Unihertz Jelly Pro Review
Through various news sites, I had been made aware of the Jelly Pro smartphone, which bills itself as “Impossibly small, amazingly cute, and totally functional.” Recently, Stephen from Unihertz had reached out to me and offered to send me a review unit, which I took them up on. Does it deliver?
It’s definitely small. In terms of size, the only phone I’ve had that was even close to this size is the Nokia 6230, which came out back in 2004 and wasn’t even a smartphone! That clocked in at 103 x 44 x 20 mm. The Jelly Pro is smaller than that at 92.4 x 43 x 13mm, fits in the coin pocket on my jeans, and packs a lot more functional punch!
Just to give you a sense of how small it is, I took a picture of it next to an Alcatel OneTouch Flint that I have:
Cute? Well, that’s relative, but I definitely think it’s cute. Definitely reminds me of the candy bar phones of years past, though it’s got a touchscreen and runs a fairly stock version of Android 7.0.
Totally functional? That’s also relative. It’s definitely functional, more so than I thought, but there are some definite limits to it’s functionality.
A Usable Small Screen
I am impressed that it’s possible to actually type on this screen. The default keyboard is the Android AOSP keyboard, but you can easily installed Gboard or any other swipe-enabled keyboard you prefer.
In fact, you can pretty much install any Android application you want as it has all the Google Apps on it (including Google Play). I installed a handful of apps on the device, such as:
- Check Point SandBlast Mobile Protect
- Pocket Casts
They all worked more or less as expected, though the small screen (240 by 432 pixels) may cause problems with some apps. Pocket Casts in particular had issues with the menu. Fortunately, by simply rotating the phone to landscape mode, the interface is usable, as you can see here:
At least for the small sample size of apps I've tried, the screen size wasn't a significant issue. Your mileage may vary, depending on the apps you use.
The small battery, however, may be an issue. If you expect this phone to be your primary phone, you may be disappointed. Unihertz explicitly warned me about this limitation, which is not surprising given the size of the battery 950 (mAh). Even with minimal use, I have trouble making it through an entire day on a single charge.
Because of the limited battery life, several optimizations have been added to the OS to increase battery life. This includes aggressively killing background applications, which can sometimes lead to reduced battery life. You do have some control over this with Duraspeed in the settings app so you can allow some applications to run.
One issue I had with this phone was actually being able to get to the battery. The instructions that were included did not cover this point and I ended up requiring a spudger to pry the back cover off the phone. Unihertz is expected to update the instructions to address this point as well as include a tool to assist with removing the back.
It's also worth noting that this phone is an unlocked dual SIM. This is of limited use for a couple of reasons:
- The aforementioned battery life
- The second SIM is only 2G
At least in the US, the only GSM provider that still supports 2G is T-Mobile, but not for much longer. It may be useful in other countries, of course, but given I currently lack a native T-Mobile SIM, I cannot verify the second SIM slot works. My MVNO SIM cards are not allowed to roam on T-Mobile 2G, apparently.
The phone does have a rear and front-facing camera, which is adequate to the task. It's not the best phone camera I've used, but it's far from the worst. A few sample pictures below.
Does it make phone calls?
These days, it seems like the last thing we use our mobile phones for is making calls. That said, I did try to use the Jelly Pro for that purpose. It was more than up to the task.
The phone has a wired headset jack, which I appreciate. It also has an FM stereo, which one needs the headset plugged in order to make use of. The speaker on the back of the phone works, but is a bit too quiet for my tastes. The phone has an gyroscope, GPS, and a step counter. The GPS in particular can be a real battery drain.
If you're looking for a tiny yet functional smartphone and can accept some limitations inherent in such a tiny phone, you can't go wrong with the Jelly Pro, which can be had from the Unihertz store, on Amazon.com or Amazon UK for $125 USD.