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The range of mobile devices is now very large, with the most common being devices from well-known manufacturers. But some models are not very common, and they are worth paying attention to, especially for the IT professional. We will talk about them today, but not all of them, only the ones based on Linux. By the way, some models are not only Linux-based but also have a physical keyboard.
1. Astro Slide
What makes Astro Slide special is its physical keyboard, which could be called a full-fledged keyboard if it wasn’t for its small size. Nevertheless, it enables important operations – for a data center engineer or any other professional in the IT world. You can hardly type a sheet of text with this keyboard, but you can operate the equipment or communicate with your colleagues while performing a certain task.
The smartphone keyboard is not a membrane keyboard, but a mechanical one. The developers decided to make it “adult” to the detriment of the thickness of the device, which, however, is not so important for working tools. If you need backlighting of the keys – don’t worry, it is there.
The smartphone (or rather, the communicator) is also compatible with most Linux distributions.
The hardware specifications are not bad, although, of course, it is not a flagship. At the heart of the device is the 7nm Dimensity 900 processor. It is octa-core and the cores are split into two groups. One, with four 2GHz Cortex-A76 cores, is for high-performance applications. The second, with the Cortex-A55, allows you to work with tasks that don’t require too much performance.
The device has two cameras, a front, and rear camera, at 13 MP and 48 MP respectively. There are also two displays, one large, internal, and a smaller one for notifications and basic closed-circuit control of the phone.
In terms of connectivity modules, the device is 5G compatible and has a microSD card slot, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.1 and NFC modules, an FM receiver, and GPS and GLONASS receivers.
The battery is not particularly high capacity – 4000mAh.
2. Pro1 X
Fxtec Pro 1 X is one more excellent phone with a physical keyboard. Accordingly, it, like the previous “fellow”, has two main advantages – the keyboard and Linux support. But the keyboard, as far as you can tell, is not as handy as in the first case. The device has a “phone” keyboard, so you can’t type fast enough.
The phone does, however, allow for Ubuntu Touch (which Canonical dropped, by the way, so it’s not quite clear whether it’s good or not) and LineageOS.
- The hardware keyboard is, by the looks of it, quite handy. There are 66 buttons on it, arranged in 5 rows.
- The screen is an AMOLED touchscreen with a diagonal of 5.99 inches and a resolution of 2160 x 1080. The display is covered by the fourth generation of Gorilla Glass.
- Communication modules are WiFi 5, Bluetooth 5.0, and NFC.
- Ports – USB-C with HDMI support.
- The cameras are 12 MP and 5 MP – rear, plus 8 MP – front.
- A fingerprint sensor on one side.
- The battery is 2,300mAh, with support for Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0.
- There are two dual SIM slots. They can be used for SIM and micro SD card installation.
- The processor is Qualcomm Snapdragon 662.
Two applications can be launched on the screen and share the workspace. The phone is also compatible with Android apps, which can be launched using Libertine. The developers have made it possible to configure the device to work with both Ubuntu Touch OS and Android OS.
3. Cosmo Communicator
Another communicator with an almost full-fledged keyboard can be a reliable tool for a data center engineer or any other professional. The design team has put in an impressive-looking device.
It can be used as a miniature notebook but fits in your pocket. If desired, it can be connected to a monitor to create a full desktop workstation. All the other devices in the current selection can do the same.
The communicator has two screens – one, a six-inch screen on the inside, and a second, 2-inch screen on the outside. There’s a 24 MP camera, which isn’t bad either.
As for other specs, the chipset here is the MediaTek Helio P70. The RAM is 6GB, the internal memory is 128GB.
It supports many radio frequency bands, except, sort of, 5G. But this is understandable – it was developed even before the appearance and spread of this standard. But the device supports three SIM cards, two physical and one eSIM.
The battery capacity is not very high either – 4,220 mAh.
4. Librem 5
Librem 5 differs from the previous ones in the lack of a physical keyboard. But the device has its twist – very good protection against, shall we say, external factors. Its modem, for example, is physically isolated from all other components, so you can become invisible to operators.
The modem is deactivated by a physical switch. A second switch deactivates the WiFi/Bluetooth wireless module and a third deactivates the microphone and camera. If all three switches are in “off” mode, the smartphone disables all modules that could somehow contribute to tracking the owner. Even the light sensor, accelerometer, compass, etc. are disabled.
The developers used Debian as the basis for the phone’s operating system, PureOS. Features:
- Display: 5.7″ IPS TFT @ 720×1440
- Processor: i.MX8M (Quad Core) max. 1.5GHz
- RAM: 3GB
- ROM: 32GB
- Wireless Modules: 802.11abgn 2.4 GHz / 5Ghz + Bluetooth 4
- GPS: Teseo LIV3F GNSS
- Smartcard: Reader with 3FF card slot (microSIM card size)
- Audio: 1 earpiece speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack
- Front camera: 8 MPixel
- Rear Camera: 13 MPixel w/ LED flash
- USB Type C: USB 3.0 data, Charging (Dual-Role Port), Video out
- Battery: 4,500mAh
PinePhone comes with two devices, the vanilla PinePhone and its big brother PinePhone Pro.
The former has two versions – the first with 2GB RAM + 16GB eMMC and the second with 3GB RAM + 32GB eMMC + USB Type-C adapter. Using the adapter you can connect the phone to a monitor to use it as a workstation.
The Pro model packs 4GB LPDDR4 RAM and the internal storage capacity is 128GB. It features a powerful chipset – a six-core Rockchip RK3399S. The configuration is Dual Cortex-A72 cores for efficiency and the remaining four are Cortex-A53 cores. The SoC is clocked at 1.5GHz. The PinePhone Pro screen size is 6-inch. We see a 5MP front camera and a 13MP main camera module. The device uses a Sony IMX258 sensor.