I recently received my Librem5, here is my review

I posted the whole thing on my website here: https://kevux.org/news/2022_06_04-librem_to_freedom.html

The following is the bottom line.

There are bad things about the Librem5 phone. Things have fallen short. Some are the fault of the company. Some are the fault of the current state of the world. Others are the fault of an industry that does not want to sell to customers willing to pay.

I argue that Librem5 has successfully navigated this mess and has thus far survived where all others failed. The Ubuntu Aquaris was defeated by both their Android-like development stack and the industry refusing to sell what Ubuntu needed.

The choice Purism made to design their own hardware has been a gamble. I would argue that this gamble has been worth it. Yes, there are growing pains. I am not happy about some of these pains and I do fault them for their failures in this regard (especially in regards to pictures).

The Librem5 phone is not ready for a regular user. Of course, none of the Linux phones have ever been in my experience. The Librem5 is so close to being ready for a regular user that I can almost taste it (metaphorically of course). Give them a few months. Give them a year. By then I hope to see many of these problems I have described here to be resolved. Give them a few years and I expect they will be able to get a better hardware form factor to be more portable and sleek.

I can get just about any software on this phone. I can use this phone a desktop machine. I can use this phone as a portable radio or satellite communication device. I have only scratched the surface of what is already possible with the current design of this phone. No jails. No hacking. Just using.

I think Librem5 has a chance to win. So long as they do not drop the ball. We are heading into a crazy future where the manufacturing and chipset is in a dire and bleak situation. If Purism can withstand these trials then they will likely have the best phone on the market, despite these growing pains.

I have used several open-source phones. Phones like the OpenMoko Freerunner , I did not get want I wanted. Phones like the Aquaris Ubuntu , I almost got what I wanted and I accepted the situation. Phones like the Pinephone , I got a phone that provides no software and accepted that. With the Librem5 , I got the phone that I wanted and expected.


Thanks for the uplifting review. I couldn’t agree more, and I am super stoked to get my L5. For people who are critical of the shortcomings . . . I think there is a lack of appreciation for the utter lack of good alternatives. Keep up the good work Purism!


Just about the most important (please read: human to/for human) ones. Thanks for that!


Thanks for the excellent review. Honest, positive and with constructive criticism. I fully agree: “I think Librem5 has a chance to win.”, and “With the Librem5, I got the phone that I wanted and expected.”


Not sure about that, its like Linux Systems are common used now for everything - but (right now) not for mainstream consumers. If you watch closely you find Linux and free software everywhere. But that coin have also two sides. Most likely it run on System’s at Google, Amazon and Meta, but they offer no better free Product what you can use and administrate for yourself.

Like in Cars or as Firmware of your fridge or washing machine. There its not so easy to hack and customize as you wish. Sometimes its a blessing because it just works and its a curse, if you have an out dated Linux Kernel with Driver issues like in Android without free Roms or a Wifi Router without Security Support.

Right now i think that the Librem 5 is the only Phone that will serve the privacy of future Generations. Because its designed for security. I am sure the Pinephone is great too, but if Linux Phones got Mainstream, we will see the same change as Browser development have done in the past. The Trackers and Information flow with Apps, run through a slightly use of proprietary closed source Code or a Net of Libraries and open Source Data collection like in Today’s open source Browsers.

The twin-coin issue here is that every App-Developer could copy the code of the open Source Browsers to add it to their apps and include trackers and Data-Collection and will not have the use to do the same with less data extraction for example on a Webpage where customers can surf by with own ad blockers and privacy rules.

Back to LI(brem)V and Pinephone: The Hardware from Purism is better, it will make it much more difficult to extract telemetry and behavioral Data when you have the hardware kill Switches or a design where Apps can not open or access Code in other spaces.

That phone just a small step, another big privacy issue for the users, is not to use Mainstream Communication like Whatsapp, Facebook or Twitter. And for young people is more and more hard to use clean computer stuff and not to compare each other on Instagram or in other Mainstream Apps that trended in their time of youth. I think its like good food, enough sport and knowledge. Its not sexy enough to archive (in younger ages). Hope this will change too.

However with Pinephone and Purism there is a alternative that did not hide the complexity and i love it to hold the closing door open*** for some more month and share the knowledge how to use computers by yourself.

***the shift of computers, internet and information usage we see in everyday life and the access to information and the right to choose what software run on systems we are exposed to.

Every Generation has its own challenges. The future Generation will not understand why its important to have a free Linux phone, its like having a Desktop Computer. It offers capabilities but only a small percentage will look deeper and learn from that or learn how to code and process data through own code. That number (of young folks do this) got smaller and smaller every year, cause the systems - even open Source one as i suggest at the beginning - will be unreachable, or the Code is not clear or to complex with to much lines or more and more run on a Backend in the Internet.

A really open source Phone, is kind of a revolution. Where you can break open and understand how it works. The possibility to use your Librem with a Monitor, Keyboard and Mouse - can be a milestone for Teenager-Nerds. And i am so proud to be a particle of that evolution for that open door to a future of privacy and knowledge about how computers in you pocked can work.

So for me it is not only a Phone-Choice, its a choice of - how to interact with the world of tomorrow.

Using Linux with a Phone is so much better as using Microsoft, Apple or Android Devices to read and share daily Communication. Looking forward to that is a big step for me. Even if i think it will take much more years to achieve a change for the mainstream. Just hope there is no Ex-president or Billionaire who offer immoral pile of money to purism/open Source Coders to sell their ideology*.

*Sigh, oh that’s another Coin with two sides if you look who contribute to the Linux Kernel and develop free Browsers. Its just, if that work is done we can use small parts with less well proved code to run this on our Computers.

kevux i hope i did not capture your thread/discussion here with to much off-topic. I just felt inspired by your review and loved to give some thoughts back and hope you enjoy my response.

Whish you a good time and future with your Linux Phones!


I have some good news.

It turns out that the camera has some buttons at the top that do not look like buttons.
You click them and you can adjust the settings.
I was able to max out all of my settings and get some decent pictures.

I will probably update my review with an edit note about this.

I also did some battery life testing.
Having only the cellular radio on (bluetooth, wifi, camera, and mic are off) and the phone set to auto-suspend I left the phone on over night.
The phone lasted with maybe 40% to 50% available.
I should be able to get 12 to 24 hours of no-use time with the cellular radio on.
This is great news in regards to idle battery life.


You might like these old posts:
(The L5 originally had “Megapixels” before it evolved into “Millipixels,” but operation is the same.)

And #shotonlibrem5 on Fosstodon:

my current biggest knocks on it which prevent me from daily driving the Librem 5 are atrocious battery life and MMS issues. If those things are worked out, I am in. Battery life doesn’t have to be great, just good enough to get me through a day, the sleep issue has to be resolved to save on battery. MMS, could try and put your own settings in with mixed results, really wish that was improved.

1 Like

I had more or less the same experience with battery life: with wifi the battery didn’t last a day. I haven’t tried 4G data or the Suspend option.
Does the Suspend option save a lot of battery or do you think it is still not enough?
Thank you very much.

suspend doesn’t necessarily wake the phone when it should and it does improve battery life, but you might not realize you had a missed call or text until you check your phone. Last I checked a few weeks ago, it was about 8% an hour drain idle, but in suspend it was about 5-6% but at the cost of not waking up when you might be getting a call or text. So it is a big issue.


Thank you very much for your kind feedback. Too bad it is not yet well supported, on the other hand they have made some progress (which is a good thing as the feature was not possible a few month ago) so I hope they are working seriously on it.

Thank you for this write up. I am still eagerly anticipating getting my L5. So far everything you have described I’m good with. I would love it if my phone would not receive anything when suspended. I think that would save me a lot of interruptions through the course of the day.

If suspend is draining the battery by about 5% an hour then that means one should be able to get around 20 hours of standby time on a full charge. If you are using the device for maybe 2-4 hours a day, you could TOTALLY get through a whole day.

Purism please get me my phone. I’d love to rave about it myself. Hahaha


I think we can achieve this feature with 3 scenarios :

  1. Kill switches OFF + suspend = save battery
  2. Do not disturb + suspend = save less battery
  3. Airplane mode + suspend = save battery

Save battery is good but my understanding is that the priority would be to receive SMS / call on suspend just in case of emergency for instance, or if somebody wants to reach you.


Another task is to create a new eco-system for the internet that doesn’t require any cookies. If every web-site has a duplicate opensource equivalent web-site with no cookies (probably from a competing company), then anyone with a Librem 5 can just say to themselves “…I prefer not to be spied-on. I’ll use this other web-site that has no cookies”. The new web-sites will work fine without ever blocking any access or features because you’ve blocked all cookies. I don’t care if my user experience lacks some features if in exchange, no one is spying on me. If the product and company are good, then they don’t need any damned analytics on anyone. People will show up and will spend money with them. They don’t need to know anything about me other than that my money is good when I spend it with them.


I can be content with this. But first i need to get the damn phone.