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With the Black Fridays round the corner I am thinking about buying a new smartphone for me. Though because of privacy concerns I need an android one without having Facebook and gapps (I am fine with F-droid ones).

My problem is that both Fairphone and Librem 5 is on the expensive side for me, hence I want a cheaper one that I can easily change the Firmware with LineageOS. Also, I need one that I can buy from a physical store of from a store inside EU (for customs toll-free shipping) as well.

  • Have you considered something like a used Oneplus 5 / 5T / 6? Huge community and the hardware is still miles better than on the Fairphone. – towe Nov 25 '19 at 12:49
  • I was going to write an answer about one of the supported ASUS devices but it seems that all of those models are either too expensive or just completely unavailable to order. If you can find one in your region, they're very good value phones. – Romen Dec 19 '19 at 22:02
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Consider Xiaomi phones. I have Redmi Note 7 which costs 12k rubles (around 200$) but is pretty much as powerful as the incredibly overpriced Pixel 4. It also looks good.

It has a low price because Xiaomi earns money not from your purchase, but by gathering data about you through MIUI, their android reskin that comes preinstalled on all Xiaomi phones. Since you are going to flash a different ROM anyway, privacy is of no concern. You will, however, have to use MIUI for a few days, while you wait to be able to unlock the bootloader.

The preinstalled MIUI version will probably be global, with a lot of bloat- and spyware from Xiaomi, but half of it can surprisingly be deleted, while you can use Xiaomi Flash Tool to remove the rest, without root (it allows to remove any app from the phone permanently. Even Google Play Services.). There is also the EU version of MIUI, developed entirely by the xiaomi community. It lists "no Chinese bloatware" as one of the main differences from the Global version, among other interesting features.

Unfortunately, there is no version of MIUI EU without google apps preinstalled. Shame. It's a damn fine ROM.

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