I had tested out the Umi Super in the past and was incredibly happy with the performance of it so I wanted to see how the little brother, the Umi Max compares to it.
The difference of the Max compared to the Super lies in only a few things. The first being the RAM as the Max has 3GB of RAM vs the Super’s 4GB. The base storage is only 16GB compared to the 32GB found on the Super, the max capacity the SD card can support is 256GB vs the Super’s 128GB. Lastly, the fingerprint sensor is a slightly newer one on the Max. That’s probably where the differences end, the majority of the design and specs are the same including the battery, screen, processor and cameras.
The unboxing experience was a world apart from the Super, the Max came in an Apple-like box with there being a sleeve which covers half of the box and has the Umi logo on it. Beneath that the main box has a wavy pattern which is very minimal. The phone is on the top on the inside, similar to many other Chinese smartphones it comes in a plastic pouch which I still don’t get the reason behind. Beneath there is a divider which has the words ‘link to the world’ written on them, followed by a user manual and SIM ejector key inside a paper pouch. Lastly we have 3 boxes at the bottom which contain the USB C cable, the USB wall adapter which is XA alongside UK and European connectors.
So booting up the phone, you are presented with the stock Android boot screen and all the way until the home screen you will notice that Umi haven’t tampered with this much. But the home screen does look slightly zoomed in compared to other Android phones I have used, it’s not hugely bigger but I still noticed it.
Performance is probably the first thing I want to talk about. In Geekbench I got a 707 single core score and 2704 on the multi core score. These scores are almost identical to the Umi Super, the multi core score is actually higher on the Umi Max by about 500 points which is pretty surprising. The processors are identical but the Max is just able to better utilise its CPU somehow. The Antutu scores for this phone was 44372 which is about 5000 points lower than the Super’s score and that’s probably down to the reduction of RAM. Going throughout the interface I haven’t been able to se
The USB C port is nice to see as I feel that the majority of manufacturers whether that be phone, tablet or laptop will include USB C ports so having a single cable is pretty nice. But you are capped at USB 2.0 speeds which is frustrating considering the fact that you can plenty of USB C 3.1 devices which should work with this phone such as this memory stick from UGREEN which supports up to 64GB and has a USB A and USB C connector. Whilst it doesn’t matter hugely on this generation, I would definitely want to see fast USB ports from UMI. The actual port is a bit shallow too as there is about 1mm of the connector poking out from the bottom which could be a potential breaking point and its these little touches which can make or break an experience.
The headphone jack is on the top of the phone which is another niggling point with this phone, it should conventionally be on the bottom as it means you are able to charge your phone and listen to music without having to risk damaging one of those connectors if it is in your pocket and this is something I often have. I would like this to be on the bottom as even if the symmetry looks nice, the usability level suffers.
The SIM card tray’s colour is identical to the one used for the fingerprint sensor so whilst individually they may look strange. I think that once you look at the phone as a whole, its not too bad.
The button on the left is easily programmable so you can just program it to the application you use a lot such as Facebook, Spotify, or the Camera. One thing that I did find was annoying was the fact that if you program it to open up the camera app, you aren’t able to use it as a shutter although your volume buttons do act as the shutter. The button is textured differently to the flat volume rocker and power button but in reality it would’ve made more sense to texture the power button so you can easily differentiate it from the volume rocker. The buttons although are incredibly tactile and I have found them to be very firm which allows me to believe that these will be able to sustain even the heaviest of use. This button also acts as a mute switch as you can long press this to switch between silent mode and normal audio mode so it mimics some of the functionality provided by the OnePlus 3T’s slider switch.
The Harlequin LED is one of the standout features of this phone and I still believe that although it may seem incredibly cool, it does start to become boring and annoying because it’s very distracting when you’re trying to get something done. The function can be turned off easily if you want so it’s not too bad. The menu and back button are still unlit so you have to guess to some degree where the buttons are but if you try and aim for the middle of the panel either side then you should be fine.
The display is incredibly good, the Sharp 5.5” 1080p panel used for the Umi MAX is really sharp and I love the range of colours that the display is able to show. UMI really put a lot of effort into choosing a great display and Sharp are able to create such good colours from this panel which seems fairly affordable considering the price of the phone. The white point seems slightly dim although the black levels were phenomenal considering this is an LCD panel rather than something like an OLED display. I tried this out outdoors and the phone is easily viewable outdoors and there has been extra technology added onto this to make it better than other smartphones outdoors.
I noticed a very odd thing. I bought a flip case from Amazon to protect this phone and when I drop the phone down onto the front of the case, the phone just locked itself. When I put the phone into the case and put the flap behind the back then it also locked again. I then did a little bit of research and found out that the case should actually lock the phone when the phone is placed inside it with the flap on the front. But I think the actual case may have the magnet which enables it to work, is the wrong way round. But some people have also written on forums that it may be a software glitch but this does mean that you have to deal with the phone locking if the magnet suddenly decides to activate and turn off the screen, but this only happens if you press the back of the phone very hard against the flap so you shouldn’t have any issues in day-to-day use. I did update it to the latest firmware and it didn’t help much.
The Camera. This is a very iffy subject when it comes to smaller Chinese phone manufacturers because they usually are able to replicate the build quality and specs of the flagships and I am incredibly happy with the camera that UMI have put inside the Max. The autofocus is incredibly sharp and quick. The colour rendition from the sensor is ever so slightly saturated but it’s the kind of saturation that looks incredibly nice and makes the sensor more like a DLSR than a smartphone lens. The sensor isn’t the fastest and it does takes a second to focus which compared to some smartphones is fairly slow. When you start the camera app or change the white balance from one scene to another the sensor does take a bit of time to play catch up but it’s really not that noticeable. The shutter speed is fairly fast. The camera app is heavily updated and it’s actually very refreshing because its similar to the iOS one but it also has all of the quick settings easily hidden in the camera app so you don’t have to go around changing the settings. I also loved the fact that this camera sensor allows for 13MP 16:9 images. The video only goes up to 720P which is a shame considering the sensor would be able to do 1080P and 4K really well if it supported it. But there was a glaring issue with the video recording as I found that the sensor had a tendency to have a weird tinge to it when it was on my blue radiator and I was incredibly confused but I couldn’t sort it out. Hopefully a future software update can fix it. I think it may be down to the fact that the sensor can’t deal with the blue paint on my wall by itself. The front facing camera was good but nothing stellar with an incredibly wild field of view but nothing really spectacular.Battery life is something that UMI claims this phone will be a champ at, the 4000mAh is a huge cell but I was able to charge it up fully within 1.5 hours using a USB C cable connected to a 2.1A power adapter. This is pretty good considering my 6S takes 2 hours to charge with a battery less than half the size. Screen on time was a bit less ideal, I did a short video test in which I played a YouTube video back for 7 minutes at full brightness without a SIM card plugged in and lost 5%. This doesn’t seem ideal but in overall usage I was able to get much better battery life so I feel like this test had an anomaly result. Standby time was phenomenal as I lost 0% over 1.5 hours of standby which is great. Even overnight the most I lost was about 5% over about 9-10 hours which is fantastic and the standby times on these batteries is fantastic. Sony really make some great batteries.
Cellular performance was good overall and I had a pretty comparable signal to my iPhone 6S and the volume through the earpiece was plenty loud even in loud environments. The speaker that the phone uses is a mono one on the right-hand side of the USB C port, I found that it was fairly loud but nothing to write home about as it lacks bass and does have a tinniness. The microphone is placed on the other side of the port and the audio from the microphone is really clear although there is a small amount of tininess in it.
Overall I feel like you are missing out on hardly anything performance wise between the Umi Super and the Umi Max and personally, I would recommend the Max more because of the lower price alongside the amazing camera.
You can purchase the Umi Max over on Amazon by clicking here.