Librem 5 Screen size; Is the screen size too big?


Your point is understandable, and Purism intended to make a 5" phone :slight_smile:
For this first iteration they are doing their best. You can make everyone happy of course, so some might be a bit disappointed at the extra 0.5 to 0.7"

As @beFree mentions is, this is to fit the battery. As this is their first phone, they have to handle a lot of constraints including a very tight budget.

That would be a generous move from you but… isn’t that a bit extreme? You still get a phone that is well ahead of what the market can offer:

  • Android-less
  • iOS-less
  • Debian-based
  • Convergent
  • Actively participating in the FLOSS commmunity and commons (all code produced by Purism is pushed upstream for all the projects their are based upon, including GNOME)
  • Open specifications hardware that can be used by many open-source projects

I can understand a bit of disappointment for the extra 0.5" to 0.7", but does a 5" Android phone compete with that? This is a truly open question, not a rethorical one. One only you can answer depending on what you value most :slight_smile:

Asking the real questions here :wink:

As the current owner of a Nexus 5 I would have loved a 5" screen, but I definitely would rather have a 5.5" screen on a 14mm phone than a 5" on a 20mm phone!

Let’s be honnest: the Librem 5 is not the perfect phone for me. This probably is not the perfect phone for everyone, not even for @todd-weaver (Purism CEO). This is the first phone they make, and they have additional difficulties most Android phone makers don’t have.

I am still happy to back the Librem 5 because:

  • The points mentioned above still outweight the inconvenience of the phone at launch
  • I find it important to show the world some people think privacy is more important than convenience and are willing to pay money for it
  • Proving there’s a market may lead to competitors starting to do the same, and that’s for the best
  • It is a first version of the phone, and I’m quite positive further iterations will address most of the pain points raised here :slight_smile:
  • For further iterations of the phone to be made, there already needs to be a community actively using, tweaking and toying with the first iteration!

Go Purism, go!

Oh I definitely understand that this is their first iteration of the phone. With that it won't be perfect and on a tight budget etc. I understand about the battery. I would have rather have a thicker phone over a larger screen size. In the end I am the one who has to use the phone. I have to take into account what is practical for me, what are acceptable changes and what changes are not. If the screen size is ideal for you, great. However there seem to be many that are in the same mindset as myself. That's important to consider. 
As for extreme, extreme would be jumping off a building without a parachute or spending 900 euros, pesos, or dollars on a cup of coffee (actually if you YouTube it, you will find a video on a cup of coffee costing that much). There is nothing extreme in donating my phone to Linux projects as that is still supporting the Librem as well. Just because I don't want the device does not mean I do not support the project. In the end I am the one who has to use the device. The fact of the matter is the phone should be mobile and small. I did mention in the original post that I understand this is the first generation and that future offerings will be better improved as time goes. All the points you listed are points that I was fully aware of and why I purchased the phone to start with. So I was very well aware of all those things, but like I said...There are some things I can accept and others I will not. 

You make it clear that the screen size is not a deal breaker for you. I can only say good for you. However it is for me, and I am not alone in this. The previous links above; the one I provided and the one provided by antpanlinux really show that that is an issue for many people. Irregardless of all the other benefits, I find this worthy of discussion. As you can see from the responses, many feel the same. It maybe just a bit of a disappointment for you, but it is a big one for me.
You would rather have the bigger screen, I do not.
I never said or even thought that the Librem 5 would be the perfect phone. I never made any statement that even implied that. I am still happy to support the project and want to see it move forward.
With that said;

  • The points do not outweigh the inconvenience, at launch or in the future.
  • It is important to demonstrate the importance of privacy to the world. But I can support the project and still not be inconvenienced to do that. And since Purism has other backer options I can still contribute in other ways. Not just the one.
  • The project definitely will demonstrate to competitors to see the value of security and open source. That can be done without me having to tolerate a device that I don’t want to use.
  • Like I had mentioned before; I know this is just the first iteration so I will be looking forward to what the future versions will be like. I will still support the project, and when a device is made addressing these points, then I will be there to make a purchase and use that device very happily and content. After all that can’t be done without raising such points right? :sunglasses:
  • You are absolutely rights about needing users to toy and tweak with the first iteration of the phone to improve future iterations. So it’s a good thing that there are approximately 4000 or so users who will do just that. This is to include the people I will donate my phone too.

There are many ways to support a project. And I do agree; Go Purism!! :grin:


All your points are very valid and understandable. You have the freedom to chose the software, you also have the freedom to use or not your device of course.

As I stated, my questions were not rethorical. It seems really important for you, to the point you would rather donate your device. That is something only you can chose to do. In any case, congratulations for chosing to donate the device instead of tossing if off.

It’s always nice to have a civilized discussion on (not so) divergent opinions, thanks for that. And thanks for your support to Purism :slight_smile:


I personally prefer the bigger screen. Once you use the bigger screen, smaller screens just feel scrunched together with squinted eyes.


Then it’s a good thing I have good vision :grin: lol.
But in all seriousness I have no problem reading things on a 4 inch screen. I see very clearly.
The pockets on my clothes are not extra large and a case will only make it bigger.
Phone…not phablet :smile: That’s my take :smile:


I have to agree. I actually enjoyed a civilized discussion. So thanks to you as well :sunglasses: In the end we both see the value of this project; in of itself and open source. We both want to see this succeed and are excited for the future. And we both have the desire to help to see what the future looks like. Hopefully a couple of device options as well as a tablet or two would be kinda nice lol.


Librem tablets coming this summer :3


I precise that I still prefer the bigger screen. I put the link to that studio just to show what, in general, users prefer, which seemed correct to know.:wink:


I’d prefer a smaller screen size as well. It gets quite uncomfortable if you have to use both hands to reach all locations on your phone. From experiences with a 4,98" Nexus 5 it’s on the edge of being a pain to reach to opposite top corner and requires to let loose of a firm grip and kind of do the “balance in your hand” thing.
Are there any definite measurements of the phone as a whole with the new larger screen? I’d be really curious about that.


I feel the very same way.
I once had a 5.5" and it didn’t fit in my pockets (and I lost it).

If the librem5 will be above 5", I won’t be using one as my daily driver.


I agree. I too was disappointed at the size. 5” seems optimal for me, anything larger becomes too cumbersome.


I find that interesting in that I did look and play around with those big screen sizes. I didn’t like them. In my case, going back to smaller was very easy as with smaller screens i am still very comfortable reading and watching video content on them. The big screens are too bulky and cumbersome and I would have to use two hands to work the applications and access settings. I prefer doing all that with one hand. :yum:


I absolutely LOVE it! For me, the usable minimum screen size on a smartphone is 5.7". I love the idea of the librem 5, but I didn’t order one, simply because of the too small screen. If they actually go to 5.7" I definitely will order one.

I actually do not see the point in small screen smartphones. If you just want a small phone, then just get a phone. To be able to do anything useful with a smartphone and actually do something productive, you need a decent sized screen. At least I do. I am currently using a 6.3" phablet and love it. It also fits perfectly in my pocket, no problems there. . I can’t go back to small screens.

Also, if they increase the screen to body ratio, they can fit a bigger screen on the device without actually make the phone much bigger. I realize that the reason for size increase is the battery, but still, if they do a bigger case, they could easily increase the screen much more, without actually increasing the body too much.


I’m content with 5.5 inches. If I had the choice I would go a little smaller, but I can make do with 5.5 inches.

If the mock-up in design report #5 is to scale and representative of the final product, then it will be about 2¾ inches (70mm) by 5⅞ inches (150mm), including the bezel (assuming the screen diagonal is accurately 5.5 inches).


I have no problem seeing lol

Its just that once you go to a bigger screen going back to smaller screen sucks!

You know that feeling of getting a new monitor for your computer? When you graduate from one size to a bigger size? And then you go back to smaller screens sometimes for whatever reason? It sucks! It feels crippling! It’s the same thing with the phone screens… The ONLY downsize is an extra 1" in the pocket. It really isn’t that much more space , or that much extra to worry about. Not to me anyway.

I have the Note 3 right now, and in the past when I’ve had to go back to smaller screen phones temporarily, is sucks. Resolution isn’t as good, text size sucks, a lot smaller for fingers, for reading, for videos…

The bigger issue to me is I hope the technology and hardware for the phone won’t be obsolete by release date…and I hope they have good battery life and not too buggy.

I posted a link where Samsung was starting to offer/sell new graphite batteries that charge and last like 50x faster/longer than normal batteries and I think they’re supposed to be cheaper as well. It would be nice if something like that was available…Though I know thats probably not


Hi @ballgum,

Resolution and screen size are not hardly bound :wink:
I believe in his interview with UBports, Todd talked about a 720p screen.

Depends on your definition of obsolete! The Librem 5 will always be behind what an Android-phone could have brought you for the same price, in terms of hardware power. That said, Purism works with an i.MX8m board that was just released. I also don’t think I have seen any convergent device actually out, especially now that Windows Phone died, bringing Continuum with it. That makes the phone pretty competitive to me :slight_smile:

Purism deciding to get a wider screen to fit a larger battery and chosing a thicker-than-market-average phone leads me to think it will sport a large battery able to power it for as long as needed :slight_smile:

Isn’t that patented to Samsung and not available for other phone makers for a couple of years? Genuine question here, not spreading the FUD.


For me large screens (>4.7 inch) are really hard to handle. When using them I have to rest them on my pinky finger so they don’t slide off my hand. Then it’s close to impossible to reach the top of the screen with my hand without supporting the phone with the other hand. Reading in bed is impossible.

Now modern phones also have very thin bezels, forcing the users to hold them in a very awkard manner, as there is less and less area where they can rest their fingers…


In raw specs, yes, but bear in mind that Android is horrifically slow and bloated. You mentioned WinPhone - that’s actually a pretty good example. The Nokia WinPhones had CPU and RAM specifications which were several generations behind what the current Android handsets were using, yet they were much more responsive because the OS was just plain better written. I have no reason to believe that the handset version of PureOS (or whatever else we may wish to install on there - I wonder who will be the first to run Emacs as the OS on theirs…) will be anywhere near as bad as Android.

Well, if they don’t want to make billions by rendering every single other battery manufacturer obsolete, then they have nobody else to blame but themselves…


I would prefer smaller screen thicker device

I use the iPhone SE at the moment precisely because of screen size.

Nevertheless - life is not always perfect or runs according to how we want it.

We just need to think what are our values.

Since Purism’s mission is close to my heart - and to the heart of all those involved in this converstaion - surely we are not going to let size be a matter!!

We need to think about the end goal and not about short term accidentals.

Maybe #librem:phones could have a new design in a number of years from now - maybe even two designs - large and small scree.

Thanks for bringing this topic up

Go Go #librem:phones


That’s precisely my point. This also is why I talked about hardware power, and not device efficiency :wink: