In-Depth Jolla Phone Review
Updated: March 22, 2015
Intro: What is a Jolla Smartphone?
1. The looks and feel - outside Jolla
2. Screen / Display
3. The Hardware - inside Jolla
4. The native Software
5. Gesture based Sailfish OS UI
6. The content of the box
7. Some other, minor notes
8. The best and the worst
9. Value for the money, total score
11. Read also
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|FULL REVIEW 2015|
Full and detailed review. Updated 5-Jun-2014 .................................................................................................................................. Updates to the article were done to match it with the bug fixes in the latest software update 1.0.5 Paarlampi .................................................................................................................................. Watch out for reviews based on too short user experience - there are a few out there, even in some very popular magazines. This article is written after having Jolla phone On Hands for half a year. Hope you enjoy the read, I tried to be objective too! ........................................................................................................................ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________Jolla has been my main phone for 15 months now, and also two more are bought to our family. Updates have been rolling out from Jolla developer team, and I'm updating my full review by them as well. Latest update to this post is after using Sailfish OS 22.214.171.124 Yliaavanlampi (March 2015). This is quite long read, providing very detailed insight on Jolla's both good and bad sides, Sailfish OS user interface and the essential applications. I try to be objective here, providing a review worth reading. I hope you find it realistic and honest!
Intro: What is a Jolla Smartphone?Jolla Oy is a fresh new company, founded by a bunch of ex Nokia engineers in 2011. They have developed Jolla phone since then, and it was introduced in Helsinki, Finland at November 27, 2013. The company has developed both the Jolla phone and it's operating system Sailsfish OS, based on Meego (introduced in Nokia N9). Nokia abandoned Meego and its developing team when cooperation with Microsoft started.
The attitude of the Meego team was great already before the beginning. Knowing their job was about to end they still delivered a functional operating system for Nokia N9. The community around the product was supportive, and the team went on with the Meego Open Source project. Sailfish OS is not open source licensed, but the core components (middleware) are implemented from open source Mer project. Jolla has propiertary code on top of that, including the whole user interface, their exceptional mobile operating system tuned up for one hand usage.
So,we have a new finnish company (HQ in Helsinki, Finland), phone called Jolla [Yol-la] developed in Finland, and a new operating system Sailfish OS running on Linux, which is yet another finnish product by Linus Thorvald. We have a story here, but it's still (2015) in the beginning.
I share the above before I start my review to inform my readers about the backrounds, and that all this affects to how I feel about Jolla. What happened with Nokia, a great Finnish success story, is something I'd love to see Jolla to achieve. Please comment if you find these issues affecting the review too much (or too few).
1. The looks and the feeling. Outside Jolla
- Size: Perfect for my big hand. I'm looking forward for even better landscape support for the Sailfish UI, as I've found the size to be nice for two hand writing too.
- Hold: TOH surface is quite slippery, and it has gotten even more slippery in a month. I've bought a leather flip case to avoid that. Jolla's corners seems quite sharp, but that hasn't bothered me at all.
- Buttons: There are no surface buttons, and just few buttons all together (power, volume only). The buttons feels a bit loose at first, but there's no change in them after 15 months, giving me confidence that they do work as they should.
- Front surface: Stylish, buttonless, shiny black. One RGB led changing its color, telling you stuff. Front facing camera of 1,9Mpx is well hidden. Speaker for phone calls. Proximity and ambience light sensors are quite invisible. Very nice touch for finger gestures. No scratches after 15 months, and I'm not too careful about how I handle the phone. Corners, however, have lost some plastic.
- Back surface: Smooth matte, Jolla logo shining at the bottom, not too bright. 8Mpx Back facing camera and a flashlight with 12 small LEDs, reaching to 3-6 meters in photography.
- The First Half and The Other Half (TOH): At first I wasn't too excited about how the parts are separated. I had a thought that I'm breaking this system... now I'm used to it - but I still feel the attachment could have been designed better. The halves fits to each other nicely after 15 months. When removing TOH it bends somewhat a lot, but it seems to handle that well. The looks how the halves are connected is great - the phone seems like it really has two independent halves. Two sides of each half are rounded, opposite to each other. Overall looks is very stylish to me
- USB connection: Located on top is not ideal for me, as when used in a car, the cable doesn't run nicely (unfortunately not all apps understand rotation angle as upside down, which would fix this issue perfectly). Also, the connection port is clearly too wide - all cables I've tried are moving too much sideways when connected. However, no connection problems so far. From our three Jolla phones, all used for quite a while, only one has lost the connection in the USB port, but there's a reason for that...
- Speaker at the bottom: Looking at the bottom of the phone you might think there's a stereo sound, however the right side holes are for a microphone, only the left side hiding a speaker. We have a mono sound. As an audiophile I'd like stereo, but no phone in my ears is an audio device anyway, so this doesn't matter. The sound is loud and clear enough, and if I want any sound quality, I use external speakers either via Bluetooth or the audio plug.
- Audio plug: Common 3,5mm, 4 pin plug. I've tested this with several headphones (Sony, Sennheiser, Koss) and a stereo amplifier (Denon), everything is as it should be here. No changes in half a year.
Outside Jolla scores: 4.5 / 5
2. Screen / Display
- Resolution might seem low (540x960px is only a quarter of a Full HD resolution), and some pixelation is visible when looking at too close distance. In normal use the resolution is ok.
- LCD screen can be viewed in a large angle, but the color tones vary a lot when looked at "corner angles".
- Color reproductions is great, but in overall the screen is too cold toned. Too high color temperature (9500K) highlights blue tones, even turning green into blue, which isn't nice when watching photos
- In the settings, the adjustment of the screen brightness isn't wide enough. Screen is left too bright in the minimum setting. Switching on the ambience light sensor on makes it dimmer, but in my opinion it's still too bright on dark environment. Also, the display does not have enough brightness or contrast for outdoor use in summertime, I must walk into shadows for comfort use. Points downgraded.
- Compared to some OLED screens, Jolla's LCD drains some more power - and it's never capable to produce real black as there's always the backligth glowing. However, in overall, I find the screen decent - no need for more in a phone. I've watched couple of movies from Jolla's screen too, and I was quite satisfied with the experience. Will do it again and again.
- Screen has a Gorilla glass and it supports 1-5 finger gestures. As said, no scratches so far.
Screen / Display scores: 3.8 / 5
3. The Hardware. Inside Jolla
- Hardware is fully detailed here, and compared to some other smartphone models here
- My personal opinion is that there is enough horsepower on the phone. I've been testing it with multitasking some heavier apps, streaming Full HD media, using 3D graphics. I've managed to crash it sometimes, but not in my normal use. Some personal notes about some other parts, however:
- Battery: Fitting steady, and after fixing the NFC bug, this small 2100mAh pack is giving quite exceptional usage hours compared to its capacity. Do we have a phone on a diet here? I can see minor changes in the power consumption after 15 months, probably due to heavier software after some nice updates and features. After several charges the battery still works well and I recharge my phone once a day (in the beginning, I managed to go even two days). Points upgraded due to a very good battery life. However, my current max capacity is 81% and I find it very odd that Jolla hasn't supplied new batteries yet.
- SIM Card slot: Make sure you press your SIM card to the very end. I had connection problems with mobile data, I used some sandpaper to shorten my SIM just a bit (0,1-0,2mm from the front edge). After this the connection has been just fine. No connection cuts after 15 months on mobile network on the hardware side. I'll just do this little fix again if I change the SIM card some day, it's really an easy fix.
- SD Card slot: No connection problems, card is fitting in nicely. Mine is formatted to btrfs. Latest update (1.1.2) seems to cause difficulties with Android access to the card, but this is a software issue.
- Sensors: There are five, and all of them are giving nice, steady readings in my tests both in Sailfish and Android environments. Sensors are: Proximity, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, E-compaas and ambience light.
- Microphones: Audio quality in phone calls is great in both directions, but audio quality in video recordings is just awful. Hopefully this is just a software issue. There is also a secondary microphone, used for noise cancellation. STILL waiting for a fix for the video recording audio quality. As I still excpect it's a software problem, no change to the points quite yet.
- Speakers: Two mono speakers, one for phone calls and one for listening media. Audio quality is great in phone calls and just fine in listening to music. Loudspeaker doesn't give as much volume as some other phones with two speakers, but I've been just fine with it.
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 chip is nice for it's battery wise running, great graphics handling etc.
- Internal Storage of 16Gb (13,7GB usable) is enough, and a common amount of storage in this price group. It can be expanded with max 64GB SC Card. I haven't run out of storage in half a year, but due to btrfs issues, I did run out of memory allocation space, requiring some quite high level tweaking in the file system.
- RAM, 1Gb isn't too much. Sailfish apps developed by Jolla are quite memory wise, but using 3rd party apps, especially Android apps, will easily get you into situation of running low in memory. Even worse, Sailfish itself is using more than half of the memory, and using the Android Support (Alien Dalvik, Android version 4.1) leaves only 0,4GB free for Android apps. It might be enough today, but bigger apps are being developed. As Jolla is a great device for multitasking, I'd wish an update to 2 or even 4 GB's in Jolla's next device release. If I had the skill, I'd install another gigabyte to the current phone too.
- Camera image sensor seems good in it's accuracy and color reproduction. Probably a Sony. Front facing camera objective is too small, not usable in dark surroundings. Back facing camera takes good photos.
- Small upgrade to the points due to the fact that all bits of hardware are in the same condition after 15 months
Hardware inside Jolla scores 3.9 / 5
4. The native Software
- First impression: Where's all the software? The phone seemed to miss even basic apps. But quite fast I found out that even those must be downloaded from Jolla store. Ok, Jolla account up and into the store. In my opinion software plays an important part in modern smartphones, so I give this part a large space in my review and detail the pros and cons for each software provided by Jolla the best I can:
- Phone (pre-installed): To use the phone you open the app. There are two options in the pulley menu: Dial a number or search a person. Search opens a "People" app view within the phone app which might cause some mix-ups in the beginning The search in phone app looks alike People app, but the options are not even close to the same. Personally I've found it better to start any contacting (phone calls or messaging) via People app. Answering a phone calls is easy, and can't be done accidentally. Same with ending a call. However, incoming call can't be cut - it can only be silenced, and so far without a quick reply message option.
- Messages (pre-installed): Jolla connects SMS, FB, Twitter, Google and XMPP messaging under one user interface. Pulley menu -> New message opens the people search view from where you can select one ore multiple receivers for your message. You can even send the same message to a person's email and FB etc. at the same time, nice. After accepting the recipients you can write your message. Switching between People view and Messaging app is very smooth - it almost feels that they are the same app. In the end, it's pretty nice to have an option to check if the person is still online to receive the message in live, and it's nice to have an option to change the message type if not. Simple and handy, full points for this. One of the best messaging UI's I've seen, maybe even the best.
- People (pre-installed): New UI took some time to learn, but listing is very similar to Nokia N9. What to say after all these months... Well, first I was overwhelmed of the great UI, but later I've found it slightly difficult to handle several hundreds of contacts. I'd love to see an easy search option right away when starting the app. But let's see... First, Settings > Applications > People: It seems that I can sort my contacts by Last Name or the First Name. No company, unfortunately. Then there's option to show or import contacts from SIM card. Import is also possible from a Bluetooth device or directly from a file. Great! Let's move on to the app itself. Nice heart icon for your beloved :) There's add and search on the pulley menu. Add has plenty of possible information. I'll do a test: Filling up all the possible info on Jolla, and send it via email to Google account, WIN7 desktop contacts, Windows Live account and Outlook account. Lets see what was received:
Table: Contacts - moving information as a vcard from Jolla phone:
(the sent .VCF file)
To Gmail: To WIN7: To Windows Live Mail: To Outlook web App: FirstName ok ok not received not received LastName ok ok not received not received NickName not received not received not received not received Company ok ok not received not received MiddleName not received ok not received not received JobTitle not received as ”Own namelike” not received not received PhoneHome ok ok not received not received PhoneMobile ok ok not received not received PhoneWork ok not received not received not received PhoneFax ok ok not received not received PhonePager ok ok not received not received EmailPersonal ok ok not received not received EmailWork ok as other email not received not received EmailOther ok as other email not received not received AddressHomeCountry ok ok not received not received AddressHomeStreet ok no scandinavian letters not received not received AddressHomeCity ok no scandinavian letters not received not received AddressHomePCode not tested not tested not received not received AddressHomePOBox not tested not tested not received not received AddressHomeRegion not tested not tested not received not received WebsitePersonal as ”home address” ok not received not received WebsiteWork as ”work” ok not received not received WebsiteOther as ”other” not received not received not received DatesBirthday not received not received not received not received DatesAnniversary not received not received not received not received Image not received not received not received not received
- Ok, not too well supported at all. By this, I'd recommend not to send complex contact information as vcf files unless there's something fixed - probably within the windows clients, as Google seems to accept the card a lot better.
- People search works well. List of matching people is nicely shown. The letter box view, instead, is good only with less contacts in total. Having more, there's quite a scrolling.
- Great, great and great: Contacts can be linked, showing only one of them in the people's list. No more problems with different contact names in FB, Google, SIM etc. Online statuses for several accounts are visible in the same view. Information from the linked accounts is gathered to this view. Adding favourites is easy. The layout is nice. Tapping each information brings option to what to do with it. Pulley menu gives good basic options.
- Cover of the People app shows your favorite people in an actively changing view. No cover actions there, so it's just looking nice (depending on how nice photos you have on them ;)
- Sailfish Browser (pre-installed): Just too simple. I take this as another beta app which is yet under development. Even after the latest update, which fortunately brought much better visuals, the existing features are still quite minimal.
- UI is simple: Full screen view to a web page with a hidden bottom menu. Landscape view works too. Bottom bar, when visible, has "tabs", "back", "url", "reload" and "menu". Tapping menu shows 5 more options on a secondary bar, including "add tab", "search (on page content)", "add favorite", "share" and "transfers" (access to settings, where the list is kept)
- Gestures are limited to zoom with two fingers, move with one finger, tap for links/form fields and hold for opening links on new tab or copying their url to the clipboard
- When entering text to a html5 form the browser (in most cases) zooms into to the input field and the keyboard becomes visible. Automatic zooming needs some tuning, it varies a lot in different pages
- On tabs screen there's a pulley menu for closing all tabs or opening a new blank tab. In this view we can also see all the open tabs with image frames and the site names
- It's not easy to find your favorites after the update - You need to tap on the URL of the current page, or "menu">"add tab" to see them. Favourites are listed as icons, without a sorting option
- This is all there is - so it's easy and simple. Personally I'd love to see more functionality and customization. There is a good html5 support, but no support for Adobe Flash content. What's funny, is that Jolla's default browser can't play videos recorded with Jolla's camera, unless they are first converted to a html5 supported format (e.g. with uploading to YouTube)
- Settings (pre-installed): Nice, simple UI. Main screen has 0-44 user selected quick access icons and 0-7 quick access app settings. I had some mix-ups with Bluetooth switch, as first I selected the menu icon instead of the switch, but I got it changed after realizing that
- Below all these icons there's a slider for Brightness and default ringtone volume - but please note, volume set on gallery>ambience overrides this slider. So, this is only valid when there's no favorite ambience in use.
- Below the sliders, you have access to System Settings, Apps and Accounts. Fast to learn, but sometimes I forget what can be done via these App settings - why are some options put here, instead of in the app itself? Anyway, all the apps with available settings are highlighted - and there are not many: People, Browser, Messaging, Phone, Email, Camera. Each one have some basic settings
- In overall, there are all the most important settings, but not enough customization options for users who really like to make the phone more personal. However, everything is working - app with no bugs we have :)
- Camera (pre-installed): Let's take a view to Settings > Apps > Camera first. From there we can select the desired aspect ratio for both cameras, also affecting the resolution, and if the GPS is on, we can save the location to each photo when shooting. The location data is saved into the EXIF metadata in the photo. The main camera on back maxes out to 8Mpx in 4:3 resolution, and 16:9 is cropped from that giving 6Mpx. Front camera is capable for 1,9Mpx, but it just can't be used without a lot of light. Rest of the settings are in the app itself. In there, the most nice feature is to hold anywhere on the screen (except on the shooter button) to select a new place for the shutter button. Very good to have, as the hardware buttons on the phone can't be used for shooting photos. Then there's exposure compensation in the corner with -2...+2 (gap 1), and tapping on top (or easy flick down gesture) opens the rest of the settings:
- Flash (auto/off/on)
- White Balance (auto/cloudy/sun/fluorescence/bulb)
- Focus (point/far/auto)
- ISO (100-400)
- Grid (one for ambience photos as well)
- Delay (0-15sec)
- Camera (back/front)
- Taken photos can be easily accessed with a flick right gesture. It seems like a short link to the gallery, and tapping on the photo enables sharing options. Above the sharing there's a pulley menu to directly create an ambience from the photo, or just delete it.
- The quality of the images is average. In Jolla's screen, especially with flash in use the photos are shown too blue, but in other screens the same photo is quite nicely color balanced. Pinch zoom feature and image quality tuning were parts of the latest software update. I give the image quality 7/10 points considering the price of the phone.
- Front camera is very bad in dark environment. Not ideal for video calling, but we can always try to add some light.
- Gallery and ambience (pre-installed): Main screen of the gallery is simple, just dividing the content to Photos, Videos, Ambiences and FB photos. Jolla has saved some content here for testing. Ambience is a "mood" for the phone, with a system wide background, text color and 7 sounds. Adding an ambience to your favorites enables tuning it and brings it accessible via a quick menu, opened with simple swipe-left/right gesture on the home screen (After Sailfish OS 2.0, swipe from top). Then it's just a tap away to change your style. But yet in the gallery, we have these options:
- First of all, any photo can be used as a background for an ambience. Jolla goes through the colors of the photo and chooses one as a text color. So far I've seen only good choices, except with grey scale images (the brown is just ugly), but with the latest Sailfish OS update you can also switch these colors by yourself.
- After a photo is "ambienced", it's shown both in photos and in the ambiences gallery. Tapping an ambience brings up the options:
- Pulley menu: Remove (the photo's are not removed, just the ambience)
- Pulley menu: Set ambience (take it to use)
- Tap star: Add as favorite (adds the ambience to the quick, view and enables the appearance / sounds list)
- Appearance: Let the phone define the text color, or select your own
- Sounds: Select 7 different system sounds, including the ringtone
- Overall tone volume and list of tones (each can be selected separately)
- Mail: A buggy beta app, lacking many important features. Not usable as a business phone, but you can connect several email boxes to it and read/answer your mail, but but but:
- Attachments - they do open, but some show in wrong layout, some can't be zoomed
- Choosing from which box to send is difficult: Must go to the correct box first, so some mistakes are possible. When sending email via another app, not selectable - The box setup in Settings>Apps>Email is in use. Unless... there might still be some bugs left :/
- Adding attachments works ok from the mail app, but not via other apps
- Settings>Apps>Email have option for automatic image download, and the default sending box. Settings>Accounts>Email has settings for signature and sync interval. Why two separate locations for settings, may I ask?
- Sorting messages: This is good - from pulley menu, you can sort your each box by time, sender, size, status, importance, amount of attachments or subject
- Deleting messages: Can be done via hold>delete (one by one) or via pulley menu: select messages>tap to trash (multiple messages). Working good, but options like "Select all messages between..." or "...from this sender" would be nice to keep the boxes in order.
- Overall: UI is ok, but I'm waiting for more updates. Until some, this app isn't for business use
- Clock: Simple and nice. Very good UI after learning it. Adjusting time is done via settings, but here's what we can do within the clock app:
- Stopwatch: Quick to use. Endless amount of "lap times", scrollable. Pause, Play and Clear. Simple and efficient. 1/100 sec accuracy,
- Timer: 1 min - 23h 59 min variance. Great UI (circle model clock) to select the times. Endless amount of timers can be set and run at the same time (scrollable when more than nine). Color changes for running / paused. By the way, when adding a timer, remember to tap to start it (I overboiled my first eggs for not realizing this). Timers and their remaining times are saved in exit. Via hold gesture --> Reset, Edit, Remove. Handy.
- Alert: As easy as timer. Endless amount of alerts can be named, weekday-filtered and activated. Alert sound is the same for each (changed via settings or ambience)
- Anyway, time is always visible in the lock screen: Easy to check with a double tap when the phone is sleeping, and easy to check via short pull-down pull-up gesture when on home screen.
- When minimized, time is shown on the home screen. Clock cover: Shows time and the next activated timers/alerts. Cover actions include adding a new timer / alert. Just perfect. Overall: No changes needed - a very nice clock indeed
- Notes: Inside the app: Add, Remove, Color selection for each note and a sharing option.
- Bug: Notes are sent in a .vnt format, but received as .vcf by gmail (not recognized, as vcf is a contact format). When opening the mail on Jolla, clicking the attachment returns: "Contact information imported" - but nothing happens.
- App Cover shows either one activated note or 3 latest notes. Cover has action for adding a new note
- Calendar: Less buggy after system updates, but not bug-free yet, so I'm holding my breath for more updates. UI is interesting - I couldn't make my mind on that in half a year, but now after 15 months, I admit that I dislike it. Here's an overview: Default view is month, all dates having events are underlined. Months can be changed with flick to left or right, week numbers are shown in between. The month view takes half of the screen, below that there's a scrollable list of events for the selected date. Only 4 event fits into the list, but you can scroll it. So, tapping a date shows these events colored by accounts (colors can't be selected in the phone), but tapping the date BELOW the month view brings you to a day view with hours (why not flick gesture here?). Hours can be scrolled up&down, but the first event of the selected day stays all the time on top. That's about the UI, and here's a list of problems:
- Sync with MS Exchange calendar doesn't work perfectly, e.g. you can't be "busy", notifications of an event might pass etc. Not good for business use
- Missing feature: Calendars can't be named, and their origin is not shown (except for Exchange accounts). Due to this, you might have several calendars with name "Default", separated only by a system selected color.
- Missing feature: Week / Working days view
- Missing feature: Side by side calendar view
- There might be more issues - I haven't used this due to the issues already mentioned. For me, a good calendar app is essential - I hope to find one in Jolla store soon (devs, wink wink)
- Maps: Jolla's Maps app uses HERE maps, and knowing its capabilities, this map app is obviously still under development. It's missing something, but it might surprise us late.
- Location is working great. GPS Lock is fast.
- Searching places works great. When found you have options to favourite, get directions, search other closeby results, call by phone, open web site, send email (if provided) and read info. Additionally, you can save the location to yourself with desired name, notes & images. Tapping a location in the map shows also the distance from your last known location.
- BUG: Saved images are not shown after opening the place again
- Missing feature: Navigation. Personally I'm happy with Android navigation app "NavFree" now, but It would be much better to see a Sailfish navigator. Here DRIVE has been requested, but people are still waiting for updates on this.
- Looking forward for even more features: Only two finger zooming & one finger moving are provided as gestures on the map. Hold on the map - no event. Hold on your location - no event. Tapping brings the options mentioned above. Pulley menu has only save/search. You can visit HERE.COM service to get an idea what a modern map app could offer!
- Overall: This might become a great app. HERE maps in general is a great service developed by Nokia
- Documents: Very simple app for viewing downloaded files. Support for different file types vary - some open great, some have wrong layout, some can't be zoomed enough. Tapping the document opens some options, which are:
- Share (bug: Missing accounts, enabling only Bluetooth and Email)
- Add account (I wonder why this is here too, accounts are added via settings)
- Pulley menu: Details (only choice, opens a new screen from right)
- Swipe left: Index? (Empty for what I've seen so far)
- My overall experience: An app in need of a lot more development
- Microsoft Exchange: This app adds support for MS ActiveSync accounts to be used within email, calendar and contacts. Setting up an account is easy, and manual settings are possible too. Everything works quite good, and this can almost be called a ready app, but there are a few annoying bugs / lacks:
- Bug: When adding a second account, it becomes your default email account (from where the mail is sent when not selected). If this one is created with wrong credentials, all your mail gets stuck in the "Sending" folder without a warning. If the wrong account is removed, no change - mail is still stuck in the same place, email app showing the removed account as the sender.
- Workaround for this bug: All Exchange accounts must be removed, and your default Exchange account must be added as the only one / as the last one you add.
- Note related this bug: All emails sent via other apps, or via the front page of the mail app, are sent from this account.
- Calculator: Basic app, works. Well... dividing by zero returns infinite instead of N/A, which can be considered as a math bug. On a smartphone?
- Media: Obviously in a beta stage, as this app is called "Media" but offers basic functionality music player. Activated song can be added to your own playlist via pulley menu which is visible in below. Playlists can be played in their original order or mixed, and with repeat feature. The UI of the media player is similar to other Sailfish apps, but that doesn't quite fit to what we are used to with media players in general. But there's something nice: The App Cover actions - when minimizing the app, the song keeps playing, and in the cover we have options to Pause/Play or change to the next song without bringing the app to full screen view. In overall, the player is ok, I'm just looking for much more from the name "Media"
- Android Support: An app required to run Android apps on Jolla phone. Installing the support means adding a virtual Android AOSP machine to run on top of Sailfish. It's based on Alien Dalvik by Myriad, it has Android version 4.1 and it has quite limited access to Sailfish system. It's there for running Android apps and on Sailfish it can only read the home folder, meaning that some apps are not working as they should. For what I've found out:
- Alien Dalvik can't access: Contacts, SMS, Phone, Battery info, CPU features, SD Card, NFC, I2C, Some bluetooth profiles, Volume buttons. There might be more too.
- In overall, I'm surprised how well many Android Apps are running - but I'm a bit disappointed for some restrictions. Also, what seems interesting, is that Sailfish can't access any files saved in Android environment, but Android can access some files saved in Sailfish environment, like photos and videos
- Tutorial: Short walkthour app which guides new users to the Sailfish gesture based UI
- Terminal: (Note: app becomes visible only after enabling Developer mode). Nice linux terminal to be used by nerds. Great, extended virtual keyboard. Highlighting in the content / keyboard makes this a bit flashy, but you get used to it. Keyboard can be hidden with flick down gesture on top of it
- CSD Tools: (A hidden app for developer use / testing.) Can be started by dialing
*#*#310#*#*or via terminal command "csd". This is a simple testing tool for basic hardware functionality of the phone
Native software provided by Jolla scores an overall 3.3 / 5
This is given including all Beta release problems and existing bugs in version 126.96.36.199. After some bug fixes, especially in the Email, Calendar, Media and Maps applications, my score might be a lot higher.
5. The Gesture based Sailfish OS user interface
- After 15 months I would not change back to another user interface. I'm pretty familiar with the new UI, but even now, Sailfish still manages to surprise me in a positive way. The most important actions are intuitive and fast to reach with one thumb, except for settings switches. I hope they are moved closer down one day, for example to the bottom of the notifications screen. That's one great screen, opened with swipe-from-bottom from almost anywhere you are (After Sailfish OS 2.0, with swipe-from-left). It show the weather, the important notifications, but there would be room for a nice setting bar still. Well, let's not stuck into that - all I really want to say to any new Jolla owners is that this all might take a while to learn, as it's quite different from any other phone in the market, but after learning, there's something very special.
- Moving around is intuitive. A lot can be done with just one finger, there's certainly no need for any surface buttons. Nowadays, I hate phones where I need to hunt a button with my fingers. Jolla has been clever... this UI binds their customers to buy their next device as well.
- swipe-from-top closes an app, and on home screen it closes the screen. Note: after Sailfish OS 2.0, it does not close apps, instead it offers a menu to lock the device or change the ambience.
- swipe-from-left/right, in app, drops the app to the home screen (multitasking view). There's room for nine latest running apps, but even more can be multitasking at the same time. Android apps can't have active covers, there's just a snapshot, but Sailfish apps can use interactive cover with separate cover gestures
- swipe-from-left/right, in home screen, opens an ambience selection screen. After Sailfish OS 2.0: swipe-from-left opens notifications and swipe-from-right opens partner space (commercial feature)
- swipe-from-bottom opens the notification screen. Closing it can be done with the same gesture. After Sailfish OS 2.0, this lifts up the application launcher screen
- normal flick gestures moves you from screen to another. Your apps are found from below, new launcher screen is added below that when the previous gets full
- pull-down (or flick down) on the lock screen shows a pulley menu for your selected three apps and option to silence the device
- flick gestures inside apps vary, depending on the app
- Then we have tapping (entering / selecting / choosing)
- and holding (moving things / opening extra menus)
- Also, we have plenty of unused opportunities, as the phone supports 1-5 finger gestures.
- After Sailfish OS 2.0, a three-finger-pull in up/down direction adjusts the volume of the device
- Active covers: 9 of your running apps can be added on the home screen, each in its own, interactive cover (thumb screen). Each cover can have two pre-selected actions. App cover is capable to show video stream, and it supports gestures (flicks inside the cover). Tapping the cover brings an app back to foreground, and it's easy to minimize back to the home screen with a swipe. With swipe-and-back You can also peek to the home, good idea for checking the time while browsing internet. Active covers are definitely the best feature of Sailfish OS User Interface. After Sailfish OS 2.0, these gestures are planned to be changed to taps - which I don't like, as it requires some more aiming with your finger.
Sailfish OS gesture based user interface scores 4.8 / 5 (version 188.8.131.52)
6. The content of the boxFor a 249€, now 15 months old phone, I'm surprised that the box doesn't have more hardware / software. There's the phone and its cheap looking, unlabeled charger, all too short USB cable, couple of stickers, quick start guide and a warranty note. Box itself is nice - I call it The Parfym for Nerds. The pre-installed software and files in the phone includes less than basics. There's no music (not even the first song to test the player), no videos (three are received after the phone is connected to the net, Jolla account is activated and The Other Half is attached) and just a few ambiences (nice selection anyway). What I'd like to find more in this price group:
- A quality headset, even Bluetooth supported
- Few screen covers (even that the screen seems to do well, no scratches here)
- More media: Music, videos, some nice exclusive material
- A case / cover / bag with nice, simple material and great looks
- Something not seen before. Unlike. (well, ok, there was the phone yes...)
The content of the box scores 3.8 / 5
7. Some other, minor notes
- 4G LTE is supported here and around
- Some video rotating problems. (workaround)
- In my user experience, after installing Go Launcher EX (an Android launcher app), I feel like I can use two phones within one covers.
- The greatest apps are still to be developed, even that hundreds of free ones are already available. I hope that developers will have a better change to make money with their apps one day.
- Jolla is also able to run more than 50000 Android Apps perfectly, and even more decently. I'm not going deeper into the Android Support in this review - Sailfish OS is the important part in a long run.
8. The best and the worst+5 for the community. They are helping each other and pushing the phone development forward
+4 for Sailfish OS User Interface. Intuitive, and usable even at Beta stage
+3 for Messaging app. Great, easy way to communicate
+2 for Developer mode and terminal app. They offer an easy road for nerds like me.
+1 for Android Support. I'd give it even more if it supported the hardware better.
- 1 for the maps. It'll get better, but the day is just not yet. Choosing HERE maps was a great choise.
-2 for missing the Lanscape support in UI and several apps. I'm sure this is under work.
-3 for Media. It's not yet Media.
-4 for Email bugs and few event sync issues. I wish to see the most important ones to be fixed soon, to be able to recommend this as a business phone too.
-5 for myself, writing a way too long review...
9. The value for the money and my tottal scoreWould I buy another one? Well, I did - twice. Would I recommend this to a friend? Yes, definitely, but not for business use yet. I see this phone great, maybe just slightly overpriced. However, I wasn't paying for just the phone. Becoming a part of this story and joining this community is a value with no price tags.
My total scores with the current price:
the phone: 3.8 / 5
operating system: 4.7 / 5
Jolla phone, TOTAL SCORE: 4.1 / 5
with price: 249€
reviewed on: 2015-03-22
reviewed by: Simo Ruoho
with price: 249€
reviewed on: 2015-03-22
reviewed by: Simo Ruoho
10. Just a few already seen images:
"If you realize that the knowledge is the power, then you should be looking for options"Published: 2014-01-11 (1 month experience)
11. Read also
Updated: 2015-03-22 (15 months experience)