5 Best Linux Phones to Watch Out for in 2024

4 min


Here’s a list of the best Linux Phones that may become more mainstream in 2024, with their features and price.

Android and iOS smartphones are the most popular ones around the world. However, many of you look for something more “open” and better at privacy. If you use Android, you forfeit your privacy. Apple’s iOS is a little better on that – but again – it’s a “walled garden”.

That’s why Linux phones are becoming popular nowadays: They provide many options for developers and end users. Although various types of Linux phones are currently available, choosing the best one is still confusing. Looking at the trends of 2023, here are some of the Linux Phones which may become more mainstream in 2024.

Things you should know about Linux Phones

Before you read or even plan to buy one, there are a couple of things you should know about. Here are some of them:

  • The Linux phones use a modified version of mainstream Linux distribution with a mobile-friendly desktop environment. This is the same for most of the phones available today.
  • You must manage your expectations if you plan to buy a phone and use it for your daily driver. Because the Linux phone operating systems, device features, and app ecosystem is still in the early stages, and it’s not close to the Android or iOS ecosystem,
  • However, Linux phones with the operating system provide the best privacy feature, which might be the reason you can make a move.

Best Linux Phones

Librem from Purism

The Librem 5 – Purism is quite a famous brand in the Linux phone market. The Librem 5 model comes with PureOS, an OS designed for Linux Mobiles and not based on the Android or iOS platforms. It is a natively designed free and open-source OS. PureOS also supports convergence. That means you can plug your phone into a monitor via a USB hub and use it as a desktop OS.

The phone has premium hardware and feels and focuses on security and privacy. However, this impressive smartphone comes with a slightly higher price tag of $1299.

Key features & specifications

  • Fully free and open-source Linux-based mobile operating system: PureOS
  • Separate modem, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip
  • Three dedicated hardware keys to enable and disable – internet, camera, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
  • Smart card reader
  • SD card reader
  • User-replaceable battery
Librem 5
Librem 5
SpecificationDescription 
Screen5.7″ (IPS TFT 720ร—1440)
RAM3 GB
Storage32 GB eMMC
Battery4500mAh
CPUNXP i.MX 8M QUAD CORE Cortex-A53 with 64 bit ARM @max 1.5GHz
GPUVivante GC7000 Lite
Screen5.7Inches IPS TFT 720ร—1440
Camera13 Mpx with LED Flash (Rear) and 8 Mpx (Front)
USBUSB Type C

Pinephone

Second on the list is Pinephone, perhaps the most complete and usable Linux phone in the market. Developed by Pine64, it has excellent features and supports multiple Linux ARM distributions for mobile phones.

In addition, PinePhone comes in multiple versions, including a pro version, simultaneously. It is an excellent option for Linux phones as it is also cheaper. PinePhone focuses on the user’s privacy and extensibility and can be a good option if you want to start with Linux phones for the first time.

Key features & specifications

  • Supports KDE Plasma mobile, Manjaro mobile, Sailfish OS, and Ubuntu touch
  • It comes with five kill switches for LTE, Cameras, Wifi/BT, and Microphones
  • Bootable microSD and 16GB/32GB eMMC
  • USB Type C (Power, Data and Video Out)
  • Six pogo pins allow custom hardware extensions such as a thermal camera, wireless charging, NFC, an extended battery case, or a keyboard case.
  • 3.5 headphone jack
  • Supports convergence to extend it as a PC
  • Affordable price with starting $149 and $199
Pinephone
Pinephone
SpecificationDescription 
Screen5.95 Inches, HD IPS capacitive touchscreen
CPUAllwinner A64 ARM QUAD Core Cortex-A53 and 64bit
GPUMali-400 MP2
RAMTwo Variants: 2GB and 3GB LPDDR3 SDRAM
StorageTwo Variants: 16GB and 32GB eMMC.
CameraSingle 5MP, 1/4โ€ณ, LED Flash (Rear) and Single 2MP, f/2.8, 1/5โ€ณ (Front)
BatteryLi-ion (capacity 2800mAh)
Audio Jack3.5 mm

Volla Phone

Volla Phone can operate simultaneously with two operating systems: Ubuntu Touch and VollaOS. Moreover, VollaOS is a modified Android that is google-free and simultaneously focuses on the user’s privacy. At the same time, Ubuntu Touch is a popular Linux phone distro.

Key features & specifications

  • Free from Google and services
  • No cloud dependency
  • Encrypted device storage
  • Modified Android OS: Volla OS
  • Supports Ubuntu Touch, Manjaro, Sailfish OS
  • USB C charging
  • 3.5 headphone jack
  • Fingerprint log in
  • Offline maps
Volla Phone
Volla Phone
SpecificationDescription 
CPUMediaTek Helio P23
GPUARM Mali-G71 MP2 
Storage64 GB, eMMC
RAM4 GB DDR3 RAM
Screen6.3Inches, IPS, 2340ร—1080 Pixels
Camera16MP with Flash (Rear) and 16MP (Front)
Battery4700 mAh
USBType C & 3.5mm Audio Jack

Fairphone 4

It comes with PostmarketOS; Fairphone 4 is another smartphone that has modular hardware. You can replace its battery effortlessly. Moreover, you can also replace not just the battery but also its display, etc., with a screwdriver.

Fairphone is another Linux phone which comes with modular hardware. It supports PostmarketOS and uses a modified version of Android: FairPhone OS. The primary selling point of this device is its modularity, where you can replace any part of the mobile phone. That includes the display, battery and other components of this device.

Specifications

SpecificationDescription 
CPUOcta-Core Kryo 570
RAMTwo variants: 6GB and 8GB
StorageTwo variants: 128GB or 256GB
GPUAdreno 619
Screen6.3 inch Full HD+ IPS
CameraDual 48MP (Rear) and 25MP (Front)
Battery3905 mAh Li-ion
ChipsetQualcomm SM7225 Snapdragon 750G

Are there any mainstream Android phones that support Linux OS?

If you don’t want to buy an off-the-shelf mobile phone as listed above, then you can continue using Linux mobile OS in older branded phones because Android is a modified Linux Kernel-based. Hence, these devices should work with Ubuntu Touch or PostmarketOS.

  • Supported by Ubuntu Touch OS (full list)
    • Google Pixel 3a/3a XL
    • Sony Xperia X (F5121 & F5122)
    • Google Nexus 5
    • OnePlus One
  • Supported by PostmarketOS (full list)
    • Xiaomi Redmi 2
    • Xiaomi Mi Note 2
    • OnePlus GT
    • OnePlus 6

About Pro 1 X โ€“ F(X)tec

Pro 1 X – F(X)tec is a smartphone with various operating system options. And it’s arguably the more exciting product in this Linux phone list.

Note: A few readers informed me about this phone and their refund policy. There seems to be trouble with refunds from the company if you buy this device. So, try not to consider this phone. As per several other comments, we removed the links to the product and all information.

Closing notes

So, that’s about the best Linux phones available in the market today and will continue in 2024. You can learn more about the above devices from the official website. However, I believe there will be more adoption of Linux phones in the coming days as Privacy becomes a myth every day.

It’s true that to compete with Android and iOS, the device or OS is not sufficient. What is important is the standard, global availability for buying, low entry-level pricing in emerging markets and investment in the app ecosystem. A streamlined vision is required in the phone ecosystem to win. Without it, Linux phones will become more fragmented, as in desktops. The device makers and major FOSS players need to work together to make it successful.


Arindam

Creator and author of debugpoint.com. Connect with me via Telegram, ๐• (Twitter), or send us an email.
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