Short version first:
I got my pebble grey Mudita Pure a couple of weeks ago and for two days I tried to use it as my daily phone but had to switch back to my iPhone for now. I like the look and feel of the Pure but can’t use it full time in the current state (MuditaOS version 1.1.6) due to shortcomings and bugs. I look forward to software updates and feel confident that over time the phone will evolve into what I need and expect from it. Keep up the good work Mudita!
Finally it arrived!
It was a long wait for me as an initial backer of the project but I have appreciated the transparent updates from Mudita along the way which made me never doubt that we would get to see the completion of the phone.
The initial reason I got attracted to the project was to find a minimal phone with just the right set of features. I have used a few feature phones before but some things was always missing in my view; ease of use, speed, stability or essential design and functions. I was not looking for any simple emergency phone but a specific tool that would help me in my wish to use technology more mindfully.
The Mudita Pure promised to deliver on multiple key points for me: low SAR, e-paper display, minimalistic design, music player, syncing of contacts and calendar, a desktop app for long form SMS, 3.5 mm headphone jack and bluetooth for handsfree use in a car.
When later on the software were made open source I felt this too was an important step in the right direction. This also led me to get involved to take some part in the Swedish localization.
Another big reason I decided to support Mudita Pure on Kickstarter was to see an independent manufacturer on the market with otherwise total dominance of big tech companies.
My first impressions with the phone are a bit mixed. It looks really good and feels good in the hand, but it’s too smooth and slippery. The buttons have a good feel to them, but the arrow buttons are a bit too hard to press and the ring could be wider. The e-paper display is nice but not perfect. On the software side it shows a lot of promise but you can quickly tell that it’s still very much in development. A lot of functions are half way there, some are missing altogether.
The most troublesome at this point is that some of the main functions just don’t work as expected. Since it is marketed as a premium feature phone with just the essential functions I feel that it is necessary to have those functions work flawlessly.
These are the main things that stops me from using the phone today:
- bad phone call sound quality on my end (the other end seems to hear me okay)
- I experienced that all incoming calls are not coming through (might be because of my service provider but I have never had this problem with other phones)
- some outgoing SMS messages could not be delivered (again this might be because of my service provider but I have never had this problem with other phones)
- bluetooth pairing to either a 2018 BMW or 2018 Volvo doesn’t work (pairing with JBL speakers works fine)
- the music app is far from finished
Other things that needs to be addressed:
- audible SMS notification when playing music (vibration works though)
- better battery life
- too small font (especially in text input where separators are extra hard to distinguish)
- very limited emojis support in received SMS (on the other hand all emojis work fine in Mudita Center)
- matching incoming phone number to contacts seems to only work with certain formatting of the numbers
High on my list of necessary functions are also:
- T9 for text input
- MMS support; I think the best solution is that messages are received and stored in the phone for later viewing in Mudita Center where it should also be possible to send MMS
There are a lot of smaller improvements in the software I can think of, too detailed to mention here, and I trust the developers will bring us updates. Otherwise I’ll try to contribute to the open source code
As an example of something I miss are function shortcuts on the arrow buttons when on the home screen. For a phone of this kind I want to be able to access the functions easily and perform common tasks without taking extra steps. Nokia 105 for instance allows you to start a new SMS by pressing left and reaching the contacts list by pressing down.
As for my wish list for next hardware revision of Mudita Pure:
- grippier surface
- better e-paper display; compared to a Kindle Paperwhite 3 the quality difference is noticeable
- much better battery life
- it would also be nice if it was more durable and water resistant and dustproof
It’s too bad that I couldn’t make the switch to the Pure as soon as I got it, but the basic functions it should perform as a phone has to work.
With the coming software updates I expect to see improvements on many of the current shortcomings and I still feel this phone has great potential to live up to the initial promises.