Home Mobile Phones UMi Plus Review – Premium & Affordable 4G Phablet

UMi Plus Review – Premium & Affordable 4G Phablet

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Right Side of the UMi Plus showing the volume rocker and Power button
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It is not very often that you find a smartphone that strikes the right balance between performance, build quality, and affordability. UMi Plus is one smartphone that I can boldly say excels in all three fronts. Umi has learnt a lot from its earlier offerings like the Umi Max and Super and the Umi Plus seems to be a statement to that effect.

UMi Plus

For me the build quality is one of the highlights of the Umi Plus. The metal unibody is simply gorgeous for its price. The Android smartphone also excels in performance with a fluid experience.


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Umi Plus is loaded with Pure Android 6.0, which means you will not get stock on Marshmallow. In fact, UMi has announced it will be pushing Android 7.0 update on Christmas Eve.

Here are some of the outstanding features of the phone

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Key Features

  • 5.5-inch IPS Display with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution
  • Mediatek Helio P10 MTK6755M 1.8GHz octa-core chipset with 4GB RAM
  • 32GB storage with support for memory card up to 256GB
  • 13MP f/2.0 rear Camera with Phase Detection Autofocus, Dual-tone LED Flash, 1080p HD Video
  • 5MP Selfie Camera
  • 4G LTE (800/1800/2100/2600MHz)
  • Pure Android 6.0 (Android 7.0 update expected on Christmas Eve)
  • Fingerprint Scanner with 0.1 second unlock, 360 degree recognition, and dedicated security chip
  • 4000 mAh Battery with Fast Charging
  • 6000 Series Aluminium alloy unibody, Aerospace class
  • View Full Specs

Let Downs of the Umi Plus

  • No Dedicated MicroSD slot for memory card, you will have to sacrifice one SIM slot
  • Battery is non removable
  • Selfie Camera is hard wired to record VGA Video (No HD Video)

Now that we have seen the highlights and not so good aspects of the phone we will now share our review of the phone.

We are grateful to Chinavasion.com for offering us the review unit.

The Unboxing

Umi Plus comes in a compact box that looks some worth similar to the box of the Wiko Getaway.

Umi Plus Box

Inside the box, you will find the phone and sitting below it is the USB Type C cable.

See Whats Inside the UMi Plus Box

In the box, you also find a SIM tray ejector Pin and the fast charge adapter for charging your phone. The charger can deliver up to 12V at 1.25A current. It can also deliver 5V, 7V, or 9V at 1.67A current. This just means your phone can charge very fast.

Fast Charge Adapter for the UMi Plus

The Design

The Umi Plus looks great (Yes, I have said that a lot already). The metal body looks flawless. The entire back and sides are built of aerospace class, 6000 Series Aluminium alloy.

UMi Plus showing metal design

The front is covered with a 2.5D curved glass. The home button/fingerprint sensor is built-into the glass cover (below the display).

UMi Plus Front View

The fingerprint sensor is fast, allowing you unlock your phone in as little as 0.1 second. You can also register up to 5 fingerprints. Above the display, you find the 5 megapixels selfie camera, sensors, and earpiece.

Umi Plus has a dedicated camera button. This you will find on the left side of the phone.

Left Side of UMi Plus

Above the camera button is the dual-SIM tray. The tray supports either two micro-SIM cards or one micro-SIM and a microSD memory card.

Phone with SIM Tray

On the right side, you will find the power/lock button and the volume rocker.

Right Side of the UMi Plus showing the volume rocker and Power button

On top, you will find 3.5mm audio jack, while on the bottom, you will see the USB Type C port sandwiched between two grilles.

UMi Plus Top View Showing the 3.5mm audio jack
The Top View of UMi Plus showing the 3.5mm audio jack

However, despite the Umi Plus offering two grilles, it lacks stereo loudspeakers, an inadequacy it shares with the Xiaomi Mi 5S. The left grille is actually the main microphone, while the right grille is for the loudspeaker.

The bottom side of the UMi Plus showing the USB Type C and two grilles for loudspeaker and microphone
The bottom side of the UMi Plus showing the USB Type C and two grilles for loudspeaker and microphone

On the back, you will notice the camera bump for the 13 megapixels rear camera, the dual-tone LED flash, the antenna band, and the UMi logo.

Rear view of the UMi Plus

If you look carefully, you will also notice the second microphone for noise cancellation.

The Display

Umi Plus has a 5.5-inch LPTS Display from Sharp with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution. According to UMi, the Sharp Display supports 95% colour gamut with high colour saturation for a great viewing experience.

At 400 ppi, the UMi Plus screen is brilliant. The viewing angle is also great and you can view the screen comfortably outdoors. The entire front of the phone is covered with a 2.5D curved glass. It is the same Dinorex T2X-1 scratch/shock resistant Glass found on the Meizu m3 Note.

The Battery Life

The Umi Plus Smartphone ranks high on battery life. UMi claims the phone can last for up to two days on one full charge and from my experience that claim seems possible. It sports a 4000 mAh battery from Sony.

PCMark Work 2.0 Battery Life score for UMi Plus

We ran the PCMark Work 2.0 battery life test on the Umi Plus and it scored a respectable 6 hours 26 minutes, this puts it at par with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and well ahead of average scores of smartphones like the Huawei P9 (5 hours 22 minutes), OnePlus 3 (5 hours 24 minutes), Sony Xperia XZ (6 hours 17 minutes), and Samsung Galaxy S7 (5 hours).

This surely makes the UMi Plus above average in the battery life department, but still falls short of phones like the Huawei P9 Plus (9 hours 1 minute), Xiaomi Mi 5S Plus (7 hours 33 minutes), and Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 Pro (9 hours 18 minutes).

However, what matters is battery life in the wild and I am impressed with how well the UMi Plus performs. Streaming YouTube Videos with audio from loudspeaker for 30 minutes drained the battery from 65% to 61%.

In addition when the smartphone is not doing anything it is super efficient. Leaving the phone overnight drains the battery between 1% to 3%. In one case, I charged the battery full before going to bed and about 7 hours later, the charge level was at 99%.

Though the battery drains slowly, Umi Plus offers a fast charger. I was able to charge from 28% to 100% in less than an hour. The battery is non-removable, but according to Umi, the battery can retain over 80% of its capacity after 900 charges.

The Camera

UMi Plus features a 13 megapixels camera on the back. The camera is built of a Samsung 3L8 sensor, f/2.0 aperture, and dual-tone LED flash. The camera interface is pretty easy.

You can Toggle to HDR mode or the flash. You can also select Video, Photo or Panorama.

Umi Plus Camera App

If you need more control, the UMi Plus camera has a Pro-Photo option that enables you manually control the camera characteristics as you deem fit.

Photo Pro Camera Option for UMi Plus

You can manually control the Saturation, Brightness, Contrast, Exposure, ISO, and White balance. The camera offers a timer with a delay of up to 10 seconds.

The rear camera also supports face detection, smile detection, voice capture, and gesture shot. The camera can record up to 1080p HD Video (4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio).

Camera Setting for UMi Plus

Photo Resolution and Aspect Ratio
Photo Resolution and Aspect Ratio options for the rear Camera, the phone also offers VGA (4:3), 1MP (4:3), and 1MP (16:9), which are not visible in the screenshot

UMi Plus has a 5 megapixels front facing camera for selfies. The camera supports face detection, gesture shot, or voice capture. However, the selfie camera is limited at VGA video with no options for altering video quality.

The photo quality is between good and average with the default camera setting. But, I have not yet done a serious test of the camera.

In addition, since the UMi Plus offers a Photo-Pro option that gives you control of some key camera characteristics, there is a wide room for improving your photo quality.

I will update this camera section in future.

Multimedia

UMi Plus offers a Gallery app. Photos and Videos you shoot with your camera are automatically stored in the Camera roll album of the Gallery app. The phone offers a photo editor that enables you spruce up your photos before sharing them with the world.

The image editor is quite elaborate with lots of options to choose from.

Umi Plus Image Editor

UMi Plus Image Editor

The video app is basic and support only trimming.

UMi Plus does not offer the best sound quality via its loudspeaker. Though the smartphone offers two grilles, one of the grille is for a mono speaker while the other is for the microphone.

For the best audio quality, you are better off with an earbud. However, the phone does not come with an earbud in the box. So, you will have to buy the earbud separately. However, if you are like me, you already have a handful of earbuds littering your crib.

Connectivity

UMi Plus supports downloads of up to 150 Mbps via 4G LTE. The smartphone supports four LTE bands Band 1 (2100MHz), Band 3 (1800MHz), Band 7 (2600MHz), and Band 20 (800MHz).

Both SIM cards can support 4G LTE, however when one SIM is on LTE, the other one can only do GSM. The phone also supports quad-band GSM and quad-band 3G.

UMi Plus also supports GPS and dual-band Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n). It also has an FM radio built-in and like most smartphones, you will need to connect an earbud to the 3.5mm audio jack to activate it.

The Umi Plus is equipped with a USB Type C port for fast charging and faster data transfer.

The Software

UMi Plus is loaded with Android 6.0 (Marshmallow). However, unlike other makers that offer customised UI skin on-top of Android, UMi is offering a pure flavour of Android.

In fact, when we got this phone, we were expecting a phone with lots of Chinese characters and loads of bloatware, but UMi Plus surprised us. We found not even one bloatware. In fact, I had to download YouTube from the Play Store. It however came with Google Apps like Gmail, Search, Maps, and of course Play Store.

The advantage of stock Android is that you get faster updates and timely security patches. In fact, over the last seven days that I have been using the UMi Plus, it has received two security patches. This is simply not possible for most Android phones.

In addition UMi has also announced Android 7.0 (Nougat) update for the UMi Plus, UMi Max, and UMi Super for Christmas Eve this year.

The UI is pretty standard. The lockscreen shows time, date, and notifications. You also see shortcuts to the camera and Google Voice Assist on the lower end of the screen.

UMi Plus Lockscreen
Lockscreen

However, once you set a fingerprint unlock, you will see the lockscreen less often as you can unlock the screen from sleep directly to the homescreen just with a fingerprint scan.

UMi Plus Homescreen
Homescreen

However, sometimes you may just want to check the time on the lockscreen without going into the homescreen. You can press the lock/power button on the right side of the phone to achieve this.

You may also be interested in the UmiDigi Z2 Pro

The Performance

UMi Plus comes with a Mediatek Helio P10 MTK6755M chipset. This SoC offers a 64-bit, octa-core processor clocked at up to 1.8GHz and Mali T860 for GPU. The Phone also has 4GB RAM.

UMi Plus under the hood

The UMi Plus ran smoothly during normal use. Video streaming was smooth and I did not notice any lags in normal use. I still had to run some benchmark tests just to be sure.

UMi Plus performed average on benchmark tests. It had a 657 single core score and a 2521 multi-core score on Geekbench 4.

Geekbench 4 score for UMi Plus

On PCMark for Android Work 2.0 performance score, the UMi Plus got a 3117.

PCMark Work 2.0 Performance Score for UMi Plus

The Score puts it ahead of phones like the Xiaomi Redmi 3 (3072), Huawei Honor 5X (3062), Huawei GR5 (2888), Samsung Galaxy J7 (2868) and Lenovo Phab 2 Plus (2835).

However, to put things in perspective the Huawei P9 scored 5426, the Xiaomi Mi 5S (5203), Sony Xperia XZ (5093), and Samsung Galaxy S7 (4989).

Now lets look at AnTuTu Benchmark score:

UMi Plus scored a 45762 on AnTuTu Benchmark, which is average considering that the LG G5 pulled a 128232 score and the Huawei P9 a 91711 score.

Overall, the UMi Plus scores average on Benchmark performance, but my personal experience with it shows a phone that is smooth and fast.

The Conclusion

UMi Plus looks very much like a flagship, it even performs smoothly (like a flagship should) with solid battery life, but there are still a number of trade-offs that negates the intended flagship status. But, given the price it is understandable.

Most consumers who are buying phones for $250 are not expecting highend phones, they are expecting a smartphone that offers them the look, feel, and experience of a highend phone and the UMi Plus perfectly fits the bill.

Where to Buy UMi Plus

Gearbest – See Offers | AliExpress – See Offers | Jumia Nigeria – See Offers

Paschal Okafor is NaijaTechGuide Team Lead. The article UMi Plus Review – Premium & Affordable 4G Phablet was written by Paschal Okafor. The article was last modified: August 16th, 2018

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