negative zero

PinePhone: week 1

2022 October 11

[hardware] [phone] [pine64] [pinephone] [review] [tech]

I've had my PinePhone for a week now, so it's time for an update. This'll be fairly quick, since my last post was just a few days ago.


I'm still running Mobian (unstable) with Phosh.


Dino notifications not causing the phone to vibrate bothered me, so I looked into other options. The default messaging app, Purism's Chats (formerly/AKA Chatty) supports both SMS and XMPP, so I tried connecting XMPP accounts. Chats uses libpurple (the library that powers Pidgin) and supports OMEMO with the lurch plugin. It vibrates (using feedbackd) when I get new messages. Overall, it's actually not a bad experience, except that lurch doesn't let you manage key trust. This is important to me, so for now I'm keeping my encrypted conversations on Dino.


I also signed into the GNOME Calls app with my SIP account. I haven't actually used the phone to make or receive a call yet, though.


Pinafore was a bad enough time that I went looking for other options. Tootle isn't my favorite client, but it performs fairly well on the PinePhone. Using Tootle instead of Pinafore, I can have multiple apps running (Dino, Chats, Calls, Tootle) at the same time. Unfortunately, Tootle doesn't seem to work with GoToSocial. I haven't tried to get loris running on the PinePhone yet, but I plan to look into it.


There are many small things that just don't work well with the PinePhone. Copying text (for example, copying my OAuth code to log into Tootle) just doesn't work properly sometimes. (With Mastodon OAuth in Firefox, for example, it consistently copied only part of the string, even when I selected a completely different part of the string to copy.)

As I said, the battery life situation is bad. I think the only two ways I can use this device are if I plug it in during the day whenever I can or if I only turn it on to actively use it (e.g., check my messages) then turn it back off. (Bear in mind that the PinePhone's battery optimizations don't work for my use case.)