Librem 5 vs Mid-level Samsung

I spent the last ten days using my two year old mid-level Samsung phone while on vacation. I chose to use it over my year and a half daily driven Librem 5 for the better battery life and camera. In this post I will be making rough comparison between the two phones; Librem 5 and Samsung A32. There’s quite a few posts making comparisons between the Librem 5 and Android/iPhone. Usually, us Librem 5 users state that such comparisons are unfair due to the decade and billions of dollars invested in the development of the modern smartphone. While that is true, there are still quite a few quirks I noticed that made the Samsung difficult to use.

  1. Modem drop off: The Samsung had some modem connection difficulties. There were a few times where I had to put the phone into airplane mode on and off to reset the connection and get data again. So even with the aforementioned resources invested in the device, modem connectivity can still be fickle. It made me feel a little less frustrated with the L5’s modem issues.

  2. SMS issues: For the most part the Samsung handled SMS fine, but there were some occasions where in a group text the messages had to be manually downloaded with a tap to be able to read it. Granted, it’s not as frustrating as not receiving the SMS on time and having to reset the modem to trigger receiving the messages on the L5, but it is a similar issue nonetheless.

  3. Limited device management: This was true for my Samsung phone as well as my wife’s iPhone 14. I wanted to use the file manager on the Samsung to easily copy over pictures into the microSD, but nope. I had to jump through a few hoops to do a simple copy past. As for my wife’s iPhone, the issue was sound output. When plugging in her phone to the USB port of the rental car to charge, the sound output automatically set to the car stereo and could not be changed back to the iPhone speakers. The iPhone speakers would not even show up as an option. I missed not having the control

  4. This is related a little bit to lack of device management. When using Android Auto it would automatically play Spotify for music, even though the last app I was using for music was one that played my locally stored music collection. Even once I manually stopped Spotify and manually played my own music collection, if I used the skip track button on the car console it would automatically start playing the next song on Spotify! Android recognized the music player and had a widget on the lockscreen to show track information along with track seeking controls, so I have no idea why the Android Auto controls could not do the same.

Using the Samsung phone was a nice reminder that no device is perfect. All of them have their quirks and it is a choice about what do you value most. I grew accustomed to having more control over my phone with the L5; where I can tweak settings or configurations to suit my needs rather than being stuck with whatever defaults the developers (and business deals) choose. I can understand that not everyone will value the same thing and have different things, but I just wanted to share my own experience and make the comparisons on experience.


Pretty much, agreed. I used to think the value of an android was the vast amount of software on the app store, but honestly, all of the apps I have ever used had this weird trade off: they were more polished and had more features than most of my open source applications but were either ridden with ads or were behind layered paywalls that need to be purchased to be unlocked.

And the really good ones also spend all their time upselling me on backing up to their cloud for a subscription fee.

Never mind that none of the code is open and I cannot tweak anything.

Oh, don’t get me started on the absolutely arcane file system and trying to get files on and off of an android.

There is no comparison.