Librem 5 battery spec : built in or replaceable?

In my opinion, making it thicker than 10 mm is not a good idea.
It needs to look good to be desirable even if that means a smaller battery that has to be recharged daily.
Not many people would purchase or use a brick that stands out.

To be successful, the Librem 5 needs to sell well.
Some people might think to buy multiple devices as a gifts to family members that don’t care about Linux.
These non technical users won’t switch from their current smartphone to the Librem 5 if is too thick, even if it’s a gift.


To ordinary smartphone users, Librem 5 will be a device with
limited functionality, requiring continuous user care & hadling.
Most Librem 5 buyers won’t spend $600 to buy a Linux smartphone as a gift
to family members who don’t care about Linux
With all due respect, this argument is detached from reality


Linux users would buy and use it even if it is 10 mm thick and has a smaller battery.
10 mm is already thicker than any other Android or iOS smartphone.
The iPhone 8 Plus is 7.5 mm thick and the iPhone X is 7.7 mm.

Other users won’t buy or even use something that is over 10 mm thick.

If it looks like a brick, it won’t sell well.
I think that 10 mm would be the maximum acceptable thickness for most non technical users.

It won’t have a great battery capacity but Linux users would buy it anyway.
It would be slightly thicker than normal smartphones but other potential buyers won’t reject it because of its thickness.
Also, there won’t be review titles like this: Librem 5. The Linux brick has arrived.

I would like to point out that iPhone 3G was 13.2 mm thick and I do not remember users ripping off their hair.
I had it and it was easily manageable.
So I do not think that for the first open-source mobile phone approved FSF we can speak of linux brick if you reach these dimensions.


Yes, but that was in 2008.
The Librem 5 launches in 2019, 11 years later.

From a business perspective, a thick phone would be a bad move.
A thinner phone with a smaller battery capacity would be a reasonable compromise.

It has to sell as much as possible to sustain further development.
Having a thickness that is close to “normal” in 2019 would also encourage non technical people to buy it or at least accept to use it, but they won’t switch from a new iPhone to a brick (twice as thick) just because it runs Linux.
Us, Linux fans, will buy it anyway, even if it doesn’t have great battery capacity.


I bought a Samsung Galaxy s5 recently and immediately purchased a massive battery that turned it into a brick.

Long battery life is a forgotten luxury from the feature phone days that I hope to see brought back one day.

In the mean time I worry that the Librem 5 power management will be signifcantly worse than you realize and it will have to be a brick to simply get through the day. Either way, a thick phone with battery life will probably win over early adopters better than a thin phone that is tethered to a power outlet.


guys the thread title is “Librem 5 battery spec : built in or replaceable?”

question mark. let’s stay on point please. thickness has nothing to do with it. it either is BUILT IN or it is REPLACEABLE - which one is it ? can it be both ?

what is the official definition by Purism of BUILT IN ?

what is the official definition by Purism of REPLACEABLE ?

are they the same ?

one thing is for certain the first Librem 5 and the next revision will probably NOT be HOT-SWAPABLE.

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There are three options for the battery:

  • Soldered/glued
  • Replaceable
  • Hot-swappable

For reasons of heat management, engineering, and aesthetics, Purism has decided to make the battery of the Librem 5 replaceable rather than hot-swappable. The battery will not be glued or soldered in so that the device can have a useful life longer than ~400 charge cycles.

I’m not sure which of these are considered “built-in”. So I really can’t answer if the phone will have a “built-in” battery. Replacing the battery will likely require a screwdriver but will not require a soldering gun, a PCB printer, or photolithography. The average user should be able to replace the battery without outside help.


I’m fine with 15mm. I grabbed my calipers and my Playstation Vita (2000 ‘slim’ series), and that’s about how thick it is, and it by no means feels thick when I’m handling it. Some users think it feels too thin.

I think the curvyness of the device and the fact that it has a large screen gives it the feeling of being very thin, even though in actuality it’s quite thick by comparison.

Perhaps something similar would be good for the Librem 5, something less boxy-looking but still enjoying all the thickness necessary to pack it with features.

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see that’s just it. outside help in the case of “Replaceable” battery means that it requires some form of “outside help” in that you need a screw driver and probably a place where you can sit quietly while you perform the neccessary operations in order to take it out. what if you need to change the battery “on-the-go” ? what if you are at home but don’t have the neccessary screwdriver or scredriver-head ? what about impaired users ? how will they be able to replace the battery ?

i can think of a few scenarios in which “users” will proceed to take the replaceable battery out and they will lose the screws or something will happen that might hinder their plans ?

can we not agree that if Purism intends to build a freedom respecting device it also needs to adress issues that pertain to ALL people (able or non-able) ?

hot-swapable is a type of replaceable battery but not the built-in type. can we agree on that ?

for the future design considerations i would propose a design with a pop-out battery mechanism similar to that used in hand-gun reloading but with a simpler and less bulky actuation mechanism. this would be a non-built-in non-hot-swapable type but rather be a different category. let’s say “RELOADABLE” instead of replaceable.

in conclusion i do not like any of the built-in or replace-able types. i tolerate hot-swapable but favor RELOADABLE. that is my preferance with the reasons i mentioned above.

Indeed @reC , “relaodable” would be nicer and maybe a good e viable solution. But I’m OK with the current purism’s proposed solution too.
BTW, regarding to the devices thickness, it seems the curvature after control buttons produces an optical illusion that it’s not that thick:

At last, I’m really pleased about @nicole.faerber giving us live updates about the phone development. Thanks! :slightly_smiling_face:


The Fairphone 2 is 11mm thick and swappable. Hope you can get close to those dimensions.

Just wanted to throw my 2 cents in here:
So long as the battery is replaceable as Nicole already mentioned I’m good.

Getting through a day is pretty important. This means a day of being used. Hot swappable batteries? a removable cover?

Folks these are all things which take a lot of work to implement and drive development away from more important things. Let’s not forget the primary purpose of this phone, and it’s not to have every bell and whistle you can think of. It is to enable a phone that uses open and free software securely. There isn’t some billion dollar corporation behind this able to dump billions into R&D all in the pursuit of giving you every little feature you can think of.

What Purism has already outlined for the Librem 5 is extremely impressive given their size and scale. Based on what they’ve already expressed in this thread, I have no fear that the battery will even be something I need to worry about.



I completely agree

Probably the bloatware and spyware is responsible for draining battery on Android smartphones. Having Linux on Librem5 I assume we’ll save some battery just for not having that bad software.

If PureOs kernel and drivers are customized for the smartphone, the battery could last longer if compared to a similar hardware using Android.

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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