Review: UniHertz Jelly 2Last updated 2021-07-29 21:17:27 SGT
I participated in the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for the UniHertz Jelly 2 last year, and have been using it as my daily driver for more than half a year now — enough to put it through its paces. Generally speaking I think it is a highly adequate and functional phone.
- It is hilariously small, which has been great for my productivity — no more endless reddit sessions!
- The looks on people's faces whenever I whip it out are utterly priceless. The usual reaction is something along the lines of “THAT IS A PHONE???” and/or “where did you get that and how do I get one?” and so forth. If anything, it's a great conversation starter.
- It is a full-featured Android phone! In particular, it has the full complement of onboard instrumentation — compass, NFC, fingerprint sensor — that might be missing from comparably-priced budget phones. For comparison, my previous daily driver, a Moto G4 Play, did not have any of these, despite costing only slightly less (albeit in 2016 dollars).
- Unlike other budget brands (looking at you, Xiaomi…) it supports LTE bands that are used in both Singapore and the US. This means that the dual SIM functionality isn't as useless as it was in my mi4i.
- Battery life is very good, although this is mostly because small screen means lower power draw.
- It has actual (capacitative) hardware buttons! This addresses a pet peeve of mine with my G4 Play, where some fullscreen apps would have the software buttons permanently cutting into the content area.
- So far it has been extremely sturdy (as one would expect given its more robust aspect ratio).
- The default launcher doesn't come with an app drawer, and there are a lot of preinstalled OEM bloatware apps.
- The cadence of OtA software updates has been…slow. I understand that this is typical of smaller manufacturers, though.
- No official LineageOS support :( — this is one thing I really miss from my G4 Play.
- The camera is absolutely awful. Not atrocious, but it could probably do better with a bigger lens.
- The magnetometer seems to become miscalibrated easily — on a trip to Washington DC, I had my compass flip on me while walking down a straight road. Initially I thought it was correcting itself, but it turns out that it had flipped from a correct orientation to the polar opposite! On a separate occasion, I was able to determine that the compass was pointing almost 90 degrees to the left of my actual bearing. The calibration procedure on Google Maps also doesn't seem to do very much to fix the issue. Since I'm already used to navigating without a compass in urban environments (thanks to my old phone) this didn't turn out as badly as it could have, but I imagine it might potentially become quite dangerous.
- Not rooted by default :(
- You can either use dual SIM cards or an external SD card, but not both at the same time
- Despite the hardware buttons, the default launcher attempts to reenable gesture navigation every time it's started
- As it turns out, most apps aren't designed for a 3 inch screen. e.g. Google Maps is basically unusable for discovery purposes (navigation still works though):
Even the system UI can get kind of janky at times:
I'm honestly OK with this but I could see how this might drive some people mad.