UMi was generous enough to grace us with a product called Hammer S. We are not quite sure what the name of the smartphone suggests (since UMi Hammer S would generally mean that the product is extremely robust) but we have a feeling that we are going to find out a bit later in our review of the $130 handset. Is it worth your money? Let us take a look.
UMi Hammer S: Design and appearance
Now, there is a ton of cool hardware and features present in UMi Hammer S and as much as we are excited about covering them first, we have to stick to the lesser categories of the device first. Now, before we come to the actual smartphone, let us talk about the insanely large amount of accessories that we got from the packaging. Looks like the company did not spare any expense in preparing its UMi Hammer S. The box itself was quite large to begin with but that was obviously so that the remaining accessories could be bundled up in a professional manner.
It is not mandatory for smartphone companies to provide us with cases but UMi gave us not one, but two cases that have accurate cutouts where the camera, fingerprint sensor and LED lights are present. Both of these cases are an ‘open flap’ type, which means that you will actually have to open the front side to check for notifications. Also, we noticed that these cases are quite thick and soft at the same time, which will provide adequate cushioning protection if you are clumsy enough to drop your smartphone on a hard surface frequently.
Now let us come to the actual UMi Hammer S and see if the company gave enough time to the smartphone as it did with its overall packaging. What are our first impressions? For a $130 handset, it looks thoroughly attractive. In fact, UMi Hammer S features the same design that we were expecting Xiaomi Mi5 to come with but that is just our impression of how we expect a device to look like. Furthermore, the material used to make the smartphone is of premium quality and comprises up of a metal rim surrounding it. In terms of its appearance, UMi Hammer S brings out a premium element and it will not drain your bank account doing so.
Unfortunately, aesthetics are not the only thing that helps a smartphone to sell well. There should always be balance, which we will be finding out shortly.
UMi Hammer S: Button placement
Button placement is by far the least important category of this review but if you will be upgrading to UMi Hammer S, then chances are that you will have to get used to that button placement, which is going to be quite different from your previous handset. Starting off, the power and volume buttons are present on the right side of UMi Hammer S and because of this strange configuration, we did find some getting used to before we knew which button we had to press.
Also keep in mind that the buttons present right beneath the smartphone are capacitive and not physical and therefore will not possess a tactile feel to them. This might be a problem for those who like the ‘clicky’ feel of a mobile device, but you can always activate the vibration function of the device in order for it to give you a sensation of what a physical button feels like.
However, the capacitive buttons are extremely responsive and like any other smartphone in the market, there is a 3.5mm jack is present right at the top.
UMi Hammer S: Display and resolution
When you grip UMi Hammer S for the very first time, you will immediately notice that the smartphone is enormous in size. It is packing a 5.5 inch display and combine that with the bezels that is surrounding it and you will have a very large overall device stuffed in your pocket. The resolution is a bit on the low side (1280 x 720) and while content might not look the most embellished on this smartphone as compared to 1440p resolutions, it will not drain the battery as much and for most handset owners out there, having more battery life is a feature that they will gladly have over a higher resolution.
Overall, the viewing angles of the smartphone are great but even these days we see that companies are incorporating 1080p displays on to their smartphones, so it does feel that UMi Hammer S has taken a step back with this. However, while we might be thinking that the company took some price reduction corners, you must keep in mind that whatever cost cutting the company decided to take, they covered it up by giving us a stack load of accessories from the packaging and for that, we have to be extremely grateful.
UMi Hammer S: Interface impressions
Though the 720p display was slightly disappointing, we were thrilled to see that the device is running Android Lollipop 5.1. Though we have not received any word on this, but it is highly possible that the smartphone will receive a compatible update of Android Marshmallow later on in the year. Android Marshmallow is officially going to be released for devices next week so hopefully we will get to hear some good news about UMi Hammer S.
As for the performance of the interface, we have to say that we were really impressed. The stock interface might look very similar to other smartphones out there, but keep in mind that this handset only has a quad-core processor and is still able to deliver fluidity when we scrolled and played around with it. Best of all, knowing that UMi Hammer S belongs to a Chinese manufacturer, the device possesses different languages which you can set to according to the region (or the nature language that you speak in) you reside in.
UMi Hammer S: Performance (Processing and connectivity)
Now let us come to the core segment as to why consumers want to purchase a smartphone in the first place? Raw performance. We fired up AnTuTu and Geekbench to see how the device would fare when pitted against the remaining competition and we have to say that the smartphone might have missed its mark, but it is still able to achieve a satisfactory score, as you can see in the image below.
Despite the fact that UMi Hammer S has an MT6735, and a quad-core Cortex-A53 running at 1.0GHz, the smartphone was surprisingly able to score a respectable position in both Geekbench and AnTuTu. Now, don’t get us wrong, performance is definitely not the strongest attribute of this smartphone right here, but then again, UMi Hammer S is not intended to target those with a thicker wallet and who demand performance over everything else. It will cater to the requirement of those users that are on a strict budget and rightly so, with those scores, we think that the price is perfect with the level of performance we are getting from it.
The great thing about having an MT6735 present in it is that even mid-performing chipsets feature an LTE modem, which is terrific since once upon a time, only the most expensive of smartphones featured an LTE chip. Now, consumers who do not have sufficient funds to own a high-end smartphone can experience these features with a mid-ranged product, which shows that the market is slowly bringing high-end features to low-priced devices.
UMi Hammer S: Battery life measurement
For most of you out there, high amount of battery life is a very crucial feature to have in a smartphone. In UMi Hammer S, its large form factor is big enough to accommodate a 3,200mAh cell so we decided to take it for a battery test. We tested out the smartphone with its screen brightness set to 100 percent. In this way, you will be able to experience the worst case scenario when you purchase UMi Hammer S.
Having a larger battery is always a great thing to have, and this was witnessed from UMi Hammer S when we were able to rake out slightly over 17 hours while connected to 3G, and 11 hours on 4G. Keep in mind that we carried out some casual browsing tasks and occasionally, we streamed high-resolution videos. We did this to give you an idea on what kind of battery life will you experience should you decide to carry out similar tasks as well.
UMi Hammer S: What features make this smartphone stand out?
UMi Hammer S is a great Android powered handset, especially if you are on a strict budget. There are several features that make it feel that a premium quality smartphone and we would like to point out those features right now. Additionally, we will also point out what we felt could have been added to UMi Hammer S in order to make it even better than before. Hopefully the company will be reading this so that they will be able to release an even better device in the future.
Things that we liked about UMi Hammer S
- Its amazingly affordable price
- Is large screen size
- Ability to accommodate two microSIM cards (keep in mind that if you have a full sized SIM card, then you will have to reduce it to a microSIM form factor)
- Definitely a USB-C port (this will help to increase data transfer speeds and it is also reversible so you will be able to fit the cable inside the port in the very first attempt)
- A 13MP rear camera sensor
- A fingerprint scanner
- Ability to control your smart appliances with the use of its IR Blaster
- 3,200mAh battery
- Running Android Lollipop 5.1 (It is possible that the smartphone could receive an update for Android Marshmallow, which will result in more performance)
- Able to accept a microSD card up to 64GB
Things that we thought could have made the smartphone much better
- Having an octa-core processor instead of a quad-core CPU
- Having a higher resolution
- Ability to accommodate both SIM cards and still have space for a microSD card (currently, if you place a microSD card, you will only have space for a single SIM card)
- A selfie camera with a higher resolution
- Chipset: MediaTek MT6735
- Processor: Quad-core Cortex-A53 at 1.0GHz
- RAM: 2GB
- Memory: 16GB (supports a microSD storage card up to 64GB)
- Battery: 3,200mAh
- Display size: 5.5 inch
- Screen resolution: 1280 x 720
- Charging port type: USB-C
After looking at each and every aspect of UMi Hammer S, we have summarized the following scores below:
- Build Quality: 8 out of 10
- Appearance: 8 out of 10
- Button placement: 7 out of 10
- Interface experience: 10 out of 10
- Display quality: 6 out of 10
- Price/performance ratio: 7 out of 10
- Battery performance: 10 out of 10
UMi Hammer S happens to be remarkable phone for the price you are getting at. It has all the latest hardware features ranging from a fingerprint scanner, IR Blaster, USB-C port and is running Android Lollipop 5.1. Performance, like we have said earlier, is not its strongest suits, but since it is targeted to the mid-ranged crowd, we are going to let this slide by. Battery life was absolutely phenomenal and you get a whole range of accessories in the packaging as well.
We would like to point out that when you decide to place in a microSD card, do not go down the easy road and purchase an inexpensive one since those are the ones that will sacrifice both speed and reliability for a low price tag. Instead, spend a little more money and purchase a microSD card from reputable brands such as SanDisk or Samsung and trust us, you will not regret your purchase. Cheaply priced storage cards will eventually get corrupted and you will lose an abundant amount of data, not to mention that it will take a very long time for the data to be recovered, if it can be retrieved at all.
Right now, UMi Hammer S is retailing for $135.99 on geekbuying and if you feel compelled to purchase such a smartphone, then you will be executing a very sensible purchase on your part.