In an era where phones seem to be getting bigger and thinner, the Jolla is an odd one out – it is smaller in length than other flagship devices and definitely on the tubby side. Hardly surprising when you consider that the company’s motto is “we are unlike.” And you have to hand that to the Jolla phone: it is pretty much unlike anything on the market.

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For one, there is almost no branding on the device – there is just a tiny “Jolla” on the top left corner, written in near-microscopic font. The front is all about the 4.5 inch qHD (960 x 540) display with a speaker grille and 2.0-megapixel camera above it. And well, there are absolutely no buttons – not even digital ones – anywhere on the front of the device. That is because the phone operates on the Sailfish OS, which pretty much relies on taps and swipes for navigation – you unlock the phone by double tapping on the locked screen, you tap to open an app, swipe towards the display from the side to return to the homescreen, swipe downwards to take a call and so on.

In terms of buttons, there are only two – the volume rocker and display/power on/off buttons, both of which are on the right side of the device. The 3.5 mm audio jack and micro USB port are right on top of the device, and the 8.0-megapixel camera with flash are on the back. The phone itself seems pretty solidly built, and at 141 grammes is a bit on the heavy side, but reassuringly so.

The entire phone is made of plastic and when viewed from the side, seems to comprise two different blocks, making it look a lot thicker than its 9.9 mm width. That is because of the Other Half concept, which allows you to not only change the back cover but also customise apps and interfaces to go along with it.

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No, we don’t see it winning design awards yet, but there is something of Ye Olde Reliable about the build and design of the Jolla phone. And from what we have seen, the interface looks the most innovative we have seen in a while (well, since BB 10 certainly). The hardware is respectable (dual core Qualcomm processor, 1 GB RAM, 16GB storage, with the option to expand it using a memory card), and the software seems very smooth from what we have seen so far, although we have not yet tested Jolla co-founder Marc Dillon’s claim that the phone will run Android apps better than Android devices themselves.

What we can say is that for Rs.16,499, the first Jolla phone looks… interesting. A whole lot more interesting than some of the high-profile Android devices we have seen of late. Mainly because, it is unlike them. Very unlike them.

We are unlike, indeed. On first impressions, we like that. Stay tuned for a review.

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Associate Editor

Nimish Dubey has been writing for more than a decade now (well, Windows 3.1 was around and Apple was on the verge of being finished when he started). He has been published in a number of publications including The Times of India, Mint, The Economic Times, Mid-Day and Femina on subjects that vary from tech write -ups to book reviews to music album round ups. He managed to interview Michael Schumacher once and write two books for young adults along the way.