Shelly Vs Terminus - An Honest App Review

This is an honest review about two apps I’ve tested, Shelly and Terminus. I needed an app that I could easily SSH into my server from the comfort of my iPhone. It was a simple task and one I was prepared to pay a few bucks for. Please note, both of the apps mentioned offer a free version with the chance of an upgrade.

The first app I downloaded was Terminus. Terminus has excellent reviews in the App Store and the interface of this app is clean and sharp. In terms of aesthetics, they did an excellent job. The app is divided into different sections from hosts, terminals, keychains, etc. It offers a light and dark mode and several other customization features. One thing to note is that while Terminus offers a list of their premium service, no price point is provided. Why? Because, according to some outraged reviewers, their price is based on a yearly fee. I thought I saw $30 but can’t be sure. Either way.. a yearly cost for an ssh app and for a non-techy user? No thanks.

In terms of usability for a non-techy user looking to get a simple task done? Complicated. I tried to generate a public ssh key to add to my server. It wouldn’t take. I tried to add a key generated from my own server and it was refused by Terminus. My login credentials were never accepted. At first, I figured, something was wrong with my server. I set up Linux and got to work but could detect no issues. After one hour of frustration and near hair pulling? I decided to try another app.

I wanted to verify it was my server that was causing these issues and not once did I thought it was related to Terminus… until I downloaded Shelly.

Shelly doesn’t have all the bells and whistles supplied by Terminus and the interface is rather simple but it doesn’t make you jump through numerous hoops just to get your task done. In fact, a single screen is all that is provided. Entering my server’s ssh key along with my login credentials was a breeze. A few seconds of my time and I was happily working on my server. I did not need to navigate any separate host, group or keychain section to get a simple task done. I decided to look at the price point. A single fee of $3.99 was all that was requested. Shelly may not be the most elegant or robust app but it gets the job done and it is upfront about its price point.

Please take in consideration, I only needed an app that would allow me to ssh into my server from the comfort of my phone. Others might find Terminus to be exceptional in that department but in my case? My experience was nothing but negative and a perfectly good waste of an hour.

Terminus offers a trial of 14 days and Shelly offers a trial of 13 days and both apps can be found in the App Store for free.