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The best phones for LineageOS

The vast majority of Android system consumers don’t know or care what a custom ROM is. There’s nothing fallacious with that—a telephone or pill’s stock ROM shall be enough for 99.9% of potential users. But for the 0.1% that wish to tinker, the development group surrounding a given gadget can drastically influence the value. Your purchase can turn into a a lot better deal if there is a wealth of custom ROM options obtainable, extending its lifespan for probably years (or roughly a decade, within the case of the HTC HD2).

There are quite a number of widespread customized ROMs in the wild, but LineageOS is the best choice for most individuals. It has a huge group of builders, continually provides new options, and supports dozens of phones and tablets with official builds.

So the query turns into this: what are the best phones for LineageOS? In the event you’re prepared to unlock bootloaders and flash ROMs, which units instantly turn into extra invaluable? Or, if you need a Google-free Android expertise (since Google apps are elective with Lineage), what are the best options for hardware?

This guide has stayed pretty well-liked because it was originally revealed in 2017, so we’ve up to date it with all-new decisions for 2019. We’ve additionally removed all pill suggestions, as a result of there aren’t any respectable choices officially supported by the Lineage undertaking.

For this guide, we only took into consideration units with official Lineage help. While there are various extra phones with unofficial builds, they will typically be buggier with slower updates.
Installing any customized working methods in your system will probably void your guarantee, and the process required to do so may end up in a lifeless gadget in the event you make any vital errors. Additionally, the safety of your gadget could be extra simply compromised, and some developers (like these for cellular banking apps and some video games) do their best to dam such units from using their purposes.

Unlocking your bootloader, putting in a ROM or customized restoration (and rooting, if that’s your choice) are all issues that ought to only be completed if you perceive the steps concerned and the dangers associated. Keep in mind: a bricked gadget isn’t the worst case state of affairs, the actually dangerous things simply start there.

Should you ROM a telephone, anticipate mediocre digital camera performance. There are exceptions, however usually with out the closed-source digital camera binaries and modified digital camera purposes most OEMs ship phones with, the standard of photographs will probably be decrease.

It’s additionally essential to notice that official LineageOS builds can be buggy or unstable at occasions, even on probably the most well-supported units. In case you want your telephone to be as secure/dependable as attainable, customized ROMs in all probability aren’t a good suggestion. If a telephone continues to be receiving OEM updates, retaining your firmware and bootloader up to date can also be harder on LineageOS.

There aren’t any super-budget phones with official Lineage ports (or no less than any that you’d need to use), so we’ll start our listing at mid-range units.

Motorola Moto X4

The Moto X4 was a little bit of a wierd gadget. It was the last X-series telephone from Motorola, marking the top of an necessary period for the company. The collection didn’t finish in a bang, but a whimper — the Moto X4 acquired combined evaluations when it came out. Nevertheless, the primary criticism was the excessive worth, and frequent gross sales since then have fastened that.

The telephone was one of many first ‘Android One’ units, so it ran a stock build of Android and was pretty straightforward to unlock and customize. There’s nonetheless an lively improvement scene for the X4, together with official builds of LineageOS 16 (based mostly on Android 9 Pie). Nevertheless, the Lineage port is just for the T-Cellular, international, and Undertaking Fi fashions — the Verizon and AT&T variations gained’t work, as their bootloaders are permanently locked.

As far as the interior hardware goes, you get a Snapdragon 630 processor, 3-6GB of RAM (relying on the mannequin), 32-128GB of inner storage (depending on the mannequin), a microSD card slot, a headphone jack, a 5.2-inch 1080p display, and a Three,000mAh battery.

The Moto X4 might be readily discovered on websites like eBay and Swappa for around $100. Again, ensure not to purchase a Verizon or AT&T model.

Xiaomi Mi A1

The Mi A1 was almost the right finances telephone when it was released in late 2017. It combined Xiaomi’s normal great value with Google’s inventory Android experience. In a time when many fanatics around the globe have been nonetheless mourning the loss of the Nexus program, the Mi A1 was a strong various with few drawbacks.

Fast-forward to in the present day, and you may easily find an imported Mi A1 in the U.S. for round $150 on websites like eBay. Nevertheless, the telephone lacks many U.S. LTE bands, so the A1 is just a fantastic selection for these of you dwelling in nations the place it was officially bought — together with most of Europe, the Center East, Mexico, and southern Asia.

The Xiaomi Mi A1 is provided with a Snapdragon 625 processor, a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS display, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of storage (expandable by way of microSD for those who aren’t utilizing the second SIM), a 12MP rear digital camera, a 5MP entrance digital camera, and a Three,000mAh battery. There’s a headphone jack, however no NFC.

When you’ve got a bit extra money to spend, there are a number of high-end smartphones which might be well-supported by the Lineage undertaking.

Xiaomi Poco F1

The Pocophone F1 has been a smash hit, as it provides flagship specifications for lower than half the price of the standard flagship telephone in america. The design leaves somewhat bit to be desired, and there are a couple of odd lacking features (like no NFC), however general it’s a really compelling package deal.

The software program expertise is often cited as the primary disadvantage to the Poco F1. While some individuals like Xiaomi’s MIUI skin, it drastically modifications how Android works, often breaking apps in the process. Fortunately, not solely can you install custom ROMs on it, there’s an official port of LineageOS 16 (based mostly on Android Pie).

Should you’re not conversant in it, the Pocophone has a Snapdragon 845 processor, a 6.18-inch 1080p LCD display, 6-8GB of RAM (depending on model), 64-256GB of storage (relying on model), a 4,000mAh battery, a headphone jack, two rear cameras (12MP + 5MP depth sensor), and a 20MP front-facing digital camera.

Nevertheless, a customized ROM can’t clear up one situation the Pocophone has — a scarcity of worldwide LTE bands. You shouldn’t purchase this telephone when you stay in america, because you’ll have subsequent to no cell coverage on any service. That’s also the case for a couple of different nations, so be sure that to do a fast Google search for “pocophone [insert carrier here]” earlier than shopping for.

OnePlus 6

The best selection for a flagship telephone if you wish to run LineageOS shouldn’t be the OnePlus 7 Professional, or even the 6T, however the older OnePlus 6. It’s the most recent OnePlus system that is presently receiving official Lineage help, and because the telephone is just a yr previous, it’s nonetheless a lot fast by 2019 standards.

The specifications embrace a Snapdragon 845 processor, 6-8GB of RAM (relying on the mannequin), 64-256GB RAM (relying on the model), a 6.28-inch 1080p OLED display, a 3,300mAh battery, dual rear cameras (16MP + 20MP), and a 16MP entrance digital camera. This was also the final telephone made by OnePlus with a headphone jack.

Fact be informed, there’s not much of a purpose to flash a customized ROM on the OnePlus 6, because it’s nonetheless receiving frequent updates and OxygenOS (the custom flavor of Android that ships on all OP phones) gives most of the similar options as Lineage. Nonetheless, in the event you actually need Lineage, there’s an official port of LineageOS 16.0 Pie ready for you.

The OnePlus 6 may be readily found on websites like eBay and Swappa for $300-400.

Motorola Moto Z2 Pressure

When you’re out there for something a bit extra durable, the Motorola Moto Z2 Pressure is an honest choice. It was launched in mid-2017, and a few versions of it have been never even up to date to Android 9 Pie — but the Lineage venture stepped in and formally helps the Z2 Drive with LineageOS Pie. Some Motorola motion gestures even work underneath the customized ROM, nevertheless, most Moto Mods are non-functional.

The Moto Z2 Pressure has a Snapdragon 835 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of inner storage (with microSD card help), a 5.5-inch 1440p AMOLED display with Motorola’s “ShatterShield” tech, a 2,730mAh battery, two 12MP rear cameras, and one 5MP front digital camera. You’ll find our unique evaluation right here.

The one caveat to buying a Z2 Drive for Lineage is that the majority of U.S. models are the Verizon and AT&T variants, which may’t be bootloader-unlocked. Even if they’ve been carrier-unlocked, the bootloader nonetheless can’t be unlocked. The T-Cellular and Sprint variations should work superb for LineageOS. See the underside of this web page for an inventory of fashions that may work.

OnePlus 5T

When you’re wanting for the most cost effective telephone for LineageOS that may still commerce blows with flagship units, and can truly perform on U.S. carriers (besides Verizon and Sprint), the OnePlus 5T is perhaps the best choice. It was initially launched in late 2017, nevertheless it’s still a formidable telephone in 2019.

The OP5T packs a Snapdragon 835 processor, 6-8GB RAM (depending on the model), 64-128GB of storage (relying on model), a 6-inch 1080p display, a 3,300mAh battery, two rear cameras (one 16MP, one 20MP), and a 16MP entrance digital camera.

As with the OnePlus 6, there really isn’t a urgent need to exchange the stock ROM with Lineage, as OxygenOS provides a lot of the similar features as Lineage. The 5T continues to be receiving official updates from OnePlus, though it in all probability gained’t get anything past Android Q formally.

There are a ton of phones that didn’t make this record, particularly units mainly bought outdoors the USA, but we had to attract a line someplace. Customized ROMs present fairly a rabbit gap. We will’t make an exhaustive record and anticipate anyone to need to learn it.

Though we may be a minority, there are loads of us that buy a telephone with ROMs in mind. Some of us purchase a telephone for the lengthy haul and are ready to take matters into our own arms when an OEM halts updates. A few of us have constructed our workflows across the additional options that ROMs like LineageOS provide, or we enjoy the privilege of really proudly owning our telephone by way of that additional layer of customization. And a few of us simply need to attempt the subsequent version of Android a bit early.

Whatever your motivation is perhaps, from novelty to utility, in case you are buying for a telephone with LineageOS help in mind, now you’ve received a couple of good concepts to base your search on.