[ code. keyboards. terminals. cyber. ]



The wise (and crazy) family has given me the PinePhone for my birthday, which is now already three months ago.
A smartphone on the astreines Linux runs - very good!
I have the PinePhone the last three months times tested and must say I've never changed a blog post as often as this one.

Before I come to the PinePhone, briefly a few words about my current setup as far as the dear smartphone is concerned.

My setup currently

Current model: Apple iPhone X / 64GB
Most used apps:

Castro - Podcatcher
Apple Mail - Emails
Comet - Reddit
Signal - Messaging
Element - Matrix Client
Tweetbot - Twitter
Discourse Hub - Discourse Forums
Discord - Discord Client
Firefox - Webbrowser
Paypal - Payment
Ebay & Ebay Kleinanzeigen - ... just Ebay
Corona Warn App - Corona Tracking
Github - Github Client
Reeder - RSS Feed Reader
Slack - Messaging
Threema - Messaging
Telegram - Messaging

In addition, of course, functions such as alarm clock, calls, and system-internal features.


But now to the Pinephone.
The PinePhone is an open source smartphone, which means that all components are completely open source.
In addition, the PinePhone is compatible with all currently available mobile Linux distros.


The hardware of the PinePhone is more like the lower mid-range compared to current smartphones.
Here are the specs:

Allwinner A64 Quad Core SoC with Mali 400 MP2 GPU
5.95″ LCD 1440×720, 18:9 aspect ratio
Bootable Micro SD
HD Digital Video Out
USB Type C (Power, Data and Video Out)
Quectel EG-25G with worldwide bands
WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n, single-band, hotspot capable
Bluetooth: 4.0, A2DP
RGB status LED
Selfie and Main camera (2/5MP)
Sensors: accelerator, gyro, proximity, compass, ambient light
3 Tasten: up down und power
Samsung J7 form-factor 3000mAh battery
Headphone Jack
Docking Adapter für HDMI, Ethernet...

Since the PinePhone places additional value on privacy, hardware switches are still installed on the back.
With these, LTE / GPS, Wifi, Micro, speakers and camera can be turned off on the hardware side.

A64 QuadCore processor and 3GB RAM are in principle quite sufficient for a smartphone and for Linux all times.
For larger computing tasks, the laptop or computer must hold out anyway.

The display is almost identical to the iPhone X in a direct comparison and even a bit larger due to the lack of the notch at the upper edge. The resolution does not come close to the OLED display, but is still quite sufficient and you get used to everything.

32GB eMMC storage is only half of the iPhone, however, most of the iPhone's memory is occupied by photos. These are to be outsourced in the future anyway and no longer stored on the smartphone.
Another point why photos should not be on the PinePhone is also the camera.

The camera in the PinePhone is rather mäh to say the least and for hobbyists and not for everyday use. It makes passable photos - but nothing more.
Here one should use rather according to the KISS principle, the PinePhone for telephone things and a camera for making photos. So I will also handle.


The PinePhone is available in different variants.
Started with the "Braveheart", which comes completely without OS.
Then there were the community editions. These were either with Manjaro, Mobian and KDE Plasma Mobile. These then also came with cool "branding" on the back of the phone.
I may call the Manjaro variant my own.
The last days the news came up that future PinePhones will ship with Manjaro and Plasma Mobile by default.

Despite branding, any other OS can be installed on the community editions as well.

Who would like to test all available operating systems, the Multiboot Image of to the heart is recommended.
Here you have the opportunity to test 17 different distros.

Never have I taken so long to decide on a distro as with the PinePhone.
Of course I would like to have the same OS on the smartphone as on the computer, but NixOS is still a lot of tinkering for the Pinephone and since my iPhone slowly says "goodbye", I need something that is suitable for everyday use.
Manjaro, Arch, postmarketOS are OK but for me not stable enough and quite battery-guzzling.
With SailfishOS I do not get warm. SXMO as WM is cool, because it is based on DWM, but if I need about 30sec. to answer a call, then that is also nothing for everyday life.
What I say now, I would not have thought myself. I have decided to use Ubuntu. To be exact Ubuntu Touch
My last Ubuntu is now also again 15 years ago.

Unfortunately, the community edition is not shipped with Ubuntu Touch. So you have to flash it yourself.
To do this, you need an SD card and the image from Jumpdrive.
The image is flashed to the SD card (SD CARD FLASH)
Once everything is on the SD card, it goes into the PinePhone. The PinePhone will boot from the SD card by default if it is present.
If everything worked, you will see a screen on the PinePhone telling you that the PinePhone is ready to be flashed.

Now the PinePhone is connected via USB cable to the computer and appears there now also as device.

The handling is the same as with a commercial desktop Linux Distro incl. Terminal.


But now away from the theory and towards suitability in daily-use.
The PinePhone is good and secure in the hand and the 3 buttons are easy to reach. So turn on.
The boot up to the pine input takes ~15sec.
The 10sec are super and much faster than the iPhone.

Ubuntu Touch fürt usual beginner-friendly through the initial setup.
After that, the PinePhone is directly usable.

The interface of Ubuntu Touch is modern and intuitive to use and is based on Unity.

The initial computing of the PinePhone as with other operating systems is omitted here. The Phone is immediately ready for use and responds without latency or loading times.

Continue with the look at the apps.


1. Castro - Podcatcher
Podcasts? Very important! Castro is unfortunately only available for iOS. Does not matter, because for Ubuntu Touch there is "Podbird".
Clear UI and easy to use. Queues, downloads, subscriptions and the Apple Podcasts connection so everything it needs.
An import from other podcatchers would still be great, but does not have.

2. Apple Mail
Dekko 2 is the answer here. Modern UI - easy to use. Perfect.

3. Comet
For Reddit I take "uReadIt" a Reddit client that looks fancy and runs fast.
4. Signal - Messaging
There is the Signal client "Axolotl" but I haven't got it to work yet.
Unfortunately Signal is the main communication channel. Here must therefore what her!

5. Element
The app "FluffyChat" is available for Element and Matrix. Looks modern and can be operated super. If you know where to configure the Matrix server, then it also works great right away.

6. Tweetbot
As expected, there is no official Twitter app, but of course a WebApp. For me, "Tweet Mobile" works best here for now.

7. Discourse Hub - Discourse Forums
Unfortunately, there are no alternatives here. Here remains only the access via web browser or computer.

8. Discord - Discord Client
Is accomplished via web app and that's fine since I don't need it that often.

9. Firefox - Webbrowser
Firefox is not available in the OpenStore. Ubuntu Touch brings a virtual environment called Libertine. With Libertine can also run Firefox.
Works so far quite passably.

10. Paypal - Payment
For Paypal there is a web app that ensures access to Paypal. I do not often need - therefore completely sufficient.

11. Ebay & Ebay Kleinanzeigen
Also here regulated by web app and since at EBay is not the priority also completely OK.

12. Corona Warn App
Well the CWA has top priority but of course there is no Ubuntu client here.
As long as the iPhone still works, I guess it will always have to stay that way.

13. Github
The WebApp client for Github does not work at the moment. But that doesn't matter - I don't necessarily need Github on my smartphone.

14. Reeder
For RSS feeds I can recommend "uRsses". Looks chic and modern and runs stable.

15. Slack
Slack is not often in use, so it does not matter that the only Slack app does not run. Too bad but you can do nothing.

16. Threema
For Threema there is unfortunately no replacement or WebApp or similar. I hope there is something in the future.

17. Telegram - Messaging
There is the app "TELEports" which connects to the API of Telegram and works great incl. push notifications.


So for almost everything important there are apps or web apps. The Ubuntu Touch Store is constantly growing and there are updates virtually every day.
And once this pandemic is under control at some point and the CWA is no longer needed, the iPhone can go away completely.

The battery performance with Ubuntu touch is enough for the day easily - at night is charged anyway.
Calls have a passable quality and worked so far without interruptions, as well as the mobile data connection.
I will now continue to test the PinePhone in daily life and will add to the article here if something else comes up.
As a final conclusion can be said: the PinePhone with Ubuntu Touch works (at least for me) in everyday life quite well.
To set up the PinePhone you should take your time. If one does not want to synchronize its contacts ect. over Google is here manual work announced.
On the whole, a great smartphone running Linux and quite suitable for everyday use.