Remember the times when the phones were small and not smart. They could only do so much. Then came the era of the big-screen devices and everyone now owns them. Today the smartphones occupy at least one pocket, at times two or even three. Big screen smartphones have become the necessity for everyday use. These are efficient for maps, videos, photos and even other activities. Back in May while browsing Kickstarter, came across a unique project. The highlight, it went against the big screens - Jelly Smartphone. Manufactured by Unihertz in Shanghai, not a known name though. The punchline of the project was what made it worth - Jelly, The Smallest 4G Smartphone.
The Kickstarter price of $69 didn't sound like a high risk, with almost $40 off the expected retail price. The project got funded in June and finally delivered in mid-September. The delivery got delayed by one month from the promised date of August, but the wait was worth. The delivery was a complete surprise since it came unannounced. Having it imported from China, somehow the import taxes also got waived off.
The box looked like a regular phone box, without any frills and fancy stuff. Packed in it were the Jelly phone, a micro-USB cable, wall plug and manual/instructions, etc.
The Jelly did feel small, very small. Without switching it on, it felt like a toy phone the kids would use. Next to Nexus 6P and iPhone 6S it must've felt like a kid. Only if it had feelings (no pun intended)
The title of the project, Jelly - the Smallest smartphone, caught the attention right away. It also supports dual SIM 4G and came with the latest Android Nougat version. It felt like a win-win deal already. The rest of the features sounded too good to be true. The expandable memory, GPS, and other features were a bonus.
Unboxing the Jelly Smartphone, size is the first thing that hits you. It is very tiny. There is a 2.5-inch full touch-screen display. The Jelly may look to be missing few things, but it sure hits the right spots when it comes to features and usability.
The Jelly is an ideal backup phone, which can tuck into the change pocket of your denim. Dressing in formals, putting it into your trouser pocket can have reachability challenges. The up-sleeves fold came handy and solved it. The photo says a thousand words. Maybe the style can get picked up by Unihertz for the official video ad.
Jelly also proves to be a decent navigation device, portable one of course. The built-in GPS and Compass helps get to places.
The voice quality of calls on Jelly was good. The callers never complained.
Android 7.0 (Nougat) is available out of the box on Jelly. If you are already the using Android, restoring the apps on Jelly is a breeze. The Google Play Store will be helpful for downloading the apps and sync your contacts.
Caution: Do not restore your complete backup, due to limited storage of Jelly.
The UI is stock on the Jelly phone. There are few apps installed by Unihertz by default. There are few extra apps like the backup to sd-card, browser, compass, flashlight, FM radio, music pedometer and sound recorder.
The phone is running a modded Pixel 2 Launcher from here. Pixel 2 Launcher on Jelly makes is closer to being a Nexus/Pixel's kid.
Update: As of writing this blog, Unihertz has released an update to the software. It brings minor enhancements and few features to the Jelly phone. The update shows that the Unihertz commitment to bring improvements to the device.
Expecting a mediocre camera on Jelly would have been a mistake. The thought is expected, keeping the price and form factor in mind. It turns out to be too good. Both the front facing and rear cameras were better than the expectations. They might not come close to the Nexus or iPhones, but they have the Google Photos support which does the trick.
The camera app looks like coming from old versions of the Android, so let's skip the UI. Using Google Photos instead of the Gallery app is a must. Google has done some remarkable work when it comes to picture enhancements via the app. Even the Jelly photos got the Google's love. Check out the photo album with the sample photos shot using both the cameras. Stunning right. They're all shot on Jelly.
Jelly uses the Google Keyboard app for input. It felt complete unrealistic, a cause of the sheer size. It's too tiny for the big hands of an adult user. Another surprise was waiting; the typing was comfortable and close to accurate.
Passcodes, Patterns, and Pins have kept the Android phones secure for ages now. After using the Nexus 6P and iPhone 6S, the fingerprint sensors is missed. Any device in 2017 like laptops, computers, phones, tablets or even smartwatches should include the fingerprint to access. Punching the password feels like so yesteryear.
Battery is too small for the smart needs today. A mere 950mAh stands nowhere close to large batteries of 2017 phones.
Jelly is a smallest a smartphone and confirms; the size does not matter statement. The support for Dual 4G SIM makes it worth ee. The Jelly's size is going to turn the heads around. The camera can take some impressive shots bundled with Google Photos. For the price of $69 (Kickstarter price) its worth.
Unihertz only has the Jelly Pro listed for sale on their online store. It has bumped RAM at 2GB and storage of 16GB. The Jelly Pro is available at $125. At a price, the Jelly Pro model seems a little expensive. Considering the same package priced between $95 - $100 would have been appropriate.
Coming from large screen phones, Jelly is an impressive device for its sheer size and usability.