My take on my new L5

I took the day off work on Friday, just to make sure I was home to sign for my phone.

3 days into it and I love it. That was not what I was going to type on Friday…

For most of the weekend the phone was just that, a phone and nothing else. The out of the box experience was not one for the faint of heart.

What worked:
The sim was recognized and my phone worked as a phone.
The screen was clear and crisp.

What didn’t work:
Cellular data - No Networking
WiFi - not seeing any access points
Camera - was a black screen
Account integration and pretty much everything else that requires a network connection.

After a bit of tweaking I found:
I could manually add the Fido AP and now have Wireless Data
The office WiFi did show up, connect and is stable.
I found the “gain” control on the camera and at least now I can see images. The quality seem poor however. It’s dark, grainy and looks like my old flip phone from the '90s!
Online Integration worked well.
I LOVE Geary, clean and “just works”.

My initial anxiety and disappointment has rapidly faded and been replaced with growing excitement as I am now online with it and exploring the devices capabilities.

I LOVE the UI, I LOVE the keyboard that again is plain and simple and “just works” without constantly changing what I type!

So there are two things I need to fix:

1. WiFi
I have a “Netgear” router in my home. The other handsets/tablets etc “see” it from anywhere in the house, on any of the three floors. L5 needs to be within 10 feet of the AP or it drops the connection. Not having WiFi at home is a disaster. Is there anything from a software perspective that might help? There is only one spot in the house I can use the phone on WiFi.

2. Camera
I’d like to be able to use the camera indoors. Currently it only works in bright light. Are there any tweaks I can apply?

All in all - but for the lack of support for “Signal” am close to being able to make this my “daily driver”.

In general I am super thrilled with the build quality (a metal back case rather than the plastic one might be nice). I need an Otter Box style case - I a am a bit “dropsy” and terrified I will smash my phone. Any suggestions?


Do an upgrade: To be sure to install everything, you can open the terminal and type sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade. Confirm the changes and you will be rewarded with an up-to-date camera app, that has autofocus and auto-gain :slight_smile:


There were a bunch of updates this morning.

@paulororke if you have a primary client still installed give this a go for Signal - needs linking the same as the desktop client currently but a native GTK app that works well for Signal messaging.

Other people have reported success registering with the CLI as well so as not to need a primary client either.

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I noticed that L5 WiFi performance can be very different depending on the frequencies/bands used. If you have a choice between 2.4 or 5 GHz, you might find that one works much better than the other, so it’s worth to try both and see which works best.

Sounds like outdated software - the camera app has had automatic gain setting enabled by default for a while now.


Wow! What an amazing response from all you guys.

  1. Updated via apt and now I have a much nicer camera app, auto gain, auto-focus etc. It’s not a patch on the Samsung camera’s but it will suffice, and hopefully improve in time. Thank you @epinez and @dos

  2. Flare installed like a champ, the libsecret dependency was either fulfilled by the flatpack or was already in place. It “just worked”. This a SUPER exciting for me. Thanks for that one @db579

  3. The Maps app places my location about 50 km away from where I am actually at. Any suggestions on tweaking that? I do use the maps from time to time and would like to be able to use it here.

This leaves me with just the weak WiFi. I did try turning 5G on on the WAP, that didn’t help, it seems weaker than the 2G signal strength. I’ll play around with that tonight after work.

I really appreciate the feedback guys.



Congrats on getting your L5!

Re WiFi, you might check your router transmission settings (band, radius, etc.) Maybe one setting will work better than others. And 2.4 GHz generally penetrates walls better, I think I’ve read somewhere.

Re GPS, it’s recommended to take it outside under a clear sky for a while. BTW, Pure Maps (flatpak) is generally more usable than GNOME Maps.

I’m not using my L5 as my main phone, so it mostly sits indoors, next to my laptop at home, and shows my position off by about 35 meters at the moment. (I haven’t tried leaving it outside in one place for a while.)

Yes, do what @amarok said, but also make sure that you are not connected to WiFi, only cellular during this outdoor calibration time (total outdoor time should be less than 15 minutes - at least it was for me).

It doesn’t really matter. The only thing it changes is that you won’t see position approximation using WiFi on the map meanwhile.

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Testing coordinates without the added variable of the router is important because, regardless of whether a user is aware of it, security settings on the router may masquerade the geoip of the network. The reported geoip can also simply be incorrect. My router (Turris MOX, FWIW) is an example of this.

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On restarting Maps a few times outdoors and with the WiFi off brought the location closer. It’s now only about 5km out, that’s a 10x improvement. Hopefully as I use it more this will improve.

If the flat pack works better, need I uninstall the Gnome package first or are they unique apps?

Regarding the WiFi, I checked and both 2.4 and 5G were set to 100% power. I used their feature to “Smart connect” (Enable Smart Connect - Let the router intelligently select the best WiFi band 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz for your WiFi connections. ) but unfortunately I am seeing no improvement in range. I have the channel set to “Auto”, I’ll try explicit channels, but I am not hopeful. I may need to buy a couple of range extenders or additional WAPs, but it would be nice if I could get this WiFi to work like the other devices in the house.

Any other thoughts/suggestions?

I am really impressed, the phone is lovely and I am keen to ditch the Samsung!


Another issue. I cannot unlock the phone anymore. The Keypad has stopped responding to attempts to enter a code.

It responds to the swipe, but after that nothing is responsive, if I leave it alone a few minutes it typically “comes back”.

There are definitely some strange an unexpected behaviours, but I am hopeful these can be overcome.

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I have seen this also, it is clearly a bug, it gets into a weird state where swipe works but the taps on buttons get ignored. In my experience you can get out of that weird state by pressing the power button to lock the screen, then when you unlock it things are back to normal. That way at least you don’t have to wait several minutes for it to come back. :slight_smile:


For a start, nmcli -f GENERAL.DRIVER d show wlan0 so we know which card you have.

I believe that 2.4 GHz will generally be better than 5 GHz. (For that reason, I keep different SSIDs for each band, and I don’t allow the AP to do “band steering”. However you might not like that.)

Can you clarify how many APs you have?

You can use iw dev wlan0 scan | grep ... to see what SSIDs your phone is receiving on what frequencies and what the signal strength is and much more besides (depending on what you grep for).

In my experience the Librem 5 is not as good with getting a strong WiFi signal as compared with my existing iPhone but then I’ve never been able to get a signal everywhere in my house even with my existing iPhone - so I put in a second AP.

Obviously this issue depends on the construction material(s) involved, as well as the size and shape of the dwelling.

There’s probably no off-the-shelf case that will fit but there are many other discussions in this forum of approaches people have taken e.g. pouch or e.g. 3-D printed case. (I think this is a gap that Purism should fill in the future. For sure, if they had had a case available to purchase at the time my phone shipped then I would have added that to the order.)


You can have both. GNOME Maps is a native PureOS (Debian) app, whereas Pure Maps is a flatpak. If your listed repositories in the PureOS app don’t show “Flathub” as installed, you’ll have to first install flathub, and then you can install any flatpak. Flatpaks will also be present in search results within the PureOS app, if flathub is installed, or once it is installed.

Thanks @irvinewade


Just the one AP on the router. I turned the 5G off again if it’s unlikely to improve the range. I also see it has a much worse range than the 2.4 G

I’ll could try relocating it, but it is next to my modem and a switch and I get acceptable performance fro all the other devices, so if there are things I can do to bring this up to par that would be my preference.

Regards the case, a 3D print dipped in rubber latex might do the trick. Thought those kill switches might be fun to deal with…

I think this is a gap that Purism should fill in the future. For sure, if they had had a case available to purchase at the time my phone shipped then I would have added that to the order.

Ditto, though I don’t think the final dimensions were set at the time.

So that’s the new (SparkLAN) card, as expected.

At the time of ordering, no, but I mean: at the time of shipment.

I believe the dimensions even changed before the final batch (Evergreen) but that means that for almost all customers the dimensions were known and fixed at the time of shipment.

First you need to measure. You are looking for the signal strength in dBm.

The channel won’t really matter unless you have a lot of neighbours whose signal reaches inside your residence.

“10 feet” is an extraordinarily low range. That sounds odd.

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I seem to remember seeing this behavior start a month or two ago. If I press the power button to turn off the screen, then press it again to bring up the lock screen, the keypad is responsive. Annoyance.

Good point. Value Added revenue lost there.

Right! I measured it, it was more like 15 maybe 20 feet AND through the floor, however, and this is the point, all my other devices get a signal anywhere in the house.

These were taken while in my kitchen, 15 feet from the WAP and the L5 was dropping the connection.

Does this help? Is there something else I could be doing? Do others have this issue? I think I could live with the other tweaks if I can just get the WiFi to work like my other devices I would be a happy camper.