UMi definitely an up and coming smartphone manufacturer because UMi Iron Pro has been plastered all over the web of being the very first smartphone to feature three security layers. The company is making huge leaps in order to penetrate the smartphone market but on this occasion, we got out hands on a lesser performing device called UMi eMAX mini. Let us review this smartphone and see if it is a worthy option to purchase for $139.99.
UMi eMAX mini: Design and appearance
UMi eMAX mini might be a mobile device that has really cool hardware but that is not enough for the handset to be branded as a great product. There are other factors that go into play, with the very first one being its design and appearance. Now, for a mid-ranged smartphone, UMi eMAX mini is just alright in terms of appearance, and while that will kill the first impression for a lot of folks out there, appearance and design does not happen to be the most important factor when purchasing a smartphone.
Its body comprises up of a metal border which provides small amounts of durability to the smartphone, and looks great too. When we gripped the smartphone for the very first time, we knew that we were dealing with a premium quality handset because of the material that was used to make it was made up of very high quality. Since the smartphone does have a fair amount of bezels present on the top and bottom, its overall size is going to be much larger compared to other handsets, despite the fact that it only has a 5 inch display. Those who are not used to handling large screen devices before will definitely have trouble getting used to it, but we are confident that this trouble will most likely be over in a couple of days.
UMi eMAX mini: Button placement
Button placement is by far the least important category of this review but if you will be upgrading to UMi eMAX mini, 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. Like majority of Chinese smartphones, UMi eMAX mini has its power and volume buttons situated on the right hand side of the device, and a SIM card slot is present underneath the hood. Keep in mind that the battery is removable so you can replace it with a branded one belonging to UMi if you feel that the previous one has its life cut short.
Not incorporating a physical home button right in the center is an approach that several Chinese smartphone OEMs follow and it is not necessarily a good approach. This is because it is not going to deliver that clicking sensation when a user actually presses a physical home button, and majority of the times, they will have to tap on the capacitive buttons several times in order to confirm whether the action was completed or not. However, you can still experience that same sensation by choosing to switch on the vibration feature, though it will not be the same as an actual physical button and the other trade-off is that it will use up slightly more battery life.
The capacitive buttons illuminate when you tap on any one of them or when you wake up your UMi eMAX mini from sleep mode. There is a microUSB 2.0 charging port present at the bottom and a 3.5mm headphone jack present right at the top. We were hoping for a USB-C port, but we know that it is going to take a while for smartphone manufacturers to adopt to this particular port. Besides, microUSB cables are dirt cheap, something that is not common with USB-C cables.
UMi eMAX mini: Display and resolution
No doubt the smartphone is enormous in size and width and looks great too, but something that stands apart completely is its display. The company fit in a 1920 x 1080 resolution instead of a 1280 x 720 one and it looks absolutely beautiful. Since the display type is an IPS panel, UMi eMAX mini has some terrific viewing angles, and we suspect that the pixel per inch density of UMi eMAX mini is relatively high, which will upgrade your overall viewing experience even further.
UMi eMAX mini: Interface impressions
UMi eMAX mini might have everything going for it, but our mood shot up to a whole new level when we found out that the smartphone came running with Android Lollipop 5.0.2 as soon as we took it out of the box. While this yet to be confirmed, we are sincerely hoping that a compatible update of Android Marshmallow is made available for it later on in the year because the update is officially available to download and install on your device (at least for the Nexus lineup).
The interface was much smoother than the other devices we have seen up till now, which was really surprising given the fact that it is running a Snapdragon 615. It might not be the most powerful of chipsets out there, but it certainly gets the job done in smoothening out the mobile interface to a whole new degree. We are definitely hoping that UMi eMAX mini gets updated to Android Marshmallow, since that will drive up performance and improve the overall experience for all owners.
For users that want to purchase UMi eMAX mini, but are afraid that the device’s interface will be presented in the Chinese language, there are several languages to choose from and depending on your location and of course your native language, you can switch to that from the settings menu.
UMi eMAX mini: 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 eMAX mini has a Snapdragon 615, 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 eMAX mini 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 a Snapdragon 615 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 eMAX mini: 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 eMAX mini, its large form factor is big enough to accommodate a 3,050mAh 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 eMAX mini.
Having a larger battery is always a great thing to have, and this was witnessed from UMi eMAX mini when we were able to rake out slightly less than 15 hours while connected to 3G, and 8 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 eMAX mini: What features make this smartphone stand out?
UMi eMAX mini 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 eMAX mini 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 eMAX mini
- Has a price below the $150 mark
- Its 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)
- A 13MP Samsung ISOCELL rear camera sensor
- A fingerprint scanner
- 3,050mAh battery (we were hoping for a larger battery capacity but looking at the battery time we got, we couldn’t be happier with what we received)
- Running Android Lollipop 5.0.2 (It is possible that the smartphone could receive an update for Android Marshmallow, which will result in more performance, and more features)
- Able to accept a microSD card up to 64GB (this is the amount that most devices accept so it is very commendable on the company’s part to provide such a feature)
- An 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter
- An LTE modem is such an affordable mobile product
Things that we thought could have made the smartphone much better
- Having a better chipset
- Having a USB-C port (the earlier phone that we reviewed, UMi Hammer S had a USB-C port and was priced much lower than this)
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 615
- Processor: Octa-core Cortex-A53 at 1.5GHz
- RAM: 2GB
- Memory: 16GB (supports a microSD storage card up to 64GB)
- Battery: 3,060mAh
- Display size: 5.0 inch
- Screen resolution: 1920 x 1080
- Charging port type: microSIM
After looking at each and every aspect of UMi eMAX mini, we have summarized the following scores below:
- Build Quality: 7 out of 10
- Appearance: 6 out of 10
- Button placement: 7 out of 10
- Interface experience: 10 out of 10
- Display quality: 8 out of 10
- Price/performance ratio: 9 out of 10
- Battery performance: 7 out of 10
There is no denying the fact that UMi eMAX mini is an amazing smartphone when it comes to appearance and aesthetics and has all the features that you could hope for ranging from a fingerprint scanner, impressive camera, Android Lollipop 5.0.2 operating system and a large capacity battery. However, we were definitely hoping for more in terms of a much larger battery pack, and a USB-C port.
We would like to point out that since UMi eMAX mini has a microSD card slot capable of accepting a maximum card capacity of 64GB, 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 eMAX mini is retailing for $139.99 on Geek Buying. In our opinion, this is a terrific smartphone to have if you are on a strict budget and want to experience decent amount of performance from your handset.