Android and iOS – these are the two platforms dominating the mobile landscape, with Windows Phone standing at a distant third place. From the looks of it, that's the way things are going to be in the foreseeable future. Of course, this isn't stopping ambitious start-ups from trying to grab a chunk of the smartphone market with their lesser-known products and alternative operating systems. One of them is Jolla – a Finnish company run by former Nokia employees – which launched its first smartphone in late 2013.

What's unique about the Jolla smartphone is that it is powered by Sailfish OS – a new platform based on the now-forgotten MeeGo operating system. The software is capable of running Android apps and it its user interface relies heavily on gesture-based user interaction. On the hardware side of things, we're looking at a 4.5-inch screen, dual-core Snapdragon 400 SoC, and an 8MP main camera. Surely, anyone who knows their way around a smartphone can tell that a setup like this can't justify the smartphone's rather steep 400 euro (~$550) price tag. But who knows, the software experience might manage to win our hearts. Let's find out if that's the case!


Yin just met its Yang.

“Dude, what phone is that?” – be ready to be asked this question often if you intend on owning Jolla's smartphone. Why? Well, mostly because the handset is bound to be a magnet for attention thanks to its distinctive design. Sure, a beauty prize winner this is not, but it feels fresh, it feels different, it feels… unique. And we like this for it has been a long time since we last handled a smartphone with so much personality. All of these impressions are induced from a device that's built with minimalism in mind – a device lacking any superfluous design features. Even the Jolla logos etched on the phone's back and top sides are made to be as discrete and unobtrusive as possible – a touch that we're very fond of.

Fundamentally, the Jolla smartphone is built around the idea of it being comprised of two components. These are commonly referred to as its two halves – one being pretty much the phone itself, and the other being its removable, polycarbonate-made, scratch- and fingerprint-resistant back cover. Seems odd at first, we know, but there's more to it than meets the eye. You see, a unique trait about the Jolla phone is that it knows what kind of back cover it has been paired with. Once the cover has been recognized with a dose of NFC magic, the software of the device adapts itself – slap a back of a particular color and a matching UI theme will be applied. Alas, this otherwise outstanding feature isn't being used to its fullest potential, or at least not as of this writing. Perhaps one day we might see other, more advanced halves with built-in extras like wireless charging, an extra-large flash for the camera, and all sorts of goodies that add extra functionality and augment the overall user experience. Until then, however, we'll have to settle with just simple, colored polycarbonate covers costing almost $40 apiece.

The Jolla phone is of average size for a contemporary smartphone and we find it easy to handle. Its sharp corners, however, dig into our palm and don't feel very nice. On the bright side of things, our fingers have no troubles operating the well-exposed power and volume keys on the handset's right side. Speaking of buttons, there aren't any on the Jolla phone's front side, as you might have noticed from the pictures. That's because the UI of the OS is gesture-based, which eliminates the need for home, back, or any other dedicated navigation keys, but we'll get to this in a minute. The only thing found under the phone's screen is an RGB LED for notification purposes.


Nothing to hold your breath for.

The Jolla smartphone comes with a 4.5-inch IPS LCD display. As a whole, the screen isn't bad, but it is also far from impressive. Its resolution of just 540 by 960 pixels, despite being sufficient for most tasks, is underwhelming to see on a relatively pricey smartphone at this point in time. Color reproduction is fairly accurate, but blacks are pretty much non-existent. The touchscreen has no super-sensitive properties, which means that one can't use the phone with gloves on. Automatic brightness control is also absent, which is a shame, especially when the screen is unusable outdoors unless its brightness is set to the maximum level.



1. Reality_Check

Posts: 277; Member since: Aug 15, 2013

Man that's brutal !! :P

14. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

Sometimes they need good Reviewer. This Is childish review. Sometimes I see fanism.

20. rangaha

Posts: 86; Member since: Dec 05, 2013

Funny how these people comment that this is a terrible review, yet they have never even used the phone being reviewed. Quite hypocritical that this guy calls the author out on 'fanism'.

29. Skoms

Posts: 118; Member since: Feb 03, 2014

This is better than WP8

37. NokiaFTW

Posts: 2072; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Hahahahaha that was funny! LOL! +1

41. papss unregistered

Nice trolling skoms.. So cleaver and has nothing to do with this phone.

85. Dastrix unregistered

Sure, 2/10 is better than 9/10. How's math for you?

58. akki20892

Posts: 3902; Member since: Feb 04, 2013

2 out of 10, men think about it, this is out of limits.

90. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

It's not good device, but after all, it's Jollas first smartphone, made by ~100 guys. OS is great, but it's more like alpha than beta or finished one. Some forgiving must do, and I think that this device should get like 4 or 5, just to be generous.

95. saurik

Posts: 86; Member since: May 13, 2013

I need John V. to wipe my tears.

99. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

typically Nokia fanboy. It is clear that this is a junk phone. It has lesser specs than the Moto G and is about 3-5x the price (depending on where you get the Moto G at) and apparently is worse than the Moto G on all fronts. I cant think of a single reason why someone would buy this over that, and that is a phone that costs about 100-150$ generally.

125. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

oh yeah the specs are what makes a phonne junk now may i remind that unlike android other OS's don't need big specs to run seamlessly

16. easymomo

Posts: 91; Member since: Jul 04, 2012

The score is very low, but I read the review... the phone is really really disapointing and has the same price as the Nexus 5 or LG G2.

34. chunky1x

Posts: 270; Member since: Mar 28, 2010

Brutal is a conservative term. There are no words that could ever describe this review on the planet.

48. Johnnokia

Posts: 1158; Member since: May 27, 2012

Nick T. ,, just grow up. Your review is more than disgusting. This is the worst unprofessional review I ever seen. I can't call a review either. 6 years child could write better than you. I used to read only GSMArena reviews.

65. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Honestly, I think the review was justified. The specs are horrible and every single pro the phone has, it has to be limited to what seemed "unfinished". For example, the NFC. Why didnt they finish NFC support, if its included. It's $550 which is not cheap by todays standards. It doesnt support much in multimedia. The camera has no HDR, camera lag, etc... Bad call quality. Low res screen... I would have given it a 1 out of 10.

71. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Exactly. I think some ppl have blinders on. Just because you like a phone or want it to succeed....doesnt always mean its a good phone.

100. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

so true. Phones like Moto G are better when they're about 1/3rd of the price, and this phone is just BARELY ahead of the Lumia 520/521 which are about 1/5th of the price.

121. microsoftnokiawin

Posts: 1268; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

you do know the jolla office is made out of 85 people they don't have advanced research facilities or beta testers the beta testers are the community i got sailfish running on my n9 and it's great for it's beta tag !


Posts: 2315; Member since: Jul 30, 2011

iAgree, iL♥ve this new iPhone 6; there's no need for such a horrific review, that's just unprofessional!!

105. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

I wonder how much the price played a part in the overall rating. Yes, the Jolla phone is admittedly incomplete, but it's a device for people that like to tinker, explore, experiment, and modify their devices, and want more freedom than what android offers, or something different, fresh, and coming from a semi-grassroots foundation. If it were $200-300, I'd consider picking one up, but $550 is steep for what it is, and better to sell more $300 phones than few $500 phones, IMHO, as it gets the product in more hands and gives more opportunities for crowdsourcing and the like.

115. great

Posts: 85; Member since: Jan 21, 2013

phonearena.... why so serious !?

2. Sesameopen

Posts: 109; Member since: Aug 02, 2013

Lowest score on PA up to date. Damn I was actually thinking about getting this.

25. mobi_user

Posts: 152; Member since: Jun 18, 2013

PA will not give this phone a good review. First it is a very small company to sponser thing for them. Second, Jolla is made of revolting members of Nokia+Microsoft. They didn't surrender to the morachy. Third, Tizen needs to be put in place.

42. papss unregistered

So they instead made a pos OS with even worse hardware.. Awesome

3. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

2 out of 10? Really? Jolla is gonna kick PA's a**.

9. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

Not if everyone else kicks it first

4. Andrewtst

Posts: 696; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Wow! Score of 2 !!!

5. power_x

Posts: 264; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

only 2/10 ?????? i feel sorry for the people who worked so hard on developing this phone

13. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

You should feel sorry for the consumers who are manipulated into thinking that this is a terrible product

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

  • Display 4.5" 540 x 960 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 2 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 400, Dual-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 2100 mAh(10h 3G talk time)

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