Mass production of Purism’s Librem 5 Linux smartphone is underway and the company expects to begin shipping phones to customers later this month or in early December.
While Purism had already shipped a small quantity of pre-production units to early backers, the phones about to head out the door are part of the company’s “Evergreen” batch and feature the latest hardware designed for long-term support.
One design change is a slightly larger case, which allowed Purism to improve wireless reception and increase battery life.
By lengthening the phone’s body by 3 millimeters, Purism says it was able to improve antenna performance. The move also means there’s more space for the battery, so Purism decided to replace the 3,600 mAh battery pack it had been using with a new 4,500 mAh battery.
Purism says you should get up to 6 hours of battery life with the screen on when all hardware is enabled. But if you turn off the screen, disable WiFi, and let the phone idle, the battery will last for about 14 hours.
That’s… not great for standby time from a modern smartphone. But it’s a big improvement over earlier versions of the Librem 5 with a smaller battery. Purism says the previous-gen “Dogwood” batch phones topped out at under 5 hours with all hardware active, and less than 11 hours with the screen and wireless components off.
Poor standby time seems to be par for the course with Linux phones designed to run free and open source software right now. The PinePhone can’t make it through a full day when idle either.
Hopefully software developers will find ways to further optimize these and other Linux phones in the future so that all-day battery life becomes possible. For now, I’d say that equipping Linux phones with big batteries could be the next best thing.
The Librem 5 is available for pre-order from Purism’s website for $749.
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