[highlight color=#336699 ]Introduction[/highlight]
UMi is probably not a brand you’re too familiar with here in the UK, yet the small Chinese manufacturer has been busy lately trying to make a splash in the western market.
OS Android 6.0
Processor MediaTek Helio P10
Screen 5.5 inches
Resolution 1920 x 1080 (400 DPI)
Memory 4 GB RAM
Micro SD compatible Yes
Rear camera 13MP
Front camera 5MP
Connectivity WIFI, Bluetooth
Dimensions 150 x 75 x 8.5mm
Battery 4,000 mAh
[highlight color=#336699 ]Design[/highlight]
UMi scores well on the design, with a handset that is well built and unique enough that it stands out among the pack.
The Euro edition comes in a brand new blue version, which is a striking colour and makes a change from the usual black and silver schemes we see far too often on competitor handsets. Encased in an aluminium body, it looks like a handset worth far more than the price would initially lead you believe. The front is finished in glass, while the machine cut edges give a subtle contrast on the sides. At 8.5mm thick, it’s a little on the hefty side by today’s standards but has the benefit of a humongous 4,000mAh battery. In the war of thickness, we’d take a bigger battery any day.
On the front of the handset you’ll find a front facing camera sensor and home button, which doubles up as a notification light. The button will give a subtle pulse if you have messages when the handset is not in use, which is a nice touch. Aside from the home button, there’s no physical or capacitive buttons on the UMi Super, which helps to give it a very minimal appearance.
Moving to the sides and we find yet another button lingering on the left hand side. This can be used to quick-launch an application of choice, which by default is the camera. It’s a handy feature that we really liked but it would be even better if it doubled as a shutter for taking snaps. On the right side, you’ve got the usual array of volume controls and power button. A headphone jack can be found on the top of the handset, while dual stereo speakers and a USB-C port are placed on the bottom. For a handset of this price to include a USB-C port is nothing short of incredible and really helps to push its position as a solid flagship killer.
Testing out the stereo speakers on the bottom, it was difficult to tell if it was a true stereo setup or a faux implementation, similar to what Apple did with the iPhone 7. The right speaker definitely seemed to pump out most of the noise, making us think the left grille may only be there for show. On the topic of sound quality, the UMi Super still does a great job of giving clear, rich audio. The only problem is overall volume, which feels a lot quieter when compared to other handsets. Even in moderately loud environments, cranking it up to max was not enough to really hear things clearly.
On the back, you’ll find the UMi logo standing proud, with a fingerprint sensor and camera situated above the reader. The fingerprint sensor is another addition that you just wouldn’t expect to find on a handset of this price, further cementing this as seriously good value for money. Testing out the sensor, it seems to be fast and accurate with good positioning. For my hands, it felt just about the right height when holding the handset to unlock things safely without losing grip.
[highlight color=#336699 ]Camera[/highlight]
UMi has decided to go with a 13 megapixel Panasonic rear camera sensor for the Super, which is a fast shooter.
There’s very little lag between snaps, allowing you to catch the action much more effectively than competitor sensors from Samsung and Sony.
Overall photo quality is only average, with noticeable flaws in the test images we took. Colours seemed a little dull and the camera struggled to focus effectively. Fine detail was often lost as a direct result and images had a ‘soft’ appearance to them. We can only assume that the lack of optical image stabilisation was a contributing factor in this. It also had difficulty controlling the highlights, with several of our pictures losing a lot of information in the whites.
Low-light performance was better, with a fair amount of detail captured despite the obviously dark image. While the sensor didn’t pick up the most light we’ve ever seen, it did manage to at least make out the outline of our mascot in the confines of the closet. This is much more than other budget phones have been able to achieve.
The front camera pales in comparison, providing dull and lifeless images. The 5 megapixel sensor provides a decent amount of detail and should be okay for the odd selfie, but the washed out appearance and lack of vibrancy isn’t flattering for the average face.
The camera app on the UMi Super is okay but lacks a true manual mode. You do get a few features which allow tweaking such as ISO control but nothing substantial. Most of these are buried within deep menus that require additional button taps; not exactly ideal when you’re trying to compose an image quickly to avoid missing out. There’s also several lenses and filters which can be applied to shake things up a bit, plus a picture-in-picture mode which combines both the front and rear sensor into one image.
[highlight color=#336699 ]Screen[/highlight]
The 5.5-inch LCD screen on the UMi Super is pretty luxurious for a budget device, boasting a massive 1080p resolution.
Though we’re now starting to see this resolution trickle down into budget handsets, it’s hardly commonplace. Colours are represented well with plenty of vibrancy and saturation, though it’s never too much like with some AMOLED panels. The overall colour tone is a little warmer than on some handsets, with whites having a subtle shade of orange.
Maximum brightness was a bit disappointing on the UMi Super, with no real difference between that and the middle setting. Comparing it to other handsets, it can be noticeably darker. That’s not to say it’s unreadable, it’s just average. In normal lighting conditions the UMi Super is easy to see, however we just wonder how well it would do under the blazing summer sun.
[highlight color=#336699 ]Performance[/highlight]
With a MediaTek Helio P10 and 4GB, the UMi Super is well equipped for a budget handset. It has more than enough performance for everyday tasks and browsing the user interface was a breeze. In our Geekbench 4 test, it performed above other budget handsets using the Snapdragon 410 but couldn’t quite match leaders such as the Lenovo Moto G4.
The included Mali-T860 is a decent budget graphics processor that handles most games really well. Our usual Asphalt 8 benchmark title held up on the highest settings, providing a mostly smooth experience. It was only in the most visually demanding levels where we saw slowdown and even then, it was minimal.
The UMi super runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and includes a largely stock version. There’s very little bloatware on board, though the Google search box and browser are switched to UMi variants by default. If you’ve used a stock Android device before, there’s high chance that you’ll feel mostly at home here. While Marshmallow isn’t as big of a jump as Lollipop, it still offers several new features that are worth mentioning for those unaware. Google Now on Tap is here and fully functional, offering information for just about anything you allow it to look at. Fingerprint scanning has gotten a huge improvement with native software integration making it blazingly quick, which should be the same for all fingerprint sensor equipped future devices. You can also use the built-in sensor to access the new Android Pay service, allowing you to purchase things with a simple tap of the finger. If you’re wondering about Android Nougat, we’ve got some good news. Those of you who buy the Umi Super will be getting a software update to the new operating system starting December 24th.
UMi has made some big claims about the battery life in this phone, stating that it can potentially last up to three days. With a huge 4,000mAh cell inside, it eats handsets like the iPhone 7 for breakfast. While we never quite hit that elusive three day target, we did manage to get through a very impressive two-and-a-half days of moderate use. This involved plenty of web-browsing, music and even the odd YouTube video. Most phones would die within a die within a day at best.
The Super also supports fast charging thanks to the USB-C connector on the bottom, allowing the device to go from 0 to 75 percent in just 30 minutes. The battery in the UMi Super is non-removable, so don’t try to get it out.
[highlight color=#336699 ]Conclusion[/highlight]
Despite the average camera, the UMi Super pretty much nails everything that you’d expect from a budget handset. It’s got an insanely long battery life, solid performance and a beautiful design. Even things that you wouldn’t expect in a cheap device, such as USB-C and a fingerprint sensor, are included here for good measure. When you take into account everything they’ve managed to cram in while still keeping the price under £200, there’s little to moan about.