Another decade of phones

OnePlus 3T

I bought the OnePlus 3T in November 2018 for less than 200 euros, almost two years after it became available. It had a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 at 2.5Ghz with 6GB RAM. Both its front en rear cameras used a 16Mp sensor. The OnePlus 3T came with Android 6.0.1 originally but mine had Android 7.1.1 when I bought it.

This phone was pretty cheap for what felt like a flagship phone, and that was how it was marketed. It was my first phone with a fingerprint reader, which was and still is really a good idea. The screen, and therefore the phone, got bigger, but the sleeker design and lighter weight made it easier to handle than the Fairphone 2.

Until recently the phone was pretty well supported by the Ubuntu Touch project, when it did, I flashed the ROM. It makes the phone into a quite compelling showcase for the OS. I turn it on roughly monthly to do updates and see how far the project is progressing.

LG V40 ThinQ

The V40 had five camera’s, three at the back (12, 12 and 16 Mp) and two at the front (8 and 5 Mp). It had a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SOC with 6GB RAM.

My third phone by LG I bought in September 2019, only a year after it hit the market, which was, and is, still not a good idea. Any phone will age quickly, not just because newer apps and websites will increasingly demand more power and memory but, more importantly, because security updates will stop coming. In case of this phone, that was made worse by the fact that LG stopped making and supporting phones altogether, so there was not the smallest hope of getting any updates at all.

Still, I think that this was my favourite Android phone, despite the slippery glass back and the even bigger screen. Aimed at musical enthusiast it had a 3.5 mm earphone plug and a very decent audio chip. It also had wireless charging. I was quite sad that I had to replace it but these phones carry way too much personal data to use without frequent security patches.

Fairphone 4

After the last of my LG’s, I decided to give Fairphone another try, and this time I was not disappointed. Some say these phones are too expensive for what they offer in terms of camera’s, screen quality and CPU power, but the way I see it is that really everyone else is too cheap. Almost everyone but Fairphone takes shortcuts by underpaying workers and linear wasteful production methods. On top of that, the Fairphone 4 is a perfectly capable phone that is meant for the long run. It is modular so you can replace parts such as the usb port, the screen and the battery and replacing them can easily be done by anyone with a single screw driver.

The Fairphone 4 and its successor are also supported by CalyxOS because Fairphone actually supports unlocking the boot loader. A de-Googled Android device is more or less a middle ground between Android on the one hand and alternative OSes like PostmartketOS and Ubuntu Touch on the other, which does allow for car sharing and banking apps but doesn’t rely on any big data hoarders you don’t want. Google Play Services is replaced by the excellent open source microG-app.

CalyxOS supports the Fairphone 4 as long as Fairphone can do that. After that, perhaps my kids have their own phones and alternative OSes will be advanced enough that I can do without my banking and car sharing apps. Or, as I wrote the previous time:

An ideal phone would be so good that I would never need a new one any more

I hope this is the last post in the series.

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Categorised as: a decade of phones, gadgets, lifestyle, linux

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