Grant McWilliams

Tech Gadgets SailfishOS Intex Aqua Fish

Intex Aqua Fish

I've changed the menu title of this blog category from Jolla Other Half to SailfishOS because I got my new Intex Aqua Fish from India and it's running SailfishOS 2.0. 

It was really an act of desperation as I didn't want to resort to using Android and my Jolla Other Half had sustained a few drops with no replacements in sight since production had ended. The Jolla website listed the Jolla C (sea, get it?) but they had a tiny production run and were sold out. Come to find out the Jolla C is none other than the Intex Aqua Fish being manufactured in India. 

I ordered my Intex Aqua Fish from ebay India and had to jump through a few really weird hoops concerning Paisapal. Ebay India doesn't use Paypal, they use a system called Paisapal which wanted me to take a photo of my credit card and email it to them. That's a bit scary as we're relying on security through obscurity. When it appeared the request was legitimate I proceeded to take the photo of only the front, mask out the date and put it in a PDF.  This way it was a bit harder to find and thieves didn't have my CCV or expiration date. Still felt weird. 

A couple of days later the $81 for the phone and $20 for shipping were debited and a week after that I was the proud owner of a new Sailfish OS phone! 

 

I initially wasn't too excited about the Aqua Fish for three reasons.

1. It only supports 2G in the US.

Yes, that's right in Europe it's 4G LTE and in the US it's 2G Edge. I've learned to live with 2G though because all of my music resides on my SD card, I use Nokia Here for mapping and have pre-downloaded all of my maps, I use gpodder for podcasts which downloads podcasts ahead of time and I use Kaktus for my RSS feeds which also downloads all articles offline.  None of these things update unless I'm on wifi. I don't do OS updates unless I'm on wifi either. To add insult to injury AT&T will be retiring it's 2G network in January 2017 which only leaves T-Mobile's spotty service.

The only thing I'm using my mobile data for is messages, emails, social network notifications and web access when I want to look something up. Sure, I'd love to have 4G but I've learned to live without it. At some point I'll live in a country where I can have SailfishOS on 4G. That may be the US or it may be Europe, we'll see.  What it comes down to is I'd rather have SailfishOS on a slow network than Android on a fast one.

 

2. It's a budget phone

 I wasn't super excited about the Aqua Fish is it's specs. On paper this is a budget low end phone. However, even considering that it has double the ram, double the CPU power, double the screen resolution, 1/2 inch larger display, two sim cards and a bigger battery than my Jolla Other Half. No matter how I look at it this was an upgrade and would allow me to keep using SailfishOS for at least another year. Maybe by then the Turing Phone or another would be out.  

Although a lot of specs are missing here's the comparison charts between the two phones - http://www.devicespecifications.com/en/comparison/f2848d45e

 

3. No "Other Half" functionality.

The third reason was that the Aqua Fish didn't have the Other Half functionality. It looks like it has an other half but it's just a colored plastic back - nothing more. This bummed me as I had bought lego backs and a keyboard for my Jolla. 

 

I ordered the Aqua Fish anyway and when it arrived, I unboxed it and my first though was "Oh, it's a slightly larger Jolla OTH" and I put it away because I didn't have time to set it all up. 

Over the course of the next week I got it all configured and moved the content from my Jolla to it. Android makes this process much easier than Sailfish for sure. 

 

Once I started using the Aqua Fish I noticed a few differences. The Jolla came with the Yandex Android store which has tons of apps - except for all the ones you want. The first thing I did on the Jolla was install the 1mobile market store which got me those elusive apps I wanted. The Jolla didn't have Google Play services and shoehorning them wasn't very successful. I'd say about 60% of Android apps worked but sometimes they had issues like not being able access GPS etc..  

The Aqua Fish had an appstore just called Store with an Android icon that seems to be a repackaged Aptoide store. It has had everything I needed and also asked if I wanted to update Google Play services. What? It has them installed and they work! I never had to add the 1Mobile Market or anything. So far I'd say that 95% of all Android apps have worked out of the box with no fiddling. I have one that doesn't like the bar on screen with the menu and back button. Outside of that they've been perfect and GPS always works. I'm running the same version of SailfishOS on both the Jolla and the Aqua Fish but it seems Intex or Jolla made changes for the Aqua Fish. Good changes.

 

Another difference is the partner space - Jolla's plan is to make money on the partner space. Intex pays no license fees but gives Jolla pennies for purchases on the third desktop which would be running some sort of app. In my case it was the Gaana music service which supplied all the Bollywood music one would want. I just ignored the partner space until I noticed Gaana needed updated. Instead I uninstalled it and the third desktop and Bollywood Central just disappeared. Yep, uninstalling Gaana made my phone advertisement free. ;-)

 

How do I like my Aqua Fish? I really like it a lot.

All of my Android apps run wonderfully with the quad core and double ram. My Sailfish Apps positively fly. The screen is much brighter and sharper than the Jolla was and the sound is huge. I was listening to my music in the car and was wondering why it only sounded like it was coming from the middle dash speakers. I unplugged the headphone jack and nothing changed. My phone was loud enough that I actually thought I was listening to the car stereo speakers! I've never had that happen with a phone before. 

Also my battery life is much better. When I ran Android apps on the Jolla they really drained my battery. They still do because let's be honest here - it's Android - but battery life is much better. 

 

The only negatives are the 2G data network, no Other Half functionality, weird notification sounds, slippery case and on occasion the phone does weird things. I'll be listening to music and I'll bump the phone body and it will go to the next song. Is this designed in? I have no idea, I can't reproduce it.

I mentioned weird notification sounds. What are included are the most blaring, obnoxious notification sounds I've ever heard. You will not have a problem getting up in the morning. However, I've replaced them with the Jolla OTH sounds which I'll have details about in a future post.

The case is slippery just like the Jolla. With the Jolla I covered it with leather looking fabric. For the Aqua Fish I've ordered a tempered glass screen saver from Germany and grippy pads from Japan. My phone will be a world phone.

One last thing - it's bright Orange as is the software theme! I wasn't sure I'd like it but it's so unique I've kept it that way.