Ubuntu Phone Review


Wednesday 9th September 2015

I got my Meizu MX4 Ubuntu Edition phone a few weeks ago, so I thought I'd leave my comments and suggestions here for anybody else who is considering purchasing one.

I ordered my phone on a Thursday, and it had arrived by the next Monday. The estimated delivery was over 2 weeks, but it only took 4 days. The phone appeared to be shipped from Italy, to Germany and then into Leeds Bradford Airport.

My home address turned out to be incorrect though, and the courier had to phone me to ask for the correct one. My normal English street name had been replaced with an Italian name like "Alberto Ave 6" or something like that.

I switched to the Ubuntu Phone away from a 32GB Apple iPhone 4.

The box was just the standard Meizu MX4 packaging, with an Ubuntu Sticker on the front. Inside, everything is branded for the Flyme version of the phone, but that's fine. The box contained a small piece of card with a thank you note from Canonical, which was a nice touch.

The device itself is very sleek, well built, and doesn't feel cheap at all. The screen is fantastic quality, with a resolution of 1152x1920, it's actually a larger resolution than most modern computer monitors. The colours stand out and are very vibrant. The default Ubuntu Touch lock screen wallpaper does not show off the phone to its full potential. I use the default Flyme wallpaper, which is much more vibrant and colourful. (http://bbsimg.res.flyme.cn/forum/201506/27/164209dr8chzmcjqdlqiis.png)

After the first boot, I had to set up WiFi, location, etc, and then I was shown a little tutorial on the various gestures on the phone. The gestures work very well with the phone and are easy to do. There was a 400mb update to do straight away, which fixed a few things such as the Ubuntu store not working, as well as adding the ability to create WiFi hotspots. The phone boots very quickly compared to an iPhone.

The Ubuntu Touch interface works well on a large screen device, with everything fitting in very well. The multitasking switcher is quick and easy, and the notification centre's quick reply feature is exceedingly useful. The Unity launcher that can be dragged out from the left of the phone works just like the desktop version of Ubuntu. You can pin apps, rearrange them, etc.

There are quite a few apps available, but nothing like that of the Apple App Store or Google Play. All of the essentials are there, but if you are very social and require SnapChat, WhatsApp, etc, then you're out of luck. A lot of the apps come in the form of web apps, which basically display the mobile version of a website in a full window, without the interface of a web browser surrounding it. These work well for sites like Imgur, Reddit, OMG! Ubuntu, etc.

The call quality is good, text messaging works well and the 4G is blazing fast. The loudspeaker for calls, text alerts, music, etc is extremely loud, much louder than my iPhone's speaker. It's good quality, but nothing special.

On my first day of using the phone, I was very disappointed with the battery life, it was draining very quickly, even while in sleep mode, and would barely last a full day without been dangerously low. After a few charge cycles and a software update, it is now exceptionally good, much better than my iPhone's battery. I've been using it for 5 days since the last charge with light to moderate usage, powered on 24/7, and it's on 13% battery.

Another cool thing is that the home button ring is actually slightly glow-in-the-dark. I was very confused the first time I saw this, but I checked and it does have a slight glow to it in a dark room.

Problems:

Suggestions:

Overall I am very happy with it. Luckily I don't recieve many calls so I can get by without the phone working for the time being. If you're a dedicated Ubuntu user, then I definitely recommend this. If you're not, then you should consider it, but for day-to-day usage, maybe something like the OnePlus would be better for you. I definitely won't be going back to my iPhone any time soon.