Buy a privacy respecting Phone

Below there’s a list of manufacturers that offer Google-free devices to buy directly. As a disclaimer, neither is this any kind of ad, nor do I strictly recommend or tell you to now go and buy one of them. This is merely meant as a summary, to give you an idea of what you can get as a customer with a conscious for privacy.
All of the data below is as of April 2022. I do not guarantee for its correctness, especially since I did not have thousands of euros to spend for testing each of them. However I tried to accumulate data as accurate as possible.
I do not feature Shiftphone here as they’re still working on their Google-free variants.

Please be aware: None of the Smartphones or corresponding systems below support Play Store Apps that need to check for paid license, as Google closed down the corresponding API. While the majority of Apps (Tools, Games, Streaming services etc.) still work if supported by the Smartphone vendor (microG), purchased apps with license checks (f.e. in the app “Automate”) unfortunately fail. However, from my personal experience this is little to no problem as there are always excellent alternatives in either the Play Store or F-Droid Store.


Murena: A safe allrounder

Using their own flavour of Android: /e/ OS

โœ”๏ธ Positive:

  • Very easy to use
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Comes with optional /e/ Cloud
  • /e/ Cloud offering tons of apps, including fully featured Office Suite
  • Great default apps
  • Native file-based encryption
  • Non-Profit Organisation
  • Long-term support for devices
  • Enormous list of supported devices for DIY installation

โŒ Negative:

  • After DIY Installation the bootloader remains unlocked, posing security risks by physical attacks.

๐Ÿ›’ Available Devices to buy:

  • Murena Fairphone 4 (5G)
  • Murena Fairphone 3+
  • Murena One
  • Murena (Samsung) Galaxy S9+ (Refurbished)
  • Murena (Samsung) Galaxy S9 (Refurbished)

Comment on Murena /e/OS:

The /e/ Foundation is, in my opinion, offering you the best experience in terms of compatibility and ease of use. If you want a phone that just works but without Google, this should be your first pick.


iodรฉ: Another easy pick

As good and as french as Murena

โœ”๏ธ Positive:

  • Very easy to use
  • Reasonable pricing
  • Great default apps
  • Native file-based encryption
  • Long-term support can be expected
  • Focus on Refurbished & eco-friendly devices

โŒ Negative:

  • No Cloud by default

๐Ÿ›’ Available Devices to buy:

  • Fairphone 4 (5G)
  • Fairphone 3+
  • Teracube 2E
  • Samsung A5 (2017) (Refurbished)
  • Samsung Galaxy S9, S9+ (Refurbished)
  • Samsung Note 9 (Refurbished)
  • Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10, S10+ (Refurbished)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10, 10+ (Refurbished)
  • Sony Xperia XA2 (Refurbished)
  • Sony Xperia XZ1 (Refurbished)
  • Sony Xperia XZ3 (Refurbished)
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite (Refurbished)
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T, 10T Pro (Refurbished)

Comment on iodรฉ:

Their focus on eco-friendly products and software that seem to be functionally similar to Murena /e/ OS makes a very convincing option to choose. Except for the necessity of organising your own cloud solution I don’t see any reason not to give iodรฉ a try.


NitroPhones: The Vault

Using GrapheneOS, one of the most secure systems available

โœ”๏ธ Positive:

  • Extremely secure…
  • …yet not hard to use.
  • Optional Google sandbox: Access to the whole Play Store with minimized risk
  • Offers to remove microphones, sensors and/or cameras in case your name is Snowden
  • Strongly encrypted, incl. hidden Volume
  • Germany-based company
  • Long-term support of device

โŒ Negative:

  • Quite Expensive
  • There aren’t tiny USB-C microphones yet, so if your mics get removed you always need the headset for calls
  • No Cloud by default
  • There’s that ugly Google symbol on the back…

๐Ÿ›’ Available Devices to buy:

  • Nitrophone 2 (Google Pixel 6)
  • Nitrophone 2 Pro (G. Pixel 6 Pro)

โฌ‡๏ธ Offering products to accompany your phone:

  • NextBox (home-based Cloud)
  • Privacy filter foils
  • Cases, camera sliders, adapters etc.

Volla: Your Choice

Android VollaOS, Linux Ubuntu Touch, Linux SailfishOS? All of them.

โœ”๏ธ Positive:

  • Offers Android as well as LinuxPhone OS’es
  • Offers device for rough environments
  • Access to purchased Play Store Apps
  • F-Droid App Store preinstalled
  • Unique Launcher
  • Enormous battery capacities
  • Germany-based company
  • Long-term support of devices

โŒ Negative:

  • Lower price-to-performance ratio
  • Play Store Apps that need Google services (a lot of them) will not run
  • No Cloud by default
  • No device with 5G support

๐Ÿ›’ Available Devices to buy:

  • Volla Phone
  • Volla Phone X

โฌ‡๏ธ Offering products to accompany your phone:

  • Charging Stand
  • Leather bag
  • Case, Display protection, simpler bag…

F(x)tec: A new Blackberry

Miss classical PDAs? Here you go.

โœ”๏ธ Positive:

  • Device offers physical keyboard
  • Support standard Android, Google-free LineageOS as well as Linux Ubuntu Touch
  • Unique Design
  • Easier switch between Google’s Android and LineageOS

โŒ Negative:

  • To be Google-free you need to manually install LineageOS
  • LineageOS or Ubuntu Touch need unlocked Bootloader, posing security risks by physical attacks
  • Weak battery (3200mAh)
  • No device with 5G support
  • QWERTY-keyboard only
  • Missing accessories

๐Ÿ›’ Available Devices to buy:

  • Fxtec Pro 1 X

Comment on PinePhones:

Fxtec seem very new to the game, with their phones not widely available. While they might offer a great product, the fact you need to manually install the Google-free system after buying the phone makes this a hard choice.


Pine64: Linux, Linux everywhere

A comfy home with the tux.

โœ”๏ธ Positive:

  • Open-Source Hardware, no hidden Shenanigans
  • Well standard selection of apps
  • Many apps available on both phone and Linux desktops.
  • Fully repairable, all spare parts available

โŒ Negative:

  • Lower price-to-performance ratio
  • No Android App Support (yet)
  • Weak battery (3000 mAh)
  • No device with 5G support

๐Ÿ›’ Available Devices to buy:

  • PinePhone
  • Pinephone Pro

Comment on PinePhones:

While LinuxPhones are on an great way to become a third option on the mobile market, new users might find it hard to deal with the lack of popular apps. However, if you’d like to try something new and use phones mostly for their primary purpose, this might be a nice choice.


Purism: More pure than your priest (probably)

A developers dream I guess.

โœ”๏ธ Positive:

  • Open-Source Hardware, no hidden Shenanigans
  • Functional standard selection of apps
  • Many apps available on both phone and Linux desktops.
  • Repairable, spare parts available
  • hardware switches for sensors, cameras and microphones

โŒ Negative:

  • Low price-to-performance ratio
  • Not to say: very expensive
  • No Android app support (yet)
  • Targeted towards developers
  • Still in active development
  • Very heavy
  • No device with 5G support

๐Ÿ›’ Available Devices to buy:

  • Librem 5
  • Librem 5 USA

Comment on Librem 5:

This device is in very active development and not aimed at the casual user. However, as many Linux fans seem to read this I had to add it to avoid masses of angry comments. ๐Ÿ™ƒ

Regain Privacy – Buying Google-free Smartphones
Tagged on:                     

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contents