Librem 5 received and inital reaction

I received my Librem 5 USA yesterday, eleven months after I ordered it. Here’s the blow by blow and my first reactions.

Nice looking, fit and finish is good. It’s heavy. It’s thick. Followed the instructions in the little booklet. First issue - no SIM extraction tool was included. Paper clip worked fine. Charged the battery. It turned itself on. Initial setup worked fine, except it took 2 tries to connect to my WIFI network. Tried a phone call to my other cell phone. Phone rang and answered, but I couldn’t figure out the volume issue. Second issue - contacts and calendar. I use a service for my contacts and calendar provided by Fruux. There doesn’t appear to be a way to make that work. Ugh. I didn’t bother with my five email accounts, they are all IMAP so I assume they will work. Third issue - I looked around for a photo taking + photo viewing app. No joy. I turned on all the power saving features and left it alone. Wake up this morning. Fourth issue - Dead battery after 10 hours of inactivity. All of the other issues seem to be fixable at some level by software and in a year or two, but the battery issue is a deal breaker. Is the concept of using open technology (modems, radio, GPU, etc.) that is generally many years old compatible with decent perfomance as well as several days of battery life? Hopefully, the answer is yes, but if the answer is no, then I’ve got a very slightly used Librem 5 USA for sale.

I’m a software developer. I am a fanatic about open source for communications, primarily as a means for assuring privacy from snooping by the TLAs of the world. Librem 5 was a glimmer of hope for my fanaticisim.


Librem 5 does not have the suspend implemented yet. All that time the phone was working, not sleeping. Given that, it has pretty impressive battery life to me. Of course, suspend will be implemented.

Check if you have the microphone/camera kill switch on. Many people reported working calls.

Strange, because the camera has been working for a while: Camera development progress.

Strange, it should be there.


Thanks for the reply. Argh. Yes, the SIM extraction tool was hiding under the European plugs.

Note that I didn’t say the battery lasted 10 hours. I was sleeping. For all I know it lasted 15 minutes. I’m glad to hear that will be addressed.

How do I get a camera app? I looked in the Librem store and no joy.

Also, is there a tutorial for creating an application that is specific to PureOS on the Librem 5? Or is it just normal app development? I assume GTK C++, is that right?


Actually, battery life should be larger than 10 hours according to my link above and this.

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The camera app is called “Megapixels”, install it like this from the command line:

sudo apt install megapixels

I don’t know if it can be installed via the GUI (store).

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Mostly regular app development, you would use libraries that provides adaptive widgets on top of the usual stack.

Either GTK3 + libhandy or GTK4 + libadwaita (libadwaita has no final release yet).
With Gobject-Introspection, you can write GTK3/libhandy apps in C, Python, Rust, Vala etc…

That would integrate best on a Phosh UI (GNOME based stack), KDE uses Kirigami to provide adaptive widgets while GNOME relies on libhandy/libadwaita.


Here’s some info you might find helpful:

I’ve immediately run into a bigger problem. So I let the battery run out last night because I didn’t know that I need to turn it off after use. OK, I’ll learn. I plugged it into the charger earlier today. The red light came on. I walked away. I went back an hour or so later and there is no light on (no green, red or any other light). I pressed the upper button for 2 seconds. I pressed the upper button for 10 seconds. Nothing. So I plugged it back in and the red light came on. I walked away and came back two hours later. Same thing. It appears to be bricked. Suggestions?

I suggest taking out the battery for a few seconds, then re-inserting. When I had first got mine, I let the battery drain fully one night, then had a similar issue, if I recall. Removing and re-inserting the battery brought it back to normal.

Anything to add, @dos?


That worked. Phone turned on automatically when I re-inserted the battery which was at 100%.


Your L5 USA is come with Amber or Byzantium? because Librem 5 Byzantium has huge improvements and work really nice to be ready a daily driver, except the battery performance, but Purism is doing nice work to improvements L5 every day.


I believe we’re still shipping with amber-phone, but that should change very very soon now.


For the reference, when the phone locks up for whatever reason, long power button press should always be able to get it back to life (provided that the battery isn’t fully depleted). There are two kinds of long-presses though:

  • a 5 second power button press should turn it off, and then another press should turn it on again - this however assumes that the PMIC still cooperates; if it locks up in some weird state, this may fail
  • a 15-20 second power button press with USB unplugged (important!) should always work and turn the phone back on. This cuts the battery power from the rest of the phone for a short moment, making sure that it fully restarts. This doesn’t work with USB plugged in, as then the power is still provided by USB even when the battery is cut out, so nothing gets restarted

Ideally, the second kind wouldn’t ever be needed - but we’re still in a state where bugs happen and the first one may fail, so it’s good to know that both kinds exist.


Thanks for the review @DonWills,
Overall, how is the speed/responsiveness?

I’m looking for a reliable linux phone.
I have a couple PinePhones, my chief complaint is most apps have a very sluggish response, often to the point of non-usability.

Was hoping he L5 is snappier?



My very early (less than 2 hours of use) experience is that responsiveness is good. But I’ve not played any games or done anything other than browse a few web pages and do some stuff in the terminal console app.


Great update! this sounds encouraging.
So the issue I’m having on Pinephone, you will notice it right away.


so lucky! i ordered it 3 years ago and i am still waiting :worried:

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Which games? I mean, is anyone really playing TuxCart? :slight_smile:

The Chess app works nicely on the L5. (GNOME Chess)


And AisleRiot (Solitaire) and Reversi. :slightly_smiling_face: