of 100% free software in my opinion.

The Pinephone has proprietary firmware for the Realtek Wi-Fi/Bluetooth in the /lib/firmware/ directory, whereas the Librem 5 has no binary blobs in the Linux files.
However, the Librem 5 has a binary blob to train the timing in the DDR PHY which is stored on a separate SPI Flash chip and executed by U-Boot on the separate Cortex-M4F core during bootup.

The proprietary firmware for the Realtek Wi-Fi/Bluetooth is larger and will be executing while you are using the phone, whereas the binary blob in the Librem 5 will execute for milliseconds when you turn on the phone.

I asked on the PINE64 forum and TL Lim told me that he believes that all binary blobs have now been removed from the Linux and U-Boot files for the Allwinner A64 processor, so that has improved.

The big difference in my mind is that Allwinner violates the GPL in its SDK for the A64 processor and refuses to answer questions from the community so they can develop drivers for the Allwinner hardware, so buying the PinePhone rewards bad behavior, because it pushes more revenue toward Allwinner. In contrast, NXP has committed code to mainline Linux for the i.MX 8M, so buying the Librem 5 rewards good behavior.

Realtek no longer violates the GPL, but Redpine Signals worked with Purism to provide a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth solution that didn’t require binary blobs in the Linux kernel. Before the only 802.11n solution for Linux that didn’t require binary blobs was a crappy Atheros chip that was energy inefficient, had poor reception, and required a binary blob to use the Bluetooth. Now every Linux hardware company will have the option to use the RS9116 without binary blobs, so in my opinion we should reward Redpine Signals by buying the Librem 5.

Buying the Librem 5 helps pay for the work to debug the mainline Linux drivers for new hardware. I see commits from Purism to the Linux kernel for the i.MX 8M, Goodix GT5688 5 Touch IC, BQ25895 charge controller, LSM9DS1 gyrometer/accelerometer, etc., so buying the Librem 5 is helping to add new hardware to Linux, rather than just using existing hardware which is already supported.


I was only referring to the cpu, but it is also my hope that fir will have more RAM. It needs at least 4-6 to be acceptable for convergance.

I only hope we have the extra energy headroom for it.


That would be REAL cool if the main SOC could be upgraded in the same case

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There has been spirited debate about this already. My opinion remains: let’s wait and see.

Hello, I stumbled across a new video of the Pinephone (current status) :

The more I watch :

  • this phone in action,
  • its design,
  • the progress of the development of every OS you can install on it,
  • the fact that it’s not constantly powered,
    … -> the more I prefer it to the Librem 5.

I am amazed to see such progress from Pine Microsystems and the Linux community that started working on this project (correct me if I’m wrong) long after Purism.

This is not a call to the troll : I’m very happy to have two Linux smartphones in competition, and as @amosbatto said, buying the Librem 5 helps to develop Linux compatibility with new hardware.

However, at the end, it’s just a factual comparison between these two smartphones. From an end-user point of view, I’m very seduced by this Pinephone.

Development of the PinePhone started in October 2018, but it is based on the Pine A64 board whose Kickstarter began in December 2015. Crowdfunding for the Librem 5 started in August 2017, which was 21 months later. Purism wasn’t able to get its hands on an i.MX 8M dev board until November 2017, so arguably that is when real development was able to begin.

A lot of Purism’s delays and problems have been caused by the i.MX 8M processor, which didn’t begin volume production until January 2018 and still doesn’t have good support in mainline Linux. The poor power management, the lack of video out, and the cameras still not working can be partially blamed on NXP for not creating good mainline Linux drivers for i.MX 8M and not properly documenting its chip.


Most of the work on the pinephone has been done years ago. It’s pretty much the same hardware in their SBCs and also in the pinebook pro that was recently released just wrapped up in a different form. It may appear that the development skyrocketed past librem but that’s because most of the hard work was already done.


So this is why it seems the Pinephone is more mature than the Librem 5, because of the experience. I hope to have the opportunity to handle the Pinephone (I have already baked the Librem 5), so I can be sure which one I really want.

Just out of curiosity, but another thing I noticed is Phosh: I thought it was the work of Purism, but I see that Postmarket OS offers it as well. Does anyone know if PostmarketOS has forked Phosh? Thank you

PM OS adopted it …


Purism does the job, and the 150$ pinephonies just can use it for free. But thats FLOSS.

  1. it’s great that we have BOTH 800$ and 150$ options available.
  2. it would be better if we had more people ABLE and INTERSTED in supporting Purism or other similar open-hw/free-sw manufacturers …

Guido Gunther, who is a Purism employee, has done most of the Phosh development:

I see a couple commits to Phosh by Bart Ribbers who works on PostmarketOS, plus a few commits by Mohammed Sadiq who works on Alpine Linux, on which PostmarketOS is based.
It looks like PostmarketOS is committing upstream to Phosh, so I don’t think that PostmarketOS is running a forked version of Phosh.


Thank you very much. So it seems that it is more a contribution from PostmarketOS for Phosh mainly developed by Purism. It is nice to see that people work all together in common projects.


Necunos availability has changed Jan 3, 2020:

Summer 2019 17 (no update since April 1)

You can order now, shipping will be EOQ 1/2020

Wow, all three Linux phones are scheduled to be released in March 2020!
The Librem 5 was first to market, with the Birch batch, but mass production with the Evergreen batch is scheduled to start shipping on March 31, 2019.

Anyone want to bet which Linux phone will be first to ship? I’m betting the order will be:

  1. NC_1,
  2. PinePhone
  3. Librem 5 (Evergreen)

PS: Unfortunately, I can’t update the original post because Purism limits the time that a post can be edited to 3 months. I think that I will need to start a new topic to provide updated specs/pricing.

Oh wait, I just checked that Necunos announcement and it says “shipping in march”, but it is in 2019. There still hasn’t been any updates since April 2019 on the Necunos web site. I think that the Necunos NC_1 is dead. However, there are “rumblings” that a third company is considering producing a Linux phone, according to the Lunduke Show.


You could ask an admin to change it to a wiki post. That’s what I did with the carrier compatibility thread I started.


I doubt that Necunos will ship any Linux phone.