Librem is too expensive compared to Pinephones

I am not here to start a flame war or anything like that but honestly the librem phone is more or less expensive than any other smartphone out there.

Whereas the pinephone costs this much:

Honestly if both phones have very similar features, then why wouldn’t I just go and buy a pinephone over a librem phone?

I wish Librem phones can compete with Pinephones and offer a competitive price.


For me one major difference is the GPS handling.
Pinephone uses GPS built into the modem.
Librem 5 lives modem’s GPS disconnected from the receiving antenna and uses a separate GPS instead.

The difference it makes is: Cellular provider can’t know your exact position when you are using Librem 5, whereas in Pinephone case all bets are off.

Is this a good enough difference to pay $1200 for L5? Might be. I got mine for $600. I would probably think twice if I had to buy a second L5 now, though.


Interesting mate never knew that.

THey can still triangulate you, right?

Why did they raise the price so high?

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I don’t think triangulation is something cellulars network perform routinely en masse. It’s complicated and not needed for regular operation. Way easier and cheaper to just ask the modem for it’s GPS position.

And they do ask. Then sell the answers to Google, so that it can, among other things, show a traffic data on a map app. I would be OK with that, but Google does said other things, which I’m not OK with.


Not if there’s only one tower in radio range.

However these days it’s more complicated anyway e.g. due to tower antennae with sector coverage.

I’ve got both phones (started with the pinephone). The Pinephone is a good thing to test, develop, try.

Compared to the Librem5 the Pinephone (running mobian) is slow up to the point of unusable. The Librem5 has got a way better touch screen: it’s responsive whereas my pinephone needs special care using the touch screen.

Furthermore: Paying for the Librem5 you also pay for development. For the pinephone you pay for the hardware (yes, sure, some money went from pine64 to developers).

The pinephone is more or less like a sbc (like raspberry pi or rock64): you’ve got to know what you do and how to help yourself. You’re depending on the great and very supporting community and you’re not a customer. You’re just another user.

The Librem5 is meant to be a product - a working combination of hardware and software. The great and very supporting community around linux mobile phones is very supporting and in the end if a problem can’t get solved you can rely on the great staff of Purism to support you.

As much as both - pinephone and Librem5 - have there place and are pushing the linux mobile phone ecosystem ahead they differ much in philosophy.

If you want to try and do not have the money or the patience to buy a Librem5 go ahead with a Pinephone and probably soon with a Pinephone Pro. You’ll give back to the community and you support the ecosystem.

If you have the money, if you’d like to have a product inlcuding hard- and software and if you’re willing to support the new ecosystem and the development: go for a Librem5.

If both applies: get both :slight_smile: .


Why does the Librem 5 cost so much compared to the PinePhone?

This is not really true: Comparing specs of upcoming Linux phones.

Ah right.

Just out of curiosity if I have an ANdroid phone, and I turn off GPS, can I still be tracked via GPS?

Same here mate :frowning:

I do hope it can get a little cheaper, I hope it doesn’t turn out to be like Samsung or something.

Nobody knows. The GPS unit is part of the modem, and the sources to software running there are not published.


Oh, somebody knows.


To elaborate on that:

“I turn off GPS” is completely meaningless in an unauditable blackbox.

“I turn off GPS” can mean many many different things and you have no way of knowing with certainty which of them actually applies e.g.

  • makes no change to the GPS hardware, denies access to the GPS to general applications but selected applications lie about the fact that GPS is actually still enabled i.e. give you error messages as if the GPS is disabled but actually is continuing to receive your location and record and/or report the location
  • makes no change to the GPS hardware but genuinely denies access to the GPS to general applications, while still allowing the core operating system to access the GPS (so Google is still pimping your location information)
  • makes no change to GPS hardware but denies access to general applications and to the core operating system, but still allows the government and your mobile (virtual) network operator to interrogate your modem for your GPS location
  • does genuinely turn off the GPS hardware but may still allow some kind of local (temporary?) re-enable of the GPS for selected purposes
  • does genuinely turn off the GPS hardware but may still allow some kind of remote (temporary?) enable of the GPS for selected purposes

If you want to own your device then you will have to kick the blackbox habit.

Not only do you have no idea what the modem software is doing but you don’t even know what the Android software is doing.

Technically also “Android phone” is not a monolithic thing. Different Android phones will have different hardware and be running different versions of Android. They do however have one thing in common: You don’t know what “I turn off GPS” means.

Some even have a locked bootloader so that you can’t replace the software with something that you do control.

This is not a theoretical point. On the iPhone, “I turn off Bluetooth” actually has 3 possible meanings.

  1. I genuinely turn off Bluetooth. (This is unverifiable and hence may be unachievable.)
  2. I turn off Bluetooth so that it only apparently is off.
  3. I think I’ve turned off Bluetooth and it mostly is off but some applications can still use it. (I think this may have something to do with COVID??)

Show me a smart phone and I’ll show you a smart table leg.
I was waiting for the L15. Then when I went back to check, none around any more. Thanks to COVID, and the economy (if there is any left) I had to make some drastic decisions. Drop any idea of a privacy oriented l-top and dive into a digital phone.
The three things we need most to survive as individuals, is a water, food, shelter, and freedom. The L-5 provide the latter. I hesitate to call them ‘phones’ because they are more like a compact mini-computer with a built in communication system that, if we wish, goes where ever we go.

Comparing the L5 to cell phones, the difference for me, is that I could take the L-5 with me. With other phones, people are taking big corporations, giant telecoms, peeps, perves, spies, shysters and the like.

All four necessities of life costs are rising through the roof. Locally, two small T-bone steaks was 26 dollars US. Everything is going up. I expect that with the shortage of ‘chips’, planned or natural, will raise the L-5 too. Food, water, shelter are all going up - even the right to privacy.

I hate paying for something I don’t want. But I find myself having to do so. The L-5 offers me something government and corporations won’t let me have, and that is my right to privacy, but I can get privacy through the L-5. The rest of them thar phone thing-a-ma-jigs have the buyer paying for a leash passing the handle to all those peeps and perves.

I still don’t have a digital phone; smart, clever nor just plain dumb. Until the L-5 is ready or a very good facsimile for a average user with no Linux under their belt, I’ll wait.

As the saying goes, ya gets what yas pays fer. Unfortunately, the price of privacy is pretty high.



The biggest upside for the Liebrem Phone is that it supports development!! If I would buy a phone to day I would Buy one witch is available now. And spent something around 500$ to purism for development (I believe it is match needed).
You can do so by visiting:


The PinePhone Pro will likely be the Linux phone.

Whereas its software will come from those buying Librem 5…


Is the Pinephone project donating a part of their income to Purism? I mean as we heard many times, a lot of software is driven by Purism and this should be honored somehow, right?

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This discussion leads to nothing. Both companies produce linux phones to different audiences and both projects benefit from each other as they combine community (postmarketos, plasma mobile, manjaro, …) and hired dev (purism) efforts to build linux phone ecosystems. The spirit of free software is that others adopt it and share their modifications not being mad on others for robbing your intelectual property.


It’s all open source. A great many others have contributed and Purism has directly benefited from it (for more than just the Librem 5).


yeah, I am rooting for both devices to succeed, I want to see Linux as a viable 3rd OS that isn’t base don spyware like iOS and Android. I own a Pinephone and a Librem 5, both off ebay as getting either device is tough from the actual company, but would like tot support Pine64 and Purism.
What I can say though is Librem 5 is a lot closer towards being my daily driver than Pinephone. Librem 5 the battery life is terrible and also takes forever to charge, its almost as bad as typical laptop battery life. But most core features on LIbrem 5 are reliable at this point where I could use it as a daily driver. Still needs tweaking and getting many linux things to work, but its getting there. Pinephone its fun to flash different distros, but Manjaro KDE Plasmamobile and Phosh (similar to Purism on Pinephone) are the only ones close to being a real daily driver, but overall almost nothing is reliable. Also the switches on the Pinephone are not practical. Maybe the Pinephone Pro will improve things a bit (not on switches though), but its more of getting any distro to play nice with this device. Even Ubuntu, I was expecting that to be serviceable, its terrible, works way better on a Nexus 5 and its not even close.