Best Linux Phones – Phones on Linux are a logical and expected continuation. Many believe that such devices are the future, because they will replace Android and iOS. The question arises: is it possible to test such a device now?
Although Android is based on the Linux kernel, it has been heavily modified. This does not make it a full-fledged Linux-based OS. We know Google is trying to bring the Android kernel closer to the mainstream Linux kernel, but that’s still a distant dream. So there are no options?
Finding a decent smartphone running Linux is not an easy task because there aren’t many of them. We have highlighted some of the best and most interesting options. In our opinion, these are the best Linux smartphones out there today.
Best Linux Phones
PinePhone is one of the most affordable and popular Linux phones with a promising future. The device is not limited to one operating system. You can try it with Manjaro, Plasma mobile OS, UBports, Sailfish OS and more.
The PinePhone has good specs, including a quad-core processor and 2/3GB of RAM. It supports a bootable microSD card as well as 16/32GB eMMC storage options. The display is a basic IPS screen with a resolution of 1440×720 pixels. You also get dedicated privacy protection settings such as kill switches for Bluetooth, microphones, and cameras.
PinePhone also gives you the ability to add your own hardware extensions using the six available pogopins (spring contact systems).
The base version (2GB RAM and 16GB storage) comes with Manjaro by default and costs $149. There is another one – 3 GB RAM / 32 GB storage, which costs $ 199. Distributed by pre-order.
Compared to others on our list, Fairphone already knows what commercial success is all about. Although not a Linux smartphone, the device has a customized version of Android (i.e. Fairphone OS) and the ability to select /e/ OS (one of the open source alternatives to Android). Some community ports are available, so if you use a Linux OS, it might be a good experience (or not).
The Fairphone comes in two flavors, and both offer good specs. The smartphone offers a 48 and 16 MP camera, a Full-HD display. The icing on the cake is decent Qualcomm processors .
From all other smartphones, Fairphone is distinguished by eco-activism, because about 40% of recycled plastic is used in its creation. The ease of repair will also be a plus. The Fairphone 3+ starts at $439.
Librem 5 is an open source PureOS smartphone. It focuses on user privacy. The specifications of the device are decent: 3 GB of RAM and a quad-core Cortex A53 processor. Of course, a smartphone will not compete with gadgets from popular technomarkets. It is intended for enthusiasts who are interested in testing smartphones that respect privacy.
This phone is easy to repair, you can replace the battery in it. Librem 5 promises to keep security updated for years to come. Interestingly, to ensure privacy, the smartphone has kill switches for Bluetooth, cameras and microphones. The price of such happiness is about 899 dollars.
Pro1 X is a smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard. It supports Ubuntu Touch (which, by the way, Canonical abandoned, so it’s still unclear whether this is a good option or not), Lineage OS and Android. The form factor of the device is a slider.
The gadget has a decent specification including a Snapdragon 662 processor. RAM: 6 GB or 8 GB. Memory: 128 (256) GB, expandable via microSD card up to 2 TB. With this phone, you can enjoy Full HD on the 5.99-inch AMOLED display that many love. There is nothing stunning about the camera, the rear is 12 MP, the front is 8, but for the most part it should be enough.
The cost of a smartphone with 6 GB is $ 829, with 8 GB of RAM – $ 899. You can buy it on pre-order.
5. Volla phone
Volla is a smartphone that runs Ubuntu Touch from UBports. It comes pre-configured with a VPN. The phone is focused on simplifying the user experience and privacy. The OS has been configured in such a way that everything you need can be quickly used, without prior organization.
The phone comes with great specs, including a MediaTek octa-core processor and a 4700mAh battery. The smartphone is almost frameless with a 6.3-inch display. Cameras (rear and front) – 16 MP. The price of the gadget starts at $364.
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Linux phones are not always available and certainly not yet suitable for mainstream use. But, if you’re an enthusiast or want to support the development of Linux phones, you might want to consider getting one. But you should know that while PinePhone supports some mobile Linux distributions, for example, it is far from perfect. Users note OS bugs and slow response. Therefore, we recommend that you still choose a phone with high compatibility with Ubuntu Touch.
Purism, and its Librem 5, are already famous for their long waits for shipments. It’s all about the lack of chips. This situation has put their production schedule on hold.
It is important to understand that most of the options from our rating are only suitable for enthusiasts. The Linux phones on this list may not be able to replace your Android or iOS smartphones. If you still decide to buy such a device, carefully check the information about it, its availability and expected delivery date, and also evaluate the risks of using a phone on Linux.