Hands on…

Posted: 28th March 2015 by knoppi in Computer Stuff, Linux, Mobile
Tags: , , , ,

Last friday, I received a long expected package. The unpacking revealed this:

If you want to know more about the contents, keep reading.

This will be a short review about the bq Aquaris E4.5 with a preinstalled Ubuntu instead of the usual Android operating system. You can read or watch a lot of articles about both the mobile phone and ubuntuphone  and both of them in combination everywhere in the webs, so I skip the boring overview and just summarize my first week’s experience.

Let’s start with what really sucks. And this is not the apps – which are perfectly fine for me. Two issues really annoyed me during the last week which might even be connected:

  • A change between different networks (let them be mobile networks or wireless networks) sometimes fails leaving me without internet collection.
  • From time to time the charge level of the battery drops very rapidly.

Giving you some examples:

  • Recently, I went to Chemnitz by bus where I had a wifi connection on the bus. When I left the bus I had to find the place where I was going to stay. I only had a rough idea about the way but I had several map apps installed (HERE, OSM, Google) so everything should have gone fine – with a working internet connection. The phone denied to connect. No maps, but the rough idea was fortunately good enough. 😉
  • Some day later, I went to another place again. On my arrival there the battery was nearly down at 0% after only 8 hours. I instantly connected it to the power supply. Then I tried to connect to the local wifi but the connection manager didn’t even offer any choice. I also noted a strange behaviour concerning standby – the phone didn’t enter a real standby mode. The screen went dark after pressing the power button and, alternatively, after covering the light sensor above the screen but it got switched on again after approximately 1 second. I then rebooted (stupid solution but you, sometimes, don’t have much time to dig into a topic). I suppose that some program ran into a loop or maybe several ones preventing the phone from going into real standby and maybe this also the reason for the connection issues.

There were similar problems during the week – mainly the connection issue.

Let’s go over to the things I really like about the Ubuntu phone.

  • Currently (after the reboot) I am at 65% after 14 hours – at low to normal usage. I would call this a good value. But I just mention this as a positive statement for the hardware and as opposed to the above mentioned problems.
  • I absolutely love the status bar. Pulling it down from different points leading to distinct information plus the easy way to change the subpage by sliding left or right. In my eyes, this is a logical advancement of the Android status bar.
  • The slide gesture based control in general.
    • Short slide from the right to switch between apps
    • Long slide from the right to obtain the overview of the running apps (as the long home button press in the last Android version I used)
    • Short slide from the left for the Unity panel
    • Long slide from the left -> Home Screen
    • In apps with lists you, very often, can slide elements to the right for a delete request and slide them to the left for further actions (instead of small buttons or long press for menus)

I have the Ubuntu phone now for a week and this is a summary of my first impressions. In total I’m quite happy but I feel slightly like a beta tester – mainly due to the issues I described here which I would classify as a bug and which I, if noone else has done so yet, will also file as a bug when I know more about it. I will also keep you informed here.