This is an experience report from me using /e/OS as my main Phone for the last 4 month. I bought the cheapest device /e/OS supports (Gigaset GS290 for around 100€), installed the ROM via the installer and used the device as my daily driver.
As described I'm not just avoiding Google while running stock Android on my phone, I used a completely seperate OS which is Open Source, based on LineageOS and which's mission is, not to use google services in any way. Why? Because google (and a lot of popular apps) tracks a lot of meta data as you can see in this paper. /e/OS is mentioned in this paper to not send any data at all, because it's using customized apps and system components that replace google's functionality.
Once installed, /e/OS has an iOS like Launcher, called "BlissLauncher". Nope, thank you. As I was not able to get used to the Launcher's behaviour, I installed LawnChair 2 (previously described in this post. Then I changed the resolution from 1080p to 720p because I cannot see a difference and this takes load off the GPU. Also I changed the global animation scale for all values to 0.3
The chip is a cheap Mediatek HelioP23, which does not provide a lot of processing power. Apps take a bit longer to load than I'm used to while previously using a Snapdragon 665. I'm not doing graphically intense stuff on my phone but browsing reddit is a laggy experience, so I guess that gamers won't be happy with that model.
Besides the not optimal hardware, the System's Performance is great and seems a lot less bloaty than using a stock rom.
The battery lasts for at least 2 days of normal usage (2-3h screen on time).
Oh boy, this is where things get sexy. You can even set the systems DNS Server, which is not possible in most ROMS. I did not miss a single option.
The Preinstalled Applications are all open source and mostly forks of successful open source apps. All of them work fine. You can opt to integrate your experience with a free /e/OS account.
- I somehow wasn't able to login to my /e/OS account using the Notes app, which is the only application an /e/OS account is mandatory.
- eBay Kleinanzeigen does not show functionality, ignores clicks. This can be an issue because I'm using a customized DNS which is blocking tracking domains.
- The Mail app doesn't sync from time to time
- I can't give permissions to the gallery app to access the SD card.
Surprise: Not google. I use DuckDuckGo for years and I'm happy.
Preinstalled we got a customized version of Bromite. This browser shows a great performance and browsing experience. I installed Firefox but sadly Firefox doesn't show a great android performance which is relevant for my hardware. So I use it rarely and prefer using the default browser.
Will I continue using /e/OS?
Definitely. I currently think about switching to a more performant smartphone because the lags sometimes piss me off.
Using /e/OS gives me a good feeling about my data hygiene. I wouldn't feel good, spreading the usage data across the internet from the device that knows me best.