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Jolla Tablet review

Michael Sawh



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Our Score:



  • Sailfish OS looks great on a tablet
  • Welcome Android app support
  • Good quality screen


  • Slightly creaky build quality
  • Easy to get grubby
  • Sluggish performance in places
  • Not fit for playing high end games
  • Jolla Store lacks high profile apps

Key Features

  • 7.85-inch 2048x1536 IPS display with 330 ppi resolution
  • 5-megapixel rear camera
  • Intel Atom Processor Z3735F quad-core processor
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32/64 GB storage options
  • microSD card slot up to 128GB
  • Runs on Linux-based Sailfish OS 2.0
  • Android app support
  • 4450mAh battery
  • Manufacturer: Jolla
  • Review Price: £187.00

What is the Jolla Tablet?

The Jolla tablet is a 7.9-inch (ish) tablet that's very different to any Android, Windows 10 tablet or iPad you've seen. It's packed with a gesture-based operating system called Sailfish. If you haven't heard of Sailfish, it's a Linux-based platform that's been developed by former Nokia and Intel employees, evolving from the MeeGo OS that Nokia abandoned many years ago.

This is the Finnish company's first ever tablet and was built after the firm raised a monumental $2.5m through crowdfunding website Indiegogo. Priced at an affordable £188, the Jolla tablet certainly makes a better impression than the Jolla Sailfish OS smartphone did. But has Jolla done enough this time to give Apple, Google and Microsoft something to worry about?

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Jolla Tablet – Design

If you want a good idea of how the Jolla tablet measures up to the competition, it's very similar in size to the iPad Mini 3. Unlike Apple's tablet, it lacks the same, stylish exterior and spotless build quality. There's no metal here, it's an all-plastic affair. It's not cheap and tacky, but it's has a more mid-range Android tablet feel than something as polished as an iPad, or one of Samsung's flagship tablets.

Jolla does at least try to make the most of that plastic body. Around the back there's a matte black finish with the Jolla logo centre stage and the 5-megapixel camera tucked up into the corner. At the bottom you'll find dual stereo speakers. Up front, you've got a black bezel that's thicker above and below the screen with the front-facing camera sensor the only redeeming feature breaking up an otherwise plain, clean look. There are no physical buttons but that's not surprising for a software approach that negates the need for them.

Jolla mixes the colours up adding a flat white plastic on the tablet's trim and that's where you'll find the standby button and volume rocker tucked up on the left hand side. The micro USB charging port and micro SD card slot are over on the right. That expandable storage will give you add an extra 128GB to the tablet's in-built 32GB or 64GB of space. That should be plenty of room for storing content for most. The headphone jack is easy to miss, but that's nicely tucked away inside one of the curved corners.

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At 8.3mm thick and weighing in at 384g, it's not the slimmest or the lightest tablet, but it's comfortable to hold in one hand. It's pretty wide though, which makes it a stretch to hold in the palm of your hand. The most worrying aspect about the Jolla tablet is the creaking build quality, which is most noticeable near the top end of the tablet. I've not had any issues, but I'd be concerned how it would react to more generous pressure.

Jolla has officially unveiled a host of additional accessories for its tablet and it definitely could do with a case based on my experience. My review sample already has signs of wear with the black plastic chipping away on the back. The top and bottom ends of the tablet can quickly get grubby – as I found when I accidentally leaked a pen over it in my bag, which stained the corners of the body.

Overall, it's a nice-looking but pretty uninspiring tablet. Samsung and Apple certainly won't be quaking in their boots that's for sure.

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Jolla Tablet – Screen

With the Jolla tablet's display, the comparisons continue with the iPad Mini 3. At least with the specs sheet. There's an 7.85-inch IPS LCD screen making it marginally smaller than the Apple tablet's. But it does pack the same screen technology with a 2048x1536 resolution and 330 ppi pixel density – the same as the Mini. The screen offers a solid viewing experience overall especially married with Jolla's heavily stylised OS. It's sharp, with no signs of pixellation. But there's still room for improvement.

Side by side with an iPad Mini 3, whites are not exceptionally accurate. Images and web pages simply don't pop in the same satisfying way as an AMOLED screen. I'd have much preferred it if the maximum brightness had been cranked up a notch as things have a tendency to feel a little dingy. That's not helped by the fact that the Sailfish UI predominantly favours darker, richer tones and colours.

For watching video, black levels and contrast make a good impression. Colours are not over saturated as can be the case on AMOLED-packing tablets. Making my way through a big session of Parks and Recreation on Netflix, it's a more than capable tablet for a box set binge. Viewing angles are strong as well with no noticeable drop in image quality when you're watching from more acute angles.

Jolla's display largely covers the bases well, just don't expect anything groundbreaking. That's hardly surprising though when you keep in mind that this is a sub-£200 tablet.

Anand Radhakrishnan

March 5, 2015, 1:27 pm

I use Jolla phone as my primary device and am quite happy with the gesture driven SailfishOS. True to its tagline, Jolla mobile is really unique and has clear, consistent, well-thought out design giving all focus on user experience. Admittedly, has a steep learning curve and needs some time to get accustomed to the gesture based design.
Fortunately there is a tutorial installed by default and helps in trying out the different gestures. However, once you get used to it, you can multi-task without any hassles. Once you learn the ropes, every task is really a swipe / flick / pull away. A crude analogy would be akin to learning to change gears in bike for first time, the mechanism seems
confusing but with little practice we can ride the bike without any conscious effort. :)


March 8, 2015, 12:32 pm

In android phones there is a synergy between gmail and contacts app. How can you do that in Jolla phone? How do you import contacts from an android phone?

Anand Radhakrishnan

March 10, 2015, 8:21 am

It is possible to add various online services (Gmail, Yahoo, etc)to Jolla People app.



July 6, 2015, 7:53 am

For work I use a BlackBerry Passport, an incredible phone by the way and for private, the Jolla phone. I'm really happy with my Jolla phone and can't wait to get my hands the tablet. Finally there are decent alternatives to the tyrannically controlled iOS devices and Android. I'm also glad to see that multitasking is a priority for Jolla, I'm not sure what Apple has against running apps in the background but people like me need it. At any given time I have multiple remote terminals opened to work servers, which are compiling, display real time network data, editing code, etc., I can't have these apps terminating their connections simply because I switched to my mail client as iOS does. I get that they want to maximize profits by not having to add more than a GB of RAM but it hinders the overall experience to the point where the platform is useless to someone with my needs.


October 7, 2015, 8:52 am

Were the tested high end games optimized for Intel chips? Or are they "emulated" ARM binaries? But of course it doesn't really change anything, if games lag they lag. Anyway surely there will be some tweaking on that front too, sooner or later.


October 7, 2015, 9:59 pm

looking forward to the arrival of my jolla tablet.


October 9, 2015, 1:12 pm

To the author: you can't test performance with a program that is being emulated, so unfortunately your test isn't relevant. You need a native program.
Also, and please don't take this the wrong way, you should get your article proof read before you publish it as I struggled in a couple of places. I guess it isn't too late for that.
All in all, thank you for the review. I am looking forward to receiving my tablet and have to disagree with you that this isn't as good as any of the other tablets that you mentioned, even higher priced ones. They simply don't run SFOS. They don't come with a terminal. They don't let me control what's on them. They will have updates that will make them slower rather than quicker.


January 20, 2016, 10:38 am

In the world of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding, Jolla became the first company to launch the world’s first crowdsourced tablet. The Jolla Tablet was conceived to be a revolutionary approach towards designing and developing a utility oriented tablet and was listed on Indiegogo.com on November 19, 2014, to raise $380,000 as the seed capital. Deliveries of the new device were slated to begin during May of 2015, and investors were offered an option of pre-ordering the tablet at a discounted price.

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