While it has been around for some time now, this Freedom Phone review will take a look at whether its promises of privacy and free speech have panned out. “The big tech overlords are violating your privacy [and] censoring your speech … that’s why I created the Freedom Phone” – these were the fighting words of Freedom Phone creator and self-described Bitcoin millionaire Erik Finman when he talked about his creation. Decidedly political, anti-big tech, built from the ground up for privacy, and “comparable to the best smartphones on the market” — these were just some of the bold claims about this phone. Whether or not these still hold or ever held true, you will find out in this Freedom Phone review!
Inside This Article
Before we start with the Freedom Phone review, let us talk about what it is exactly. First released on July 14, 2021, the Freedom Phone was marketed to conservatives and fans of former US President Donald Trump. Its main appeal and premise were simple; it was a phone “made by conservatives for conservatives.” It promised to be a phone that is free from censorship and ad-tracking while giving its users total privacy and freedom of speech. Because of these political selling points, it is impossible to talk more about the Freedom Phone’s history without dipping a little bit into politics.
As the country got even more hectic and polarized during the 2020 presidential elections, questions on social media censorship, tracking, and privacy were on the rise. This especially came to a head after the January 6 attack on the US Capitol building. The problem is due to apps like Parler and Rumble being used by members of the pro-Trump mob to disseminate information and coordinate with each other before and during the attack. In time, the repercussions of these actions were felt, especially on the political right. “Big-tech giants” responded by de-platforming and censoring people and apps related to the event. These included banning the former president’s Twitter account and removing Parler itself from both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
This is where the Freedom Phone comes in as a way to fill the gap for thousands aggrieved by big tech and their “wokeness.” Others might also want this phone due to their stance on internet privacy. It features a clear separation from “big tech” with the use of its “self-made” FreedomOS. This move supposedly cuts off the usual tracking and surveillance present in other iOS or Android phones. Aside from that, this phone also supports absolute freedom of speech with its “uncancellable app store” and already comes with Parler pre-installed. With that done, let us move on to the Freedom Phone review itself now.
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|Display Resolution||720 x 1560 pixels||WiFi Connectivity||2.4/5 GHz 802.11b,g,n / 802.11a,n,ac|
|Storage||64 GB (256 GB expandable)||Mobile Networks||4G and 3G Capable|
|RAM||4 GB||Cameras||Front – 8MP; Rear – 13 MP + 2 MP + 2 MP|
|CPU||1.8 GHz – 8 Cores||Headphone Jack||Yes (3.5mm)|
|Battery||4000 mAh||Screen||6.088 inch HD+IPS|
Coming in at almost $500 ($499.99) per unit, we really expect the Freedom Phone to have the hardware to compare. Sadly, it really does not. Not only does it fall far short of what you would expect of a $500 phone, it even fails against much older flagship phones like the Google Pixel 4. Hardware-wise, it has a few things going for it. These are the 3.5” headphone jack, the Type-C connector, expandable SD-card storage, and its decent 4000 mAh battery. Aside from that, its other specifications are not that noteworthy. This phone is definitely not “comparable to the best smartphones in the market,” either in 2021 or in 2022.
So, what else did the site and advertisements say about this phone? This is where it gets a bit murky, as there is not a lot of information about the phone. We feel that it was done on purpose as the original marketing was even vaguer with the stats. The statistics we presented are the official specs from the Freedom Phone website, but it does not really say a lot about it. You would not find what exact chipset it has, the actual brand of the CPU cores, or other vital spec data. If you ask us if the Freedom Phone is a scam, we do have to say that it probably is, but not in the way you think.
From the very start of their advertising, there have been a few glaring red flags when it comes to the Freedom Phone. As we said earlier, the Freedom Phone was created by self-described bitcoin millionaire Erik Finman. His goal was to “push back on the Big Tech companies” by building his own phone. This was an outright lie; as it turned out, the Freedom Phone is just a rebadged phone. As Finman revealed, the Freedom phone is actually a Umidigi phone. Due to the visual and hardware similarities, it seems to actually be based on the Umidigi A9 Pro, a 2020 budget Chinese-made phone.
For us, one of the bigger red flags in this whole thing is the phone’s marketing. The Freedom Phone has been strongly pushed by right-wing influencers and media personalities. These same people make a sizable cut out of each sale through the company’s affiliate program.
Aside from not building his own phone, the other exaggerated claims also do not pan out. These lies include the Freedom Phone-developed “Freedom OS” that it is supposed to ship with. Instead, units look like they are actually on the open-sourced Lineage OS, the same OS used on the A9 Pro.
Before we end this Freedom Phone Review, here are a few phones that are actually worth $500 in 2022. Those that want a bargain should take a look at refurbished smartphones as well since they offer quality products at lesser prices.
Google Pixel 4
As we explained earlier, the Google Pixel 4 and its larger sibling, the Pixel 4 XL are great phones even after three years. The Pixel 4 has a wonderful 6.3-inch display with a 90 Hz refresh rate, as well as a Qualcomm SM8150 Snapdragon 855 chipset. This octa-core setup is further enhanced with its 6 GB of RAM. Alongside these features are its 12.2 MP and 16 MP rear cameras and 8 MP front camera.
Huawei P40 Lite
A perfect phone for those running away from Google’s tracking and surveillance, the Huawei P40 Lite does not have or use Google Play Services. Aside from being in a similar $500 price range, the P40 Lite is superior to the Freedom Phone. It has a Kirin 990 5G chipset assuring 5G functionality and 6 to 8 GB of RAM to work with. Other advantages include a triple rear camera with 50, 8, and 16 MP as well as a front camera with 32 MP.
OnePlus 8T 5G
Part of our list of the best OnePlus phones, the OnePlus 8T 5G is a spectacular smartphone. Aside from 5G functionality, the 8T 5G also has a few tricks up its sleeves. It has a 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED display with a 120 Hz refresh rate and can run on either Android 11 or Oxygen OS 11. It also runs on the Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865 5G chipset and has 12 GB of RAM.
So, is the Freedom Phone for real? Even with the different explanations of what “legit” is, the Freedom Phone is definitely legit. It is an actual phone and you do actually get a mediocre budget-type phone with your purchase. Aside from that, it also does come with Clear OS and other open-sourced apps. As for our verdict for this Freedom Phone review, we have to say that no one should get this phone. Not only is it a re-branding of a cheap $120 Chinese phone into an “American” phone, but it also has a lot of shady marketing surrounding it.
While we were harsh about the Freedom Phone, we do understand that people want their privacy online. We suggest learning about how your phone works, particularly its mobile operating system (mobile OS).