REVIEW on Ubuntu Touch Smartphone OS! 2020
This is a mobile operating system, in fact it’s one of the last mobile os’s. We haven’t reviewed here at os reviews which we’re very excited to take a look at, and it was originally released by canonical back in 2013, but now it’s running on version 15.04. And we have it on a nexus 4, which is one of the few devices that canonical is continuously releasing updates to and it’s very easy to port onto your phone once you root it. Other devices include the galaxy nexus and the nexus 5., so you can always try out this os if you’re, tired of android, for instance, so this entire operating system is built on gestures, it’s very easy to access. Your multitasking menus it’s easy to slide through your commonly used applications and it’s, a beautiful, elegant and well designed ui and at the time it was competing against firefox os, which came out also around 2013 and while firefox won in terms of having more partners and oems Crafting devices on the market, ubuntu was a winner in terms of having an elegant and well refined ui. That was easy to use and made a lot of sense, and at the time this ui was os, i should say, was groundbreaking because of its convergence functionality. So essentially, if you have this running on a phone, what you can do is open up a terminal to run code. For instance, you could also connect it to a monitor and transform, basically the monitor into a full blown ubuntu linux pc.
So the notion of carrying a computer in your pocket was really pioneered um. You know through this this early os and now we have it again with, of course, windows 10 bring out a similar continuum functionality and, of course, ios is also trying to do that with the pseudo computer. Like experience, you get on an ipad pro, so it was the first time we really saw this work in person and actually you know without any other adapters or bulky uh docks required from canonical back in 2013. So it’s really interesting to see. You know how this platform has evolved since then, and sadly, there still isn’t a ton of hardware with pre installed. Ubuntu touch that you can pick up, they’re extremely rare. You can try looking on amazon or ebay, but only one or two pop up. You know every few months or so, and they are either produced by eq aquarius, which is a manufacturer. We don’t really see a lot of here in the states or also by meizu, a chinese based oem, so again, they’re very rare, and so we had to kind of boot port this after rooting, this phone and taking a closer look at it. So again, taking a quick look at the how the os functions first, when you first tap it on there is this home screen and there’s this pretty interesting, symbolic clock that is representing your time, there’s also date and notifications as they push through.
You can also set a lock code if you want to, and the drag down notification drawer is also interesting, because you can simply swipe your fingers left and right to access all the various features and tabs. So, for instance, right from this drag down drawer, which is the same that you get after unlocking the phone there’s access to things like bluetooth, there’s, also, things such as your network settings for sim cards, wi, fi, sound settings, battery information, uh location, gps, information files, rotation, Lock as well as a notification so that they divide all this information to separate tabs in the drawer, but it’s also very easy to access. One handed since all you need to do is really swipe left or right by holding it for a few seconds now you can unlock the phone by swiping from any corner and afterwards you’re greeted to the main home. Here. All your applications are stored in this vertical orientation and it’s easy to again use one handed, and you have things such as your phone dialer, your messaging contacts, camera browser or clock displayed right on top for easier use and down below here there are some other customized Apps most of these have been pre installed, but you can also download more applications from the ubuntu store and they work pretty well there’s, a growing selection of games and productivity apps, but obviously not the same quantity or in the same range as android or ios.
At the at the moment, so some of these apps include amazon there’s a calculator on here, and they actually give you a tutorial on how to use this calculator. But you can just rotate the screen to get a scientific view, for instance, and you simply swipe from the edge of the device to get rid of it. So it’s similar to miko os, which funnily enough there is some source code that’s drawn from that platform and at the same time, if you want to multitask it’s, also easy, because you swipe from the right hand edge of the screen. And that brings up all of your open cards and you can then tap between your currently open applications or close them up by swiping them up so that’s very similar to also webos. We saw with a palm and hp and also with blackberry, os, so there’s a lot of these really interesting, swipe gestures and also, of course, canonical has built on their own unique aspects that makes this phone really easy to use once you get the hang of it. So down below here, other applications include a few games that they built in as well there’s. Something called dropping letters which is kind of like crossword or a letter, scrambling game that you have letters continuously dropping from the top to the bottom. And what happens is that you have to very quickly connect these letters together to form words, and if you form a word correctly, it goes away, but in the same way that tetris works.
If all these letters fill up to the top of the screen they fill randomly, then you lose the game. If you don’t, you know, beat out or eliminate any words, so it’s kind of interesting and fun to play as well, so let’s get out of that application. Other things on here, access to ebay, there is a file manager as well. Facebook is on here gallery view there’s, also a gmail, client, music, sudoku, so another game on here shorts, which gives you periodicals that you can customize with nodes client system, settings unav, which uses gps for navigation services, a weather, client and also twitter as well as terminal. So if you want to go back to kind of this linux terminal, you can then search things up. The old fashioned way move documents around, for instance, or run code. So, taking a look at the notes on here, it’s you’ll notice that it takes a few seconds to load. One thing about ubuntu touch at least on this nexus 4 is, it seems like it’s, not as snappy as stock android version 5.0.1, which is lollipop. That is now on this phone, so you can have to notice, maybe there’s a one or two second delay it’s, not too bad, but it seems like there can be a bit more of optimization that’s done so here we see that there’s a test that i quickly Typed out and taking a look at the keyboard very quickly you can tap on edit down below here.
This is what the stock ubuntu touch. Keyboard looks like it’s actually very easy to use it’s very responsive and there’s, also predictive text that comes in addition to back undo keys. You can do attachments there’s also for highlighting documents changing the columns, so this uh note application also works fairly well, so i can close it when i’m satisfied and organize all of my notes and also sync it to evernote. If i want to so let’s get out of that, other things on here include again just the ubuntu store. So if you want to take a quick look at that, you’ll notice that every single time the wi fi is working it’s thinking there is a little bar that’s going to be navigating left and right and when it’s done it’s fully loaded up, we can take a Look at some of their apps, so most most of these are either games or productivity based apps, you can see. Simon’S cat is on here, there’s a pokedex scope, so some of the more popular titles, maybe from android, are also going to be developed on this platform. But obviously the selection is a bit more lacking, but you can still do everything that you really want to in terms of working as well as some entertainment from here, and if you want to go, you know, watch videos or stream video. You can always try the browser directly because that works fairly well, so sliding on the left to the right here, there’s a second tab or a page of music specific applications, so it’s going to pull for you automatically popular album.
So we see rebecca ferguson here, there’s also bastille, and down below here, there’s popular tracks on youtube, so music, videos or mv’s. Sometimes, on a page, you can also pull up from the display to access more settings, such as managing specific tasks that i want to display on this page and you’ll see this occasionally on other programs as well. So, for instance, you saw on the calculator that i pulled up a few seconds ago that the same thing could be found. I could pull up to get more preferences and settings set up so it’s a another gesture that you can do from the bottom. Up of the display from each individual home page, you can then search up specific uh, maybe songs or music, for instance. One critique of this implementation is that there isn’t a universal, a search client, so all of your searches will be divided between things. Like you know, music, for instance, and if i swipe again to the right it’s going to take me to my video store, where i can look at popular videos and streaming services. So if i want to search through programs and all my apps that i have installed, it can’t be done in just this one place, you kind of have to remember which page you should be on to search for that specific content. So that’s one area where we can still see some work with ubuntu touch. Otherwise, if i want to take a look, some other applications on here, such as the phone dialer pad it’s, also fairly elegant, and you can see this is what it looks like.
I can pull up again to have a look at my recent calls, for instance, as well as my profile, let’s exit out of that and take a look at the settings next. This is what this page looks like again takes a few seconds to completely load, but i can change again things like rotation, lock, vpn, so most of these things can also be accessed directly through the drag down notification drawer. If i pull to the corresponding tab, but again you have a larger view of these things and mouse and touchpad so we’ll be taking a look at convergence next, basically, all you need to do is connect using bluetooth, for instance a mouse and maybe a keyboard to The phone connect a wirelessly to a monitor as well, and convergence will automatically start up, so that opens up this desktop versions of ubuntu, which is pretty cool about. So that gives me a bit more information about this os. How much memory is still available on your phone and so on so forth, so let’s, the camera app has a decent ui experience, it’s very simple: to use you can change the orientation, take an image or transition to the video recording. I can also view back my previously captured videos or images by swiping to the right uh. But again i have to make sure that i don’t swipe all the way from the corner or the edge otherwise that’s going to open up my multitasking drawer.
So i just swipe a little bit and that opens up that specific page. I can pull up again for more settings such as hd settings or resolution to turn on the flash on or off self timer turn on grids, for instance. So if i want a more accurate look at whatever i’m taking also hdr and geotagging services can be found for the image mode, so there’s a bit more settings there so again it’s very easy to get used to and to set up. So if we take a look at the clock next, i guess we’ll go through some more of how the ui, designed and designed and looks you’ll notice that it really just shares a lot of resemblance to just regular, desktop ubuntu. If you’ve opened up similar applications, there uh they are very similar in the dna and the structure, so it’s very elegant and beautiful again reminiscent of amigo in many ways because it’s all it was also a beautiful ui from the visual perspective, same thing with the calendar And with music, even with the weather, there we go with san francisco again, you have this really interesting symbolic representation of the temperature, as well as a bit of forecast information. You can also search up more cities. If i want to finally taking a look at the terminal, it’s a pretty standard affair, so all these standard, ubuntu or linux commands can be operated here. So, for instance, if i want to search up a specific document, i can use commands like ls cd to navigate copy files.
So everything is a lot. You know very similar to a desktop experience. I can bring up the keyboard down below here and tap tap on quicker commands, a control, r control c built on here. So this is a application also that might work slightly better in convergence mode on a larger display since it’s easier to type out. But you can see it is possible also just on this little phone display, which is also very fairly cool, so let’s go to the web browser next and check out how that works. It’S, a pretty swift browsing experience. It offers tab browsing incognito mode as well supports full flash elements in addition to more complex pages like new york times so desktop versions of sites. So indeed, we’re going to try doing a test of new york times, just to see how it renders a very complex page with moving elements. It looks like the mobile version is going to try to load first, but we can simply go to the bottom of the page and tap on classic site to get the regular version. So there we go, the page is starting to load. All the elements are present and it’s a fairly. You know good in terms of web browsing and reading content. You can also, of course, pinch in and out of pages, and it does refresh and reload a little bit to load to the size of the phone and from the top here. I can also tap on this tab for more things such as bookmarks.
I can share this page download things, go to the private mode or go to settings again, so it’s a very easy to use and the top is also you know, always going to be where the tab where the address bar is – and i can also go back Pretty easily, if i tap from the bottom up of the display that reveals a new tab screen and also shows my currently tabs current tabs open so again, it’s very cohesive in terms of the gestures always coming up from the bottom up or from the edges of The display, so it works, you know very well so overall that’s just i guess all the core features of ubuntu touch. You know all the core apps that you’ll find on here, many which share again dna with just a desktop version of ubuntu, which is no surprise, since you really want this to be similar to a regular ubuntu version, whether it’s, whether it’s, you know working on your Tablet, your phone, or maybe even the future, your smart watch. They just want everything to be in the same system, so it’s, cohesive and everything just works, just plugging in and going so. Overall, i have to say from a ui ux perspective.