The Murena One is a smartphone designed for people who value privacy and security above all else. It runs on/e/OS, which is a privacy-focused version of the Android 11 operating system. However, the Murena One takes privacy even further by removing many of the Google apps and services that are pre-installed on most Android phones. This means that the Murena One does not collect as much data about its users as other Android phones.
Murena is a company that has been around for a while. They previously created the operating system for the Fairphone 4, another privacy-focused smartphone. The Murena One is their first smartphone that they have created themselves. Overall, the Murena One is a good choice for people who are looking for a smartphone with strong privacy and security features. However, it is important to note that the Murena One does not have all of the same features as other Android phones. For example, it does not have access to the Google Play Store, so you will need to download apps from other sources.
|Dimensions||(HxWxD) 161.8 x 76.9 x 8.9mm|
|CPU||Mediatek Helio P60|
|GPU||Arm Mali-G72 900MHz|
|External storage support||Yes, microSD|
|Maximum external storage||up to 128GB|
|Display size||6.53 inches|
|Display Resolution||1080 x 2242|
|Display aspect ratio||19.5:9 ratio|
|Primary camera resolution||48 Megapixels|
|Primary camera sensor||1/2.0″ sensor|
|Primary camera aperture||f/1.8 aperture|
|Primary camera HDR support||Yes|
|Secondary camera resolution||8 Megapixels|
|Secondary camera aperture||f/2.0|
|Selfie camera resolution||25 Megapixels|
|Selfie camera sensor||1/2.78″ sensor|
|Selfie camera aperture||f/2.0 aperture|
|Selfie camera HDR support||Yes|
|Wifi standards||802.11 a / b / g / n / ac|
|Number of SIM cards||2|
|Types of SIM card||2 nano SIM, including one SIM shared with the MicroSD card slot|
|Localisation services||A-GPS, GPS, Glonass, Beidou|
|3G supported bands||B2/B3/B5/B8|
|4G supported bands||EU B1/B2/B3/B5/B7/B8/B12/B13/B17/B20/B28B/B38/B40/B41
US & CA B1/B2/B4/B5/B7/B8/B12/B13/B17/B20/B28B/B38/B40/B41
|VoLTE||Yes, if supported by carrier|
|Vo-Wifi||Yes, if supported by carrier|
|Fingerprint reader||Yes, sideloaded|
|Max SAR head (W/kg (10g))||0.167 W/Kg|
|Max SAR body (W/kg (10g))||0.666 W/Kg|
|Max SAR limb (W/kg (10g))||2.0 W/Kg|
|OS version||/e/OS Android 11|
Here are some of the pros and cons of the Murena One:
- Privacy-focused: The Murena deGoogled Android smartphone is designed to protect user data and privacy, which is a major selling point for users who are concerned about online privacy.
- Open-source apps: The device comes with open-source alternatives to popular Google apps, such as OpenStreetMap, K-9 Mail, and NewPipe.
- MicroG support: The microG project allows users to use apps that rely on Google Play Services without needing a Google account or giving those apps access to their Google data.
- Hardware-based security: The Murena deGoogled Android smartphone has a number of hardware-based security features, such as a physically separated SIM card slot and a dedicated hardware key for resetting the device to factory settings.
- Two-year warranty and 14-day return policy: The device comes with a 2-year warranty and 14-day return policy, which gives users peace of mind when purchasing the device.
- Price: The Murena deGoogled Android smartphone is priced at around €300, which is on the higher end for a mid-range smartphone.
- Compatibility issues: Since the device does not come with Google’s proprietary optimizations, some apps may run slower or have compatibility issues.
- Limited app selection: The device does not come with the Google Play Store, which means users may have to rely on third-party app stores or sideloading apps to access all of their favorite apps.
- Mid-range specs: The Murena deGoogled Android smartphone has mid-range specs, which means it may struggle with more demanding tasks such as gaming or running resource-intensive apps.
- None OLED screen,
The device frame and back panel are made from a glossy plastic, which I found to be a real fingerprint magnet,
it has a 6.5-inch Full HD IPS display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Upon setting up the device the software asked to set up my fingerprints, showing the reader to be on the back of the device, but the sensor was actually on the left edge of the phone,
It is powered by a Mediatek Helio P60 processor with a clock speed of 2.2 GHz and 4 GB of RAM. The device has 128 GB of internal storage, which can be expanded up to 512 GB with a microSD card.
In terms of camera, the Murena deGoogled Android smartphone has a dual rear camera setup consisting of a 48-megapixel primary sensor and a 5-megapixel secondary sensor. The device has a 4,500 mAh battery with support for fast charging via USB-C.
Moving to the front of the phone, you’ll find a 25MP front-facing camera that’s OK for selfies. Moving around the phone, the fingerprint sensor is located on the left side, (the first time I’ve ever seen one in that location.) You’re informed it’s in the rear during setup, thus the fact that they didn’t even know where it was is red flag number one. That said once setup I did find the reader to be both fast and reliable. The volume control and power button are located on the phone’s right side.
Another key design consideration is that this phone only has Bluetooth 4.2 and does not support 5G. The phone also includes a 4500mAh battery that will provide the user with approximately 6 hours of usage, which is unlikely to win any awards for longevity.
The Murena One runs on the AOSP operating system without any Google services or apps, but it does include its own operating system called /e/OS. This means that it does not come with pre-installed apps such as Google Maps, Gmail, or YouTube. Instead, it comes with open-source alternatives such as OpenStreetMap, K-9 Mail, and NewPipe, Magic Earth, a closed-source version of Google Maps that isn’t quite as excellent as Google Maps.
What the phone allows you to do is disable location services in the phone’s settings, which will provide you more privacy. You can also set up your own free cloud account for emails and storage during the setup process. You get 1GB of free storage, but you can upgrade to 20GB for €2 per month or 2TB for €24.99 per month.
The Murena One now includes a feature called the app lounge, where you may download your favourite apps. When you enter the App Lounge, you will be asked to check in with your Google account or utilise anonymous mode. The app lounge is essentially an Aurora store, which is not illegal but also not entirely legal, Aurora store gets its content from Google servers without requiring a Google account. It was observed on some Huawei devices after the troubles with Google, and some owners felt that this was the way forward rather than simply disposing of the phone. When you go to download an app, it actually comes with a privacy score for each programme. For example, Whatsapp has an 8/10 privacy score with a list of permissions the app requires and trackers it includes. You also get a custom-built music player that appears very similar to the Apple Music app, but you will have to transfer your music via your computer with this app.
The Murena One is marketed as a privacy-focused device, and it comes with a number of features designed to protect user data. For example, the device comes with the microG project, an open-source reimplementation of Google’s proprietary Play Services framework. This allows users to use apps that rely on Play Services, such as Uber or Snapchat, without needing a Google account or giving those apps access to their Google data. When you slide left from the home screen, you will have access to recent apps, but it is the sophisticated privacy tracker that allows you to toggle a system-wide VPN sort of. You can block all trackers, spoof your location, and even disguise your IP address.
In terms of performance, the Murena One has a dated MediaTek Helio P60 mid-range processor, thus meaning no 5G compatibility, and 4 GB of RAM. This is sufficient for most day-to-day tasks such as browsing the web, using social media, or streaming video. However, the device may struggle with more demanding tasks such as gaming or running resource-intensive apps. Additionally, since it does not come with Google’s proprietary optimizations, some apps may run slower or have compatibility issues. I did notice a considerable slow down in the device, when it was set to maximum privacy settings. Although that said it was a nice breath of fresh air to read the local on line newspaper without a barrage on adverts and pop up videos, which normally ruin the experience, not one ad made it through to my viewing pleasure.
The Murena One is priced at around €290/£250 which is on the higher end for a mid-range smartphone. However, this is justified by the device’s focus on privacy and the fact that it does not come with any pre-installed Google services or apps. Additionally, the device comes with a 2-year warranty and 14-day return policy.
The Murena one comes with a 48-megapixel rear main camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera. While these specs may seem modest compared to most mid-rangers, with bright light the camera can give some decent photos. Low light the camera does struggle though.
The front-facing camera is suitable for video calls and selfies, but it may not be as sharp or detailed as some of the higher-end smartphone cameras on the market.
One of the main drawbacks of the camera performance on the Murena deGoogled Android smartphone is the lack of advanced camera features and settings. The camera app is simple and straightforward, with limited customization options and no advanced manual controls.
In conclusion, the Murena One deGoogled Android smartphone is a unique device that is marketed towards users who prioritize online privacy and security. The Murena One is a promising concept, but it falls short in several areas. First, it is not truly de-Googled, as it still relies on Google services for some functions. Second, the phone’s security features are not as robust as they could be, as it uses outdated hardware and software. Finally, the lack of kernel sources will disappoint enthusiasts who want to customize the phone. Me, well I’ve realised that like so many others I rely too much on Google and its services