Review: The Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Touch phone

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Credit: Gael Aveline via Flickr/Creative Commons

Also in today's open source roundup: More performance or better battery life in Android phones? And the Stardew Valley farm game is available for Linux via Steam


DistroWatch reviews the Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Touch phone

When most people think of smartphones, they think of Android and iOS. But there are alternatives to those two mobile platforms. Enter the Meizu Pro 5 phone, which runs Ubuntu Touch as its operating system.

DistroWatch has a detailed review of the Maizu Pro Ubuntu Touch phone, and found it to be a pleasant alternative to Android and iOS phones.

Jesse Smith reports for DistroWatch:

…Ubuntu running on the Pro 5 offered me a pleasant phone and communications experience. Using the phone and the touchpad to navigate automated services worked very well. Texting worked well too and I found I liked typing on the Ubuntu keyboard a little more than the Android keyboard. After two days with Ubuntu I was making fewer typos than I did after 18 months with the Android on-screen keyboard. I was a little concerned at first with the size of the Pro 5, it is taller than any phone I have owned in the past. However, the Pro 5 is also lighter. This made it a squeeze to get it into my pocket, but pleasant to hold in my hand.

It took me a while to get used to the difference between using scopes and running applications. Scopes are a slightly unusual concept in the smart phone market, but I grew to appreciate the idea. What eventually gave me the “a-ha” moment when it came to scopes was when I realized scopes are for looking at information and apps for doing things. Scopes are always on, always waiting in the background to provide us with small bits of data. Applications are for performing tasks. A scope will tell me what is on my calendar for the day, an application will create new appointments. A scope will tell me who called me recently while an app will place a new call.

…the Ubuntu phone takes a user-oriented or, perhaps more accurately, an information-oriented approach while Android and iOS take an application-focused approach. People who use Android or iOS are probably familiar with the phrase, “There’s an app for that.” When I wake up in the morning and look at my Android phone I go through a series of apps. I want to reply to texts, so I go to the messaging app. When I want to check my schedule for the day, I open the calendar app. If I want to see what the weather will be for the next two days, I open another app. With Ubuntu the phone gathers the information I want and presents it to me in one location. In the morning I check my Ubuntu phone and the Today scope (the default screen) shows my calendar appointments for the day, a weather forecast and text messages all on one page. I can reply to messages by tapping the text bubble and replying to it right in the notification area. If I want to look at my Twitter feed, it’s a swipe to the left, I don’t need to open another application. My point is, Android and iOS users need lots of applications to perform tasks while Ubuntu does its best to bring the information we want to us in one place. Ubuntu may not have as many apps, but it tends not to require them as much either.

Ubuntu’s mobile operating system does indeed offer features Linux enthusiasts will like such as regular software updates, easy to manage application permissions and a powerful command line. However, the phone’s appeal to non-Linux users should not be overlooked. Ubuntu is ad-free, the devices are generally well priced for the hardware, the interface is pleasantly responsive and scopes are an idea which seems to appeal to a range of people. I am quite pleased with the device and I plan to make my next mobile device one that is powered by Ubuntu.

More at DistroWatch

More performance or better battery life in Android phones?

Android users sometimes disagree whether their phones need more performance or better battery life. This topic recently came up in a thread on the Android subreddit, and folks there weren’t shy about sharing their opinions.

Here are some of the comments posted in the thread:

HC_Tech: “How many people give a damn about more performance? How about more battery life?”

Anti_bhakt: “The reason you feel like this is because there aren’t many cpu intensive games or apps right now in the play store. And it doesn’t make sense for developers to start making higher quality games or more cpu intensive apps because they want to reach a larger audience including those running low and mid tier hardware. But that doesn’t mean that chip manufacturers stop improving performance. ”

Cormang: “With improved performance of new chips comes battery improvements. Faster chips are typically more efficient which leads to improved battery. But yes, I feel your pain. With that said, my Nexus 6p has been the best phone and battery I’ve owned in many years. ”

Fraba: “I agree, I would prefer better battery.

But not in sacrificing performance. Give a a phone that’s 9 instead of 7 mm and fill the additional 2mm with battery.

At least for me, the most power does not go apps, but the screen. By far. Why would I compromise on the CPU when the largest part of battery doesn’t goes to the CPU but the display?

I have absolutely no problems to reach 3 days when I don’t turn on the screen. But I don’t need a smartphone if I don’t turn on the screen, so…”

Yreisolgakig: “I’d much rather have more battery performance, I very rarely actually think to myself “This isn’t performing well enough, I need a better processor,” but I want better batter life a lot more.”

Selfiemachine69: “I don’t think there’s a tradeoff between processor quality and battery life. Processors will work at lower power if they aren’t needed to run at higher power, AND they’re more efficient than mid-range chips due to their superior architecture. The real issue is that major manufacturers keep making thinner phones with smaller batteries that aren’t removable. ”

Snipes0310: “I think crappy, deteriorating, and non replaceable battery is how they get you to buy a new one. I’m still using my note 3 with an extended battery. Never had to worry about battery and performance is great (once I figured how to mitigate TouchWiz issues).”

WellAdjustedOutlaw: “Well, people keep buying faster performing phones, so manufacturers keep making them. Motorola tried to limit feature creep with the Moto X line, but Lenovo ruined that.

My battery in my Nexus 6p lasts more than 36 hours that I’ve tested, and the battery predictor usually predicts that the phone would last more than 48 hours. Doze makes a huge difference, and the updated Doze in “N” is even better than Marshmallow.

These devices are being used as platforms for augmented reality, complex photo processing, GIS data processing, etc. The faster these functions can be completed, the quicker the CPU can go into a power saving mode. Most of the “faster” CPUs are even drawing less power than their slower predecessors. So, really, it’s just a matter of improving technology.”

Narwhalbaconguy: “Trust me, you do need good performance over battery life. My phone has EXCELLENT battery life that’s possibly overkill, having over 7 hours of SoT, and can basically last forever. The only problem is, IT’S TOTAL TRASH. You can barely run the most basic apps, and more than half the time the camera fails to run.”

Cdubb1: “Absolutely agree. Most processors these days are completely adequate and OEM’s priorities are completely wrong. Work towards 3 days of battery life instead of 10GB of RAM.”

More at Reddit

Stardew Valley farm RPG is available for Linux via Steam

Linux gamers have been blessed with many great games in recent years, and now you can add Stardew Valley to the list. Stardew Valley is a country-life RPG that should please many Linux gamers, and you can get it right now on Steam.

The Stardew Valley site has details about the game:

You’ve inherited your grandfather’s old farm plot in Stardew Valley. Armed with hand-me-down tools and a few coins, you set out to begin your new life. Can you learn to live off the land and turn these overgrown fields into a thriving home?

It won’t be easy. Ever since Joja Corporation came to town, the old ways of life have all but disappeared. The community center, once the town’s most vibrant hub of activity, now lies in shambles. But the valley seems full of opportunity. With a little dedication, you might just be the one to restore Stardew Valley to greatness!

Raise animals, grow crops, start an orchard, craft useful machines, and more! You’ll have plenty of space to create the farm of your dreams.

As you make your way from a struggling greenhorn to a master farmer, you’ll level up in 5 different areas: farming, mining, combat, fishing, and foraging. As you progress, you’ll learn new cooking and crafting recipes, unlock new areas to explore, and customize your skills by choosing from a variety of professions.

More at Stardew Valley

And here’s the official Stardew Valley trailer to give you a taste of what the game has to offer:

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