Umi Super phone: 3 months later

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$200

 

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?


S-l225
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.


2017-03-25 14.11.28

Above: full-frame photo;
below: zoomed in portion at
infinity


IA17-2017-05-23-[08-54-42]

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)

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