Why I stopped using my Librem 5 after two weeks of hassle


I have a brand new Librem 5 non-usa edition which is only two months old and I’ve been using it up to today since October 10th (a little over two weeks). Here’s my reasons why I stopped using and it went back to my GrapheneOS Pixel 5A:

Unreliable modem: Cellular data will cut out randomly and you have to flip the switch to bring it back… What’s even worse is when the signal strength randomly drops and you have to restart the phone to get it back to full strength. These issues are highly visible when playing music using spot (a GTK spotify player), which stops playback when the cellular data drops out. I’ve even installed that new feature that shows a little icon when internet connectivity drops, and I see that every time this issue occurs. I’ve tried setting the autosuspend delay from values 1000 up to 5000, but it doesn’t make a different except perhaps in how long before the issue happens again.

Unreliable call audio: I’ve had a couple times where I call someone and I can hear them, but they cannot hear me at all, and this is without using speaker mode. The only way to fix this issue is to completely reboot the phone, which means you could miss calls and texts while that’s happening. This is honestly my biggest problem, as without reliable calls and texts, what are you even doing??? That’s the core functionality of the device, and I have to get all the calls and texts I’m sent as I’m doing interviews for jobs and need to know what’s going on. I’ve also had issues with the dialer freezing up after I hit answer and still showing the “incoming call screen” while I meanwhile hear audio coming in but they cannot hear me.

VPN issues: Can’t get MMS if you’re using a VPN.

Small nitpick: No autocorrect on the keyboard so you’re going to make a lot of typos when texting. Not very professional.

Call audio problems #2: Not only does speakerphone give terrible audio quality to the end person due to a echoing (I think noise cancellation isn’t using both microphones to cancel out the speaker sound properly), but I also have a separate issues where when I try to use my Bluetooth headset and switch between speaker and the headset, I cannot switch back to the headset mode again during that call.

Camera issues: The cameras are still not fully working. The colors are hazy and washed out, and there is no auto-focus

GPS issues: Not only is AGPS (assisted GPS) not currently configured which means you have to let it sit for like 15-30 minutes to get a location fix, but there isn’t any magnometer support hooked up in pure maps or gnome maps. So when you’re moving slowly you start to have the GPS jump around because it has no idea of the direction you are traveling. This also means when you’re hiking it won’t do a very good job of navigating you.

Battery life: I actually found the battery life of the device to be quite reasonable compared to my past use of a PinePhone and PinePhone Pro as daily drivers. The issue is that without functional suspend (still), the battery will drain to nothing in a matter of hours without you even using the device. If you enable suspend you then have the problem that alarms don’t work and according to other users it’s actually increased the already unreliable modem’s amount of issues.

UI Quirks: I’ve had freezing of the UI at times which required me to lock and then unlock the screen again in order to fix it. I can’t see the call duration in the dialer, and the dialer is stuck in 24 hour time format despite my system time being set to 12 hours. Unlike Plasma Mobile phosh has no battery display for attached bluetooth devices. Firefox got an update a week after I got the device which caused the UI to overlap and it makes some of the menu function completely broken. There’s still issues with some of the UI going off screen and gnome-software being awful to interact with especially. And finally, I encounter problems with swiping not always working right in phosh for some reason (I have no idea if it’s freezing or what) require me to fumble around with mulitple swipes to open the task drawer.

Purism: Please fix the phone. This is supposed to be a phone, not a computer brick in your hands!
What good is convergence if you have no internet? What good is a phone if you don’t always get incoming calls and texts or a person on the other line either gets poor audio or none at all??


Enjoy your Linux phone. :joy:

Hi. For now, I can only suggest that you will have to accept that it is not an Android or Iphone. I had to accept and work past the odd quirks. I had to make changes. Maybe I am crazy but I worked at the thing a lot and made it work for me. You can accept that approach or not.

I still love the phone for being so linuxy. Would I recommend it to my parents or most of the general public? Sadly, no.

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Also, a lot (not all) of the cellular problems you mention were fixed for me with a firmware update and installing the BM818-tool. There have been many forum posts on this topic.


Quirks? Dude, calls and SMS, and failure of cellular data is NOT quirks. I understand this is a Linux phone, and I’m willing to overlook a lot of that stuff if the core usage of a phone actually worked.


My device has (to my awareness) the latest model firmware from September. I also have the BM818 tool installed and VoLTE enabled. That’s not the issue.


This is a generic mobile phone issue. A quick surf would show that people have the same problem with Android and the same problem with iPhone - because the underlying problem is caused by the mobile service provider (the carrier).

This is not a tested workaround (not tested by me, I mean) but: you should be able to work around this problem by putting in an exception in the VPN so that the traffic that intends to send and receive MMSs bypasses the VPN. This assumes of course that your VPN client has that functionality (or that you know how to do it at the shell prompt).

It is true that a more polished phone might offer to install such a workaround on your behalf. (I don’t think that it is reasonable to install such a workaround automatically, without asking the user first, but opinions may differ on that.)

I hope you will monitor progress from time to time - so that one day it can be your daily driver.


I do not have the MMS issue on my GrapheneOS pixel. Nor my Unihertz Titan Slim. It’s just my Librem 5 and PinePhone that have this issue.

I will continue to ocassionally test it, but I’m honestly pretty unimpressed by the state of things. My PinePhone has had more working for a lot longer, for a lot less price, even with Plasma Mobile.


There are huge improvement in Crimson overall including fixes in NetworkManager, can you do a test for me like using vpn into USA server to see if mms it working? Linux(core) has some disadvantages about management VPNs, others Cores is managements vpns fancy like Hurd as a example.
Also try to see what is the version of das-uboot on L5.

I use Mint Mobile. Works fine, with very few quirks. Almost two years of use and I do not plan on going back. Each to their own, I guess


I use T-Mobile which is what mint mobile uses.

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Could you tell me where to get the latest firmware? I have a link which points to a seven months old firmware and I thought it was the last one :smiley:

As big of a supporter of this project that I am I can’t argue with anything you’ve said. I had my phone in for repair and when I got it back they fixed why the phone wasn’t charging but now my modem only works in certain parts of the network, it baffles me, but you’re right, if the core functionality of the phone (voice calls, SMS) are not the top priority I don’t know what is. Nothing else matters if that basic stuff doesn’t just work.

I really hope the devs read these messages because the survival of this device is literally hinging on these issues. I haven’t used my L5 at all (I just check in with updates in hopes my issue is resolved but so far no go), since getting it back from repair. I really want to use it but I just don’t trust it at all.


The difficulty with call, SMS/MMS and mobile data problems is that while there are standards, debugging in many cases just requires to use the specific network, which, unfortunately, requires you to be in that region where that mobile network has coverage.

So a developer in Europe can’t really easily reproduce and fix issues with US carriers (or, e.g., if that person lives in Poland, it will be hard to fix issues someone else has in Portugal).

This is something Google or Apple can somewhat easily pull off, but for smaller companies like Purism or FOSS projects this is just really hard to solve.

(That said, given that Purism is reselling T-Mobile USA with AweSIM, they really should make it work for that one carrier at least.)

PS: Personally, I am in Germany and my Librem 5 is working well enough on the two carriers I have SIM cards for.


Thanks for your review. I think that these types of reviews are extremely valuable for Purism in prioritizing their efforts.

I use my Librem 5 as a daily driver for approximately one and a half year. I am a big supporter of this project. But I recognize many of the issues you describe. I also saw a lot of improvements over the time, so I hope that all these issues will get fixed.

I do not call and SMS a lot, so I can keep using the Librem 5 as my primary device.

For me the number one priority is a stable data connection. I use a autosuspend delay from value of 5000. The icon that you get now when there is no data connection is a huge improvement, because now at least I know when there is no connection. I have a little script to reset the connection:

mmcli -m any > /home/purism/`date +"%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S"`_mmcli.log
nmcli c show > /home/purism/`date +"%Y-%m-%d_%H-%M-%S"`_nmcli.log
mmcli -m any --reset
service NetworkManager restart
sleep 30
echo 5000 > /sys/devices/platform/soc@0/38200000.usb/xhci-hcd.4.auto/usb1/1-1/1-1.2/power/autosuspend_delay_ms

Although it would not be a real solution, running such a script automatically when losing the data connection would be a great improvement from the perspective of the user.

I also have the feeling that several issues that I (and maybe you) experience are related to losing the data connection.


Ok. I see your point. I do not have any answers other than I suppose I accepted that things are not perfect and I do not have that many problems with cellular (although I certainly do have problems and things do need to work better.) To me, the issues just are not severe enough that I mind - much.


If it weren’t for the call audio problems I’ve had I’d go with your script idea and see how things went. But I can’t imagine the audio has something to do with the cellular connection considering I can still hear the other person, they just can’t hear me.

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I am probably wrong, but this sounds like a firmware issue. I would contact support at: please email support@puri.sm

I realize you say that you have already tried this, but see this post for similar issues I had with my modem and resolved recently with a firmware update: Cellular Modem runs real hot, lots of battery - #25 by carlosgonz


I will say all your problems with the Librem 5 are totally valid, and each person gets to decide when they’ve had enough.

That being said, and while I don’t make a lot of phone calls, the calls I have made after VoLTE being enabled have been clear. The caller can hear me and I can hear them. I use T-Mobile in the USA.

It can be frustrating to troubleshoot a device when there are so many options that already just work. But since you have bought every mobile Linux device available, it sounds like you do have a strong interest in leaving the duopoly.

I suggest you take your time and tinker with it on your off time, and in the spirit of open source, share any knowledge you may come across on your journey.


I had that problem as well when I first received mine, and I think I solved it by adjusting the mic volume down.