When we reported that Purism began shipping their Librem 5 “Birch-batch” phones in late September, we promised to report on initial reviews once they become available.
Well, the reviews are rolling in, and FOSS Linux is true to our word.
As we reported in our article, the Librem 5 Birch phone is the first smartphone to focus on privacy and security since it neither exploits nor tracks the user’s digital footprint. It’s hardware kill switches, layered security protection, decentralized and IP-native communication, user-controlled sourced code, and hardware encryption aids in this effort.
One early recipient reporting into interested users at reddit.com was impressed that his phone came with a hand-written thank you noted and noted that the build quality of the Librem 5 Birch phone was much more excellent than anticipated. Also pointed out by the user was the aesthetics of the screen.
The Librem 5 user was equally impressed with the Linux 5.3 kernel, which runs on the phone.
“It is running Linux 5.3! I am most excited about that: I am very happy this is running mainline Linux, and I think that will make me keep this for longer than any other phone I have had before.”
Another Redditor noted that the boot time was speedy (less than 15 seconds, closer to 10), noting that it boots into the command prompt and promptly loads the lock screen. The user likened the navigation and web-browsing quality to that of the Nexus 5X and commented that it was nearly as smooth as their Pixel, but not quite.
It’s evident from these early reports that the Librem 5 Birch needs more time before it’s ready for the everyday, average consumer, but kudos to Purism for their efforts. It’s as far as anyone has yet ventured in the real Linux phone arena and shows promise for commercial adaptation in the not-too-distant future.