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Please don't buy this $2,200 smartphone

A $2,200 price tag and serious trouble with refunds and orders for its previous phone. What's not to love?
By
July 4, 2023
Purism Liberty Phone
Purism
TL;DR
  • A US-based firm has launched a Linux-powered smartphone.
  • The so-called Liberty Phone retails for a ridiculous $2,199.
  • Numerous customers have complained that they haven’t received the firm’s previous phone.

Android and iOS dominate the smartphone space, but what if you want a phone with an alternative operating system? Fortunately, there are a few devices out there, but we implore you to absolutely stay away from the Liberty Phone by US-based company Purism.

The company has recently announced the Liberty Phone (h/t: Liliputing), coming in at an eye-watering $2,199 price tag. But you only need to take a look at the hardware specs to know that you’re getting ripped off in a big way (if you get the phone, that is).

2014 called, it wants its specs back

The specs sheet reads like a sketchy mid-range phone from a decade ago, consisting of an NXP quad-core processor (Cortex-A53, Vivante graphics), 4GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, and a 5.7-inch 720P IPS screen.

Other notable specs include a 4,500mAh user-replaceable battery with 18W charging, a 3.5mm port, a 13MP rear camera, and an 8MP selfie camera.

Oddly enough, one spec sheet lists Bluetooth 5.3 and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, while the purchase page lists Bluetooth 4 and Wi-Fi 4. We’re guessing it’s the latter based on the obscure, obsolete chipset. You do miss out on plenty of other features too, such as NFC, wireless charging, and 5G. But who am I to judge, the phone only costs $2,200 after all.

Would you buy the Liberty Phone?

1271 votes

The company is also touting a hardware kill switch for connectivity, along with several other software features to improve privacy and security (such as disabling trackers by default). Furthermore, Purism claims that the phone is assembled in the US.

Otherwise, the Liberty Phone ships with the PureOS platform, which is based on Debian. This allows for a desktop mode with a proper OS when connected to a display.

Will you even get the phone?

You’ll be spending a pretty penny to get the Liberty Phone, coming in at a crazy $2,199. Needless to say, those who want a Linux-powered phone for tinkering should save some cash and buy the $200 PinePhone or $400 PinePhone Pro. The latter model in particular brings similar specs while upping the ante in terms of connectivity and horsepower.

It’s also worth noting that plenty of Purism users have reported that they haven’t received the company’s previous Librem 5 phone, several years after ordering it. That phone first started shipping in 2020, while users report that Purism isn’t honoring refunds for these delayed orders or that the company is dragging its feet in this regard. So if it looks fishy and smells fishy, well, it must be a fish.

In other words, please stay far away from this phone and buy a PinePhone device instead if you want a Linux-powered handset. In fact, you can even try installing Ubuntu Touch on a host of older mainstream phones if you really want to try an alternative platform. Whatever you do, just don’t buy the Liberty Phone.