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Sick of Android? Check out the Sailfish OS-powered Jolla phone (pictures)

The Jolla phone has colorful cases, runs Sailfish OS software, but uses Android apps.

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Andrew Lanxon

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1 of 28 Andrew Hoyle/CNET
The Jolla phone is a 4.5-inch smartphone running Sailfish OS, an offshoot of Meego, that supports Android apps. Preorders are being shipped now across Europe for 399 euros (US$540), although wider availability has yet to be confirmed.
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2 of 28 Andrew Hoyle/CNET
Its plastic back panel has a stark, minimalist design.
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3 of 28 Andrew Hoyle/CNET
It looks rather like two different phones squashed together. That's not necessarily a bad thing -- I quite like the unusual design.
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The different coloured back panels have NFC chips in them that automatically change themes and settings on your phone.
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It's not the slimmest phone in history, but it's easy to hold. The only buttons you'll find are the volume and power buttons on the side.
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There's a 3.5mm headphone jack and Micro-USB port on the top.
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An 8-megapixel camera with a flash resides on the back.
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The only break in the glass front is for the speaker.
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The speakers for your music are on the bottom, so it won't muffle the sound if you lie it flat on a desk.
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There are a bunch of available colours, but I found this bright, lime-green affair to look particularly striking.
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A little touch, but it's small details like this that help the phone look pretty good.
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Clip off the back cover to get access to the micro-SIM card and battery.
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You'll also find a microSD card slot for upgrading the 16GB of built-in storage.
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Double-tap the screen in standby mode and you'll be met with this notification panel.
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Swipe down and you'll see a multitasking panel, showing up to nine of your recent apps.
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The Google Play app store isn't supported, but other third-party app stores allow you to download Android apps nonetheless.
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You can't get everything you'll find on Google Play, but there's a lot to choose from.
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You can swap the case if you fancy a change of colour or simply if your old one starts to look a bit knackered.
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The Android YouTube app is supported and works well.
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Spotify is supported, too -- a critical addition for me.
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The interface makes use of minimalist, modern fonts, which look cool.
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You can easily select which theme works with each case.
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How about some shocking pink?
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A swipe up from below brings up the notifications panel.
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When you first start up the phone, you'll be given a handy tutorial on what gestures are needed.
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You'll need to remember what swipe does what, unless you fancy carrying a user guide with you.
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I found the gestures relatively easy to get used to, although there were a couple of times I preferred Android's way of doing things.
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Time will tell if a gesture-based interface proves easier to use than fixed navigation keys.

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