Jio Phone is easily among the most anticipated mobile phones in recent history, a mass market handset that offers high-speed 4G Internet access with VoLTE feature and smartphone-like features without burning a hole in the pocket. In fact, Jio Phone is essentially free, though there is a Rs 1,500 deposit that buyers need to make. Phone unveiled on July 21, it wasn’t until August 24 that the handset went up for pre-orders, but deliveries have reportedly just started and will be completed by Diwali for the 6 million peoples who pre-booked it. We have managed to get our hands on a Jio Phone unit, and here are our first impressions.
Jio Phone Design and Network Performance
The Jio Phone feels completely different. It is a feature phone and is built like a standard candybar with a small screen and numeric keypad. It is small and very comfortable to hold. Considering its price, we must say that this phone feels well-built. The quality of plastic used is good and the rubber buttons offer good clicky feedback. The 2.4 inches display has a resolution of 240×320 pixels.
Offers high-speed 4G Internet access with VoLTE feature, the phone also consists of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality but the Wi-Fi Hotspot has not been noticed yet.
At the back, there’s a 2-megapixel camera and a loudspeaker. There’s also a VGA camera in the front. The Jio Phone has a Micro-USB port for charging, and comes with a charger that has a fixed USB cable. It also has a 3.5mm headphone jack. The back cover of the Jio Phone can come off to reveal the removable 2000mAh battery. There’s a Nano-SIM slot and a microSD card slot that accepts cards of up to 128GB.
Jio Phone Operating System and UI
The Jio Phone runs on KaiOS which is a new mobile operating system. You get a grid-style menu of app icons which are easy enough to understand. The D-pad makes navigation simple. Each of the D-pad buttons also doubles as a shortcut to quickly launch specific applications. Basic functionality like calling is super-fast and the phone could place a call very quickly on the Jio VoLTE network.
Of course, Jio Apps are preinstalled, including JioMusic, JioTV, JioCinema, JioMoney Wallet and more. JioStore is the app store which lists eight Jio services including the preinstalled ones. Popular apps such as Facebook, YouTube and Whatsapp aren’t available just yet but are expected to arrive soon. You can use the inbuilt Web browser to access both Facebook and YouTube without any problem. Long-pressing the D-pad’s centre button launches the voice assistant feature. It can handle basic voice commands to let you call or open a message to contacts, or launch apps. We tried it out in Hindi as well as English, and found that it did deliver results in both languages.
In terms of Camera, need a very steady hand or photos would come out blurry. Photos have a resolution of 1600×1200, while videos are recorded at 320×240 pixels. The front camera takes 640×480 pixel stills.