Librem 5 battery spec : built in or replaceable?

The battery life on linux in general is not the best. Android actually has a lot of low level tweaks to help there so I don’t think that you can assume anything.

Battery life on Android is better without the bloatware and spyware. I know because I use Android and I don’t use the bloatware and spyware (yes, its possible). GNU/Linux power management will not be as good as Android power management and battery life will be pretty bad compared to what you would expect for an Android phone with similar specs. hence the need for a lower resolution display and larger batter.

Anybody trying to compare Android to another Linux distro on a phone with regard to power management is going to be disappointed. As has already been mentioned here, Google has put A LOT of work over the course of much trial, error, and iteration into power management. They have come along way.

There is a lot of garbage going on that doesn’t need to be there or running that PureOS will not have, but in general it is going to take some work to reach the same power management.


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For good or bad, on the deep, Android is linux based


Late to the party, but these are my opinions

A thicker phone than other smartphones are fine, as long as:

  • The phone has a curved back (possibly also front) so it doesn’t feel as thick and is easy to hold
  • The phone is less than 15mm thick

A phone which is 15mm thick will feel thick even with rounded corners, please be careful with making it thicker than this. However, if you have a hard time getting power management right and you really have to make it thicker to surpass 2 days of standby time it’s OK, but at that point regular smartphone users would probably laugh at it sadly.

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It’ll be 14mm thick:


Hello. Congratulations for promoting freedom.
I have an LG V20 with a replaceable battery and I am using two aftermarket 10 000 mAh batteries. I charge them externally, without fast charging and I use each one of them for at least 2 full days. They support fast charging but I am only able to do it through the phone’s charger which makes it very inconvenient and I prefer to just leave a battery for a day or two on the external charger.
I was hoping to be able to fast charge them externally and that’s why I got the 10k ones. I would’ve gotten the bigger 12k mAh batteries had I known I wouldn’t manage the fast charging.
This has brought a huge relief into my life since I don’t think about cables and charging anymore - just wake up, get the fresh battery from the charger, go out, use for two days, switch it with the next one.
I am writing all of this to explain how important a removable battery is to me. I would prefer a smaller but (easily) removable batrery to a big non removable one. Of course, both together would be best :slight_smile:
I use Android as google-free as possible and I’ve been using only Linux on my computer for a few years.
Of course you cannot make hardware changes in the last monent but I would love to have a Librem phone with a removable battery one day.
Battery size is of no concern to me, although it is important for other people. So I know I perhaps represent a market minority but on the other hand, the Chinese have made Ulefone Power 5 and a bunch of other huge battery phones.
I myself prefer a removable, externally chargeable battery to a built in one. The bigger the better.


Regarding iPhones, the original and the 3g/3gs fit better in my hand than pretty much any newer iPhone. Personally, any iPhone made after the 5s is too thin. Battery life isn’t quite there, they bend too easily, and with Apple’s insistence on using beveled glass, the screens break too easily.

For now, I’m using an iPhone SE, which is 7.6 mm thick, but the iPhone 3g is honestly more comfortable to hold. Being thicker, its curved design doesn’t dig into my hands like the angled edges of the SE.

I’ve thought about getting a Librem 5, but with the screen now over 5", the phone is just too large. I almost dropped my Moto Z every time I had to reach for the top of the screen, impossible to use single-handedly. For me, what would make the Librem ideal is a 4.5-5" display, with a slot for a lithium ion 18650 cell at the top of the phone. Not only would this solve the space issue for the battery without making the phone overall too thick, it would provide a physical prop to use the phone one-handed as well as a built-in kickstand for portrait reading with the phone sitting on a table. The phone would need to be about as wide as an iPhone X to house the cell, but maybe not as long (16:10 or 3:2 screen ratio), as only the logic board would be behind the screen. Plus, under the cover for the battery would provide a nice spot for all the kill switches.

As an example of what I had in mind, imagine the MiFi Liberate above with a larger, portrait screen. Using a standard 18650 cell would make hot-swapping easy, practically eliminate cell puffing, and a single cell would provide over 9 Wh of capacity, about the same as the iPhone X.

Cool ideas, but I think at this point in development anything that causes the team to deviate from what they’ve already been working on is just not possible. Starting over from the drawing board (as that is what your suggestion would require) is just not possible at this point.

On top of that, as someone who use to agree that the iphone 4 was the perfect size phone, but has since changed their mind, let me just share my opinion on the matter of screen size.

//off topic begin//
With how much people are using phones for these days, the extra screen real estate is not only important, but also a practical matter. Trying to do remote management, or real productivity stuff on a tiny screen just sucks.
// off topic end//

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Replaceable battery is my vote, considering phone tech is a viable job for work and mechanic role for a community.

Reloadable batteries sound like the most realized form of a device ever, not limiting the type of chemical reaction

no i meant reloadable as in mechanically reloadable batteries as refering to the insertion inside the main body of the device. what about the chemical reaction ? what do you mean by that ? as far as i know only acid-lead type car batteries can be chemically “reloadable”. in this case the reloadable content would be a mixture of salt and distilled water … but in the case of mobile device batteries that is not the case as they rely on a different principle. LI-ION or LI-POLIMER etc.

This is one of the issues where you have to make choices, and I’m not sure that everyone understands what Nicole Faerber was saying.

Want a cellular modem that doesn’t need a binary blob in the Linux kernel?
Then you need a separate cellular baseband chip with a USB interface. To get that you end up with a giant 29x32x2 mm chip, and it won’t support all the LTE bands if you need one that runs without binary blobs. OK, then let’s make the cellular modem replaceable, so people can use a modem with binary blobs that supports the bands in their region. OK, then you end up with a M.2 slot and a 30x42x2 mm M.2 card.

Want an SoC that doesn’t require any binary blobs in the Linux kernel and has a decent free software driver for the GPU?
OK, then you end up with a power-inefficient i.MX 8M Quad that will require a big battery.

Want 3 hardware kill switches?
OK, then you have to separate the cellular modem and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth from the SoC, which means 3 separate chips rather than 1 like a Snapdragon or Mediatek SoC. It also means that you can’t use the GPS in the cellular modem, so you need a separate GPS chip that can be turned off separately from the cellular modem.

Want a hot-swappable battery?
You can’t do it, because you have a giant circuit board covered with chips which takes up the entire length and width of the phone, so you have to put the battery between the screen and the circuit board. You can get your hot-swappable battery if the phone is 20 mm thick, or if you give up a replaceable cellular modem (which means a soldered modem that supports all bands and uses binary blobs).

Want a thin phone that is only 10 mm thick?
Sorry but you can’t have it, not if you want 100% free software, not if you want 3 hardware kill switches, not if you want a replaceable cellular modem. You can only do it if you design the Librem 5 like the PinePhone. Do you still want a thin phone? OK, then buy the PinePhone with binary blobs, an outdated and underpowered Allwinner A64 SoC, and a soldered cellular modem. Are you happy now?

We seem to want the impossible, without acknowledging the necessary tradeoffs in each choice. Maybe the industry will eventually give us the parts so that is possible to make a 10 mm thick phone that runs on 100% free software, but those parts don’t exist today.

Hopefully all of us will keep these realities in mind when the Librem 5 finally arrives, and appreciate the difficult choices that the Purism engineers had to make to give us such a unique phone.

We already know what the tech reviewers will say about the Librem 5, but frankly most of the reviewers of cell phones are best ignored, because they don’t know know what is important and they don’t have the technical knowledge to appreciate the engineering challenges of the Librem 5 in either the hardware or the software.


Thanks for the perspective summary. This goes along nicely with my long time, non use of face…k or tw.tter, g…gle, etc… I’m used to attracting attention with my choice of phones, i use a Silver BlackBerry passport with minimum side loads. Weird? Some things are worth the sacrifice. I don’t care if it’s late or later, just give me reliable hardware that i control, where i decide and that i own.
Bravo Librem5

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I agree with with many posts here : everything more than 13mm is a design risk in terms of product “image” and grip in hand.

I would even suggest (if possible of course) : 12mm thickness (as a reasonable trade-off) and start to improve the power management as soon as the SOP.

If the battery is replaceable with screws, it’s good, please just make some video tutorials and it can be OK.

I don’t know what is the simulated thickness in the below picture, but the shape is acceptable :

the new photos from the blog post and the taking-the-back-apart hands-on by CEO TW seems to suggest that the battery is somewhere between user-replaceable and hot-swapable.

has anyone a better word for it, that’s different from these two ? (to avoid confusion ?)

Todd Weaver said that he had loosened up the plastic pressure tabs by taking off the back cover multiple times, so I bet it was more difficult to open the case the first time. Also, I doubt that you would want to open it frequently, since pressure tabs can break over time.

“Hot swapable” usually implies that you don’t have to turn off the device, but this doesn’t have a bridge battery to allow that, so I think that “user replaceable” is the appropriate term, but I think that “designed for easy repair” should be added to the description.


Guys, and girls, a have a question: What do you think about the possibilies of the extra battery size?

A long ago, i was have a Motorola Defy, and i loving it. I was have two batteries for this device, one original (slim) and a big, massive battery.
This is the difference:

The Librem 5 is not a typical facebook and messenger phone, the customers (we) i think, will generate heavy load, so i think, the Librem 5 will be more power hungry than a small full-optimized android phone.

If the Librem 5 needs power, i say, give it.

The “battery backpack”, like the motorola extra battery, maybe will be good for us.
Of course, need a extra sized back panel, but this is feasible via 3D printing.

What do you think, what is the maximum acceptable size of the Librem 5, when using with a extra large battery?

What do you think, is there a real need for a larger battery?

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probably, i would say yes. the cases that it would actually benefit and those who would take advantage of it though i would say is a slim fraction of the user base

we could also use a small UPS if power demands will be so high … but i doubt that since there is so much heat you can dissipate on this phone. you will reach the thermal limit long before you can complain about the performance and energy drain.

does size matter ? :wink: