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Mini-review: a year with Sailfish X

asked 2018-10-12 19:41:21 +0200

MystIsland gravatar image

updated 2018-10-12 19:49:58 +0200

I've now been using Sailfish X on my Xperia for exactly 366 days (thanks to 'Important Days' from Jolla store), so let me present you a kind of a mini-review of how I've liked it so far. Before this I had a Jolla 1 as a daily driver since november 2015 (meaning it has been Sailfish-only for me for three years now!).

Hardware related:

  • Sometimes (perhaps once a month) the device starts running hot and looking at Lighthouse's (from Jolla store) CPU info I can see that one of the CPU cores (I believe it has been usually core 5/6) has gone to constant 100%. Reboot fixes this.

  • Camera is a big update from Jolla1, but suffers from software issues, see below.

  • Battery life has been Ok for my use; I recharge daily and returning from work I am usually at about 60-70%.

  • Still unstable switching between wifi and 3G. Weather-app loses connectibility almost daily when moving between wifi and 3G. Also at work switching between AP's (delivering the same ssid) fails and I need to re-enable wifi to get a working wifi connection.

  • The audio out thrue headphones has heavy issues (noise and compression-like noises) and has forced me to use Bluetooth headphones.

  • Bluetooth has improved, used to have weekly issues with headphones going mute and having to re-connect. Nowadays mostly stable.

  • The fingerprint sensor was a welcomed addition, but so far I haven't been able to use it daily. I can teach the fingerprint and it usually works for awhile but then I start getting more and more non-recognizitions on trying to unlock the screen and I usually just go back to using the lock code.

    • Tap-to-wake doesn't work, the workaround kinda works but somtimes fail. Would love to see this working officially again.

More softwar-ish issues:

  • YouTube in browser: can't select resolution. Also sometimes theres is a graphical glitch that artefacts start showing up on the pull-down menus of the OS when you have a video playing in browser (minimized). I used to use YTPlayer in Jolla1 where it worked much better than in-browser but in Xperia it usually fails to load videos at all.

  • Browser: occasional glitches, in current version switching between YouTube's full-screen and normal view causes the normal screen showing a black screen. YouTube playback stops if another tab is opened. Menu system somewhat clunky.

  • Sometimes the lock screen fails; the display comes up but the touchscreen won't. Meaning I can't unlock the screen. Usually fixes itself by repeatedly locking and unlocking the screen (and/or using the tip from these forums to cover up the proxmity sensor).

  • In the current version it seems that the camera app will focus very well ONCE, but the following focusing attemps do not do well. If I restart the camera app it will again focus perfectly on the first try. This I really hope to be fixed in the future.

  • Exchange support: started buggy (email often stopped syncing forcing to restart) but lately it has worked without problems.

  • Phone app: ending call produces a network failure (+three-tone error beep), used to happen at almost all calls at first but in recent versions this has improved and now I see this very rarely.

  • Location services: at the moment buggy, at least on my phone. All my photos are given the same (incorrect) coordinates and map apps give a false position. Running compas calibration did seem to help abit, but still it doesn't appear to be working. Haven't really used it, though.

  • Android support; I use only a few, but generally the ones I have tried do work. Yle Areena works which is important for me for tv shows and at work I use Yammer.

  • VPN support works nicely, big plus for me and my homelab :)

  • Even being somewhat crude, I must admit that I like to be able to just have an SFTP connection to my phone and transfer files. Having used an iPhone and being forced to do eveything thrue iTunes I feel very much relieved how easily I can move files.

Some of the issues I mentioned might already have work-arounds or better apps available, I haven't done too much research. I would like to see the daily stuff being Sailfish apps as I usually keep the Android support off.

After all complains, I must give me appreciation to the OS itself being pretty stable nowadays. I often get uptimes of several weeks and my record was 31 days of uptime after I installed the latest OS version.

My favourite apps: Quickddit (reddit client), jBoy (Gameboy emulator), ownKeepass (Keepass-password store), Podcatcher (podcasts, somewhat unstable and would need updates) and Pan Transit (bus/tram stop tracking utility). Also big + for the ability to send gallery photos directly to Dropbox, I use it almost weekly.

What I would like to see in the future:

  • some OS-supported way to easily and reliably share notes between devices (macOS, W10 and Sailfish)
  • bigger updates on the general look-and-feel (this appears to be coming with the version 3 soon), the late update of the Gallery apps functionality was in my opinion a very welcome one. Still the way the main background shows thrue the apps I find very nice and generally the menus work very smoothly.
  • some form of roadmap or better estimates on future OS updates
  • Xperias FM radio could be nice addition

In general I would say that the first version of Sailfish X was perhaps a 6/10. Now at Nurmonjoki the main issues have improved and currently I would give it a 7+/10. There are still issues that appear at least weekly, not real show-stoppers though. I must admit being a very low-demanding on my phone as I have very little apps. Nowadays it's still mostly phone, SMS, email, reddit and browser. At the moment the only reason I can think why I would replace my Xperia with Sailfish would be another Sailfish-supported phone with dual-sim :)

I am hoping that the future of Sailfish and Jolla brings more improvements. I am having high expectations for the version 3 that should be here soon, yay! I would very much like the ecosystem to thrive and get more momentum in the pressure of the big players.

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does the loudspeaker is finally working?

lolek ( 2018-10-13 21:57:17 +0200 )edit

Haven't really tried (I keep it on vibrate-only) and I don't use it to play music, the alarm clock sound does play loud enough to wake me up at mornings :)

MystIsland ( 2018-10-13 22:14:08 +0200 )edit

"Sometimes (perhaps once a month) the device starts running hot and looking at Lighthouse's (from Jolla store) CPU info I can see that one of the CPU cores (I believe it has been usually core 5/6) has gone to constant 100%. Reboot fixes this."

"The audio out thrue headphones has heavy issues (noise and compression-like noises) and has forced me to use Bluetooth headphones."

I ever faced those problems. so thats's weird. Anyways Xperia x curretly not used whole cpu potency, because linux old kernel. That problem should be also inclued in this review albeit this is mini-review.

Jk ( 2018-10-13 23:12:07 +0200 )edit

Unresponsive touchcreen may be caused by double tap to unlock, I believe you've used mce-tool from console to enable it. AFAIK that's the reason it's not included officially. When I used the setting, touchscreen or screen didn't come up randomly.

butler ( 2018-10-13 23:52:44 +0200 )edit

Power drain may be caused by the tap to wake too, as it sometimes interferes with the devices "sleep mode" while locked. Try disabling it and see if the problem persists. Also, wired headphones work perfectly for me, I use them daily to listen to audiobooks (using Talefish from openrepos). Try different headphones or cleaning the connector jack. Finally, I agree the UI is simply gorgeous and just perfect for me. I'd hate to have to go back to iOS or even Android.

Kao ( 2018-10-14 01:24:01 +0200 )edit

4 Answers

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answered 2018-10-12 22:13:04 +0200

tkoham gravatar image

Great overview! This mirrors my experience somewhat, and I think less fragile networking combined with tap to wake would greatly improve my experience. The camera app is definitely problematic, but GPS seems to work fine in my case.

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answered 2018-10-17 20:21:56 +0200

MystIsland gravatar image

I forgot one from my list; the video playback performance. Video playback is not smooth, like it's playing on low framerate. Also sometimes it feels like to audio and video get out of sync.

I have already used to it, but would REALLY like to see this improved. (Though, as I can't watch YouTube on higher resolutions either, the low quality really doesn't show...)

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answered 2018-10-13 19:04:31 +0200

SF3rules gravatar image

Hmm i really hope SF3 works alot better on the xa2.

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answered 2018-10-13 19:29:43 +0200

tortoisedoc gravatar image

Until the most rececent upgrade, gps was working fine for me on my xperia x. Turns out the latest upgrade broke it. GMaps is unable to get a signal, for example.

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GPS (and location services in general) has always been working well on my Xperia X. Have you checked the settings? May be the update changed something here? Have you used a native app instead of an Android one, for instance GPSInfo?

ziellos ( 2018-10-13 23:19:10 +0200 )edit

GPS works well on my Xperia X too. For directions, I recommend Pure Maps (with a shout to rinigus for his excellent work)

pakman ( 2018-10-15 19:55:03 +0200 )edit

Battery drain when navigating is horrible, though. During a couple of hours' car drive, it drained the battery, even though it was charging at the same time.

johanh ( 2018-10-16 08:01:42 +0200 )edit

The battery drain depends mainly on CPU/GPU utilization when displaying the map (and of cause the display itself), not the GPS receiver. My Xperia is able to track location by GPS for many hours without noticable battery drain, if the tracking app runs in background. I use Laufhelden sometimes, works great.

ziellos ( 2018-10-16 09:36:11 +0200 )edit

For me high precision GPS mode (topmost value) works fine with the current Sailfish version, but the battery saving option (no 2) does not work at all.

inta ( 2018-10-17 21:28:50 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2018-10-12 19:41:21 +0200

Seen: 2,456 times

Last updated: Oct 17 '18