The amazing Jio phone was the most anticipated phone product in India in 2017 because it was endowed with a rich feature set for such a small package. It is defined as a “feature phone” rather than a “smartphone”, mainly because it does not have a touch screen. However, feature phone shipments in 2018 in India overtook those of smartphones, and that was largely due to the Reliance Jio Phone.
This Jio phone was the very first iteration released by the Reliance company. They have now superseded this model with the Jio Phone 2, however, this model remains the most popular. and has began accepting pre orders in August 2017, promising delivery in September 2017.
The Jio phone is a unique phone that looks like a basic feature phone, but its specifications are well suited to perform a variety of functions such as playing movies and songs with the ability to support a wide variety of apps using it’s KaiOS operating system.
The tariffs are also favourable for India with most offering various amounts of bundled data.
Let’s consider what it feels like to live with the Jio phone…
Look and Feel
At first-glance, the Jio phone is easy to describe. It has a durable, plastic case with a fairly small screen. The numeric pad keypad on the front is handy and easy to use. The sides are just well-curved enough to offer the right comfort in the hand. It’s also very portable, mainly due to it’s small size and light weight.
With a 2.4 inched screen that has a resolution power of 240 by 320 pixels, it may really not offer that best clarity like a standard smart-phones, but it is very useable. Other features are the front VGA camera, recessed ear-speaker, two function buttons including the d-pad, call and the number buttons. The buttons are just very effective and they are very responsive during the pressing.
At the back, there isn’t much to talk about except for the loudspeaker and the 2 mp camera. Other features worth mentioning are the removable rear cover and the The 2000 mAh battery that’s exposed when the cover is removed. It also has two removable nano sim cards slots and an SD card slot. At the bottom, you get the micro USB port and also a headphone socket. LED torch is also available and can be tun on by long pressing the D-pad button. You can read the full specifications here.
The Jio phone box contains the accessories such as the charger and the micro USB cable. Notably, the pre-installed Jio Phone sim is available and will actually work when it is activated.
Specifications and Software
The Jio phone is a feature phone but its specifications are modern. What powers the phone is the dual-core processor from the Qualcomm or Spreadtrum. For storage, you get the 512MB RAM and 4GB internal storage. The Operating System reserves around 1 GB for the apps but you also have a micro SD slot that will support even up to 32GB. Files can be transferred from the USB cable.
Regarding connectivity, the phone sports both WIFI and Bluetooth connections. These features enable effective and fast file transfer. It also allows for music streeaming and internet access. As it supports the 4G and also voLTE wireless data modes you get a fast data connection. Due to a recent upgrade, you can now use it as a hot spot.
For the operating system, the Jio phone uses kaiOS. This OS has undergone major enhancements in recent versions and has really improved. You are presented with an easy to use interface, with a grid style menu that has very easy to identify icons. The D-pad is the key button area that allows easy navigation. There is an app store known as the Jiostore and has only the Jio-compatible apps, Although Facebook, Whatsapp and some other popular apps are now available.
The buttons can really be customised to perform other tasks and the four home screen buttons can actually double up as shortcut buttons. Alert buttons are actually located in the same position and the left function key can be used to access them. The settings are really well laid out and you can easily access the options. For software updates, you can use the software update feature which make it easy.
Jio phone has good geo-location features that use the GPS together with cell tower triangulation and can also pinpoint locations using available WIFI data. For the SOS emergency function, the user can long press button 5 on the number pad so as to send an SOS message that will send along your GPS coordinates to the intended contacts. Mobile payments are facilitated by NFC though that feature was not actually functional at the time the phone was released.
You will have an easy time using the Jio Phone’s user-friendly features. For example, contacts are auto-suggested when you start typing. In case you decide to make a video call, it is easily achieved by simply long pressing the call button. Detailed, granular settings and also privacy settings are available in the settings menu. However, you might want to turn off the keypad tones as they could become annoying.
Smaller apps are built-in such as the calculator, the unit converter, video player, the FM radio and also the gallery apps. All these apps are free and really functional.
It is worth noting that streaming videos with this phone may not be that much fun due to its small screen, however it is still useable. For video streaming, it only plays in landscape mode while videos stored in the micro SD card will actually play in the portrait format.
A TV cable accessory would be a great upgrade that would allow for maximum convenience while viewing video stored on the phone. Some issues have been reported concerning the adjustment of volume since it lacks the physical buttons for the purpose.
Pressing the D-pad select button will activate the voice assistant called HelloJio. This amazing app understands basic commands to dial a contact by their name or even launch a specific app. The only shortcoming is its fairly slow performance, but it is very useful for those who cannot use the menu system.
If you are into social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp, the Jio Phone can cater for you due to recent app-store releases. You can now install the Facebook App. You can get only use Telegram as the web version of the messaging app, but the phone does now have an upgrade which allows you to install the Youtube app!
Performance, Battery life and Camera
The performance of the Jio Phone will really not match a smartphone but the experience will really not be so bad. In fact it is rather good. For example, it can actually play HD videos effectively. The speed of social and streaming apps will entirely depend on the network coverage. Good network coverage means faster streaming.
For the 2 megapixel camera, Reliance offer two options for the front and the back but still, it’s not really a big deal since it only takes still photos. The software app is used to rotate the cameras. All shots are taken in the portrait orientation.
The resolution power of the 2-megapixel photos is 1600px by 1200px, which is pretty good. Detail for the landscape mode photos may be lacking, as they are produced with a little noise. Ensure that your hand is always steady for a good shot and that there is sufficient lighting and you should be good to go.
Photos may look better in the phone than on the computer because of the resolution, but luckily you can adjust this for a better viewing. Actually, everything regarding photos could be better on this phone, but it is good enough for the price.
For selfies, the Jio Phone is again, not comparable with modern smartphones. The images will be a little blurred unless your hand is really very steady. The maximum resolution we you can get on the front-facing camera is 352px by 288px so it’s really far below the smart-phone standards. However, it is still good enough for the price!
One of the exceptional features has to be the battery life. This phone can last for more than four days under constant use. The power drainage is really good and you don’t expect to be charging it on a frequent basis. When all factors such as calling, surfing, Internet connectivity and any other function are considered, and the phone will still last for more than four days, that’s amazing!
To conclude, the Jio Phone does target first time mobile users who may have never touched a smartphone or even a computer. It’s for those who do not want to be bothered with technology and just want to have a useable internet phone.
It’s a great little phone at a great price, what more could one ask for?!