UMi has released it’s first smartphone in the summer of 2012. After the X1, they released a lot of different models. Here is the list of devices: X1, S1, X1s, X2, Cross C1 (Big Red Bull), X2s, X1Pro, X3, C1 mini and the Zero is released in Q4 2014. All phones are low-end to mid-range models (except for the UMi Zero).
The goal of UMi: We choose the best solution for a smart phone at affordable price so everyone is able to use our device. Our goal is making sure every customer enjoys our devices and its high value for the money..
You don’t need to expect UMi to compete directly with the high end phones of Xiaomi, Samsung or Sony. They want to create phones with the best price in their range and software that is built for the customer. They aim to bring their phone worldwide and they have close connections with a lot of different webshops.
This review is based on the UMi C1 mini, UMi prefers to call this phone: 2014 QUAD CORE KILLER
Due to the large amount of pictures, it could take some time to load this review.
21-09’14: Release of the review
The choice for this Smartphone
My first impression
Comparison with other devices
Pictures of the phone
Additional information and links
UMi announced the C1 mini on 17 July. This 5,5″ model is the “smaller” version of the UMi Cross C1. The first thing I thought when I read it was: “If the C1 mini has a 5,5″ screen and is the smaller version of the Cross, how big is the Cross??” Well the UMi Cross C1 is slightly bigger and has a Full-HD 6,4″ screen.
From now on I will just call the 2 phones: UMi Cross and UMi C1.
I’ve checked the specifications of the 2 phones and here are the main differences:
UMi C1 vs. UMi Cross
|Released, Oct 2013||Released, Aug 2014|
|5,5″ 720p||6,4″ 1080p|
|Quad-core 1,3GHz MT 6582||Quad-core 1,5GHz MT 6589T|
|3,2MP + 13MP Camera||8MP + 13MP Camera|
|1GB RAM||2GB RAM|
|16GB ROM||32GB ROM|
|2430mAh battery||4180mAh battery|
First of all, I would like to thank www.coolicool.com for the opportunity to review this brand new phone. This Chinese website is quite popular on the internet, but isn’t well known in The Netherlands.
I’m a huge fan of small smartphones within the range of 127x65mm. So it was quite a “shock” that I received a 5,5″ phone from a brand I had never heard off. This phone could be a great opportunity to review the software and the hardware of UMi. The UMi C1 hasn’t been reviewed a lot here in Europe. I hope that you can get all the information that is needed for you to get a clear image of this phone.
I have received the phone 1 month after it was announced by UMi. Delivery from Singapore to The Netherlands took 4 working days. On 18 August, I could pick up the package at DHL. I had to pay about €22,- for customs and administration fee.
Could it be a great phone for people who seek a larger phone like this?
Is this phone capable to be a real “2014 quad core killer”??
• Price during the review: ~ €110,- without shipment
• 2G Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
• 3G Network: WCDMA 900/2100 MHz
• 4G Network: Not available
• Simcard: Dual-SIM (1 mini and 1 micro)
• Dimensions: 154,5 x 76,5 x 7,9 mm
• Weight: 160g
• Display type: Capacitive LTPS OGS touchscreen, 16M colours, Gorilla glass 3
• Display Size: 1280 x 720 pixels, 5,5″ (~267 ppi)
• Multitouch: 5 fingers
• Waterproof: No
• Headset connector: Yes, 3,5mm
• Speaker: Yes
• Sound: Vibration + MP3/WAV ringtones
• Card slot: Micro SD (Up to 32GB)
• Memory (ROM): 16GB
• Memory (RAM): 1GB
• Data speed EDGE/GPRS: 107/296 kbps
• Data speed UMTS: 384kbps
• Data speed HSUPA/HSDPA/LTE: N/A
• WLAN: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi hotspot
• Bluetooth: v4.0 Low Energy, A2DP
• NFC: No
• USB: Micro USB v2.0 (MHL), USB On-the-go
• Camera (back): Sony 13 MP (16:9) 4608×2592 pixels, F2.4 aperture, autofocus, LED flash, 4x digital zoom
• Features: Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization, HDR, panorama, burstmode
• Video: 1920×1088@30fps, touch focus, Face detection, record with LED support, pause and play, FFW Recording
• Camera (front): 3,2 MP 1792×1008 pixels
• Features: Geo-tagging, touch focus, face and smile detection, image stabilization
• Video: 480p@30fps
• OS: Android 4.4.2
• Chipset: Mediatek MT6582
• CPU: Cortex A7, Quad-core 1,3 GHz
• GPU: Mali-400 MP2
• Sensors: Direction, distance, gyroscope, proximity, compass, light
• Messaging: SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
• Browser: HTML 5 / CSS 3/ Default Android
• Radio: FM radio
• GPS: GPS, A-GPS with EPO
• Java: No
• Colours available: Silk White / Dark Grey
• Battery: Exchangeable Li-Ion 2430 mAh battery
• Sound support: MP3/ACC/AMR/OGG/MIDI/WMA/FLAC/WAV/AWB
• Image support: JPEG/PNG/GIF/BMP
• Video support: MP4/3GPP/AVI/WMV
• Documents: text documents
• Led colours: Red, Green, Orange, Cyan, White, Blue, and Violet
– Calendar, organizer, alarm clock, Image/video editor
– Exchange mail
– Google apps
– Voice memo/dial/commands are in English
– AOSP Google Keyboard, Predictive text input, Swype is supported.
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated microphone
– Wi-Fi Display
Unboxing video of the phone:
The box where the phone is packaged in is only slightly bigger than the phone. On the back of the box you can see all the specifications of this phone. It appears that UMi is really trying to focus on international success. When you open the box, you will see the black screen of the phone. Underneath the phone you will see the manual. The manual is printed directly on the box, I think it is great how UMi did this. When you turn to the other site of the manual, you will notice 2 boxes. 1 contains the battery + USB cable. The gray flat USB cable looks very exclusive as well. The other box contains the charger, in my case it is an European version.
Contents of the box:
• 1 x UMi C1 Smartphone
• 1 x 2430 mAh battery
• 1 x Charger
• 1 x USB Flat cable
• 1 x Documentation is written on the box
The phone feels very good and it is made out of premium materials. I really like the metal frame around the phone. The backplate looks like the material that is used for high-end Samsung phones. It is a perfect mix of the Redmi Note and the Samsung Note. The build of this phone seems to be slightly better than the Xiaomi Redmi. The logo of UMi reminds me of the logo of Xiaomi (Mi). The font looks the same, but it seems to be unlikely that they were inspired by them. When UMi was created, Xiaomi wasn’t the huge brand it is today.
The front of the phone is almost completely filled by the screen. On top of the screen, you will see the speaker for calling, the 3,2MP camera, light sensor and a notification LED. On the bottom of the phone, you will see 1 round onscreen home button and 2 dots next to it. The dot on the right is used as the Back button and the dot on the left is used for the Menu/Settings button. It would be easier that these dots had some kind of a image. On the other hand, these dots can now easily be used/programmed for another functionality. If you are a Xiaomi or Samsung user, it would be easier to switch these buttons from functionality. The buttons have vibration feedback and a backlight. I was not able to keep this backlight on all the time.
The right side of the phone has a volume button.
The left side of the phone has 1 button that is used to turn the phone on/off or to wake it up.
The bottom of the phone has 1 small opening for the microphone.
The top of the phone has the USB 2.0 connector and the 3,5mm headphone jack.
On the back of the phone you will find the 13MP camera, LED flash, the microphone for the camera and the single speaker.
Removing the cover wasn’t very easy. You need to pull up the left side and then open it up from top to the bottom. Under the backcover you will see the location for the battery, the MicroSD slot, mini-SIM slot for GSM/2G/3G (WCDMA) and 1 micro-SIM slot for GSM/2G. You will notice that the camera sticks out and it fits nicely through the hole of the backcover.
The phone with Android 4.4.2 and firmwareversion UMIC1.V2.06. The phone supports wireless updates. In the month I used this phone, there were no updates available. The OS feels like Android AOSP (stock Android) with a Miui flavour on top of it. I’ve read that UMi phones would be equipped with Yun OS/Aliyun OS, but it doesn’t seem that this OS from Alibaba has been installed on this phone. (During this research I found out that some really nice phones are pre-installed with that OS; Philips S301 and Hike Z1, please have a look at these beauties.)
The software feels very smooth, quick and stable. In my opinion, UMi has a more stable OS than I have experienced with brand new devices from Xiaomi. Xiaomi seems to bring their phones on the market with a working OS and then lets the users test and report the bugs to Xiaomi. After ~2 months, the Xiaomi phones are stable/flawless enough for public. UMi probably has the same approach as most European players in the phone market. As soon as the phone is available for public, it works directly without many/big bugs. This doesn’t mean that the C1 doesn’t have bugs and flaws. Under every section I will mention the bugs I found for the phone. I think that all of them can be fixed with software updates. I also hope that these bugs will be read by the UMi developers
I’ve tried to root the device with Shuame/Rootgenius but that wasn’t successful. If I have a more stable solution for this, then I will post it in this review as well, including all the steps you need to take.
You can use about 40 different system languages. The keyboard supports many more languages. I have installed the Dutch keyboard and you can easily change between different languages. I have tested the phone completely in English and I couldn’t find weird translations. All messages are in correct English, so you wouldn’t notice that you are using a Chinese phone.
The phone has some nice tools and applications. It doesn’t have any bloatware (unless you think Google apps are bloatware). The phone is pre-installed with the MyStore Market and Google Play Store. There are also other Google apps like: Google +, Hangouts, Drive and Google Now.
The phone has an “permission” app, which is something every Android phone manufacturer should have by default. You can disallow access to your location, phonebook or other system information. For instance, AnTuTu, doesn’t need to have access to my camera, so that is something I have blocked.
The downside of it is that you will get an annoying message that the access has been blocked to your; camera, location, internet, etc. This message is shown everytime you open the app. There doesn’t seem to be an option to turn it off.
The phone doesn’t have an appdrawer, just like Miui and IOS. All the apps are located on the homescreen. There are some nice features available on 2 of these tabs. There is a music-tab and camera-tab with live widgets. From these tabs you can control the music or camera.
You can download different wallpapers and themes for your phone. You can also choose your own personal wallpaper. I don’t know why, but on most phones you can’t scroll from the last to the first tab. You always need to go back via tab 6, etc. But on this phone, you can scroll one way as long as you want, it will keep going on. I like the way UMi, makes it easier for the user to scroll through these tabs.
I don’t know why, but sometimes the screen turns on by itself. It doesn’t seem to be caused by a message/mail/phonecall. When this happens in your pocket or purse, it could mean that the phone can be unlocked automatically. I would advise users of this phone to use a pincode or a pattern to unlock your phone.
The phone supports all common standard connections like Wi-Fi, GPS en Bluetooth.
The connection to the router is good and stable, but it only works on 2,4GHz networks. When the router is near your window, then you can connect to it from 70 meters away. Due to the construction of our house, I use different routers with the same SSID (name of the router/accesspoint). This phone has trouble switching from one router to the other. After a small investigation I’ve noticed that it doesn’t recognize my hidden SSID. This is also confirmed by the Engineering team of UMi. Most users won’t even notice this, so I don’t know if it will be solved in the nearby future.
The problem that should be solved is the reliability of the Wi-Fi connection. When I’m at work or at home it sometimes won’t connect to the router. Wi-Fi is turned on, but the phone doesn’t have a Wi-Fi connection. At these moments, the phone uses the 2G/3G connection of the phone. It also has difficulty of changing from router when I’m entering the zone of another router in my home. The only thing you can do is: Switch off the Wi-Fi connection on the phone and turn it on after 15 seconds.
The GPS is very poor inside, but works very good outside. You can configure your location with 3 different profiles:
• Only the internal GPS
• Only Wi-Fi and Mobile networks
• Everything turned on; GPS + Wi-Fi + Mobile networks
Outdoors, the connection is good and stable, you will get a good connection with GPS within 30 seconds. I have tested navigation without a simcard or Wi-Fi connection. I’ve started the app Sportstracker to keep track of my location. When I checked the route, it looked like it perfectly matched with the path I walked. The speed was accurate as well.
This is my second Mediatek phone I’ve tested and even this time GPS works perfectly with my navigation/apps.
|GPS at home 1
||GPS at home 2
|GPS outdoors 1
||GPS outdoors 2
The phone could connect easily to my car headunit and also to my wireless headset. During this connection everything worked without problems and calling via BT was no problem at all.
I did find some strange things, it appears that the same bug for Wi-Fi is also (partly) present for Bluetooth.
I always keep my Bluetooth connection turned on. Many times the phone doesn’t connect to my BT device. When I’m in my car, I noticed that my phone was not always automatically connected to my radio. This makes it impossible to use the phones mediaplayer or to start a handsfree phonecall.
Example for my headset: Both devices are connected, I can even use the play button on my headset to start the music. The music can’t be heard via the headset, but only via the speaker.
Workaround: Uncheck media audio and check the option again after 15 seconds.
Edit: This problem has been solved after a software update of my Jabra Bluetooth headset. I have tested it at least 5 times and on different days. I could not reproduced the problem I was facing.
The providers I have used were: T-Mobile and Vodafone. During my phonecalls, I didn’t have any problems with the connection on 1 of these networks. You can easily switch to the handsfree functionality of the phone. The speaker is loud enough if you want to use it in the car. During hands-free phonecalls, people could hear me well enough.
It is very easy to find or call a person from the phonebook. You can call a contact by typing the name with T9 or by using (a part of) the phone number. The phone will ask you from which simcard you want to call. You can save this setting for every person/phonenumber. You can also change the preferences for the simcard, this makes it possible to call everyone just from 1 simcard.
This feature is not available for every dual-sim phone, but it is very useful.
There are a lot of different ringtones, message- and notification sounds available on this phone. You can set your own MP3 files as a ringtone. You can add different profiles to make sure that it fits your needs. The maximum sound isn’t very loud, but it will be loud enough to hear it while you are shopping. When you turn the sound to the max, you will notice that the speaker can’t handle it. From 70% and higher, the ringtone will sound like it is played within a soda can.
You can add files to an own directory on your phone. I created the folder “Music” and downloaded 7 different albums from my NAS directly to my phone. Three of these albums contain .Flac files and were about 40MB for each file. The phone recognized them directly and I was able to listen to it via my headset. There is a nice feature on one of the homescreen tabs. If you want to start the music, you can move the needle on to the plate. I love it I think this could be a nice “Easter egg” for teenagers. You can also start the music by pressing on the second button at the bottom of the screen. The musicplayer looks OK and works very good.
Keyboard and browser
UMi added the default Google keyboard to the phone. I missed the dot and comma at the quick settings of the keyboard. This was the reason why I updated the build-in keyboard with a newer version. The rest of the functionality remained the same. I like this keyboard, because you can add different languages and “Swype” movements work for every added language. The keyboard is quick, easy to set-up and you can add your own words to the library.
On most 4.4 phones, you will get Google Chrome as your default browser. UMi is still using the stock Android browser. I don’t have a preference for either of these, I just use the default installed browser and sometimes Opera as well. The current browser looks good and works without lags. You can add different tabs but the browser doesn’t have any extra features. (With some browsers you can add a tab behind the one you are reading or scroll directly to the top).
Due to the size of the phone, it is very hard to have the phone in 1 hand to create a selfie. It is difficult to focus on yourself and quickly tap on the shutter button, with just 1 hand. The shutter button should also have a wider area to activate itself. It happened many times that I was ready to make a picture, but instead of making a photo the camera focused elsewhere. This is one of the reasons why it would have been great if a phone also had a hardware camera button.
The quality of the images are good. They aren’t as good as the Redmi 1s, but it is good enough for websites or personal albums. You are able to create some pictures at night, but don’t expect the LED to reach very far. In most cases it would be better to use the build-in Nightmode.
You can create pictures with the frontcam, but the quality of that camera is not good enough. Even in this price range, I would have expected a better camera. You can make pictures very quickly, but I wouldn’t use it to create selfies (although I did create some for the first time in a review.)
While you browse to the options of the frontcam, you will probably get an error (FC) in the first menu. I assume that it is something that can be easily fixed by UMi.
Shooting videos with the camera is good enough for most conditions. The quality is good for things that don’t move very fast. If you want to shoot something that’s moving a lot, than the camera has difficulty with focusing on that object. The camera has nice features, the most important one is: pause and record. Sony has released this feature in their brand new Z3 series, but UMi had already build in. I’ve tested it and it works perfectly! You can shoot a video, put it on pause and continue it a moment later.
Just like most phones nowadays, you can also make pictures while you are filming. You can zoom in as well, but that could cause some “clicksounds” in within the created video.
The quality of the frontcam is actually very poor. It could be fine for Skype, but I would not film myself too often with this camera.
Score of the camera
• If you press the shutter it may only focus (on a different area), not take a photo.
• Creating HDR pictures takes a lot of time.
• Bug in the options of the frontcamera causes the app to close.
• The image quality isn’t the best I’ve tested, but is OK in this price range.
• Selfiecam is not made for selfies, but only for videocalls. The quality of the frontcam is poor.
• Special feature: Pause and record while you are recording a video.
• The camera app starts very quickly.
• With burstmode, you can shoot 99 pictures in several seconds
• Creating a panorama picture is very easy. It doesn’t have to be 1 one fluent motion, every picture is copied next to the other.
• Shoot pictures with just a smile on your face.
• You can film with the build-in LED.
• Create pictures while you are recording a video.
Pause and record
The phone has an 2430mAh battery. This could be enough for 2 days, when you don’t do much exciting stuff with it and you only use 1 simcard. I have everything turned on: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 2 Gmail accounts, 2 Hotmail accounts, Facebook, LinkedIn, Weatherapp and Whatsapp. When I use 2 simcards I can reach the end of the day (around midnight) with ~40% left on my phone.
In most conditions you can use the phone for ~24 hours.
In the first weeks I’ve noticed a strange thing with the battery. I think this was caused because the phone and battery were not completely in sync. I haven’t encountered this issue the last week, but it is something to pay attention to.
Problem: The battery was slightly dropped from 100% – 80% after 12 hours, but in reality the amount of juice was much lower. After a while it looked like a quick battery drain and it quickly drops from 80 to 15% within 1 hour. Sometimes it didn’t drop at all and the phone suddenly turns off without a warning.
The display is better than I would expected it to be. The colours are looking good, the brightness is very high and the display can be viewed from different angles. It is possible to change the brightness of the display with a slider. I’ve tested it primarily via the automatic settings and I didn’t have any problems viewing the content in direct sunlight.
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You will notice that the UMi C1 performs between the Hongmi and Redmi 1s. The great score could be caused by Android 4.4.2 and/or the software of UMi. Well done UMi!
The scores from the Hongmi are from 2013 and the phone was not tested with 3Dmark.
Coolicool, Chinese webshop: http://www.coolicool.com
UMi, Official website: http://www.91umi.com
UMi, Official Community: http://www.91umi.com/About/OurCommunity
Dutch speaking community for Chinese phones: Het topic voor (onbekende) Chinese smartphones – Deel 2
• A few bugs in the software and with Wi-Fi + the battery
• Frontcamera is not very good and has 1 bug in the menu
• This could be a downer for some people: No LTE / No NFC
• The camera is packed with great high-end features
• Low priced phone with good specs
• The device and accessories make the phone feel like a mid-range Samsung phone
• GPS is performing well
• The phone runs on Android Kitkat
• Build in permissions app
The current price of this phone is about € 110,-. You will never get a phone as good as this one, for this price here in Europe. UMi is a new brand for me, but they surprised me the same way as Xiaomi did to me 1,5 years ago. The speed of the phone is very good, the phone has Android 4.4.2, which is still unique with a Mediatek processor. The GPS works very good and it stable as well. The quality of daylight pictures is good and I love the great features of the camera.
There are bugs, but I think they can be solved with software updates. I don’t know how many updates this phone will get in 1 year, so I hope that the Wi-Fi (and battery) bugs will be solved as soon as possible. UMi could be the “new” Huawei here in Europe and I think this is a great step into the international market. Out of the box, this phone works very good. The phone can be used by anyone without special hardware/engineer/ROM knowledge. This phone could be a nice present for yourself or a family member!
Is this phone a real quad core killer? No it isn’t, but it can compete against the mid-range models!
At this moment the phone will get nearly 4 stars. After the bugfixes the phone will receive 5 stars.
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