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Ubuntu MX4 hands-on review at MWC 2015

Ubuntu’s new MX4 smartphone is a serious step up from the BQ, packing a Full HD screen, 20.7-megapixel camera and a slender iPhone-like design.

Just a brief play with the MX4 is enough to see that it’s the real way to experience the slick new mobile Ubuntu operating system. For a start it feels nicer than the brick-like BQ, with a slim, rounded design that looks and feels like a (admittedly slightly less premium) IPhone 6.

That 5.3-inch screen is sharper too, with a 1920×1152 pixel resolution. Photos and video look crisp and boast realistic colours, so images are impressively life-like. If you want something to stay entertained on the move, the MX4 will definitely please.

The quad core processor is another step up from the BQ’s dual core chipset and Ubuntu OS runs as smoothly as you’d hope, with no apparent lock-ups or stutters like we saw on the BQ.

Ubuntu OS itself is simple to use and I quickly adjusted to the button-free design. Your app shortcuts are pulled up from any screen by flicking from the left edge, giving you fast access to the likes of the camera and web browser. Meanwhile, a swipe from the right edge brings up your recent apps so you can jump between tasks quickly and cleanly. 

Settings are accessed by tugging down and your contacts can be found by swiping up.

It took me just a minute to get used to the system, although it was rather strange not having standard desktops at first. In some ways it’s quite reminiscent of Jolla’s Sailfish and that’s no bad thing, proving a worthy alternative to Android – and the open source nature should mean that the app store is well stocked.

Finishing off the MX4’s specs is a 20.7-megapixel camera, which seems to be a solid snapper from our quick play. The interface is nice and streamlined, with the settings tucked away like on LG’s phones. Just tap to focus and then poke the shutter button to take a photo.

You don’t have a crazy number of special modes, the bulk of which would go unused. Rather, Ubuntu has simply added the likes of HDR, which is actually useful for everyday snaps.

The Ubuntu MX4 isn’t quite ready yet but it should be officially launching soon and we’ll bring you a full review when it does.

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