PinePhone vs Librem 5

Hey all,

So with some new videos of the Librem 5, things are looking great, I am so pleased with this progress, I really can’t wait for one of my own and to be able to show people a great Linux phone.

But what do we think Pinephone or Librem 5?

  1. How do the HKS compare? People say that the pinephone kill switchs are software based therefore they are not true HKS, are the Librem 5’s HKS truely mechanical, I’ve been told they are not software based, as in once they are off that’s it no access but is this the case for sure?

  2. How do the phones look?

  3. Has anyone used both? If so what do we think?

  4. Just a slightly different topic, the Librem 15 laptop, does anyone know if the RAm can be upgraded over 32gb?

And is there anything else we feel about the PinePhone vs Librem 5?

Thanks in advance, stay safe.


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Intel web site says “no”. For that CPU, max 32GB. So if this is important to you, you would be waiting for v5 laptop, speculatively speaking. If this is really important to you, you would be contacting Purism officially and asking them. It is my guess that any later Intel CPU that Purism is likely to use would be at least 64GB max. How much did you want?

Discussed extensively here: Librem 5 & Pinephone Kill Switches but that’s your topic so you probably already knew that.

See also Comparing specs of upcoming Linux phones

Does anyone own both? Good question. Let’s see whether anyone chimes in.


I have a pre order in for a Librem 5 and was also going to get a pinefone too UNTIL I found out that the killswitches were just analog to digital software triggers. afaic They now due to that arent really much different from regular cellphones because most any software can be defeated by the right person .

Although the baseband is registered on the pinefone as a USB device so it doesnt have direct access to the memory . So Ill give them credit for that but imho not making the killswitches true hardware power disconnects was a YUUUUGE ball dropped.

It’s still pretty cool but I could run ubuntu touch on a Nexus 5 which is a better phone that also has no hardware switches.


My concern with the Pinephone kill switches was that they were relatively inconvenient to use - so people wouldn’t actually use them - in which case the switches might as well not be there (even if the switches work properly).


I’ve got both on order, let’s see which one shows up first. The one order two years + some months ago or the one I ordered this month :wink: Kill switches are a cool concept and moving forward may show some use, but hands down my reason for ordering is the OS.


If you look at the schematics for the Librem 5 and the PinePhone, the hardware kill switches on both cut the electrical current, so there is no way to access them when set to OFF. When the hardware kill switches are set to ON, then you can use software kill switches in the graphical user interface.

The PinePhone’s screen is a bit larger than the Librem 5 (5.99" vs 5.7"). The PinePhone is 9.2 mm thick, whereas the Librem 5 is 15.6 mm thick. The PinePhone weighs 185 grams, whereas the Librem 5 is 231.3 grams (Birch batch). The PinePhone is all plastic in frame and case, whereas the Librem 5 has a metal frame and plastic back cover. According to the reviews I have read, the PinePhone feels like a normal smartphone in the hand, whereas the Librem 5 feels like a PDA from 2005 in terms of its thickness and weight.

Here are the innovations these two phones are introducing in the mobile phone industry:

Librem 5:

  • First hardware kill switches (3 switches for cellular model, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth and camera/microphone)
  • First replaceable cellular modem and Wi-Fi/ Bluetooth (on two M.2 cards)
  • First smart card reader (for 2FF OpenPGP card)
  • First running 100% free/open source software (Pure OS with Linux/Wayland/GTK/phosh)
  • First convergence as PC, based on using the same software in both phone and desktop and adjusting with responsive classes (libhandy)
  • First to offer lifetime software updates, designed to avoid planned obsolescence


  • First bootable from microSD card
  • First development model where OS outsourced to many communities (postmarketOS, UBports, Sailfish OS, Nemo Mobile, Maemo Leste, LuneOS & Manjaro)

In my opinion, the Librem 5 is the most innovative mobile phone produced in the last 5 years. I compiled a list of 1050 innovations in the mobile phone industry. Here are the number of innovations for the most innovative mobile phone models:

  • Motorola DynaTAC 8000X (1983): 6
  • Technophone EXCELL PC105T (1985): 8
  • NEC 9A (1987): 4
  • Motorola MicroTAC 9800X (1989): 5
  • Hagenuk MT-900 (1992): 4
  • Motorola MicroTAC Elite (1994): 4
  • IBM Simon Personal Communicator (1994): 12
  • Hagenuk / Toshiba GlobalHandy (TCP-6000) (1996): 5
  • Nokia 9000 Communicator (1996): 6
  • Nokia 6110 (1998): 5
  • Samsung SPH-M2100 (1999): 5
  • Kyocera VP-210 Visual Phone (1999): 5
  • Benefon Esc! (1999): 4
  • Nokia 3310 (2000): 4
  • Siemens / Casio SX45: (2001): 4
  • Sharp mova SH505i (2003): 4
  • Motorola E398 (aka ROKR E1) (2004): 5
  • Pantech PH-S6500 (2005): 4
  • Samsung SCH-V770 (2005): 4
  • HTC Universal (2005): 4
  • Sanyo FOMA SA800 (2006): 7
  • Vertu Constellation (2006): 4
  • Apple iPhone (2007): 7
  • Sharp FOMA SH905i (2007): 6
  • NEC FOMA N905i (2007): 4
  • Samsung S8500 Wave (2010): 4
  • Apple iPhone 4 (2010): 7
  • Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot S006 (2011): 4
  • Motorola ATRIX 4G (2011): 4
  • Samsung Galaxy Note N7000 (2011): 4
  • Nokia 808 PureView (2012): 5
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II (2012): 5
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 (2013): 8
  • Samsung Galaxy S5 (2014): 6
  • Apple iPhone 6s (2015): 5
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (2016): 4
  • Samsung Galaxy S8 (2017): 5
  • Planet Computers Gemini PDA (2018): 4
  • Samsung Galaxy S10 (2019): 4
  • Planet Computers Cosmo Communicator (2019): 4
  • Purism Librem 5 (2019): 6
  • PINE64 PinePhone (2020): 2

Both the Librem 5 and PinePhone are going to be important models for the the mobile phone industry, but I predict that the Librem 5 will be a collectors item and will have a better resale value five years from now. In my opinion, the Librem 5 is the most interesting and paradigm-changing phone model to be released since the original Galaxy Note in 2011.


Unless there is a battery or a high capacitance capacitor hiding somewhere. :wink:


Is that sarcasm or FUD? :wink:


It was a joke but you can take it any way you want. :slight_smile:


Seems like we need to buy multiple Exemplars of it, so we get some profit years later on eBay :wink:

sure instead of gold bricks you will sell L5 phones :slight_smile: assuming that “years later” is still a thing :grimacing:

Killswitches , yawn, highly overrated. Mine won’t even be used much if any at all. I got my braveheart two months after ordering and I backed the librem sep ‘17 so my guess is the pinephone will actually get delivered on time. The way the economy is going I wouldn’t bank on a librem being a collectors item that’s a huge laugh, when the economy tanks the whole system worldwide will he turned upside down and essential things like FOOD will become way more valuable than trivial things.

It is hard to predict what will become a collector’s item, but a bad economy which limits the number being produced can help make something a collector’s item. For example, only 50,000 of the IBM Simon were ever produced, so it is now very valuable today, whereas over 6 million of the original iPhone were sold, so it isn’t very valuable today.

The Nokia N900 was considered a failure when it was released, but it has developed a passionate community of users and the phones are still valuable today. However, I suspect that most people currently using the N900 will abandon it, once Maemo Leste is ported to the PinePhone (especially if someone makes a physical keyboard mod for the PinePhone).

The reason why I predict that the Librem 5 will become a collectors item is because it will have 1. limited production so rare, 2. a passionate community of users who want it, 3. physical features that few phones will have, 4. a distinctive appearance (thickness and kill switches) that make it stand out, and 5. longevity (in terms of software support and ability to switch out the cellular modem and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth).

Collectors items are more valuable if they can still be used in the present day (which is why people are so passionate about old cars because you can still drive them), so the Librem 5 will be more valuable if you can still use it as a working phone 15-20 years from now.

I predict that a lot of the current FDD-LTE networks will be switched to TDD-LTE networks in the future in order to save frequency space, but that won’t be a problem because you can switch out the M.2 cellular modem in the Librem 5.

Even if it isn’t possible to ever put a 5G modem in the Librem 5, due to the different antennas and power requirements of 5G, I predict that TDD-LTE networks will still exist 20 years from now. There is no good alternative to LTE in the offing for long-range networks outside of dense urban areas, so cellular networks will probably continue to use LTE. It is very likely that the LTE standard will last for ~30 years, just like the 2G standard has, because 5G and future standards will probably be designed to support existing LTE standards.


All that means nothing when the dollar has no value. Take the economic situation in Venezuela as an example. Our economy is tied to oil, research the petro dollar. Yesterday price for a barrel of oil was $-40. China and Russia have been chomping at the bit to remove the dollar as the currency for trading and they may just get their wish. I say people optics are seriously skewed if they’re worried about collectors item value.

As a side note I have no clue how you get 2019 as a release date for the librem and 2020 for the braveheart considering an actual model for the pinephone was available for the general public before the librem. I don’t count a few alpha models being shipped to select individuals as a public release.

for human beings that could have many different meanings … some of us consider privacy a type of flavor that makes real food taste better … :mask:

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The future is always hard to predict. There are a number of reasons to predict that we will have a devaluation of the dollar as you point out, but that would make the Librem 5 cheaper comparatively in the short term for people buying the phone outside the US. In the long term, prices will adjust to reflect the new value of the dollar.

The real risk for Purism is that the bad economy will cause a collapse in demand for expensive phones, which could drive Purism into bankruptcy. Purism is more likely to be hurt in an economic depression than PINE64, because people often substitute with cheaper alternatives in bad economic times.

On the other hand, the coronavirus might cause many countries to start using cell phones to track people who are infected, as Israel and Taiwan are currently doing, and there might be a huge rise in demand for the Librem 5, as people start thinking about the privacy implications of being tracked. Another factor which might help Librem 5 sales is the fact that more people will start buying their phone online due to quarantines and social distancing, so more people are likely to encounter the Librem 5 when searching online for a new phone.

Telecommunications has become an essential utility like water and electricity. As long as civilization as we know it continues, people are likely to continue valuing mobile phones. I think it likely that we are going to have a collapse of global civilization as we currently know it, due to the ecological problems we are creating, but most predictions for collapse are in the next 50-200 years, not in the next 20 years. On the other hand, I just read an article about how we may reach the tipping point in 2021 to change the water cycle in the Amazonian basin and cause the progressive die-off of the Amazonian rainforest, so it is incredibly hard to predict what will happen. However, I doubt that the current coronavirus pandemic and the economic depression that follows is going to destroy the value of telecommunications for most people.

If Braveheart for developers with no pre-installed operating system counts as a release, then Birch and Chestnut should also count as a release. At this point, we can either say that both phones have been released or neither phone has been released.


it’s my opinion that what we currently have, should NOT be named “telecommunications”. it’s much more suitable to call it a “mass-data-collection-infrastructure” that has a secondary role and value as keeping in touch

if we are to consider what the word “communion” implies we’d soon realize how far we are from achieving such a goal … the Librem 5 represents the foundation of such a goal in the context of digital communication …

some clerics in my vicinity have proposed that confession can be carried out through the phone … i can’t even begin to describe how disgusted i am by such a thought … :scream:


Hey Some_dude36,

Thanks for the comment much appreciated.

For those that may not know can you explain what " analog to digital software triggers" means?

If the Pinephone is using " analog to digital software triggers" and the Librem 5 is not, how exactly is that beneficial or better?

Thanks again.


Hey amosbatto,

Thanks for the extensive posts thats really great and very helpful.

some_dude36 seems to be saying a slightly different thing to you regarding the kill switch’s on the pine phone?

some-dude36 said " analog to digital software triggers" so I am guessing he is saying that the pine phone kill switchs are not 100% mechanical but the Librem 5’s are?

But it looks as though you are saying they both work the same?

Any thoughts?

Thanks again


Well to the best of my knowledge and take it for what it’s worth and ofcourse follow up yourself to confirm .

As far as I know when you switch one of the hardware switches to the off position on say wifi/blutooth on the Pinefone it sends a digital message to a different part of the phone (CPU perhaps ?) not quite sure where but it sends a message to turn off the wifi/blutooth module in the running processes to kill that function at a software level.

The Librem 5 to the best of my knowledge and purism or others in the know feel free to chime in and confirm , when a hardware kill switch is moved to the off position for say again wifi/blutooth the switch actually cuts power to the wifi/blutooth chip essentially rendering the card itself inactive .

So to recap Pinfone kills the baseband , wifi/blutooth ect at the software level

Librem 5 kills those functions at the hardware level and actually cuts power to them . I find is much more secure .