I have the Evergreen model. Build quality is good. Screen is very pretty. I see many people crying over how thick the phone is but to me this is normal thickness and it feels better in my hand than razor thin Android phones. Removable battery is a big plus. It does not matter if it’s phone, computer, car or medical equipment. Any components that wear & tear should be replaceable on principle. The first design choice I don’t like is the SIM tray. Putting the SD card on the same tray as SIM card is stupid because every time you want to put the microSD card into different device your phone loses network reception. Furthermore I really don’t like the mechanism for taking the SIM tray out. This is not unique to Librem5 all Android phones have the same mechanism by now but I should be able to replace a SIM with fingers only. Who caries around a paper pin or needle all the time? My Blackberry Q10 has a normal slot under the battery cover and I can take out the SIM with my finger effortlessly. Also why does it have to be Nano-SIM. Micro-SIMs are already hard to handle because of how small they are. Don’t tell me this is to save space. Old phones from 2000 were much smaller than Librem5 and they could accommodate normal sized SIMs. Judging by this trend I’m gonna have to start using tweezers for handling SIM cards.
Now for the software part. Calls and SMS messages work. Wifi works, hardware kill-switches work too. However there is lot of stuff that doesn’t work. I tried paring the phone with 3 bluetooth devices. First bluetooth speaker didn’t even show up in the list of devices. The second speaker showed up but could not pair it. Laptop with bluetooth managed to pair but I could only send files from laptop to phone. Phone to laptop didn’t work. It just times out. Also the if I turn off Bluetooth using the software toggle it will not come back on unless I flick the kill-switch. I don’t think there is even a way for me to test the GPS. When I install gnome maps it does not even open. As far as I know there isn’t any other app/program that can take utilize that GPS. File explorer is not there I noticed. So when i download any file I cannot browse to it lol. The only way you can see your files are through terminal. This is rather important to implement. Imagine apple users having to enter bash commands to move pictures from phone to SD card. I hear that camera driver is not ready so I won’t even go there. Additional major problem is the phone is not recognized as external storage when you plug it into Windows or Linux pc. Windows disk manager found some uninitialized linux file store but apart from that I had zero access to the phone.
Finally the worst part is the PureOS store. It’s basically wasteland with no more than 25 to 30 programs. Those 30 apps/programs are crap. I mean most of them work but they are very basic and boring. Some have gui problems and don’t scale properly. For example the built-in web browser is just terrible. It cannot play youtube videos and lags when I scroll up and down. Why does Purism even bother making a web browser when there is Firefox already. It does not make any sense. Mozilla makes $500 million every year there is no way Purism can keep up with them and Google. Why make a new wheel when there is already a good wheel available to use. I know that I can download Firefox-ESR from debian’s repositories and youtube will work but your average normie does not and will not bother looking into why that is the case. They will just return the phone. Basically the only programs that work somewhat well are the ones I downloaded from outside the PureOS store. Firefox-ESR is usable but if the website does not use adaptive scaling it will be a headache. Telegram flatpak works very well it’s just I can’t see what I’m typing. Librem keyboard hides the row where the text is.
I believe the PureOS store needs to allow paid programs/apps to increase its portfolio because normies will simply not buy this phone if it doesn’t have the stuff they use. In conclusion this project has a lot of potential but the software is very much in alpha state.