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Review: Unihertz Jelly 2E

This tiny smartphone has some nice touches, but is it worth buying?

Unihertz Jelly 2E cellphone
Image: Matthew Hughes / KnowTechie

[letsreview postid=”258341″]

Unihertz is arguably the weirdest phone company in existence. It knows that, of course.

Since its inception in 2016, the company has won fans and headlines through its highly-niche devices, like the Unihertz TickTock 5G.

Today’s specimen is no exception. KnowTechie got its hands on the company’s latest miniature phone, the Unihertz Jelly 2E. We covered its predecessor a few years ago.

Short on time? Jump ahead

Quick Verdict
Unihertz Jelly 2E
3.5
$169.99
The Unihertz Jelly 2E is a tiny, credit card-sized phone. Practical, yet impractical. As a digital detox phone or a backup device u002du002d it's hard to fault the Unihertz Jelly 2E. But if your ambitions are grander, this phone is not for you. It's clever but limited.
See at Unihertz See at AliExpress
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.

While the Unihertz Jelly 2E doesn’t break much new ground compared to previous models, it remains an eye-catching and weirdly practical device, but one that’s totally and unrepentantly bonkers.

But what was it like to use this phone on a daily basis? Is it worth using? Better yet, is it worth buying? That’s the question we’re going to tackle today.

The Specs

Dimensions:95 × 49.4 × 16.5 mm
Weight:110 g (With Battery)
CPU:A20 MT6761D Quad-Core 1.8GHz
OS:Android 12
Memory:4GB + 64GB (eMMC + LPDDR4X)
Battery:Non-Removable 2000mAh Battery
SIM CardType: Dual Nano SIM Card
Micro SD:Yes
Card Slot:SIM 1 + Hybrid (SIM or MicroSD)
Cover Glass:Corning Gorilla Glass
Display Size:3.0 inch
Resolution:480 × 854 pixels
Rear Camera:16MP AF
Front Camera:8MP FF

When you shrink the dimensions of a phone, you inevitably limit its capabilities. Batteries, cooling systems, and multi-sensor camera arrays take up space. A lot of space.

Like the previous model, the Unihertz Jelly 2E is a living testament to that point.

If you’re spoiled by the amenities of the modern (or rather, conventional) smartphone industry, this device will leave you wanting.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s underpowered. Even with the performance trade-offs that its credit card-sized frame requires, the Unihertz Jelly 2E is more than capable of day-to-day tasks.

That said, it does suffer from a fair degree of sluggishness.

person holding  the Unihertz Jelly 2E cellphone
Image: Matthew Hughes

Many of the headline specs on the Jelly 2E are actually a downgrade from its predecessor. The MediaTek A20 is vastly less powerful than the Helio P60 in the previous model.

It comes with 2GB less RAM than the previous model, and storage is half that on the older Unihertz Jelly 2.

Indeed, most aspects of the device remain unchanged from the previous Jelly 2 device. The form factor is unchanged. The battery size is the same. And it looks and feels identical to the previous model.

Nice touches

But looking and feeling nearly identical isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Unihertz also preserved the weirdly useful elements that elevated the original Jelly 2 phone beyond gimmickry.

The IR blaster remains. This is a lovely little addition since it lets you use the phone as an ad-hoc TV remote control. It’s something we’d love to see across more devices.

READ MORE: Review: Infinix Zero Ultra

Given that you’ll likely want to spend as little time as possible using this phone’s diminutive 3.3-inch screen, the physical headphone jack is also welcome.

In practice, it means you can listen to your tracks without fiddling with the Bluetooth settings and switch songs by using the built-in remote control on your headphones.

Practical impracticality

The first Android device I owned mirrored the Unihertz Jelly 2E in many respects. It was the Sony Xperia X10 Mini. And I hated, hated, hated it.

Like the Unihertz Jelly 2E, it touted a tiny screen that measured 2.55 inches across. But, from a usability perspective, it was a nightmare.

It forced you to type using a T9 keyboard, like the ones found on an old-school phone, which was tedious beyond words. It was slow and clunky.

On a really basic level, the Sony Xperia X10 Mini was a nightmare to use.

I can’t say the same thing about the Unihertz Jelly 2E. If you set your expectations low enough, it’s something you can learn to live with — and perhaps even love.

Unihertz Jelly 2E cellphone on grass outdoors.
Image: Matthew Hughes / KnowTechie

Although small, it’s big enough to show a normal QWERTY keyboard. You won’t type with the same cadence as on a conventional phone, but it’s good enough for the occasional text.

Some usability flaws are unavoidable. Good luck trying to read long emails and documents on the Jelly 2E. You can’t. At least, not without also feeling really uncomfortable.

But Unihertz softens the blow with a few nice touches. One is the inclusion of a physical hotkey that can trigger pre-defined apps or behaviors.

Unihertz Jelly 2E phone on table
Image: Matthew Hughes / KnowTechie

Unihertz doesn’t take a particularly hands-on role in customizing the pre-installed Android 12 OS. But the changes it does make are sensible, proportionate, and beneficial.

Performance

Unihertz explicitly markets the Jelly 2E as a companion phone.

Something you’d use when trying to wean yourself from your existing phone, but you can’t (or won’t) make the full jump to old-school feature phones, like one of Nokia’s reborn classics.

Or, as a device that you won’t really mind losing. Something slightly above a burner phone. A smartphone for festivals or camping, where you don’t want to risk your everyday carry device.

With that in mind, focusing too much on the phone’s lethargic specs is unfair.

And so, I’ll mention them in passing. The original Unihertz Jelly 2 impressed us with its ability to handle day-to-day tasks with aplomb, despite its small frame.

Unihertz Jelly 2E against a lamp and the box on table.
Image: Matthew Hughes / KnowTechie

The Jelly 2E, on the other hand, struggles. Applications take noticeably longer to load. It can’t multitask as well as its predecessor. You can do stuff, sure. But it’s not a fun or fluid experience.

To illustrate that point, the phone took almost eight seconds to bring up the Wi-Fi password prompt during setup.

Unlike the original Jelly 2, I didn’t bother trying to run any intensive games because what would be the point?

The camera similarly fails to impress, with pictures looking flat and stagnant.

flower pot picture
Image: Matthew Hughes / KnowTechie

On most devices, that would be a deal-breaker. But, as I mentioned, the Unihertz Jelly 2E isn’t “most devices.” Realistically, you won’t be capturing life’s finest moments with this phone.

It won’t be the tool that earns you the photography world’s most prestigious awards.

Final Verdict

Unihertz Jelly 2E cellphone back against its box next to a bag of cookies
Image: Matthew Hughes / KnowTechie

So, to recap: The Unihertz Jelly 2E is a tiny, credit card-sized phone. It’s clever but limited. Practical, yet impractical.

Specs-wise, this model represents a major downgrade from the previous version. But it also comes cheaper than the original Unihertz Jelly 2.

Still, for most people, I’d recommend considering the pricier option. It’s just so much less frustrating.

For its stated purpose — as a digital detox phone or a backup device — it’s hard to fault the Unihertz Jelly 2E. But if your ambitions are grander, this phone is not for you.

Alternatives options to consider

Despite its niche status, there is no shortage of alternatives to the Unihertz 2E. The most obvious is the Unihertz Jelly 2.

This device has the same form and aesthetic as the newer Unihertz Jelly 2E, but touts stronger internals, more RAM, better storage, and a faster processor.

The Unihertz Jelly 2 costs $199.99 – $40 more than the Unihertz Jelly 2E.

I’d also consider the AGM H5 Pro. It’s a conventional (albeit rugged and shockingly heavy) phone with plenty of quirks.

Its most charming feature is a massive loudspeaker that pokes out of the rear like a pimple. Like the Unihertz Jelly 2E, this device is tacitly promoted as a backup device rather than for day-to-day usage.

Finally, if you’re looking for a digital detox device, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Nokia’s many reborn classics, like the 3310 and the 8210.

These are vastly cheaper than the Unihertz Jelly 2E, although their global availability remains somewhat of a mixed bag.

Where to buy the Unihertz Jelly 2E

At the time of writing, the Unihertz Jelly 2E is yet to appear on Amazon. You can buy the device directly from Unihertz, which will save you $160.

As for availability, units start shipping in December. After that point, the phone’s price will rise to $170.\

Final Verdict
Unihertz Jelly 2E
3.5
$169.99
While the Unihertz Jelly 2E doesn't break much new ground compared to previous models, it remains an eye-catching and weirdly practical device, but one that's totally and unrepentantly bonkers.
See at Unihertz See at AliExpress
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.

Editors’ Recommendations:

Just a heads up, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale. It’s one of the ways we keep the lights on here. Click here for more.

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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.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Quarlo

    May 28, 2023 at 12:40 am

    It’s a burner phone. Due to it’s tiny size, it so quickly and easily disappears from my life at the end of the work day.

    • Kevin Raposo

      May 30, 2023 at 9:13 am

      That’s nice, I would really love to have one of these for my personal phones

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