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First look: The Unihertz Jelly 2 is allegedly the world’s smallest 4G phone- it’s also not terrible

The screen size comes in at a whopping 3 inches.

jelly 2 smartphone in-hand
Image: Matt Hughes / KnowTechie

It’s hard to grasp how tiny the Unihertz Jelly 2 is until you place it next to something. It’s about twice the width of a cigarette lighter, and just as tall. Or, it’s two-and-a-half sauce pots from McDonald’s.

Unihertz reckons it’s the world’s smallest 4G smartphone, and while I can’t independently verify that claim, it feels about right. This phone is tiny. And yet, I don’t hate it.

Sure, it’s undeniably gimmicky. You’d expect as much from Unihertz, which has a reputation for crowdfunding bonkers phone designs that wouldn’t otherwise get a glance from other smartphone vendors. Last year, it released a rugged, Android-powered version of the BlackBerry Passport — itself a hugely divisive phone.

But for something as implausibly niche at the Jelly 2, it’s perversely functional, performing as strongly as a bog-standard budget handset.

Honey, I shrunk the phone

unihertz jelly 2 smartphone
Image: Matt Hughes / KnowTechie

The Unihertz Jelly 2 confronts you with its diminutive size when you first turn it on and are prompted by the Android setup screen to connect to your Wi-Fi network. I remember wondering whether I would actually be able to key in my password.

And yet, I was. Sure, it looks intimidating, but the stock Google virtual keyboard proved adept at interpreting my presses. I managed to key in the entire password without having to make any corrections. Keypresses are affirmed with lovely haptic buzzes, which feel particularly pronounced given the size of this thing.

But while inputting text is straightforward, I did notice elements of the Android UI struggled to coexist with the tiny display (which, to use another visual metaphor, is slightly double the size of that on my Fitbit Versa 2 watch). Pop-up notifications take up the entire screen, while articles aren’t quite as easy to consume.

That’s hardly surprising, given the default resolution used by the Jelly 2 is an unusual 480×854. It’s also not the sharpest we’ve ever seen, with a pixel density of just 220 PPI. Color fidelity is also fairly poor, with black colors emitting a weird blue hue that you only get with cheap panels. It’s also perceptibly dim, and proved hard to view in low-light conditions. There’s so much glare, you’d rightfully assume it was angry with you.

unihertz jelly 2 smartphone
Image: Matt Hughes / KnowTechie

Still, out of morbid curiosity, I decided to subject myself to a game of Call of Duty: Mobile and found it almost playable. Of course, games (and movies) tend to be more scalable than written text, so I’m not sure how much you can read into this.

Pocket powerhouse

You could have reasonably expected Unihertz to opt for an ultra-low-power chipset with the Jelly 2, given the smaller footprint (and thus, limited space for a battery). Despite that, it comes with a reasonably potent MediaTek Helio P60 platform, paired with a generous amount of RAM and ROM (6GB and 128GB respectively).

As a result, the Jelly 2 feels remarkably brisk, competently handing media-rich websites and graphically intensive games alike. Sure, it’s not the fastest phone I’ve ever used, but it’s certainly competent.

You also get a decent array of accouterments, with the Jelly 2 packing a 3.5mm headphone jack, an IR blaster, and a fingerprint reader. There’s also a volume rocker, plus a secondary button that serves as a shortcut for the phone’s flashlight and screenshot functionality.

unihertz jelly 2 smartphone on table
Image: Matt Hughes / KnowTechie

Charging comes via USB-C, which is nice. However, the Jelly 2’s battery life is fleeting. In our testing, endurance proved to be a concern, prompting multiple trips to a power outlet throughout the day.

As you’d expect with a phone this size, there’s only a solitary camera, with a 16MP resolution. Shots are grainy and low-quality, with low-light shots producing more noise than a Megadeath concert.

At the bottom of the device, you’ll spot two speakers. That was a touch surprising, given larger phones often come with just one. Quality, however, left much to be desired, with the Jelly 2 sounding tinny and shrill at times.

Who is the Jelly 2 for?

At one point, it was unusual for phones to ship with displays measuring over 6-inches. Now, that’s the norm, making the Jelly 2 feel especially unusual. Still, given this phone is a sequel, there’s clearly a market for it.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: the Jelly 2 would make an excellent clandestine phone for someone serving time. I thought that, until a reliably-informed friend told me that new prisoners are scanned upon intake with an X-ray chair, which can easily detect hidden contraband.

Festival-goers, perhaps, might find this handy. Or, rather, they would have, if not for that pesky Covid-19.

Yeah, I’m at a loss. Still, if you’re tempted, you’ll be able to order one when Unihertz launches the Jelly 2 crowdfunding campaign next month. Pricing details — as well as an official launch date — are yet to be announced, but we’ll update this post when we know more.

What do you think? Any interest in this Unihertz Jelly 2 smartphone? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Past work can be found on The Register, Reason, The Next Web, and Wired.

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