Order a refurbished Galaxy S9, without the Google

We’re big fans of Google, obviously. But we also live in the real world, where Google does a lot of stuff that’s unambiguously bad. If you want to use open source Android without getting its parent company involved, then you have a few options. Previously only available in Europe, the eSolutions shop is now selling versions of the Galaxy S9 scrubbed clean of all proprietary Google software to the US and Canada.

The phones run /e/OS, a customized version of Android based on open source projects Lineage and microG. The company started selling phones pre-loaded with Google-free software in Europe a little less than a year ago—before that, flashing de-Googled custom ROMs was largely the only option. Today the Galaxy S9 and S9+ are on sale in the US and Canada, priced at $380 and $430, respectively. Both are “premium refurbished,” so might show a few signs of wear, but they’re battery tested and unlocked.

It’s a small selection with which to start. In Europe, eSolutions sells those two phones, plus the cheaper Galaxy S8, and new versions of the Fairphone 3, Fairphone 3+, and the Gigaset GS290, all running /e/OS. eSolutions commits to three years of software and security updates, sent out approximately every three months, though the latest version is still based on Android 10. The phones sold in the US come with a one year warranty, but the new (not refurbished) versions sold elsewhere get two years.

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