5 Reasons to Switch to Ubuntu Phone

Christian Cawley 26-08-2016

You’ve had Android phones, and you’ve had iPhones. Buying a smartphone for most people is a polarized, A/B choice. And for some, the experience of choosing a new phone is becoming… jaded.


You might think that Android and iOS have the mobile market sewn up, but what if I was to tell you that you don’t need to look at Windows 10 Mobile or BlackBerry as alternatives? Various others are available, but perhaps the most impressive of them all is the Ubuntu Phone, which uses the Ubuntu Touch platform, and can be found on devices such as the Meizu Pro 5 Meizu Pro 5 Ubuntu Edition Smartphone Review When a phone is released only to a select few enthusiasts, you wonder whether or not the hype is genuinely worth it. Let's look at one of the first phones to run Ubuntu Touch. Read More .


Sure, it’s Ubuntu, which means it’s based on Linux — but then, so is Android. And no, you don’t need an Ubuntu PC to sync data with the phone. But that’s not the only reason why you should consider switching to Ubuntu Phone…

1. Mobile Security from Malware

Linux is famously secure when compared to Windows, and by building Ubuntu Touch upon the basic Ubuntu operating system, this security is translated into the mobile space.

Additionally, the lack of apps (not necessarily a bad thing — see below) means that there is a restricted attack vector for any malware developers hoping to capture your data via an app store, and as long as you keep your phone close Don’t Be A Victim: Practical Tips To Protect Your Smartphone From Theft Considering the cost of a new smartphone, most of us are extremely casual about how we treat them. But keeping tabs on your smartphone isn’t difficult. Keeping it safe from the possibility of theft is... Read More (preferably in an internal pocket) while out and about, it’s unlikely to leak any secrets.


(However, as a new platform, be aware that Ubuntu Phone does not yet offer any encryption. It seems likely that this will be added in future.)

2. Scopes Bring Search Convenience

Back when Windows Phone was launched, Microsoft attempted to negate the lack of certain apps by incorporating their features into the platform. This is a tactic that Canonical has copied for Ubuntu Phone, combining social networking, email, and photographic services with a Google Now-style interface.


The result is Scopes, a collection of pages that pull the information you’re most likely to need from the networks and services you’re involved with. No more launching the Facebook or Twitter apps — the latest updates are pulled to your Ubuntu Phone.


Basically, this phone is about YOU.

It’s also a useful way to get around the lack of certain apps (and their battery-draining habits How Facebook Is Ruining Your Android (and What You Can Do) If you care about battery life, performance, or privacy, you're going to want to uninstall the official Facebook app and use one of these alternatives. Read More ). And don’t think that there are no apps at all for Ubuntu Phone. You’ll find them available to install on the Ubuntu Store screen.

3. An Office in Your Pocket

The Convergence Mode is a built-in feature that means that you can turn your Ubuntu Phone into an Ubuntu PC with the connection of a keyboard, mouse and monitor.

It is literally an office in your pocket!


Consider this: you wake up, pick up your phone, and head to the office, where you plug it into a monitor, which displays the Ubuntu desktop. You work as normal, and when it’s time to go home, you disconnect your phone, head home… connect it to your monitor there, perhaps play some games, or edit photos, do some social networking, etc.

4. Performance is Impressive

Whether you’re using Android or iOS, from time to time, things seem to hang. In my experience so far, this has happened only with Ubuntu Phone, during intensive use on a hot day.

The user interface is slick and the hardware reliable. While I can only base this on the Meizu Pro 5, booting is fast, switching to the camera is almost instantaneous, and Internet access is swift and uncomplicated.

Most importantly, these are top-end devices, most of which are also available as Android devices. As such, you know that when you buy an Ubuntu Phone, you’re getting your hands on a decent handset that will last.


5. Most Devices Also Run Android

Whoah, hold on there: I know what you’re going to say. “Dumping the OS in favor of Android isn’t a selling point!”

Well, actually, the keyword is “also”. Just like you can dual boot a PC to run Windows and Linux, so you can install Android alongside Ubuntu on many of these devices. One of the reasons to dual boot Windows and Linux is to ease yourself into a new computing paradigm. The same is true here.


There’s another side to this, however. Being able to install any other operating system on an Ubuntu Phone makes it a particularly useful device to mobile developers and hackers (the white hat kind of course!), which can in turn potentially increase the device’s lifespan and relevance.

Case in point is the HTC HD2, released in 2009, and still receiving custom ROMs Install Android Ice Cream Sandwich On The HTC HD2 In Minutes Last week I was challenged to install Android Ice Cream Sandwich on the HTC HD2 in as little time as possible. The reason? It was my client’s lunch hour; she was sick of Windows Mobile... Read More  of the most recent versions of Android (oh, it runs Linux too Not Just for Desktops: 10 Devices You Can Install Linux On Looking for a new Linux project? These days you can install Linux on almost anything: tablet, laptop, even a router! Read More ). If you can buy a phone that supports multiple operating systems, there’s a strong chance you won’t need to buy another device for quite a few years.

The Ultimate Mobile Productivity Solution!

Isn’t it amazing that in this day and age of dominance by two ubiquitous mobile platforms, that we can still enjoy the release of a new platform, see what it’s got to offer, and make an informed decision? While Ubuntu Phone is short on apps, it is long on features, many of which negate the need for several “vital” apps.

Throw in its power as a portable office, and you’ve got the mobile productivity solution to end them all! If you want to know more about this new mobile platform for smartphones and tablets, check our review of Ubuntu Phone. Should You Get an Ubuntu Touch Phone or Tablet? But is the Ubuntu Touch platform a truly successful mobile iteration of Linux's most well-known distribution? Can it compete with Android and iOS? We're going to take a look. Read More .

Have you tried Ubuntu Phone? Would you like to given the chance? Or are you sticking with Android, iPhone… or even Windows Mobile 10 or BlackBerry? Tell us in the comments!

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  1. Matt
    April 1, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Back in the day I used to use Amiga computers, made by Commodore. At the time they were vastly superior to PCs and I loved rubbing that fact in my PC friends faces. Problem was that ONLY Commodore could make them and they used their own OS instead of MSDOS so they became a niche product and very few people wrote programs for it.

    I can see something similar happening with the Ubuntu phone... it may be technically better, but it has a much smaller development budget, much smaller user (and bug finding) base, and much less oppourtunity to sell apps for it thus developers will be individual fans, not large commercial enterprises so there'll be relativley few apps with more bugs and less features.

    It's a vicious circle... small user base means little development means few apps means small user base. The only reason android got up against Apple is because Google took it on, threw money at it to develop it like mad, and opened it up to anyone who wanted BEFORE anyone else had done it. It doesn't matter if your system is technologically superior... as Betamax VCRs, Amiga computers, and DivX videos show it's often the popularity of a platform that determines it's success.

  2. Jacob
    October 5, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    I have been excited about the Ubuntu Phone for years. Sadly, I haven't been able to find one in Brazil.

  3. someone
    September 3, 2016 at 9:02 am

    "be aware that Ubuntu Phone does not yet offer any encryption"
    and because of that in current days, it's a no go until they finally implement this.
    The first runmors that it will be there started to appear around January this year. We've got September and still nothing :(

  4. Nickalonso
    August 28, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    4. Performance is Impressive

    I hope you're kidding. For the people that haven't used Ubuntu Touch yet, but is considering to buy a device, what you are going to get is a very buggy-laggy OS, so don't get an Ubuntu Touch device to be your primary OS. You have been warned, I made that mistake.

    5. Most Devices Also Run Android

    If you mean "most" by a couple of phones, then yes, MANY devices run Ubuntu Touch.

    • dshimer
      August 29, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      In fairness, I think you are mis-reading #5. I read it as "most phones that you could run Ubuntu on, also run Android". I think this is entirely true and also a plus in that if you hate Ubuntu you can just ditch it, restore Android and go about your business.
      What you say is absolutely true as well, that there are only a few devices that fully support Ubuntu but I don't think the author misspoke that.

  5. Anonymous
    August 28, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Let's face it. No matter how wonderful a product and how ardent a following the Ubuntu Phone has or can develop, it will be nothing but a niche product for a long time just like the Windows Phone and Blackberry are. I wonder how long it will be before Canonical and Mark Shuttleworth pull the plug on the Ubuntu Phone project? Microsoft has more money and determination to have its fingers into every pie but even they decided they could not compete with iOS and Android, cut their losses and deep-sixed the Windows Phone. Does the number of Ubuntu Phones in use at least approach the number of Windows Phones or Blackberries?

    • bid745
      August 29, 2016 at 7:40 am

      Its a 20 billion dollar a year market, blackberry has sown up the financial portion of that market, Microsoft is not scraping the win10 phone for their business market, ios and android are big consumer markets, all Ubuntu needs is a niche, perhaps Medical or banking. That will keep them in the game for decades!

  6. Lee
    August 28, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Want one! I love ubuntu and have loved the idea of ubuntu phone with Convergence since i heard about it a couple of years ago!

    • Christian Cawley
      August 28, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      Hoping to take a closer look at Convergence in the coming weeks...

  7. Shri
    August 27, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    Love to try it. I like Ubuntu.

  8. Josh
    August 27, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Where can I buy one?

  9. JHB
    August 27, 2016 at 6:54 am

    I have the bottom of the range bq4.5, and don't find it slow. Battery life is also very good. I just miss a call recorder app which is important to me.

  10. Anonymous
    August 27, 2016 at 2:53 am

    Loved Ubuntu OS for server, I hope they also do good jobs with mobile phone.

  11. Bob
    August 26, 2016 at 8:53 pm

    All the reviews of this phone say it is so slow it is almost unusable