Librem 5 Pros and Cons Compared to Android or iPhone

I may be a zealot or a fanboy with blinders on; however, I truly think this device is amazing. Is it objectively “better” in terms of technical specs and functionality than and Android or Iphone? No, probably not. However, whether it is objectively “better”, in this respect, is not the question, in my mind.

The real question should be: is the Librem 5 objectively a better freedom respecting and privacy respecting device than those made by Google or Apple? The answer there is unequivocally “yes”. The real value (making it worth $1,200 - $2,000) is that someone is taking on Goliath companies who sell devices in “walled-garden” ecosystems that are ostensibly there to “track” you and make money from it. I personally find that appalling, frustrating, etc. (Use your favorite adjective).

The Librem 5 can do, more or less, what you ask it to do. It respects you. There are dedicated people at Purism, developers, outside volunteers, etc., who are working this phone, I suspect, because they believe in freedom and privacy. It is important. It is also an uphill battle.

In sum, the device is very capable, not perfect, but very cool and useful. Maybe most importantly, it is freedom respecting and mostly private (the “un-private” aspects are user-driven). Just like any other important social endeavor, I believe society “should” support the aforementioned individuals, volunteers, companies, etc, who are advocating for freedom and privacy.

That is the “Pro” of this device. The only real “Con” is that you can’t get all the fanciness that many (including me) were previously used-to. Of course, as we all know, that “Con” and fanciness comes with the unacceptable price of freedom and privacy - thus back to my original conclusion of the “Pro” of the device.


Pinephones,pro is a generic TOY, Librem 5 is a OEM.

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Curious, does that mean it doesn’t have the Mobian UI lag and scaling problems that pinephone has?

The L5 is much more performant, from my brief experience using both.


Lags will gone on librem 5 in gnu-octarine.
PP regular will keep lags forever except by using QTLibs
PPP it much powerful but this phones has pretty bad battery save on hardware, because the monitor is too big, and others, so pp ppp it is slim but not good desing for battery save, but also fake HKS.

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I think most people really don’t realize the situation here.
Imagine that the humanity has built all data centers in the world on a single island in a high seismic zone subject to earthquakes and tsunamis. Not smart, right?

Well this is exactly what humanity did with the electronics industry.
An insane portion of the World electronics is manufactured in a very small geographic area in Southeast Asia.
If you take China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, South Korea, and Japan, what is the percentage of the World electronics output?
Is this zone stable?
You can judge for yourself, but in my opinion the answer is no, because China is following a clear and open nationalistic imperialistic agenda. They have enough land, they have enough people, they have good trade with Taiwan. And still they are ready to use military force to annex this small island of Taiwan. No reason whatsoever apart from satisfying their perception of historic justice and this could very well start a major international war with epicenter the Southeast Asia area, where all electronics is made. This would mean that in case of a serious war, we will have a severe shortage of electronics for years.

The only meaningful thing to do in such situation is to diversify.
If all your data centers would have been on one place, then we would have distributed them around the World.
We need to diversify the geographic area of manufacturing. Let us have electronics manufacturing in South America, North America, Africa, Europe ect.
This is extremely hard. And the investment to do it will cost money that need to be paid as part of the product price. But it is the only reasonable thing to do. And it is fantastic that Purism takes this first step.

Is this first step perfect? No, of course not. Currently it is very hard to impossible to build a device like Librem 5 with nothing coming from Southeast Asia.
But it is a first step nevertheless. Way better than keeping buying made in China until all manufacturers that produce outside of China go bankrupt.

When you buy made in China, you just make a tiny step closer to a situation where we are left with close to no electronics at all and that could lead us to economic apocalypse in the West (because we need electronics not only to play games, but also for work). This is how important it is to support made outside of China.

I personally try to choose made outside of China wherever possible. Most of the time this would still mean made in Southeast Asia like Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. But for me this is still better than nothing, because it is on the one side moving away from one country and diversifying at least to other countries. Even if close by. And on the other side China is the military juggernaut that creates the risk in the first place. The more money they have for weapons, the more likely it is for China to decide that it is powerful enough to confront the World by invading Taiwan (and the more likely it is for China to guestimate that the World would not react out of fear and dependencies).

When you begin to understand that, then you will look on the price from a different perspective.


It’s more expensive to make a phone in the USA.

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Well it’s currently $700 more expensive than the non-USA Librem 5, so we know that $700 of the $2000 price is due to it being Made In USA Electronics. Currently there are no other USA phones to compare, so it seems acceptable that Purism can set any arbitrary price markup they want.

And the laptop is non-USA. The non-USA phone being roughly the same price as the base-model non-USA laptop seems reasonable to me.

  • PinePhone Pro: 4GB LPDDR4-800 DRAM @ 800MHz
    PinePhone Pro: 3000mAh Battery

  • Librem 5: 3GB LPDDR4-3200 DRAM @ 3200MHz
    Librem 5: 4,500mAh Battery

The PinePhone Pro has quadruple the amount of eMMC storage compared to the Librem 5, but both have the option of a microSD card up to 2TB. The Librem 5 has much faster RAM, a larger battery, and unique features like easy-to-use and fully-functional kill-switches and hardware Lockdown mode.

So $700 of that $1600 difference between the Librem 5 USA and the PinePhone Pro is due to it being Made In USA Electronics.

Factoring out the $700 USA-markup, the Librem 5 is currently $900 more expensive than the PinePhone Pro because the Librem 5 is a significantly better product, in terms of hardware and software.

Part of that cost and part of what makes the Librem 5 the better product is that Purism employs software developers dedicated to building the FOSS operating system and apps for the Librem 5. This software is publicly available for audit and use in other projects.

For those of us that really want a viable non-Android/non-iOS phone, buying a Librem 5 does far more toward funding that goal than buying a PinePhone.

Counting costs is just comparing numbers, which we absolutely can do. Purism spends much more money than Pine64 on software development. Pine64 is a hardware company that has made donations to software developers, while Purism is a hardware and software company that directly employs software developers.

Purism also has a better product, and I would guess that they have spent more money than Pine64 on hardware development too.

I think you might be confusing information on the USA supply-chain with the extra add-on called Anti-Interdiction Services, which would be for people that probably don’t have much trust in customs checks.

@Hristo already addressed a major element and benefit of the USA supply-chain:

I don’t think it’s controversial to say that this zone is unstable. Therefore the Librem 5 USA being from a different region is a benefit.

From my personal shopping experience:

  • Pine64 requires a valid phone number in order to buy a PinePhone Pro and will not ship without it.

  • PinePhone Pro reseller, Ameridroid, sends your personal information to PayPal (when choosing the Not PayPal creddit card payment option at checkout), and PayPal requires VPN users to send pictures of their face and credit card for special verification.

  • Purism does not require a valid phone number in order to buy their products, does not block VPN users, and does not needlessly involve PayPal in the purchase process.

The PinePhone I have was a gift from someone who didn’t mind giving their phone number and using PayPal to purchase the phone. I was never able to buy one myself, and I was also never able to buy a PinePhone Pro either. I did receive the Librem 5 that I ordered for $599 back in 2018 though.


As an SPC, that probably doesn’t fly.

The proper comparison is $2000 for the Librem 5 USA vs the $1300 regular Librem 5. Currently the only actual difference is that the mainboard is fabbed in the US. To clarify, the mainboard is simply the board that connects the various components together ( the SoC’s ports to the external ports, integrate the power/battery circuits, connect the USB2 port of the SoC to the M2 sockets for the cellular modem, etc.) All of the actual parts — most crucially the SoC which is really the “computer” — are virtually all still of foreign sources. e.g. The cellular modem is non-US, the SoC is fabbed in SKorea, the wifi card is non-US, …

Why that would cost $700 more than the normal Librem 5 is beyond me.

Doesn’t the Librem 5’s LPDDR4-3200 RAM operate at 1600MHz rather than 3200MHz?

The modem disconnecting is a known issue, see

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It seems it’s 3200: Comparing specs of upcoming Linux phones.

It’s LPDDR4-3200, which means 3200MT/1600MHz. The important part that allows to roughly compare the speeds across generations and contexts is MT/s, not MHz.


The LPDDR4-3200 is the spec for the RAM module. The real spec to understand it that of the DRAM controller. Are you saying that the DRAM controller actually operates at 1600MHz and that the data transfer rate is 3200MT/s (i.e. 25.6GB/s)?

The RAM module in L5 is actually speced higher (LPDDR4-3733 IIRC), but iMX8MQ maxes out at 3200 with LPDDR4.

My (limited) understanding is that the controller operates at 800MHz with two channels; DDR bus operates at 1600MHz, which provides data transfer rate of 3200MT/s / 25.6GB/s.


If you like customizability, I would recommend android Phone. The Linux mobile phone ecosystem is not yet mature.

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No thanks, after using hardware kill switches on my Librem 5 USA and 14, I cannot go back to using general-purpose electronic devices without them.


I like the hardware kill switches too. It’s great to have a more free phone. Librem 5 is a nice step in that direction. I’d like my workstation desktop to simply have an icon down there with my phone number on it. We’re pretty much there. Admitttedly I use Graphene OS as well but I try to avoid it.

Taiwan manufactures something like 60% of the worlds semiconductors total…so everything from the most basic IC and something like 80% of the most advanced semiconductors on the planet. We have a very good reason to be concerned about China’s plans for it.