Review: UMi Touch

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UMi is one of many China-based smartphone manufacturing companies. This is still a relatively small company, but they managed to release quite a few devices in the last year or so. We've already reviewed the UMi Iron, UMi Iron Pro, UMi eMax and UMi eMax Mini, and even the company's UMi Voix Blu headphones, in case you're interested in reading any of that. That being said, UMi has recently released yet another phone, an affordable mid-ranger called the UMi Touch. We've managed to acquire a review unit of this phone, and are here to take a look at what it has to offer, and whether or not is it worth the asking price. So, without further ado, let's get to it, shall we.

Specifications

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As already mentioned, the UMi Touch is a mid-range handset, no matter how you look at it. This phone is made out of metal, but its specifications sure are mid-range. The UMi Touch features a 5.5-inch fullHD (1920 x 1080, 441 PPI) LTPS 2.5D curved display with Corning's Gorilla Glass 3 on top of it. The phone is fueled by MediaTek's MT6753 64-bit octa-core processor, along with the Mali-T720 GPU for graphics, which is MediaTek's 2015 mid-range SoC. The phone also packs 3GB of LPDDR3 RAM and 16GB of internal storage (expandable up to 64GB via a microSD card slot)

The 13-megapixel camera (Sony's IMX328 sensor) is placed on the back of the UMi Touch, and a 5-megapixel hynix HI553 unit is available up front. The LED flash is placed on both the back and front side of this smartphone, and a 4,000mAh battery is also available here, and it is not removable. 4G LTE connectivity is supported, the UMi Touch supports LTE-FDD 1800 / 2600 / 800 (B20, B3, B7) bands. There are two SIM card slots available here (2 x Micro SIM), and the second one can be used as a microSD slot as well. Android 6.0 Marshmallow comes pre-installed on this smartphone, though UMi did add its own software on top of it. The device measures 154.5 x 76 x 8.5mm, while it weighs 190 grams. The phone is available in three color options, Gray, White and Gold.

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In The Box

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The content of UMi Touch's packaging may vary depending on where you purchase the device. As some of you might know, UMi sells their device through a number of Chinese resellers, and pretty much every single one of them lists the content of the packaging, of course. That being said, we've received our unit directly from the company, and aside from the device, charger and the charging cable, we've received some additional goodies. We've received two cases for the device, one regular snap-on case with an interesting pattern on the back, and the flip cover case. Along with that, the tempered glass screen protector was also included in the box, as you can see in the provided image.

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Display

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The UMi Touch ships with a 5.5-inch fullHD (1920 x 1080) display, which comes to 441 PPI. This is an LTPS panel, and the 2.5D curved glass is placed on top of the display itself. We've seen this display used many time on smartphones in the last year or so, and it's actually quite a good display. The blacks could be blacker, of course, and the colors are a bit off, but overall, the display is really good and vibrant, while it also gets plenty bright. I had no issue using this display outdoors either, as long as the brightness goes all the way up. Another disclaimer, I do manually set up brightness (or use a third-party app to set auto brightness properly, like Lux for example) on my devices because I rarely see a smartphone which is capable of setting auto brightness to my liking.

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Now, the display itself looks rather alright, it can't compare to some of the newer devices, but it's quite good considering how much you're paying for this phone. Now, touch sensitivity on the other hand, is not that good at all. UMi either used a poor digitizer, or failed to set it up properly. The touch sensitivity is not high enough, it won't pick up my taps from time to time, and typing is really not a great experience considering the fact that the display is late to register taps pretty much all the time. It also tends not to register a letter at all sometimes, which can be really frustrating, as you might imagine. This could be solved via an update, presuming the touch sensitivity is the only problem here, hopefully the digitizer itself is not the issue, in which case this is a hardware problem.

Hardware And Build

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The first thing that you should know, is the fact that this phone is heavy, might feel really heavy to some of you. The device weighs 190 grams, and it actually reminded me a lot of UMi's Hammer S device which I've reviewed a while back. Both of these phones are really bulky and made out of metal. Speaking of which, the phone sports a metal unibody design, and it actually feels really solid in the hand, as long as you don't mind the weight, of course. It also fits well in the hand, though again, it's not that small considering it sports a 5.5-inch display on its front side.

The power / lock and volume rocker buttons (which are located on the right side of the device) are made out of metal, just like the device, and they're very tactile, I don't really have any complaints in that area. The physical home key is also quite tactile, though it feels a bit cheap in comparison with other buttons, not to mention the fact that it's a bit small, so it's not exactly the best physical home experience I've encountered, but it does the job. The loudspeaker is placed on the bottom part of the phone's back, and on the very bottom of this phone you'll find the micro USB port for charging and data transfer.

Performance And Memory

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As far as performance goes, you get what you pay for, and far more than that. The UMi Touch performed like a champ while I was using it, I didn't have any issues multitasking, browsing, watching YouTube, and even some light gaming worked great. I tried firing up some more demanding games, like the Asphalt 8 and Modern Combat 5 on the UMi Touch, and even though they ran fine, I did notice some issues, especially when using higher graphical settings. As far as your regular daily activities go, this smartphone is almost completely lag free, its hardware is more than powerful enough to push almost anything you throw at it.

The UMi Touch is fueled by MediaTek's MT6753 64-bit octa-core processor, which has been included in a ton of devices last year, and it's a solid mid-range processor, though last year's processor. Several prior UMi-branded devices were fueled by this chip, like the UMi Iron for example, and that handset had no performance issues either. The device is also packing 3GB of RAM, which help with multitasking quite a bit, you'll constantly have way over 1GB of RAM free, on this device, most likely even over 1.5GB, which leaves plenty of room for the device to keep applications in memory, and as I mentioned, multitasking was no issue whatsoever.

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Benchmarks

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Benchmarks don't mean all that much in terms of performance, but they do indicate how powerful the phone's hardware is. UMi Touch is nowhere close to the high-end handset, and its MT6753 64-bit octa-core SoC might be considered obsolete by some, but it's still a really good performer, as mentioned in the paragraph above. The UMi Touch managed to score 38,681 points in AnTuTu, just where we expected it to be. The device managed to score 620 points in the single-core test on Geekbench 3, and 2,884 points in Geekbench's multi-core test. If you'd like to now more, check out the images in the gallery down below, where you'll also find UMi Touch's 3DMark results.

Phone Calls And Network

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What good is a phone if you can't use it to take phone calls, right? Well, you'll be glad to know that UMi Touch did alright in this test, average I'd say. I was able to hear just fine through the earpiece, though the people i called said that the sound is not as clear as it usually is, which means the microphone is not all that great, but they didn't complain all that much, and neither did I when I was on the other end of the line. It's not exactly the crispest microphone I've used, but it's far from being the worst either, it's actually exactly what I expected it to be, average.

This handset does offer 4G LTE connectivity, as mentioned in the specifications section of this review, though do keep in mind that it won't work everywhere. The device offers support for LTE-FDD 1800 / 2600 / 800 (B20, B3, B7) bands, so make sure to check in with your carrier before you decide to purchase this smartphone. I was able to fully test this device in my area, and I had quite a great signal as well, and did not experience any issues whatsoever, which is certainly a good sign.

Battery Life

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Battery life is, according to many people, the biggest problem when it comes to today's smartphones. Well, I tend to agree with that, as some phones can't last 3 hours of SoT (scree-on-time) on a single charge, and such phones are basically useless if you use you're not a light smartphone user. Well, you'll be glad to hear that the UMi Touch did great in the battery life department, as you can see in an example down below, the phone was at almost 3 hours of SoT and I still had 58% of battery left. I watched plenty of YouTube and took quite a few camera shots during that day, and the brightness was mostly at around 30-40%. UMi Touch is a real road warrior as far as battery life goes, as it should be considering UMi included a rather big 4,000mAh battery unit here.

Software

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In terms of software, UMi Touch is actually quite similar to a number of other UMi-branded smartphones. UMi tends to add a layer of features to the stock Android experience, but doesn't exactly include tons of bloat on there, which probably has something to do with phone's overall performance. Now, aside from what you already know is included, UMi has added features such as Turbo Download, Gesture Sensing and Smart Wake.

The 'Turbo Download' feature essentially lets the phone combine your Wi-Fi and 3G / 4GB speed in order to offer faster data transfer speeds. This is nothing new, we've seen this in several already released handsets, and the most notable manufacturer using such tech is Samsung. The 'Gesture Sensing' menu is the phone's settings hides various other options, the phone basically lets you control certain apps while waving your hand over the proximity sensor, again, similar to what we've seen in Samsung's devices a while back. You can, for example, set the phone to list images in the gallery when you wave your hand in a certain direction. This works relatively well presuming there's plenty of light in a room, there are some hiccups though, so get ready to face them if you intend to use this, sometimes the proximity sensor refuses to register a wave, for example.

Now, there's another menu available in settings, and it's called 'Smart Wake'. This menu hides double-tap-to-unlock feature, as well as a ton of other similar action which can be performed when the phone's display is off. You can, for example, draw a letter 'C' on the display in order to call upon the phone's camera. There are quite a few options available here, though keep in mind that the display isn't all that well optimized for this, when 'Smart Wake' is enabled, the phone turned on numerous times in my pocket, which is something I certainly wanted to avoid. That's not all though, Smart Wake gestures are way to sensitive, and I actually managed to activate some of them by glancing across the screen with my palm by accident while holding the device.

Sound

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The UMi Touch sports a rear-facing loud speaker, and that's never a good thing if you ask me. I can do with a bottom-facing speaker, even though I do prefer a front-facing one, but that depends from one person to the other. The good thing is, the speaker is certainly not that bad, it can get quite loud, and even though the sound isn't as crisp as I'd like, it's more than passable. I don't have many complains when it comes to this speaker, especially considering the price of the phone, just make sure you don't cover it with your hand while using the device.

Now, as far as headphone sound output goes, the sound is quite average. I've tried several headphones and one set of earphones, and wasn't disappointed, but not impressed either. If I had to describe it in a word, I'd say it's average, it's not too bassy, and yet it sound rather good if you're not looking for something that will blow your mind. Sound output in general is quite average here, though the loud speaker can get quite loud if you need it to, just don't expect too much from UMi Touch in the sound department and you'll be fine.

Fingerprint and Security

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As I've already mentioned in the 'Specifications' section of this review, the UMi Touch does sport a fingerprint scanner, and it is built into the physical home button picture above. The button itself is quite tactile, which is a good thing, and you're probably wondering is the fingerprint scanner any good? Well, I have to say that I was impressed, not only is it fast and really reliable, but you don't even need to physically press the button in order to activate it. All you have to do to unlock the device is put your finger on the button and voila, it's unlocked. The fingerprint scanner was really reliable during my testing and I've even decided to press it approximately 30 times repeatedly in order to see how many time will it misread my fingerprint, and it did it only once. I've even changed the placement of my finger every time, and the fingerprint did a great job nonetheless. I have to say it's not as far as some other fingerprints I've tested / tried out, but it's definitely not slow, I believe that the vast majority of you will be more than pleased with it.

Camera

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The UMi Touch features a 13-megapixel snapper on the back, and a 5-megapixel shooter up front. UMi opted to use Sony's IMX328 sensor for the main camera on this device, and I do have to say that the camera is most probably the UMi Touch's weakest point, in addition to the digitizer that I've already talked about. The camera shots with the UMi Touch are unbalanced even during the daylight, I did manage to get a couple of nice shots it, but they were average at best. The camera tends to overexpose images, and so does touch to focus more often than not. I was generally able to get better images without touch to focus during the day, and the results were quite opposite during nighttime. The colors seem off on most images as well, and you really do have to keep your hand steady when taking an image in order to avoid blur. The camera is also not exactly that fast, it's quite slow actually.

Now, as far as nighttime shots go, UMi Touch doesn't exactly do a good job, as you can see in the images down below. The images turn out way too dark with very little detail in them, and it's quite easy to get a blurry image in when there's not enough light available. So, to sum up, during daylight, the camera tends to overexpose images, it also has quite sensitive white balance, and during the night, the images turn out too blurry, dark and lack detail. The front facing shooter is quite average during the day, and things get far worse during the night, but that's not such a huge issue unless you're really into taking selfies and what not. Either way, check out the gallery down below in order to see some camera samples capture with the UMi Touch.

The Good

General performance

Fingerprint scanner

Battery life

The Bad

Touchscreen sensitivity

Camera

Weight of the device

Conclusion

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So, is this phone worth the asking price? Well, if you're going to be bothered by the lack of touchscreen sensitivity (especially when typing) and quite capable camera, then no. On the other hand, if you're not going to use the phone's camera that often, and you don't need its touchscreen sensitivity to be that great, then it's definitely worth it. The phone is really good in every other department basically, its battery life is great, and it performs really well too. The touchscreen issues might be fixed with a software update (presuming it's not a hardware issue), and you can always use an app like 'SGS Touchscreen Booster' in order to try to rectify this. If you're interested in purchasing this phone, you can find the link down below.

UMi Touch – $159.99