I wanted to provide a bit more of a review now that I’ve had my Pure for almost 10 days. Hope some people find my review below of some use
I ordered my Pure through the Kickstarter campaign back in October 2019. I backed this project because I very much like the idea of minimizing time on needless smart devices, and secondly because of the low radiation design. I’ve invested a lot of research over the years into EMR both for personal and professional reasons and the concept of a low(er) radiation phone was a compelling enough reason in itself to back this project.
Firstly, I live in Australia… The phone took a few weeks to arrive via UPS. Most of that time seemed to be in ‘Customs’ in Poland. Once it left Poland, it was much quicker to get here (3-5 days from memory).
Not a big deal really, most orders at the moment take forever to arrive when coming internationally.
What I first unboxed the phone I think the first thing that caught my attention was the size of the handset. I was surprised to find that the phone is actually a really good size, its certainly not too big. If anything it might be slightly thicker than what we’re used to these days, but as this is a gen-1 product it would be unreasonable to expect it to be any slimer. Mudita could surely work on the thickness profile for future generations but expectation wise for this phone i found the sizing perfectly fine.
The phone came with approximately a 20% charge, which was enough to turn it on, plug in my SIM card, and start using it. Firstly, my SIM card was recognized fine, no problems there like some other (specifically American?) people seem to experience. For Australians reading, specifically I’m on the Optus network (Through Amaysim).
Regarding Phone calls, I had no issues making and receiving them. People could hear me nice and clearly, and I could hear them, although as many have stated before, the quality of the audio leaves a lot to be desired, its truly appalling.
Regarding signal strength, I found the phone to be almost as good as my household smart phones (Nokia 6 and Samsung S8). Sure, there were a few times where it was slightly less than i would have expected, but i was generally pleasantly surprised with the signal/range of this phone.
For SMS’s, its been working well most of the time. I can send and receive without issue. I can even send and receive “long” SMS’s greater than 160 characters in length, which I’ve heard some people are unable to do, perhaps some carriers send these as ‘MMS’ hence their problems. Personally though, I had no issues with this. What I will mention is that typing anything other than a short message on they phone’s keyboard can be fairly irritating and very time consuming. Without predictive text functionality, the phone’s ability to type SMS’s really suffers. I’ve seen this mentioned in these forums quite a lot and I never thought i would really mind, but it isn’t until you’ve experienced typing this way that you really understand how very tedious it is to type long messages. Its so frustrating that it actually makes you not want to message people.
Regarding MMS, its simply unavailable. The phone can’t send or receive them, at least not on its current software version. The mobile LTE module in the phone certainly seems capable hardware wise, so its obviously either a specific decision that Mudita have taken (yes i know its not connected to “data”, but it would be trivial to activate data just for MMS purposes and perhaps the user should be given this option and we can decide ?), or they simply haven’t had the time yet to write the code to make it work.
I’ve tested the phone for EMR (Electro-Magnetic Radiation) using a professional EMFields Accoustimeter Model AM-10 and I’ve been pleased with the results. It is considerably less than my old smart phone. And when you consider that you don’t sit down and browse the web on the Pure, that improves the results even further (you’d be surprised how much EMR is emitted from a smart phone when its sitting on your lap and you’re browsing the net, watching YouTube, etc).
I will make another post in the next week with some specific values and comparisons.
The battery life is reasonable, i get about 2-3 days off a charge with normal use (5-10 SMS’s a day, 1-2 phone calls a day).
The display is really nice, this is the first time I’ve used an E-Ink display and its pleasant to look at. There’s a backlight that can be turned on too, which I’ve found useful.
The Torch is good, and especially cool that the physical button for the torch light is the actual torch itself (long press to turn it on/off, and short press to toggle between white/yellow light).
The alarm functionality i haven’t used and won’t use. The volume in the phone is simply not loud enough for this device to be trusted as an alarm source.
Calendar functionality likewise I haven’t used since there isn’t really any “functionality”. Let’s see what Mudita enhance in this space…
Music functionality is very rudimentary, dump an MP3 on the device via drag & drop and you’ll be able to play it. That’s about it. As others have pointed out, you can’t multi-task whilst the music is playing. For example If you receive an SMS and want to read it you’ll need to exit the music app (and stop the music) to be able to do so. Sadly the quality of the audio implementation also means that unless you don’t mind ultra low quality audio, then you won’t want to listen to music on the Pure anyway. Both the speaker, AND also listing via headphones, is very low quality. I would rate it about 1/10 for audio performance.
There’s a Notes app, which works as expected and has been useful a few times already. It could do with a bit of enhancing though.
Running Mudita Centre on Windows 11 works alright. I did find that i need to have the phone connected to my PC before opening Mudita Centre, otherwise it doesn’t detect the phone. I managed to add my contacts to the Pure via importing a CSV file. I also used it to send SMS’s a few times which is very handy. Sadly there’s an SMS character limit so you need to break up longer messages into multiple SMS’s, which is something you don’t have to do on the Pure handset itself. I also couldn’t figure out how to inset a line break, (and pressing ‘Enter’ simply sends the message).
I also had a look inside the logs files that get transmitted to Mudita when you tell it to do so. I was happy with what i Found, private content is either masked or not transmitted at all.
I’ve included below a list of some specific issues with the device that I’ve experienced. I’ve also submitted logs to Mudita via Mudita Center on quite a few occasions.
Bugs / Problems list:
On numerous occasions, SMS’s didn’t come through until several hours after the sender sent it to me. I’ve found that I need to toggle the phone into “offline mode” and back to “Online mode” to get the phone to “check in” with the network provider and download any SMS’s that may have been missed. This is very frustrating. Mudita need to sort this out as a priority, maybe they can make the device check in to the network more often.
I’ve had the Pure say I had a missed call, even though i had signal and was next to the phone, using the music player on it.
MMS messages when received simply show a series of Unicode “boxes”, and that the senders name was ‘C’. MMS functionally really needs to be worked on.
On several occasions when I tried ringing my Pure from my Landline, my Pure went straight to voicemail. 0 signal bars was maybe the reason, HOWEVER, 30 seconds after the calls, I had 2 signal bars. The signal strength varies sometimes for no apparent reason. Additionally, on some occasions I called myself when it was showing 0 bars and it did actually ring successfully, and once again jumped up to 2 bars.
When calling the phone whilst it was plugged in charging (less than 10% battery), it didn’t actually ‘ring’ out loud. It showed the inbound call, but just didn’t use the ringtone for some reason - maybe it was using a “battery saving” mode ?
Scrolling a received SMS is not intuitive. you would expect that scrolling using the “down” key would scroll the most recently received SMS. But it doesn’t. Instead, you first need to press UP to “select” the SMS, THEN you can press ‘down’ which will scroll down in the SMS.
On several occasions the phone locked up during an inbound call. Could not press the answer or reject button. The phone had at least 1 or 2 signal bars on the occasions.
Once, the Pure was called whilst I was driving, but I could only ‘hear’ the vibration of the phone, it didn’t seem to actually ring. Either that, or it was SO SOFT that even the vibration was louder than the actual tone.
I’ve had SMS’s from people arrive into the SMS chain of another contact. This is a pretty big privacy issue and recipe for disaster.
Pressing the call button on a contact would frequently not actually call the contact, it just wouldn’t do anything. Usually when this happens, i just need to wait a few minutes, then reboot the phone.
The volume on the alarm is too quiet (as is the phone in general). As it stands, i would consider it unwise to use the Pure as an alarm. Maybe they can boost the volume in a software update.
The offline switch is very firm. Its very hard to use with one hand. This is a very minor nuisance, just mentioning it for awareness and feedback.
Mudita Centre only detects the phone (win11) if its plugged in BEFORE opening Mudita centre, at least in my experience.
Mudita centre shows the battery life, however once when it showed my battery life as 10%, i disconnected the phone and then 30 seconds after I disconnected the phone, it went dead with a flat battery.
The audio quality of the phone really needs to be considered as a fault/problem. The quality of the audio in general is appalling. Specifically, the earpiece quality is appalling, the loud-speaker quality is appalling, the headphone jack using a high quality set of headphones is appalling. There’s several issues Mudita need to sort out here. One is the quality of the speakers themselves, the other is the quality that the audio chipset / codec used. I really hope they can address this.
Additionally, there’s several enhancements I feel the phone could benefit from:
- There’s no easy one button way to READ SMS’s from the home screen. There should be a ‘single click’ option that takes you straight into the SMS received.
- Predictive text, as many people are asking for.
- There’s no battery percentage shown on screen. This should be an ‘optional’ setting to show the percentage.
- The torch is very handy, though not quite as bright as most modern day smart phone torches / ‘flashes’. Could the power of the torch be enhanced at all, or could we get a setting screen for it (low/medium/high) ?
- the backlight does not come on whilst the phone is ringing. This would be handy if it flashed, or lit up.
- I would like to be able to set the flashlight to “flash” when the phone rings or receives an SMS. This is good for people with hearing difficulties (or people using a phone with low volume )
- we need the ability to add our own ring tones and message tones.
Overall, its a challenge to rate this phone. The Pure’s intentions were highly desirable, and I’m trying my hardest to not be dissuaded to continue using it due to all the bugs and problems.
The implementation really feels like its still in an “alpha” / development phase. I honestly have no idea how the developers and employees at Mudita thought it was a good idea to deliver the phone in the state that its in. How did all these problems not get picked up in testing ? I mean, the audio quality especially, its so obvious it can’t be overlooked.
I’m going to keep using the phone for a month, and hope that most of the issues I’ve mentioned (and others have mentioned) get resolved as soon as possible.
Please let me know if anyone has any questions, happy to go into more details on any of the points.