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Jolla, advantages and disadvantages?

asked 2015-07-23 09:42:21 +0300

deFender gravatar image

I'm thinking of getting a Jolla! I really like the initiative, the concept, SailfishOS and I want to be Unlike!

But I would like to know some of the advantages and disadvantages of it. Since it is not possible to go to a store and have a closer look at it I would like to know what you think about it, good or bad.

For example...

Is it a gadget aimed to the ordinary user? Is it possible just to switch it on and start using it? Is it possible to send MMS with a Jolla? If a buy a Jolla now or wait 6 months will the hardware spec be different?

Anything appreciated, thanks! :)

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Do you like to circumvent Apple and Google, then Jolla is your answer, unless you need a pure business phone then you go BB atm! Yes, switch on, use it, send MMS, use Maps, Android apps and so on. In six month there is always something new, just might not be a Jolla!

chemist ( 2015-07-24 02:17:45 +0300 )edit

well it's subjective. for me simply sailfish is best os on market ;) my wife and me had n8 before which has anything we both needed. she has her first android now and i have my jolla. i am not really able to get into flow with my wifes mobile but i'd never suggest jolla to her basically since she wanted to be able to get any app simple and she needs good camera(i suggested win mob therefore but it was unusable for both of us). i am an ordinary user with little experience in programming but i am able to read and so i tweaked my phone a bit with patchmanager. try this with android / i os. and for me, i do not trust google.

NuklearFart ( 2015-07-24 09:34:06 +0300 )edit

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts. At the moment I'm happy with all the answers/comments and unless someone really needs to say their meaning I'm happy with what I've got.

deFender ( 2015-07-24 09:46:32 +0300 )edit

The biggest disadvantage for me was crap hardware with sharp edges and a disappointing UI (no pull down settings, swipe to right is not pleasant etc etc). As an N9 user I prefer Ubuntu phone and I'm really happy with it.

SuperPhone ( 2015-07-25 16:45:46 +0300 )edit

For more than a year I use a Jolla. I struggled a lot with it, because of stability issues, connection problems, etc. However, the helpdesk is very good. Software: II like Sailfish OS , so the OS is an advantage to me, especially Sailfish 2. Some Jolla apps are quit nice, but many are .......(you know). Serious apps like banking are not possible. hardly any local apps available. That's another disadvantage: you can't pay for apps and also not for in-app purchases. So many apps from stores like Aptoide are hacked, 'dead' apps. And this store is very limited for educated people. I don't believe in the pirate scene. Flattr is not a good solution, for with Flattr I don't have any control over my donations and I dislike monthly payings. I want to pay for an app, but not in this way. Hardware: elegant look, but does not feel nice because of sharp edges (cover is solution). Nice screen, good size. TOH is not really an issue for me. The most annoying is: weak speakers. Can't hear the ringing when outside. Radio sounds are bad. Also taking foto's inside is disappointing. Shortly: I am not so happy with the hardware and the software is too limited. Istill think Jolla should attract better developers, who can make beautiful apps and games. Since a few months this is my solution: Jolla for dayly use and an ipad mini for the local and financial apps , for the best newspapers and for the most beautiful games

K and J ( 2015-11-14 19:38:36 +0300 )edit

8 Answers

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answered 2015-07-23 11:17:39 +0300

lupastro gravatar image

updated 2015-07-23 11:18:09 +0300

Advantage: User replaceable battery Disadvantage: Replacement batteries are not being sold.......

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@lupastro Catch 22! @Jolla Come on guys, this cannot be for real?

deFender ( 2015-07-23 11:47:29 +0300 )edit

@deFender sadly, it is.

IZ1IVA ( 2015-07-23 13:29:15 +0300 )edit

Really? My battery is fine and mine got online 16th Dec13!

chemist ( 2015-07-24 02:15:24 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-07-23 10:30:41 +0300

r0kk3rz gravatar image


That is a fairly comprehensive topic of what people like about the Jolla/Sailfish.

Is it a gadget aimed to the ordinary user?

Not really, as a normal user you might find it lacking in features compared to other operating systems

Is it possible just to switch it on and start using it?

Lots of us have done just that, Ive been using the Jolla as my only device for about a year now.

Is it possible to send MMS with a Jolla?


If a buy a Jolla now or wait 6 months will the hardware spec be different?

Who knows, nothing has been announced, aside from the Intex thing that might not get a release outside of India.

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@r0kk3rz what features do you lack the most compared to other OS?

deFender ( 2015-07-23 10:48:52 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-07-23 14:54:14 +0300

zlatko gravatar image

And my 5 cents:

  1. Sailfish OS is GREAT! And is moving at good pace. I compare it to Android 5.0(which I use for 8 months now): SailfishOS is BETTER as a UI and is more pleasant to use.
  2. Jolla HW is a piece of crap. I curse it everyday as it is preventing me to use my Jolla as my daily driver, pushing me to use Sony Z3 Compact(great HW!). And here I am not referring to SoC, CPU, screen resolution - they are adequate to running Sailfish OS smoothly. I am pointing at build quality, really bad screen(unreadable on sunlight, (dis)colored zones, low res), crappy vibro motor, failing speakers, battery contact issues(cause of random reboots), etc., etc.,...it is a long list.

So my advice - stick to the idea, but wait for better quality HW to be available.

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@zlatko Honesty, I salute you! ;) I'm starting to think to go for the Tablet instead since this should be more up to date regarding the hardware.

deFender ( 2015-07-23 15:02:44 +0300 )edit

@zlatko I agree completely on #2. The crap HW was the biggest reason I switched to a Bq Ubuntu phone.

SuperPhone ( 2015-07-25 16:51:28 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-07-23 11:18:47 +0300

updated 2015-07-23 15:21:35 +0300

Considering that your question is very subjective, here's been my experience so far:


  1. Sailfish OS is the closest you're going to get to running an actual Linux distribution on your phone (debatable)
  2. The basic features of a smartphone are implemented (MMS, SMS, Calls, WiFi, etc) and they work really well. What I mean by this is that they "feel" finished and (knock on wood) they work without error. I've yet to experience the issues prevalent in Android regarding basic phone features (force closes, crashes, etc).
  3. Navigation feels natural after a very short time. While it's a different paradigm (more gestures, less tapping), it took me less than an hour of toying with my phone before I realized that I was doing anything "different".


  1. Lack of replacement/alternative implementations of common apps/services from other providers: For example, I use Google Play Music All Access (they need to change that name), there is no app available (yet) that allows me to play my music from Google Play, unless I want to download my music and load it to the device directly. Caveat: Some things are implemented, such as the ability to IM contacts on Google Hangouts, Facebook, and there's even Telegram and Whatsapp equivalent native apps that let you use those services. So the app ecosystem is getting better.
  2. Google Play Services integration is a manual process to get going and if I'm not mistaken is not officially supported. Someone more knowledgeable than me can clarify this one.
  3. Good luck finding a spare battery that won't void your warranty.

So far as whether it is a gadget aimed at an "ordinary user", that depends highly on your definition of "ordinary." If by "ordinary user" you mean "someone that really uses their phone as a phone and not an alternative to a desktop/laptop computer", then yes. The basic functionality is there and the app eco-system is getting better and better. Email, social account, and even MS Exchange syncing works as you'd expect, connectivity is there, the UI is beautiful, and the navigation is very simple to use (I'd argue more intuitive, but others may disagree).

However, if by "ordinary user" you mean "Someone so deeply rooted in another app ecosystem (Android, Apple, etc) that missing a single app will be the death of them", then no, you're better off waiting for Jolla and independent developers to catch up with replacements / implementations of those apps and services.

So far as hardware specs is concerned, I don't have an answer for that as I'm not a Jolla employee or rep, so I'll leave that one alone.

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@darthlukan you forgot as advantage an high software update tact, which make a lots of feature leaks each time shorter.

cemoi71 ( 2015-07-23 18:27:26 +0300 )edit

@cemoi71 - I'm not sure what you're trying to say, that the amount and speed of updates is an advantage?

darthlukan ( 2015-07-23 18:48:53 +0300 )edit

partly... not by each update, but after a while, some missed functionalities will come real. If you see what i mean.. for example after update 1.1.7 and v2.0 some android apps should better work. and will easier to have alternative to the missed apps. And until then, some new apps in harbour comes too. I means with it ,the evolution of the system and its ecosystem is pretty fast.

cemoi71 ( 2015-07-23 19:28:16 +0300 )edit

Replacements by developers? How would you replace games such as 'Monument Valley", 'Machinarium', 'Botanicula', 'Leo's Fortune', 'The Room I, II and III', 'Murder Files', 'Shadowmatic', etc. etc. ? This is creativity ! Replacements of existing apps is only the beginning. Why not creating beautiful things too? Antti Lehtinen (Finnish) made for Apple 'Zen Sand', a nice relaxing game. Where are the brilliant developers for Sailfish?

K and J ( 2015-11-14 19:54:51 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-07-23 13:06:43 +0300

pawel gravatar image

hardware is old right, but the system is running absolutely smooth. camera is the only thing i would consider as poor

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it depends on the settings and how to use it. AF is quite to slow and there is no IS, so you must have a calm hand by shooting pictures.

But at all i took some nice pictures

evo3de ( 2015-07-24 13:52:20 +0300 )edit

the colours are most of the time blueish, but thats in fact an software issue

pawel ( 2015-07-24 15:38:39 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-07-23 10:30:48 +0300

xenoide gravatar image

This depends.

Yes, the ordinary user will find an interesting product which may suit his needs. However you need to take into account that the Android app compatibility is not as perfect as on agenuine Android phone and the Google app market is not directly accessible from the phone (again, there are workarounds but it is not as seamless as on an Android phone itself).

Another thing to consider is the currently available hardware. This is pretty outdated and low-spec right now. If you do not need super high resolutions and a super slim phone it may still please you. Nevertheless repair even during warranty period if necessary might become expensive due to shipping costs to Finland and spare parts (e.g. batteries) are not available at all.

However we expect new hardware to become announced somewhen later this year so most likely this will improve.

Softwarewise Sailfish is interesting. It feels differently from IOS, Android, WindowsPhone or Ubuntu. The UI is superb - intuitive, modern and with a pleasing look. But that's up to your taste, you may think differently on that.

If you want to try something "unlike" and consider the points written above (and other reviews you will find everywhere), give it a try. Chances are high you may like it.

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@xenoide how come the hardware isn't update accordingly? I mean, today an updated hardware is a real sales pitch.

deFender ( 2015-07-23 10:55:15 +0300 )edit

@deFender It's Jolla's first entry into the market. In order to reach the widest possible audience, there need to be low barriers to entry, this includes costs. The way to keep costs down for the end-user is to use lower-cost hardware, and the way to get that is with lower specs. As their marketshare/userbase grows, costs for manufacturing will go down as they can order higher numbers of devices to be made due to expected purchase numbers (current users wanting to upgrade to higher specced hardware).

All of that said, other than the camera, I have yet to say "Dammit I wish this phone had higher specs!" because the software runs quite well on the current hardware, making the lower specs feel misleading.

TL;DR: Most likely because of a business decision that favored getting as many devices sold as possible with the least cost barriers to entry for end-users.

darthlukan ( 2015-07-23 11:57:58 +0300 )edit

it will take a time, because Jolla is splitting in two parts. first one is taking care for SFOS and the second is working in hardware development, and they now are focusing on their own tablet PC.

iKeivs ( 2015-07-23 11:58:37 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-07-24 00:50:56 +0300

iKeivs gravatar image

Jolla Phone is my primary phone for a while. What can I say? Actually goddamnit good device. Despiting on hardware specs which was not so high on release date, but software is flawless and smooth (better than My Xpreia Z1), maybe Web browsing have hickups (web pages are unoptimised, and even gaming rigs are whooping). Also, there is no sound DSP, but sound quality is excellent. And no one had mentioneted about the basic function - phone calls... There is no problems to chit-chat in noisy enviroments and ask to comanion to repeat his last sentence and then shout my answer. Also the physical size is one of the best. I hate showels (Android flagships... Phablets...)

The major drawback is the same as other comrades mentioned - no spare parts (batteries, screens)

Also, unlike the major titans (khm...khmm... Google, MS, Apple) Jolla promised to not to "sell" user's private data, because I'm sick of the ads, which are based on my conversations with my people, for example, John Doe is chatting with his girlfriend and conversations are containing some "piquant" messages... And he is receiving some ads about Viagra or Cialis (Jesus!!!)

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The sound of my Jolla is so weak that I cannot hear the ringing when I am outside. The speakers are crap, really. I have an ipad that I can use as a radio, excellent sound, but with Jolla I always need headphones or a bluetooth speaker when I want to hear something.

K and J ( 2015-11-14 20:00:22 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-07-23 16:39:28 +0300

rms gravatar image

I'm trying hard to use my Jolla as my main device since I'm a Linux user, but...

1) Lack of major apps as native (Google play music, proper Spotify client (CuteSpot is good in what it does, but lots of features are missing), offline navigation (turn by turn)

2) Using Android offline GPS navigation is a terrible experience. I've tried Google Maps, Navfree, Here Maps, Waze...

3) Out-of-the-box sdcard usage is a joke.

4) Alien Dalvik requires a lot of memory

5) The main camera have a terrible saturation (despite, it does quite good 720p movies)

On the other hand, Jolla is an amazing device (probably the best) to connect with your linux box (or even mac OS X, in that case, not the best). When using native applications the GUI it's amazing and quite natural with good performance. The hangouts integration on messaging app is great for me!!!

As a disclaimer I was a iPhone user since 2010 and an intermittent Android user since 2014. Now I have a Nexus 5 as my main device.

That said, if native SFOS applications seems to fulfill your needs, Jolla is a good choice. If you tend to rely on Android support (e.g. for GPS navigation or official IM applications), probably you are going to be happier with a native Android device.

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Asked: 2015-07-23 09:42:21 +0300

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Last updated: Jul 24 '15