My phone’s not dumb, it just looks it.

Well actually it is a little.

For my money, the height of the smartphone age was 2009-2011. That brought us the Nokia n900 and Nokia n9. Both brilliant for their own reasons. There were devices before that which I’d be happy to have back. But nothing since then. Sure, the Ubuntu Edge or Neo900 would have been great. But they never came to be.

So my current phone is chosen to match my lifestyle: A rugged Sonim XP5 . It runs Android. Without the full store, but you can sideload apps. It has no touchscreen, and only a numeric keypad. But it’s still pretty decent for one-handed operation. It does what I want out of a phone:

  • Calls
  • SMS
  • Email (with hacked K-9 Mail version)
  • Alarms and timer.
  • Flashlight, on/off with one button, no going through gui.
  • Browser. Just useful enough to look up a business, see its hours, and call.
  • Hotspot for laptop for anything more serious.
  • Waterproof (wash it under running water)
  • Rugged
  • 3 or more days battery life.
  • FM radio


I wrote this some time ago but hadn’t posted it. Very lately I’ve actually been playing with sailfish. I really like the interface, but it’s not very reliable. I’m considering trying out ubuntu touch. I don’t really want to buy another phone (nexus 5), and ubuntu touch is known to not be working fully on my secondary phone, but I should be able to help with that, especially as there is mention of not attaching to LXC containers *duck*. Just have to decide I’m willing to remove sailfish.

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5 Responses to My phone’s not dumb, it just looks it.

  1. Joe says:

    Hi S3hh, this post really caught my eye. The “dumb” / “smart” phone thing is a fun conversation. Nice review of the Sonim XP5, too. You also mention that you’re interested in Ubuntu Touch and maybe even helping out. In any case, if you have any questions, then please feel free to send me an e-mail or join us in the Telegram group( , if you haven’t already. 🙂

    • s3hh says:

      Thanks – I’ve stopped by the #ubports irc channel, which I gather is bridged to the telegram group? I got as far as trying a failed build of the sony experia x port, but no further as of yet.

  2. What do you mean by being able to “sideload” apps on the XP5?

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