LineageOS friendly phone

My OnePlus One is getting long in the tooth. It had a good run. And thanks to LineageOS I am still getting weekly OS updates - which is amazing. I can deal with the slowness and the occasional data disconnections, but the battery simply can’t hold charge for any reasonable task. Now when the COVID lock-down is mostly over it is a challenge when ever I need to venture outside for 8 hours or more.

So I need to bite the bullet, add one more piece of equipment to the global e-wast pile, and buy a new phone, and while there are lots of good hardware around, the community support for alternative ROMs is not well reported.

Here is what I am looking for in a new phone:

  • simple to unlock – I was able to unlock a Xiaomi device but I don’t want to repeat the horrible experience (which required a Windows VM, and a waiting period of a week).

  • strong FOSS community behind it.

  • headphone jack – eliminating it is a downgrade

  • NFC – see above

  • Good price/performance ratio – I am not looking for a flagship with a flagship price tag. Every new phone would be a major upgrade for me, but I want something that will serve me for at least five years.
    To make the above less hand-wave-y here is all the common phone features I can think of in order from most to least important for me:

    (most important)

    • strong alt ROM community
    • easy to unlock
    • headphone jack
    • rear camera quality
    • NFC support
    • price
    • battery run time
    • SD-card support
    • screen protection (gorilla glass version)
    • screen tech (MOLED > IPS)
    • speakers
    • Bluetooth version
    • 5g support
    • IPS rating
    • WiFi version
    • battery charge time
    • screen refresh rate
    • CPU performance (I am not a gamer)
    • wireless charging
    • fingerprint censor / face unlock (not using it)
    • premium feel (I prefer plastic backs as long as it is not a fingerprint magnet)
    • front camera (I don’t take selfies)
    • stock software / updates (going to replace it)

    (least important)

Note about the pine-phone: I like the idea, but according to current reports it is not yet a daily driver material, so unfortunately I can’t consider it right now.

Finally here is my question:
What phone can you recommend as a replacement for my old OnePlus One at this time?

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The requirement to support 5G really limits your options to higher priced phones. Have you thought about getting a Pixel phone and installing GrapheneOS on it? The Pixel 5 appears to have most if not all what you’re looking for. I’ve been using my Pixel 4a for about four months now and haven’t had any issues with it. But I’m not a heavy phone user either.


^^ This

@chenlevy Here is a recent podcast from Michael Bazzell on security friendly phones. This might help you make a decision.


@haroldcrews, 5G is not a must. As you can see in my ranking above, it is not nearly at the top of my list. It would be nice though, since I interned to keep using my phone for at least five years, I can expect it will become more important as time passes.

Your recommendation of a Pixel 4a (or 4a 5g) seems a reasonable suggestion for me. I am not sure I am nearly paranoid enough to use GrapheneOS, I had good experience with LineageOS, and while I am trying to de-Google-fy living without GApps is too large of an ask for me right now.

I appreciate the advice, nevertheless.

@MarkofCain, thanks for the link. I listened to the podcast episode, and it helped to inform me about the Pixel ease of unlocking, and was insightful in some other ways.


I had a pretty easy time with my Sony Xperia XZ1. I don’t think any Sony’s are officially supported by Lineage though, I had to find an unnoficial ROM. Easy to work with though.

You’re welcome. Wireless charging is not available on the Pixel though except for the Pixel 5. I do miss wireless charging from my previous phone, the Samsung 7 Edge. That phone is now a cold wallet.

Here is one you do not have to unlock. It is also designed to be easy to repair, and upgrade with newer hardware as it comes out.

Linage OS is not available, but many others are

I think the next hardware accessory to come out will be a keyboard, wireless charging, and fingerprint reader.

Are you daily driving a Pinephone as your primary? I’m extremely curious how you set it up if you are.

I CANNOT wait for this, good link.

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More like co-primary. I am still using my old Windows Phone 10 along with it.

Mainly I am using UbPorts (Unbuntu Touch). While UBports is quite stable, still some issues. One issues is location. As times I need to provide my location (Using the Telegram app in Windows Phone). Location function with UBPorts is just not working when connected to LTE only. While connected to WiFi it somewhat functions, just off by about 100-150 meters.

Someone made a web wrapper app for Here Maps. It knows you general location due to IP address, but since it cannot get precise location, it is basically useless.

Another issue is battery life on UBports. It is very bad. Just sitting doing nothing and it is dead in four hours.
Manjaro with Plasma seems to have better battery life, but the problem with that it can be time consuming for it to come back to life when trying to use it after it starts trying to save battery. At times I am thinking it has locked up, but it eventually springs back to life. Manjaro with Plasma does not even have a camera app installed by default.

For UBPorts, the camera works , but viewing what the camera sees on the screen is a big laggy. Takes decent images though.

For messaging, there are Telegram and Signal apps available. Not looked to see if there is a Matrix app.

I am also using Linphone in Windows Phone, as there is no mobile friendly GUI for Linux Mobile yet.

In the open source arena, there are three GUI interfaces. Plasma, Phosh, and the one UBPorts uses which escapes my memory.

Phosh is very basic, and in my opinion, horrorible.

Not actually true. It comes with Megapixels installed.

The interface is called Lomiri, outside of UBPorts. The Memo interface (known from Volla phones) are also coming along nicely.


Yes, I keep forgetting. I do not understand why they just don’t call it Camera and have a camera icon like everyone else.

Megapixels is more of a Proof Of Concept app. It’s not meant to be shipped as the camera app. But there’s not a lot of other options for one that works with the Pinephone camera right now.

Plasma Mobile does have the Plasma Camera app, but it does not support the Pinephone camera yet. I do hope they come around to actually support it soon though.

But, to get back on topic. I just noticed that the OnePlus Nord line is actually supported by LineageOS…

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