Let's start the controls breakdown from the front of the Jolla. It's free of any buttons - capacitive or physical - as the Jolla Sailfish OS is entirely based on gestures. Unsurprisingly, the earpiece is located above the display with the 2MP front-facing camera sitting on its left. Barely visible on the right side stand the ambient and proximity sensors.
Below the display is a small RGB LED strip which lights up when the phone is charging or connected to a computer. It also blinks on missed events such as calls, messages and email - in green, blue and yellow, respectively.
The bottom of the phone sports a cool looking duo of grills - one on the left and right sides. The speakers are on the left grille, while the main microphone is hidden behind the right grille.
Moving along to the top of the Jolla we find a secondary microphone used for active noise cancellation, the microUSB port for charging and transfering data as well as the 3.5mm headphone jack. The top left side features a small Jolla logo, which looks quite nice.
The left side of the Jolla is free of any controls and ports. The Power/Lock button and volume rocker and on the right hand side and are made of metal. They have a very nice tactile feedback to them, too.
Finally, the back is quite minimalist in design and holds the 8MP camera with LED flash at its top right. The bottom also contains another Jolla logo. Just like the first one that's on top of the phone, this second one is quite hard to spot at first sight. It's translucent and you have to look at it from an angle to spot it.
The battery cover, a.k.a the Other Half, of the Jolla fits quite tight and is opened with a sequence - from left to right. Once you remove it, you get access to the 2,100mAh battery. Above it are located the microSD card slot and the microSIM slot. The latter sports a rubbery flap right below it to keep the SIM card from popping out.
There are two pins above the top left corner of the battery that allow 5V input and enable the creation of back panels with built-in battery packs. There are also the I2C pins, which permit the connection of an external input device, such as a slide-out keyboard.
A cool feature of the secondary back panel is the NFC chip, which allows it, once snapped into place, to change the visual aspects of the user interface like wallpapers, icons and sounds.
Jolla promises the 2,100mAh battery will last up to 500 hours in 3G stand-by and will be able to handle up to 10 hours of 3G talk-time. However, now it's too early for us to carry out our traditional battery tests to find out exactly how long the Jolla will last. We'll save this for our full review later on.
The Jolla smartphone is built around a 4.5" IPS LCD display, which seems to be a common display size for mid-range smartphones lately. It sports a resolution of 960 x 540 pixels giving it a pixel density of 245ppi. You don't need us to tell you that this is disappointing, considering there are phones twice as cheap that sport 720p resolution.
Jolla could've done better here, but at least the display is covered with a Gorilla Glass 2 protective layer, which should help against light scratches.
The display itself is decent in color rendering, but fails to impress us in terms of contrast and is not even as good as some mid-range smartphones, such as the Moto G. The viewing angles aren't perfect and there's notable color when you are not looking stratigh at the screen.
|Display test||50% brightness||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
|Motorola Moto G||0.35||315||906||0.57||550||967|
|Sony Xperia C||0.18||151||842||0.66||639||962|
|Samsung I9082 Galaxy Grand||0.37||382||1040||0.62||586||948|
|Huawei Ascend P6||0.14||136||986||0.62||670||1080|
|Apple iPhone 5||0.13||200||1490||0.48||640||1320|
Brightness isn't too impressive and combined with the rather high reflectivity lead to rather disappointing performance of the Jolla screen outdoors.