Pinephone Review (and why we NEED this phone!)
I am finally giving you guys a review of the pine phone it’s been a long time coming, but today’s the day, it’s happening right now. In fact, right here i have the pine phone in the studio and this is the beta edition of the pine phone, something that was just dropped off at the studio this week. So i can’t wait to check this out, but before i get into the review, i want to mention the sponsor for today’s video voip.ms voip.ms is the most feature, rich voip provider. On the market available across north america. Voip.Ms offers a self service platform with bring your own device capabilities. They allow you to connect soft phones, iphones, ipbx’s, sbcs and more and with softphone support. That means you’ll be able to make calls with your pine phone without needing to activate a sim card which allows you to avoid signing a contract with a wireless provider. Voip.Ms also offers a complete, hosted, pbx solution that enables you to build a professional business phone system and sip trunking services to connect cloud based or on premises. Pbxs when it comes to pricing, it’s, simple voip.ms features competitive pay as you go pricing, as well as a powerful platform for businesses and msps with a white label solution for resellers. The reporting system has no cost attached, and the service is fully contract free to learn more about voip.ms check out the url that’s on the screen right now, or the link that’s in the description.
And if you sign up using that link, you’ll be able to start making calls in five minutes and thank you so much to voip.ms for their sponsorship of this video. I really appreciate it definitely check them out now, let’s get into the pine phone when it comes to specs the specs of the pine phone aren’t, really all that amazing. To be honest, it has decent specs for its price point of around 250 us dollars and when i ordered mine it was on sale for 150 us dollars. So for that price i think the specs are well fine. It has an ips display with a resolution of 1440 by 720 16 gigabytes of emmc storage, two gigabytes of ram and a 64 bit quad core 1.2 gigahertz arm cortex a53 cpu, so it’s, not really all that powerful, but the specs aren’t the worst either and for 150 dollars it’s, probably good enough for basic use cases. However, there’s some rough edges with this phone more on that later and as you can tell from the intro i’ve already unboxed it and the packaging is about as simple as it gets, and this is the box right here inside the box, of course, is the pine Phone itself, as well as a red, usbc, cable, but there’s, no power, brick and the box does indicate that it comes with a usbc dock, but there wasn’t one in the box and considering that the usb c dock is listed with an asterisk.
I assume that probably means that it only comes with certain models, and my very first pine phone, which i’ll be discussing later, did actually come with a dock. So i still have that dock now, which is great since i figured i’d, have a chance to try that out now out of the box, the pine phone will not boot and it will not charge either. Removing the back cover will reveal a plastic tab. That is in between the phone and the battery, which prevents it from making contact. So the first thing to do is to remove that tab and if you have a sim card or sd card there’s a place for both right here, i already had a sim card from my first pine phone, so i moved that over to this one. I also inserted an sd card flashed with mangero arm, specifically the plasma mobile edition. The hardware is basic, but decent. The build quality is fine it’s about what you’d expect at this price point it’s a completely plastic chassis, but it gets the job done on the side. There’S, a volume control and a power button on the bottom. We have a usbc port and on the top there’s a headphone jack. The screen quality in my opinion, is good, but not amazing. I would say that it’s acceptable it’s, not the best screen i’ve ever seen, but it’s. Definitely not the worst, either it’s more than adequate. When it comes to the default distribution on the latest pine phone, i was expecting mangero arm to be the pre installed distribution.
After all, it was recently chosen as the standard for the pine phone, but what i saw instead was a boot screen that had multiple phone distributions on the list and what’s even more strange, is that mangero arm wasn’t. Even on the list and the first item on the list – didn’t even boot, at all it launches to a tty login and i let it run for a while and well, nothing happened and that’s. The reason why i went ahead and flashed mangero arm the plasma mobile edition onto an sd card, because i wanted to try that out. I figured that since manjero arm was classified as the default distribution, the standard for the pine phone that i would probably have the best experience if i was to use that okay, so let’s rewind a little bit. I mentioned earlier that i had a previous model of the pine phone, and this is my second i received this yesterday, so why am i reviewing this pine phone when i haven’t even reviewed the original yet? Well, the reason. Why is because that review honestly was an epic failure? You guys never got to see it because it was just bad honestly, like i had all kinds of problems with the pine phone. It was to the point where nothing worked and i was actually surprised when something did work. So how do i review something that is basically completely broken, so i put that phone on the shelf and i updated it every now and then to see if maybe it got further along, maybe some of those bugs were worked out, so i updated it every few Weeks and um, unfortunately, i mean some bugs were fixed yes, but it’s, still just as rough today as it was before.
So i wanted to try the latest pine phone and get a feel for what the out of box experience is today and try to do this review again now before we continue it’s important to keep in mind that the pine phone is for early adopters and linux Enthusiasts, it even mentions on the box that it’s a beta product and on the website, it’s very clear on what the intended audience actually is. So with that in mind, i decided to approach this review from a different angle and straight away. What i’m going to tell you guys is that if you are looking for a linux phone, that is a competitor to ios or android, well, honestly, look elsewhere! This is not that the pine phone experience, in my opinion, is very rough and when they say beta, they really mean beta. So this is not the year of the linux phone. Make no mistake. I hope that day does come, how cool would that be, but it’s not quite time for the year of the linux phone just yet there’s some rough edges that really need to be ironed out before we can even get to that point. If you take a look around the community, it’s quite clear that very passionate people are involved with the mobile linux concept and are working very hard to try to make it a reality. There’S a lot of work being done on various distributions for the pine phone and it’s just amazing to watch the progress of these projects and how far they’re coming along.
You can literally watch the development of mobile linux distributions from their inception all the way to their current state. It kind of reminds me of when i first started with linux, and none of the distributions available at that time were fully desktop ready. But i thought it was fun to check out various distributions and see what they have to offer and here with the pine phone we have that process starting again and that’s, because there’s multiple distributions available and they’re listed in the official wiki. You can go to that. Wiki and read about the various distributions that are available and make a choice as far as which one you’d like to try out, but with every mobile linux distro that i’ve tried. It seems to be more of a question of what works than what doesn’t work. For example, i haven’t been able to use mms on any of the distros that i’ve tried when it comes to plasma mobile, attaching an external display via a usbc dock freezes. The entire session instantly and a reboot of the phone is the only way to gain control. Many applications simply won’t launch there’s, no error messages, they just kind of hang and screen recording apps are all incompatible. None of them work for me, which is also why you’re not seeing a screen recording in this video like. I normally do in fact anything beyond simple phone calls is a gamble, so this is absolutely not a phone you would want to buy if you want to be productive, so i’m having a ton of problems – and i bet at this point – you are probably thinking that I’M, going to bash the pine phone, tell you to stay away from it and pretend that it doesn’t exist.
But what i mentioned earlier that i wanted to approach this review from a different angle. Specifically, i want to call attention to the development effort that is actually going on right now with a pine phone and the excitement behind that platform and why you might want to get involved and what i think the pine phone represents is a fun way to get Involved and contribute to the projects that are surrounding this platform, especially when it comes to the various distributions that are available. If there’s a feature that you want to use and that feature doesn’t work, then perhaps you’ll consider looking at the code and maybe try to fix it or if you’re, not good. At writing code. You can volunteer to test things i’m sure the developers would really appreciate that you can also volunteer to write documentation and if nothing else, you can pick your favorite project and watch that project grow and follow along with this development process, and that to me sounds exciting And another reason why i wanted to check out the pine phone was due to the convergence package. When i purchased my original model. Seven months ago it came with a usbc dock. The idea was that you could dock your phone to a you, know, a monitor, a keyboard and a mouse and then use your phone as a desktop, and this idea is not new. Canonical tried this a long time ago they didn’t get very far.
Maybe it was too ahead of its time. Samsung has a solution. Now i don’t know what the current state is. It’S called dex, i believe so samsung has been trying to get into this space as well. I don’t really think it’s time for convergence just yet, but i do think that it’s something that will happen with time and with the pine phone it’s possible that we might get an early look on what that might be like. So initially i purchased the postmarket os version of the pine phone and, like i mentioned it, came with a dock, but when i went to try it out and i attached an external display, it didn’t work eventually, a couple months later, a software update came down and That did start to work. I am now able to get external displays working on that pine phone, but not on the plasma mobile edition. If you attach an external display while running that in my experience, your phone is going to lock and you will need to reboot it. But you know what i’m still hopeful when it comes to convergence. I think it’s a really fun topic and while i don’t think it’s quite the time for that, yet i can foresee a future, maybe a distant future, where that might be the common thing. If nothing else, if that’s something that you’re also interested in, then you could possibly buy a pine phone and follow along with that process.
So, honestly, this was the hardest review that i’ve ever had to do. It’S so hard that well the review didn’t even happen. When i initially promised you guys that i would do a review. I always felt that i’d come back to it and today i’m doing that. But it was difficult because again nothing worked, but the more i think about it. I realize that the pine phone is very, very important right now the market is dominated by ios and android, and i don’t like that now i’m, not trying to insult either platform. I just feel like we need a third competitor and selfishly it’d be really awesome if that third competitor was a linux distribution, and i was running a true linux os on my phone. That would be awesome. I don’t know if that’s going to happen, and i don’t think anyone else knows either. Pine phone is not in control of the software, so it’s not their fault, that the software is in such a horrible state right now it is what it is, but they’re providing us with a reference platform that we can write our software on and honestly it’s up To us in the linux community to decide whether or not a linux phone will ever take off. If we keep thinking that someone will get around to it and perfect the various linux distributions or even just perfect one of them, you know iron out all the rough edges and make it great.
But if we keep thinking that someone else is going to do it, then no one’s going to do it. Pine phone is giving us the tool for giving us the pine phone it’s a development platform. We can develop on that right now. We could write tomorrow software today and if we are interested in software development – and we want to write mobile software specifically linux, on mobile platforms, we can do that. We can all share the same reference platform and develop on that. So the thing is pine64 is giving us the tools that we need to make a linux future on mobile happen. Will it happen that’s up to us pine64? They have no idea they’re, giving us the tool and they’re hoping that we’ll do the right thing now when it comes to this review, do i recommend the pine phone? Well yeah kinda? If you want a phone that works and you can rely on because having a phone is important to you, no, the pine phone is not that it’s going to annoy you it’s tedious things are going to crash there’s going to be features on the phone that just Don’T work for some reason: it’s in a very rough state, but if you are eager to make tomorrow’s operating system on mobile happen today. Well, yeah, you should definitely buy a pine phone in that case, especially if you are interested in when you know when it comes to software development, if that’s something that interests, you then definitely buy a pine phone because we would love to have you help out and That’S what i come down to in this review.
I really do like this phone i’m excited about it. I’M, not excited about the phone in particular because well honestly, it’s not working all that well, but i’m excited about the future and you guys are going to help write that future. I really hope those of you out there that are interested in software development will get started. Maybe you’ll decide to get started on the pine phone and maybe you’ll have a hand in the future of mobile linux. I hope you’ll do that. I hope that this platform is going to be successful, but for right now i recommend that we think of this as what it is: a development platform, not the future of mobile computing, not a device that you’re going to use as your daily driver. So with that said, i hope you enjoyed this video.