Phone options for alternate Android ROMs


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I have been running the /e/ Android ROM on a Nexus 5X phone for about 3 years now. Before that I ran CopperheadOS before that project almost literally blew up. I love /e/, and I want to stick with it. Do I need a new phone? Not really. There have just been two things recently that have taxed it enough that I have thought about upgrading.

/e/ OS website

First is I installed Briar again. The newest update adds photos to one on one messages. So that makes this messenger a bit more on par with others. Also it gained disappearing messages which automatically deletes messages after 7 days which is another great feature. Briar does use more battery and energy than most messengers though partly because it uses Tor for peer to peer conectivity. By the end of the day if I am running Briar the phone gets dangerously close to empty. For a 6 year old phone though (original battery) that’s not too bad, but I have thought of looking for phones with a bigger battery.

Briar Messenger

The second thing that made me consider a new phone is running ManyVerse (a new Secure Scuttlebutt mobile client) is very slow on this device. That is because the Scuttlebutt protocol uses encryption on all data and because there is no central server you download all the data of people you follow. On my phone I was experiencing long data indexing times in the order of 20 minutes. I don’t know how that compares to other phones but I know mine is not the fastest. So maybe it’s time for a better CPU as well?

Secure Scuttlebutt


I have owned several phones including a Samsung S5, the Nexus 5X and a few Motorolas so I have some experience with flashing custom ROMs on these. One thing when looking at phones to consider are:

  • Does the model support the ROM you want to flash
  • The physical size of the phone
  • Battery life
  • What network do you need the phone to use

In the end sometimes there is just no perfect phone out there. I want to run /e/ so that narrows the selection down to about 150 models. I also do not like large phones, the 5.2 inch screen on my 5X is just about perfect. A 5.5 inch screen on a phone with smaller bevels is also acceptable. Anything larger is just too large for me to handle comfortably and most newer phones are now all 6 inch or larger screens. But with a smaller phone usually the battery is smaller so I lose out on the long battery life. In the end I think there are only a handful of phones that I would like:

  • Nexus 5X
  • Lenovo P2
  • Sony Xperia XA2
  • Samsung Galaxy S7, S8 or S9

Looking on for used phones to buy the Lenovo and Sony are not available. The Samsungs are but with Samsung you must be careful which model you get since they are not universal. Some models like the Verizon ones cannot be unlocked enough to flash a new ROM.

If I went with just using LineageOS then I would have a few more options for phones, such as the Pixel 3. But even the Google phones you have to be careful because some versions (Verizon again!!) cannot be flashed.

So what to do? Well I decided to just get a new battery for my current Nexus 5X from iFixit. Inexpensive, I have no real need for a better phone and my options right now are limited with the large screen size models of today. Besides /e/ doesn’t support many modern phones anyway, but what they do support is still getting Android security updates even for 6 year old phones like mine! It browses gemini pages just fine :-)

iFixit repair manuals and parts