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[Feedback] Tizen OS vs Sailfish OS

asked 2015-02-08 00:58:36 +0200

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updated 2015-02-08 21:07:08 +0200

sifartech gravatar image

Samsung finally launched a Tizen OS phone in India, and I bought one to compare with my Jolla Smartphone. These are my first impressions on the OS -

Usability -
Sailfish OS is better (despite the learning curve)

The Tizen OS interface on the Z1, at first glance, looks like Android's. But Samsung has tweaked it a bit and divided the screen into two parts. In the home screen, the first half holds the Widgets (Calendar, contacts, alarms, FM, music etc.), and the bottom half holds 2 rows of app icons (which you can change to whatever app you use most). If you add more than one widget you can scroll the top half of the screen to the left or the right to view them. To see all the other installed apps, you flick up, like in Sailfish. When you flick up, the two rows of icons that were at the bottom in the Home screen now appear on top as the first two rows. In this view, the first two rows then stay stationery, and the bottom half of the screen display all the other apps icons. And if there are more icons then can be shown, you can again scroll to the left or the right to view them.

It does add a cool factor to the UI (as it is something different) and is intuitively easier to learn then Sailfish.

But then you open any app, and you have to interact with it like any android app - clicking the back button, or home button or menu button - or if you want to switch apps or go to the home screen, and you realize how much better Sailfish is. Overall, Sailfish OS makes it easier to do things faster. (And with one hand too - with the Z1 I occasionally had to use both hands to do things faster, and to reduce the strain on my fingers.)

Performance -
Tizen OS is better.

All the reviews of Z1 cribbed about the poor hardware (1.2 Ghz of a cheap chinese processor, 768 MB RAM etc.) Samsung settled on. But Tizen performs AMAZINGLY on it. Every interaction is fluidly smooth and effortless. Youtube videos play well (through the youtube app) without hiccuping at all. The browser too doesn't seem to slow down the system. Opening many apps doesn't seem to make the system sluggish at all. So personally, I felt that Tizen OS is a tad bit faster and smoother than Sailfish.

Privacy -
Jolla is currently on the right track and way, way better than Samsung.

I went through the terms and conditions and privacy policy that you have to agree to create and activate your Samsung account and use it with the Tizen store - Samsung makes it very clear that the data they collect from various apps / services will also be transferred to their "Ad Hub" to better serve you more "relevant" content (read ads). They also mention that some services record audio and video, and some may transfer urls and search terms and all these too may be used by them. They even give you an (thankfully optional) option "to combine data from various services" to receive more "personalized" content. So +1 to Jolla for not going that route (yet).

Tizen OS however offers more transparent options to protect user data than Sailfish OS.

Every app in the Tizen store clearly mention how they'll interact with the hardware (access to microphone, storage, internet etc.) and your data (Contacts, messages etc.) before installation. Apart from this, Tizen OS Settings includes more options under 'Privacy' where it allows you to individually define which apps can access your Calendar data, Call log, Contacts, Locations and, Messages. This is a feature that Sailfish sorely lacks, and needs to implements so that we, the user, continue to remain in control of our personal data.

Apart from this, Tizen OS also seems to have a "private mode" using which you can hide any particular files that you don't want someone to easily find and access.

Apps / Apps Store / Android Compatibility
Sailfish is less restrictive; Tizen has better Android support (because of Samsung $$$)

Both OS do offer "Android Compatibility" and you have to "enable" the same by installing the "Addon / Layer" through the respective store. And both the Jolla store and the Tizen Store have native and some handpicked Android apps. However, the Jolla Store does a better job of distinguishing between the two - Android apps are marked with the droid logo. The Tizen store doesn't do this, and you have to read the description to find out whether it is a native app or an Android app. Even if it is an Android app, the description doesn't often outright says it and just mentions that the app is an "ACL enabled app" (ACL - Application Compatibility Layer - is the "android layer" for Tizen OS). The Tizen store is better organized though with "Categories".

Jolla allows me to install Android apps from outside the Jolla store too, but the Samsung Z1 seems more restrictive and I haven't yet explored how to install apps downloaded from other stores / sources. (As such, I can't comment on the performance of the android apps as I haven't yet installed any Android app on my Tizen phone.)

Since Samsung has more money, it is obvious that the default native apps - Memo, Music, Video, Email, Browser etc. - are more feature rich than the Jolla Sailfish apps for the same.

Tizen OS also supports HTML5 based native app. (The Youtube app in Tizen OS seems to be one such app that loads the mobile version of Youtube in it.)

(This is a wiki - if you too have used Tizen OS, please consider adding your experience vis a vis Sailfish here. Please do not start comparing the phone hardware and stick to the operating system only.)

(This review on Tizen OS is a bit biased and seems to be written by an Android fanboy. Having used both Sailfish and Tizen, I can confidently say that both can outperform Android OS. The native apps of Tizen and Sailfish are / can also be superior to those of Android, and run faster.)

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Thanks! Great to learn more about Tizen compared to Sailfish. Interestingly, they both come from the same lineage and have turned out so differently.

What you say about data collection in Tizen really puts me off though.

bilgy_no1 ( 2015-02-08 02:07:18 +0200 )edit

@bilgy_no1 - Yeah, that dampened my enthusiasm for Tizen (from Samsung) too. In fact, as soon as I put a SIM into the phone, an SMS was sent to some number (no idea who, no idea what message it contained). The box the phone came in does mention this though (in very small letters) - "For every unique SIM card used, some information is collected via automatic SMS (operator tariff apply). Information used as per Samsung privacy policy." (I remember the iPhone also does this - costs a lot more as it sends an international SMS. Tizen sent the SMS to some local number.) Here's their "privacy policy" with links to their terms and conditions and all the other terms of their various services that you have to agree to.

sifartech ( 2015-02-08 04:15:30 +0200 )edit

What about android application? Can executed with copatible layer?

hyper_sonic ( 2015-02-08 08:11:47 +0200 )edit

here is a good overview article, looks like Tizen is a bit of a 'me too' android-alike platform, sure its great that its Linux but the rest of the OS isnt really pushing any boundaries

r0kk3rz ( 2015-02-08 09:42:00 +0200 )edit

I would welcome any glibc based distro be it tizen or ubuntu. In this case Tizen has also effectively used the local factor by including a changing wallpaper for Indias republic day . Agreed its silly but there is one potential where Jolla could impact the market by bein local sensitive and all the big players have failed in it.

pavi ( 2015-02-08 15:55:15 +0200 )edit

4 Answers

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answered 2016-11-28 20:41:35 +0200

tizen gravatar image

updated 2016-11-28 20:57:54 +0200

i have been using the samsung z1 for about a year now, and i just got the aqua fish running sailfish 2.0

i have to agree that sailfish does have a steeper learning curve and i find some of it's interface choices unusual. (like i have to do 3 swipes (twice from left to right, and once top down) in order to get to the place where i can toggle wifi, mobile data, gps, etc...)

on tizen (and also firefox os) that (for me crucial) function was accessible with a single swipe down.

as for android support however things are quite different:

the short answer is: tizen does NOT support android apps.

to me, supporting andoid apps means that i can take any app, load it onto the phone (which ever way) and run it.

on tizen i can't do that.

in order to run android apps they have to be wrapped into the ACL and a package of that wrapped version of the app has to be produced. this is not something that happens automatically at install time, but something that must be done manually by a package developer.

it is possible to install android apps only if they have been prepared that way.

there is a good reason for this: samsung is a commercial google android licensee. and the commercial google andoid license, i have been told, simply disallows using android in any way that google disapproves of.

jolla, and intex, i guess, don't have a commercial google license, and thus they can use the free android in any way they like, and are thus able to support android apps directly.

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I don't know how things are working for Sailfish 2 but under alle versions <1.0.7 the patchmanager patched toggles to events view (which was a swipe up from anywhere) so wifi toggle was just one swipe from anywhere. Maybe there are some patches where you have the ability to switch fast.

NuklearFart ( 2016-11-28 21:23:13 +0200 )edit

You don't need three swipes to get to the toggles. Go to Settings | Gestures and enable 'Quick Events Access'. Then the toggles will be just two swipes away.

I agree it's a weird choice - it was just one swipe away on SailfishOS 1.x with patches and I access the events&toggles much more often from an app than the app launcher (which I almost never access from an app - just from the home screen).

However, I find it better than Android/Tizen, because you don't need to reach the top of the screen to access it - it is so painful to access the toggles on those systems, especially on larger displays.

So IMHO: SailfishOS 1.x >> SailfishOS 2.0 > everything else

nodevel ( 2016-11-28 22:29:13 +0200 )edit

Well, people here like to be different, or "unlike" for the sake of being different. There was even resistance against the status bar we have now, because other OS have status bars, too. :) Even though SF has deficiencies and I use Android (Cyanogen OS) at the moment, SF is the only hope to get a reasonable OS which respects privacy and data protection, supports open standards and is trustworthy. Would buy the next available SF device immediately!

Stefanix ( 2016-11-28 22:36:51 +0200 )edit

@nodevel ah, thank you! two swipes is much better than three. i only got the phone yesterday so i am still learning. this will save me a lot of screen travel :-)

tizen ( 2016-11-29 08:30:01 +0200 )edit

@Stefanix i don't mind being different just for the sake of it. sometimes it can be a good thing, if it allows to explore new ways to usability. the main difficulty will be to make it attractive to buyers. if people don't like the interface then sailfish phones won't sell well enough to keep development alive.

tizen ( 2016-11-29 08:34:48 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-02-08 22:44:12 +0200

domino4evers gravatar image

Well I had a Samsung Phone once - and oh my god - that BLOATWARE on the phone was killing me. I love the Samsung Phones for their specifications and nice design, but not the Samsung Software that they are pushing down our heads.

I love the Jolla because it's MY Phone - I can do what ever I want with it, and I always know that my data is not being sold to Google, M$ or Apple... or in this new case Samsung!

I guess that Samasung is doing what M$ is trying to do, making a Android wannabe OS to get some more buyers on their side.

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Honestly, I have ALWAYS looked down on Samsung smart-phones for being overpriced and cheap looking (compared to any Nokia or HTC phones). The Z1 is the first Samsung device that I own, and I got it only because it runs Tizen OS. That said, both the hardware and the software has surprised me. The phone is light-weight and though smaller then my Jolla, feels just about right in the hand. The display size too is perfect. The phone doesn't look cheap (well, I opted for the "wine-red" and gold colour option and it looks good) despite the plastic body. It did come bundled with a lot of "entertainment" apps - this didn't irritate me as none of them affect the system performance and all of them were uninstallable. However, one thing that irked me was the McAfee anti-virus that was present - it can only be disabled and not uninstalled. All that said, now that I am aware of Samsung's privacy practices, I will think many times over before purchasing any Samsung device.

sifartech ( 2015-02-09 02:35:40 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-02-08 23:57:18 +0200

M.Bln. gravatar image

For German users there is an actual article in the c't tech magazine - see preview here: http://www.heise.de/ct/ausgabe/2015-5-Smartphone-Betriebssysteme-abseits-des-Mainstream-2537049.html

Additionally I want to call your attention to this request: https://together.jolla.com/question/76655/tizen-phone-launches-in-india-not-a-question/?answer=77294#post-id-77294

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answered 2016-11-30 20:04:54 +0200

leszek gravatar image

I did a basic comparison here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eocrWa01eIo&ab_channel=LeszekLesner And a speed comparison here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0FFUp_Olic4

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Really nicely done. Jolla looks a bit better and n my opions. The downside is that you can't trusted the OS during upgrades, every update is like a gamble with jolla. How is Tizen? Do they have any updates?

Dave999 ( 2016-11-30 20:28:18 +0200 )edit

Never had a problem with updates, neither on the Jolla phones (since Nov 2013) nor on the Aquafish. is fine

AkiBerlin ( 2016-11-30 21:38:58 +0200 )edit

Tizen has updates. Mostly only smaller ones. the biggest was from 2.3 to 2.4. Though mostly there is no real changelog which nakes it hard to figure out what changed.

leszek ( 2016-12-01 17:28:10 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2015-02-08 00:58:36 +0200

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Last updated: Nov 30 '16