One week Librem 5 field trial – day 5 to 29

It has been a while since I wrote a Librem 5 field trial update. I made notes since my last update, but for now I will not use them. I will just write some further experiences here in this blog. Maybe, I will go through my notes later for other posts.

So, yes, I still use the Librem 5 as my primary phone – at least if you would determine what the primary phone is by where the SIM card of my phone number and data bundle resides. That SIM card has been in the Librem 5 except for one day when there was a sort of emergency, and I wanted to be sure to be reachable. Maybe that says a lot.

But, for the rest of the days the Librem 5 has been my primary phone. Unfortunately, I nearly always have to carry my secondary phone now with me as well :-/ Especially for navigation. I cannot get a reliable GPS fix on the Librem 5. I wrote earlier about this on the Purism forum, here. Therefore, I usually carry my Android phone with me for navigation using OsmAnd. Sharing my data connection via WiFi works very well, so I can use internet on my secondary phone if needed by sharing the data from the Librem 5.

Here some good news: the issue with the call quality has been resolved. I followed these instructions, and since then no-one complained about the sound quality any more. I’m not sure if I screwed up the settings earlier myself, but if not I would recommend Purism to make these settings the default.

Only a few times people complained that they could not hear me. Especially in the beginning. It took me a while to discover that in these cases I had the mic/camera kill-switch on :-) But now I know what to do when people do not hear me… and it is nice that switching off the kill-switch in an ongoing call does not disconnect or anything, but just makes the microphone work directly.

Another thing that I discovered: every time that I use the kill-switch to switch off and later on again my GSM / data connection, there appears an exclamation mark in the Mobile icon. To get rid of this, I have to go to GNOME Settings > Mobile, and disable and enable Data Roaming. This is probably related to the fact that my network provider is not completely in the mobile-broadband-provider-info configuration file. I created an issue for that here.

On my Android phone, I like to run Tower Collector to collect cell towers locations from where I go. It is a pity that there is not such a kind of application for the Librem 5, as far as I know. And if there was one, it would be useless for me because of the GPS problems :-(

I tried a few times to enable the currently still experimental suspend on the Librem 5, but disabled that again because it is still too buggy. Maybe this is also related to the fact that I use the docking station. I will experiment more later.

I always went for small size phones, which I actually still would prefer. But I have to say that the Librem 5 feels quite good, and the size is no problem for me. Also the Librem 5 has a good grip and is not slippery at all. I like that.

The battery life of the Librem 5 is still too short to be able to use the phone without caution. I often use the kill-switches to minimize battery consumption, and I usually close all running applications, including Signal, my primary chat application. I do have an extra Librem 5 battery, but I did not use that yet. Maybe I will start taking this battery with me. If so, I will write my experience here later.

I also noted that charging the battery is not very reliable. A few times the Librem 5 was the whole night on an 1A USB power supply, which only resulted in a partial charge.

A short conclusion, to make this blog post not too long: The Librem 5 is close to usable for me as the primary phone. However, I have to take some measures as carrying my now secondary phone with me.

I am a big supporter of the Purism Librem 5, so I accept these inconveniences, and I am willing to encounter and report bugs for software freedom and personal sovereignty.

Unfortunately, I would not dare to recommend the Librem 5 to a non Linux and tech savvy person yet. But I have confidence that the Librem 5 will get better and better. And this conviction is supported by the regular updates the phone receives and the small steps forward that come with these. To be continued.

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