here is my little experience with /e/ on two devices. Redmi Note 4 and Pocophone F1.
First of all, thanks a lot for all the team for your work on this great project.
I hope that /e/ will become a must to have in doing without GAFAM.
I never had smartphone before I discovered the /e/ project because I don’t want to give all my data to GAFAM.
At home, I have selfhosted apps on raspberry pi for, cloud, dns, secrets, etc.
I started to use /e/ 6 month ago.
As the project seems to be a good idea, I decided to buy a device from the compatibility list to test if it could be compatible with my life without google, facebook, etc
I bought a Xiaomi Redmi Note 4 to begin and I was seduced by /e/. I started with version 0.1 on it.
The only things I didn’t want to do was to open some “e accounts”, I want using a smartphone without any specific account except for the accounts I manage at home.
So I installed a Baikal server for my contacts and Calendar, Turtl for share Documents/pictures with my family, I already had a cloud with Seafile and I tested Owntrack successfully.
Calls are OK, no problems with SMS, bluetooth works with : my PC, my rapsberry media server, my radio in car.
I can make calls with bluetooth in my car, I can use GPS and Magic Earth to navigate, (sometimes GPS takes time to hang a satellite, but in general, it’s okay.)
photos are in good quality, I can surf on web with the default browser or the Tor browser, I can read my webmail, I can play music, pilot my drone and play games.
The update system is OK.
So /e/ is fully usable on my Redmi Note 4.
It’s compatible with my life without GAFAM and my desires for modernity. I decided to use it as main phone.
I use Apkpure and F-Droid as stores.
I disable for most apps the registration in microG.
I apply Privacy Guard by default to new apps.
I don’t want to have to root my phone.
I don’t use finger sensor, pattern is enough for me.
I use profiles, this is a great feature ! So in the morning, when I leave home, the bluetooth turns on, the bluetooth connection with the car is automatic and when I arrive at work, the bluetooth is turned off and the wifi is automaticaly turn on. And so on when I leave work.
I encountered some problems in version 0.1 of /e/ but nothing blocking. (- little problem with icons for example, now solved - problem to install “FreeFlight Pro”, now solved, etc)
One thing never worked on this device, it’s the weather on the page with search and suggestions. It never missed me, I prefer to look at the window.
When version 0.5 came out, some more serious problems arrived :
Crash of Bliss Launcher.
The problem was quickly solved by the team (thanks). Since I keep “Nova Launcher” installed, in case of. But Bliss is my default launcher !
Account manager don’t work anymore with my Baikal server, I had to install DAVx5 for workaround.
To date, the problem is still present. (https://gitlab.e.foundation/e/wiki/en/issues/45)
Calendar ask for Google account
To date, the problem is still present. (https://gitlab.e.foundation/e/apps/Calendar/issues/6)
Some other problems are less important. (weather widget theme sometime change from transparent to dark, or cosmetic issues)
Now, I still have the Redmi Note 4 with version 0.5 and I planned to give a Pocophone F1 in my family. So I bought a new Pocophone F1.
First of all, I noticed that the weather on the page with search and suggestions is working on this device, I have weather forecasts without any intervention.
But unfortunately, I consider /e/ not usable in the state on Pocophone F1, I can’t give this to a non tech user in my family.
Too many blocking problems.
After a reboot, the date is 2009-01-01 1:00 (https://gitlab.e.foundation/e/devices/xiaomi/proprietary_vendor_xiaomi/issues/3)
It blocks wifi, GSM, GPS, so no network at all. I have to set manually the date and time to have networks back…
Status bar (and apps in general) is hidden by the “black notch” for cameras on the top, we lose informations. (https://gitlab.e.foundation/e/management/issues/251)
Opencamera make very ugly pictures (but good videos) (https://gitlab.e.foundation/e/management/issues/254)
Over people have that problem. (Xiaomi pocophone f1 camera app)
The workaround for this is to install an other camera app. I tested “Simple Camera” and the photos are good.
But Opencamera is knwon to be a good app, I would like to use it.
Account manager don’t work with my Baikal server, and the workaround with DAVx5 don’t work on this device…
The only solution I have is to import .vcf files… (https://gitlab.e.foundation/e/wiki/en/issues/45)
Big issues with bluetooth. I can’t connect to my raspberry media server, I can’t connect to my Redmi Note 4.
Rarely I can connect to my PC but in this case, I can’t send files.
I can connect to my radio in car, but the calls are cut after about 14 seconds.
So the bluetooth is simply unusable.
Issue for calls in car. (https://gitlab.e.foundation/e/devices/xiaomi/proprietary_vendor_xiaomi/issues/4)
Other problems are less important, but present :
I always have annoying notifications like “Signal is using battery” or “Music is running in background”.
Ok, it comes with Oreo, but it’s boring.
As I was used to have a smartphone with Android 7 (the Redmi Note 4), maybe I’m not used to version 8 of Android enough.
At upgrade procedure, in TWRP, there is a message “Unable to mount storage”. But it seems to make the update anyway…
Note on TWRP :
On both devices, I had problem to flash TWRP. In the procedure, after the “fastboot flash recovery twrp-x.x.x-x-mido.img”, if I reboot, the recovery was still the one from Xiaomi.
I had to make two “fastboot flash recovery twrp-x.x.x-x-mido.img” command in a row to have the recovery really flashed… strange. 8-/
In general, I would like to see improvements on Bliss, like :
- The possibility to place icons anywhere on the screen, not just all aligned.
- The possibility to modify app icons order in a submenu as I group games together or apps together.
Some apps comes with /e/ but is not needed for me, I used this procedure to remove the unwanted system apps. (in fact just Telegram.)
I didn’t test an e account, but maybe one day, I will ask for one to see what comes with it.
I still use /e/ and I planned to use it in the future on my Redmi Note 4.
I’m not using /e/ on the Pocophone F1 as there is too many blocking problems. In fact I don’t use at all the Pocophone… just make the updates to see if problems are gone.
And I hope, these problems for the Pocophone F1 will be solved in future releases as I realy would like to use it with /e/.
I’m convinced that version 1.0 will be even better.
Many thanks for all the team of the project, keep going, it’s a great job !