As somebody who uses an iPhone 6S on a daily basis I wanted to see if I was able to cope with a phone which costs just under 1/3 of the cost of my iPhone. So I wasn’t expecting much considering the price difference.
So firstly let’s talk about the packaging, I got a white box in the post with a separate UK adapter which is rated at 5V at 1A so this is a bit disappointing considering that this phone does support fast charging but you can easily pick a fast charger up for around £5 which should serve you fine and I already had a couple at home so I didn’t have an issue at all.
Inside the white box you have the official box of the smartphone which is ablack metal box which I found was extremely fancy because if you think about it even Samsung and Apple supply their products in card boxes whereas UMI has really tried to stand out and provide their smartphone in such a such a premium box. This metal box has the UMI and Super branding on the top with the specs and IMEI details on the bottom of the box
Okay so inside the box you have the USB C to USB charging and sync cable which is a key feature of the smartphone as this actually has USB C inside it which is fantastic as even Samsung didn’t bother including this port which is the future of connectivity in their Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge so they have some catching up to do. Bellow that there is the space where the charger should’ve been. On the right hand side, you can take out the paper insert which hides the phone, beneath that you will reveal the UMI Super which is in a plastic pouch. Taking the phone out you will see there is a screen protector on the front and a plastic protector on the back of the phone to prevent any scratches and the back protector also has the IMEI numbers on it. Beneath the phone there is the user manual which teaches new users how to setup the phone if they have never, alongside the manual there is a SIM ejection pin.
Once I put my Micro SIM card into the phone alongside a Micro SD card into the other space in the SIM card tray, I went ahead and setup the phone which included restoring from my other Android device which is a Lenovo ZUK Z1. This meant I already had all my accounts setup without any further hassle. I also setup the fingerprint sensor of the phone which is located round the back which was a bit strange to start off with as my iPhone 6S has Touch ID on the front, but I soon got used to it and it is pretty comfortable.I wanted to see how this phone performed under daily use for me. I started off with a full charge and I was able to charge the phone up from a 1A charger such as the one included inside the box, and I was able to get a full charge in about 1.5 hours which is impressive and I put this increase down to the faster charging speeds of USB C as my 6S takes that much time with a battery which is less than half of the size of the UMI Super so I was very impressed with these charging speeds. The battery life for me was amazing as even after heavy daily usage I was able to end up with 35% at the end of the day usually and if I used it slightly more conservatively I could last the majority of 2 days with this so I have had no issues with battery life with the premium 4000mAh Sony Battery which held up well.
I used the phone to check my social media and my emails and I was impressed with the actual speed at which the phone went through the OS. The UMI Super flies through Android 6.0 as UMI has included no bloatware whatsoever in the smartphone which I am a big fan of as I love simplicity and that’s why iPhone’s appeal to me so much but this basically replicated my experience of my iPhone on Android which was unfeasible in my mind.
Talking about Synthetic benchmarks, in Antutu I got 49402 and in Geekbench 707 (Single Core Score) and 2234 (Multi Core Score) which theoretically is fairly low but this absolutely didn’t transfer over performance wise. Surely this score would’ve meant I should’ve had a slow and sluggish phone with a lot of lag. BUT this is absolutely not the case whatsoever. I did some personal testing with games such as Asphalt 8 which is the de-facto testing method for me for real world performance and I never once saw a dropped f
rame in this game.
The benchmarks didn’t reflect the real world experience for me as I never once saw lag whilst using the phone throughout my 4 week testing period. The screen is the next thing I want to focus on. The Sharp LTPS screen is really crisp at its 1080p resolution with vibrant colours although it isn’t as bright as I would’ve liked it to be which does slightly disappoint me. The 2.5D Curved glass looks phenomenal as it is very similar to the design of my iPhone so it kind of reduces the feel that this isn’t a £600 phone I am using which is great. There is a weird pattern on the display when the phone is switched off and this is due to the display being a pentile display but in reality this doesn’t affect my usage of the phone as it isn’t visible when the screen is switched on and you are not able to see any of the pixels when the display is switched on as this does surpass the retina ratio easily at 377 pixel per inch.
The body of the phone is slightly chunky when compared to my 6S, but I feel like I will always drop my 6S because it is so slippery and I think it’s too thin and so I have to have a case on it to protect the huge investment I have made. But the UMI Super brings a satisfying feel with it, the side rails have ample space to hold onto and I much prefer the much less slippery metal used for the Super. It gives a reassuring feel and makes me feel like I don’t have to use a case to protect it and as the screen is gorilla glass 3 I don’t have
many doubts about the display getting scratched up as I am still to see any damage after my 4 weeks of use.
On the display there is of course the harlequin LED notification light/capacitive home button as well as the discreet back and menu buttons which you don’t actually have any indication as to where they actually are as there is no LED behind it. Although you can switch the buttons in the settings easily so back is on the left and the menu is on the right. Right on the top of the phone there is the earpiece and the camera.
Talking about the earpiece it is crystal clear audio on both my cellular network and over VOIP applications. The volume of this was loud and clear and the microphone on the bottom of the phone picked up my voice properly and I heard the other person on the phone perfectly clearly so you won’t have to worry about making or receiving calls
The Speaker on the bottom however is a different matter, the audio does sound slightly on the tinny sound but despite the built in HiFi Audio system in this phone it still lacks volume which is disappointing as the rest of the smartphone make for a perfect media experience. When I was using my headphones the HiFi audio system definitely kicks in and you have loud volume across the board with good performance although there aren’t any included earphones in the phone’s box which is a bit disappointing as £1 earphones would’ve been better than a complete lack of them but I can’t complain at such a low price.
The buttons are strangely placed in my opinion. There is a programmable textured buttons 3/5 of the way up of the left hand side of the phone with the SIM card and the Micro SD card tray sitting above it. The right hand side has the power and volume buttons but both are plain buttons although they are well spaced out so you won’t have to guess what you are pressing because there is a clear difference between the volume rocker and the power button. The programmable button is really cool and I have seen that many modern phones from non-market leader companies as currently it is programmed to the camera app and when the phone is unlocked you will be able to easily activate the camera app. Although you can set it to whatever you want to be, so it could be YouTube, the music app, Chrome or even Pokémon Go.
The cameras are probably the largest let-downs of the smartphone, and these are usually where the manufacturers have skimped out. The app does seem incredibly outdated and although does have some add on’s like saying ‘Cheese’ which will take a picture. The autofocus is fairly good and it usually focuses on the correct location in under a second but the manual focus does play up and it isn’t always worth even trying. There is a built in focus tracking mode which works well. I have attached some images taken by the camera which shows a range of times and even in low light you can get some nice shots but I think that the Panasonic unit could’ve been used better even by just updating the application. But that’s not to say if you want to take some pictures for social media and then apply some filters, then you will get absolutely perfect results every time which is great as at least you have the ability to take good pictures both with the front and the back camera.
Next the fingerprint scanner, this is rear facing which works well for some users but it’s all up to personal preference. This works about 90-95% of the time with the phone unlocking almost immediately which is phenomenal as I wouldn’t have even expected a fingerprint scanner at such a low price and I would rather take the fingerprint scanner over the camera as I unlock my phone more times than I take photos so it’s a no brainer as I usually have my Sony RX100iii or my Nikon D3200 with me when I need to take good pictures.
The harlequin LED is the last thing I will talk about in this review. This is also the home button. I think this is probably the coolest feature of the phone as no phone I have seen to date has anything even remotely similar. You can set individual colours for different colours which is really cool so for example you could set green for phone calls, blue for Facebook messenger, white for texts etc. This although will annoy you at night if you don’t usually have any lights on and you would have to flip the phone around to have the screen facing the bottom. If you get a lot of notifications, then this is perfect for you but I did start to get a bit annoyed by it while testing the phone so did end up turning this feature off.
So my conclusion; I set out with very low expectations when first coming across this phone as I highly doubted that the phone would come anywhere near to my iPhone 6S but I have been completely wrong throughout as this phone is able to keep its own against my 6S. I will definitely be keeping this as my Android smartphone of choice as the Helio P10 Octa Core helps to keep everything ticking across nicely and I wouldn’t hesistate to buy from UMI in the future.