It's been three months since I got my latest smartphone, a $200 Umi Super that has the specs of phones 3x the price, and so I thought I'd update you on my experience. Was it worth buying a phone direct from China to save $400 or so?
As a reminder, this is a 5.5" Android 7.0 phone running at 2.0GHz, with 4GB operating RAM and 32GB storage RAM (24GB free) with room for two microSIM cards, and a 4000mAhr battery. Umi has since renamed itself Umidigi.
Was it worth it? It is now.
The first two months were a bit rough, primarily due to a bug that caused the phone to spontaneously reboot, repeatedly. Frustrating. I finally learned to control the problem by holding down the power key long enough to force a hard reboot. The problem was, fortunately, solved with an over-the-air update that arrived in mid-April.
There are two problems that linger:
The camera still does not take excellent photos, despite the Sony-branded sensor. The thinking is that the Umi programmers have not tuned their software to work properly with the camera. One problem is the blurring when focused at infinity (see images below); the other problem is that Pro mode does not retain its settings. I am hoping these will be fixed by a future update, although any more updates are not guaranteed.
Above: full-frame photo; below: zoomed in portion at infinity
The other problem does not affect me, but may affect you. The phone does not work fully in the USA , especially not on the CDMA networks used by Verizon, Sprint, and others. This is a function of the hardware and so cannot be fixed through a software patch.
Based on my experience, the phone works excellently in Canada and Europe. I could not get it to connect with T-mobile in the USA, and so I continue to use my old Nexus 4 phone when I am in the USA.
About the only remaining downer is that it is not bright in sunlight. I notice that the price has increased recently, from under $200 to about $225.
What I love about the phone:
- speed (it runs at 2GHz)
- long battery life (usually down to only 40-60% by the end of the day)
- dual SIM (I can keep both my Canadian and European SIM cards installed)
- LOUD volume
- screen coating resists finger grease effectively
So, do I recommend this phone? Yes, after you install all of the over-the-air updates, and you are not on those USA cell phone systems.