My current cell phone is an LG-made Google Nexus 4, that's over 4 years old. It is showing its age. Increasingly, the screen stays black when I turn it on; the only recourse is holding down the Power button until it reboots. Its CPU is struggling with today's app load, and the default camera app sometimes crashes but more often takes a long time to be ready.
A replacement, clearly, is needed.
At one time, I would have got the same phone as I got for my wife and my mother-in-law, the $200 Moto G with smart cover. It is a sensible, mid-range phone that works well enough but I'd like something flashier. What irritates me, however, is how tech publications these days trumpet $400 as the normal mid-level price; whatever happened to $200 for a good, unlocked phone?
Then I discovered that Chinese phone manufacturers are doing just that. Phones with the latest technology going for around $200. After some digging, I settled on the UMI Super. Yip, that's the name: Super. I bought it through eBay from China.
Sadly, it will take another month to arrive by ocean freighter.
It is any good? I won't know until it is in my hand, but in the meantime the prognosis is good. UMI has a reputation of putting in high end components and attaching a low price tag. Best of all, the company says that today (Dec 24) it is releasing Android 7.0 for the Super.
Here is the spec list:
- 8-core CPU that splits the cores into 2.0GHz 4-core and 1.2GHz 2-core
- 4GB operating RAM
- 32GB storage RAM
- 256GB (max) microSD card support
- Room for two miniSIM cards (or 1 SIM and the microSD card)
- 5.5" HD Gorilla glass screen
- USB C port and headphone connector
- 4000mAhr battery
- LED status light (actually a circle that "breathes")
- Function button (extra button through which any function can be activated)
- 360-degree fingerprint sensor
- Aluminum body with narrow bezel
- Unlocked, of course, with GPS, Bluetooth, etc, etc.
- 2-year warranty
Unusually, the company uses brand name components:
- Screen by Sharp
- Cameras by Panasonic
- Memory by Samsung
- Battery by Sony with quick charge
The camera is not new, having been released last May. This may explain why the price has dropped from the original $250 to under $200 today. As one reviewer put it, we're getting for $200 for what Samsung charges $700.
Plus, the Super comes in a nice tin box.