Opmerking: dit is de Engels versie van mijn review. Klik hier voor de Nederlandse review:
productreview: ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini Zwart review door benbaba
Design and body
Extras (additional links, photos and comparison)
The Nubia brand is probably unknown to many Europeans. However, loyal China-Phone followers will know it. Nubia Technology Co., Ltd. (Nubia) is in fact a subsidiary of the well-known ZTE Corporation; a Chinese telecommunication multinational. On October 31, 2012 ZTE officially announced its sub-brand Nubia. Nubia wanted to redefine user experience and they wanted to focus on online sales primarily. Nubia only produces high-end smartphones and focuses on design, quality, service and good photographic capabilities (features).
One year after the brands official announcement the company introduced its first smartphone called the Nubia Z5. It was designed by the Italian designer Stefano Giovannoni, and the Z5 was also the first Chinese device with OIS. The Z5 was a success and the company continued producing other devices in the Z5, Z7 and X6 series. In 2015 they introduced the brand new Z9 series. The Z9 series consists of three devices: the Z9, the Z9 Max and Z9 Mini. They divide it like this in order to meet the needs of different users. The Z9 is the company’s flagship model, the Max is less luxurious and the Z9 Mini has a smaller screen and different specifications.
This review is about the Nubia Z9 Mini; the cheapest version of the Z9 series. My unit comes from from pandawill.com and I have pruchased it for $ 274. It was shipped by DPD and I took about 10 days. - Click for productpage Pandawill.com -
The main features of the Z9 Mini are the 5.0-inch Full-HD IPS screen, the 16MP Sony IMX234 sensor and the 64-bit Snapdragon 615 chipset that is supported by 2GB RAM. Furthermore, the device supports 2 nano-SIM cards and one microSD card. The Z9 Mini runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop with Nubia's own user interface on top. The Z9 Mini is sold for around 250 euros internationally. The Z9 Mini is basically an upper-midrange device and it has the following specifications:
5.0 "Full HD Sharp CGS IPS OGS screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Physical home, back and menu buttons (breath indicator light)
64-bit octa-core processor: Snapdraong 615 1.5Ghz (MSM8939)
Adreno 405 GPU
Android - 5.0.2 Lollipop with Nubia UI 2.8
16MP camera f / 2.0 (Sony IMX234) with 1080p video recording
8MP front camera (Sony IMX179)
16GB of storage space and a microSD card slot
2GB of RAM
Dual SIM with 4G support, Bluetooth 4.0, WiFi ac and a microUSB 2.0 port
It is currently only available in black, but the white version will be available too in the (near) future.
The Nubia Z9 Mini comes in a stylish and minimalistic designed box. The box is quite large, luxurious and it’s made of sturdy cardboard. The outside of the box consists of two black parts, and between them, you’ll notice a small red strip which is formed by the carton on the inside. On the upper side you’ll find the Nubia logo and at the bottom and you’ll only find a sticker with product specifications, numbers and some logos. Te specifications on the box are printed in Chinese, but also in English.
Take of the top and you’ll see the device and beside it they printed its model number, Take off the first cardboard on the inside and you’ll see a red USB cable and the black charger. It is a flat USB cable and it looks like the cable that comes with the OnePlus One, but the ends are black instead of white. The adapter is 1500mA and has 2 flat pins.
Between the phone and the above mentioned accessories you’ll find a flat envelope-like box. In here they included the SIM tray ejector and a Chinese manual. The box looks nice, but it could have been a tad smaller.
The Z9 Mini is nicely designed and it looks very good in my opinion. The device feels and looks premium. The front is completely flat, only the edges of the screen are very slightly raised. However, this is hardly noticeable. The Z9 Mini comes with a pre-installed screen protector. The front side does not have the regular capacitive Android buttons. The only thing you see is a red ring at the position of the home button. Nubia uses this on all its devices and they call it ''breath light''. If you tap the screen you’ll see the ring ‘breath’ and next to it on the left and right you’ll see two red dots. This gives the front a very clean look. Above the screen you’ll find the front camera sensor, next to a speaker and above the speaker two sensors.
When turned off the screen looks very dark and the ring is basically the only thing noticeable. The earlier mentioned ring or the home button also functions as notification LED, and you can adjust its brightness. The two red dots next to it function as menu or back button. You can decide their function yourself, but the red ring stays the home button in any case.
The body of the phone has a length of 141.3mm, a width of 69.8mm and a thickness of 8.1mm. These are pretty good measurements for a 5-inch device. The Z9 Mini weighs 147 grams. This is not light nor very heavy. The phone feels pretty solid because of its weight and material. One handed use is also not a real problem. However, the body warms up a bit – probably due to the 615 – but it never gets uncomfortable or extreme.
The back of the device is something special. The back cover is as flat as the front and its shape is basically a copy of the front only without a screen. The back cover has the same edges as the front and it seems to be made of glass, because it shines like glass. However, it isn’t glass – it is plastic, but according to Nubia not regular plastic - I quote: made with a laser engraving Technology that includes Crystal UV protective paint, metal gasification, color locking, toning and primary coat. In practice this means that the back of the phone has a glassy look and it becomes smudged with fingerprints easily. It has a special structure and I can describe it as dark black dots that alternate with smaller dots.
Nubia placed the 16MP camera in the top corner and fortunately it does not protrude. The lens is surrounded by a red rim and next to the lens you’ll find a (single) flash. The flash has a silver rim and centred in the middle you’ll find Nubia’s logo (vertically). Chinese characters, a model number and two logos are printed at the bottom.
The sides stick out a tiny bit and they are flat. They have a grey color and they look and feel pretty solid. The sides look and feel like metal but they are not made of metal. It is processed plastic, which is toughened and painted and it therefore feels and looks like aluminium, at least this is what most users claim and I tend to agree because the material doesn’t get as cold at times like real metal would. Nevertheless, the sides look good and feel solid. According to JD.com the inner-frame or body is made of aluminum alloy and the outer-frame is made of polycarbonate which is reinforced by glass fiber.
The volume rocker and the power button are placed on the right side. Both buttons have a silver color and no structure. The placement is fine and the buttons feel good too, but the on/off button seems to be placed a bit looser. The left side is completely flat, but it contains a sim tray and you can open it with the supplied sim tool.
The bottom contains a microphone and next to it micro-USB connector. The USB connector has a separate border and on the other side of the bottom you’ll find a 11x15mm speaker.
At the top Nubia placed a 3.5mm audio jack and not far from it a second microphone.
Under the removable back cover you’ll find a non-removable battery. The housing looks clean and well made because of the various screws. The only useful thing in here is the micro usb slot. Next to the micro usb slot Nubia has printed an exclamation mark and some Chinese text, but I have no idea what it means. Additionally, Nubia also sells various kinds of back covers, including bamboo and a couple of other types.
The 5-inch screen and fairly compact body make one handed operation pretty convenient. The Z9 Mini feels okay in the hand, not bad nor great, at least in my opinion. This is probably due to the overall shape and the slightly sharp edges of the screen and the back cover. As previously described, the device looks premium and it feels pretty premium too. The device is pretty well made and finished. The design does have one disadvantage though; it attracts dust and fingerprints very easily. The back cover of my unit does not sit entirely tight against the housing- I can press it down slightly above the Nubia logo - at the bottom and in the corners this is not the case and pressing it down there doesn’t do anything, so it isn’t a real problem,
The screen is made by Sharp and it’s a CGS (Continuous Grain Silicon) LCD panel. CGS has a design in which the panel's peripheral circuits and functional elements are integrated into the panel itself. According to Sharp these panels combines high resolution, excellent reliability, stunning display performance and low power consumption in a thin, light an compact package.
The Z9 Mini has a good to excellent display especially considering its price. A resolution of 1920x1080 pixels ensures great sharpness. The colors look vivid and the viewing angles are excellent. The brightness lowers a bit at an angle, but this is almost inevitable. The contrast and color saturation also decrease slightly at an angle, but less than I'm used to see from other screens. A thing that I noticed - with some backgrounds - is that the screen shows a very small horizontal glow at the top which is probably caused by the backlight.
Nubia has added several display modes in the settings menu. The menu is divided into two categories, each with three options. In the ''saturation'' settings you can pick three settings: glow, standard and soft. In the ''hue'' settings you can pick three settings too: cool tone, natural and warm tone. I could not test the screen myself, but I have found some screen test results of a Chinese review. I’ve included them below.
Maximum brightness: show the maximum brightness of a screen and its displayed as nits. The Z9 Mini has a maximum brightness of 417 nits. This is not exceptionally high, but (just) bright enough to be labelled as good, at least when it’s on 'Warm Tone' settings. If you change it to the other two settings the maximum brightness becomes average.
Gamma: shows whether a screen produces an adequate amount of brightness while showing different colors and shades. The screen of the Z9 Mini scores a great value with 2.29 (2.2 is the preferred value).
Color Temperature: shows the balance of colors and it’s expressed in Kelvins. 6504 kelvin is the best score and the Z9 Mini scores 6968 kelvin which is pretty good. However, if you set the screen on ''natural'' the color balance decreases a bit and on 'cool tone' it becomes bad or in other words way to blueish.
Grayscale tracking: simply put, this shows the average color error (color accuracy ). Every score below the value of 2 is considered excellent and till 5 is considered acceptable. The Z9 Mini scores 5.79 which is a bit above the "danger zone" which means that the colors are not entirely accurate. Fortunately, it has decent gamma values and the majority of the user will not notice the color inaccuracy.
As described previously the device includes some saturation options too. The three options are: glow, standard and soft. You can find the results of these settings below.
The screen does not preform great in every aspect. However, most colors remain below the limit of 5 DeltaE 1994 points, only blue is a bit beyond. This means that all colors except blue are accurate enough to be considered acceptable. When you take all screen results and factors into account you can label the display performance and the screen as pretty good. You’ll get the best results by settings the screen on soft and warm tone. This creates above average brightness, good gamma values and fairly accurate colors.
The Z9 Mini has a non-replaceable battery with a capacity of 2900mAh. This amount is very good considering the Z9 Mini’s measurements. Nubia, has managed to keep the phone fairly thin. The Cortex-A53 cores of the 615 and the energy efficient Sharp panel should have a positive impact on the battery life too.
The Z9 Mini fully charges in about 2 hours and 10 minutes using the original charger. This basically means that the phone charges approx. 10% every 10 minutes. This makes rather quick charging during the day possible and useful. Nubia claims an average talk time of 43 hours and a standby time of 750 hours.
In practice, the Z9 Mini keeps around 20% charge after a full day of regular to fairly heavy use. Usually with a screen-on time around 4,5 hours. Gaming has the greatest impact on battery life with a maximum of around 30% per hour. This means that you could game non-stop for around 3 hours. The camera also consumes a lot of energy. If you’re planning to take pictures the entire day keep in mind that your battery will drop approximately 25% every hour. I also ran the PCMark battery test which simulates daily usage. The Z9 Mini was rated 6 hours and 24 minutes. All in all, the majority of the users will reach the end of the day with fairly moderate to slightly heavy usage. You can reach 1.5 to 2 days if you’re not using it that often.
The Z9 Mini is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615-soc. The SoC was one of the first octa cores of Qualcomm and it was announced last year. Compared to the MediaTek MT6572 the 615 is not a true octa core, which means that all 8-cores cannot work at the exact same time. The 615 contains eight cores, but in two clusters of four. One cluster can work up to 1Ghz and the second cluster up to 1.7GHz. However, Nubia has limited the frequency of the second cluster to 1.5GHz.
All processor cores are of the new Cortex-A53 type. This is the successor of the Cortex A7 core and the new A53 version supports ARM's 64-bit ARMv8 architecture. According to the chip designer, the cores are about 40 to 50% faster than the old A7. The processor cores are supported by an Adreno 405 GPU that works at 550MHz. The SoC is connected to 2GB lpddr3 (800MHz) using a 32 bit single-channel memory controller.
The Z9 Mini contains 16GB of NAND eMMC 4.5 storage and it also supports supports dual-band Wi-Fi AC, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and 4G (LTE). Furntunatley, Nubia did not forget to include a micro SD slot and it has space for two sim-cards too. The device has pretty much everything you would expect from an upper-midrange smartphone.
The Z9 Nubia works pretty smooth in everyday use. However, it isn’t as fast or snappy as well-optimized high-end phones. This is probably due to the 615 which isn’t that powerful and proper software optimization, but the Z9 Mini should be fast enough for the things that most people do on a phone.
Note: the Nubia Z9 Mini does not support all 4G (LTE) bands / frequencies and this can be a problem in some (European) countries, for example, the Netherlands. Make sure you double-check the supported frequencies in your country and the ones of the Z9 Mini.
Due to the relatively fast hardware the device works fine in daily usage. However, in benchmarks you can clearly see that the 615 lacks real power. The processor cores are less powerful than the cores of the 805 and 801, but significantly faster than the 410. However, the 615 has less power in every aspect than its competitor the Mediatek MT6752. The MT6752 scores better in all benchmarks which means it has more raw power.
The results will not mean much to some people, but to help them I have compared the results to other phones. I’ve picked the LG G4, Xiaomi Mi 4i, Lenovo K3 Note and the OnePlus One. All devices have different hardware configurations, as you can see below.
The Z9 Mini comes with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop and on top of it with Nubia’s own 2.8 UI. Nubia UI isn’t very different from stock Android and you’ll get used to it quickly. The manufacturer has changed a number of things including the launcher, the icons, the colors, the notificatiebar and some other things here and there. However, there are no major changes as, for example, MIUI or Flyme OS
It has a custom boot animation too: showing a collage of many photos on different pages. During the very first boot you are welcomed by a language selection screen. The official Nubia rom will only show English and Chinese here, but most resellers – including pandawill – provide it with a Multilanguage rom. After picking a language you can set the date and time, connect to wifi, log into (or create) Nubia account and finally you can tap start to begin.
The lock-screen works and looks pretty regular. At the top you’ll see the date and time, and at the bottom you can unlock to the main screen, but also directly to the dialer or camera. Nubia has removed the app-drawer and the apps are placed in a grid of 4 to 5 on four pages.
The multi-language rom that Pandawill installs contains a number of additional applications. Notable additions are DU battery (booster), I love wallpapers, homily chart and antivirus. Some apps can be removed and some not. For instance, DU Battery is not removable and it replaces the regual battery option in the menu. The official Nubia ROM does not include the above mentioned apps, but it does contain a number of Chinese apps. However, almost all Chinese apps are easily removable, but you’ll have to install GAPPS yourself (the multi-rom contains playstore). In addition, many people also use Cuoco ROM. This contains many language and no Chinese applications.
The notification have a white background with black text and red icons. The dropdown menu shows 3 toggles, but if you swipe down again it will show you a total of 11 toggles. The brightness is also adjustable via the brightness bar and you can tap the settings icon in the upper right corner to open the settings menu.
The settings menu looks slightly different than stock Android. Its background is white and the text is mostly black, but the names wireless, personal and sytem have a red color. Nubia has also added a number of additional options. For instance, a display menu in which you can pick a screen preference and you can also adjust the brightness of the breath light (home button). Another additions is ''feature'' in which you can pick several profiles or other features, for example, split screen, gestures and smart sensing.
There is also a theme app in which you change your theme, wallpaper or ringtone. The device does not come rooted and the translation of the multilingual ROM is not noticeable everywhere. For instance, the setup menu remains English – if set Dutch for example - and the same applies to the dialer. The roms don’t contain too much pre-installed apps, however this varies from rom to rom. For instance, the official Nubia rom does contain Chinese apps, but most them are removable. All in all, the software works okay and it is user friendly.
The Nubia Z9 Mini comes with the default Nubia camera app called NeoVision 5.0 The app works smoothly and it’s easy to use, despite the many options. The top contains four icons. One of them is the settings icon in which you can, for example, activate HDR or change the resolution. Next to the settings icon you’ll find the flashlight icon, timer icon and FrontCam icon. On the other side of the screen you'll find four round icons. From left to right you’ll see a preview of the picture you took, the video icon, the camera button and a blue pro mode icon. Above (or next to) the previously mentioned icons you’ll find text displaying various types information, for example, exposure, ET, white balance, ISO and focus. These are also the five options that you can change in pro mode. The FrontCam and the video recorder have fewer options, but their lay-out and operation is the same.
Nubia picked a 16MP camera coming from Sony. It’s is the Sony Exmor R IMX-234 sensor. The same 1 / 2.6 "sensor is also used in the LG G4, but the G4 has a better lens. The aperture of the Z9 Mini is f /2.0 (instead of f/1.8 on the G4) and recording can be done 1080p. The front camera is also from Sony. It is the 8MP Sony Exmor R IMX-179. The back camera takes pictures at a resolution of 5312 x 2988 pixels and the details show a focal length of 4mm.
This looks promising on paper, but how is it in practice? The autofocus is very fast and taking a picture quickly is also not a problem. The sensor captures a lot of detail due to the high resolution and its macro performance is also very good. Close ups look very good. The colors are generally very bright and saturated. The Z9 Mini takes decent pictures in low light conditions. You’ll see some noise, but it remains acceptable. Its flashlight works okay, but occasionally it causes a yellow-greenish tint.
I have compared the camera with the camera of the Xiaomi M2a. The top (or 1st) photo of each shot is taken by the Z9 Mini and the lower one (or 2nd) with the M2A. The pictures are made with auto settings, which means 16MP 16:9 for the Z9 Mini and 8MP 4:3 for the M2a.
Top Z9 Mini: ET 1/145 sec | ISO-100 | 16MP 16:9
Bottom Mi 2A: ET 1/322 sec| ISO-100 | 8MP 4:3
Top Z9 Mini: ET 1/212 sec | ISO-100 | 16MP 16:9
Bottom Mi 2A: ET 1/464 sec| ISO-100 | 8MP 4:3
Top Z9 Mini: ET 1/311 sec | ISO-100 | 16MP 16:9
Bottom Mi 2A: ET 1/699 sec| ISO-100 | 8MP 4:3
Top Z9 Mini: ET 1/100 sec | ISO-100 | 16MP 16:9
Bottom Mi 2A: ET 1/178 sec| ISO-100 | 8MP 4:3
Top Z9 Mini: ET 1/212 sec | ISO-100 | 16MP 16:9
Bottom Mi 2A: ET 1/909 sec| ISO-100 | 8MP 4:3
Top Z9 Mini: ET 1/260 sec | ISO-100 | 16MP 16:9
Bottom Mi 2A: ET 1/621 sec| ISO-100 | 8MP 4:3
Top Z9 Mini: ET 1/231 sec | ISO-100 | 16MP 16:9
Bottom Mi 2A: ET 1/446 sec| ISO-100 | 8MP 4:3
Top Z9 Mini: ET 1/100 sec | ISO-100 | 16MP 16:9
Bottom Mi 2A: ET 1/154 sec| ISO-100 | 8MP 4:3
Top Z9 Mini: ET 1/33 sec | ISO-100 | 16MP 16:9
Bottom Mi 2A: ET 1/60 sec| ISO-100 | 8MP 4:3
Top Z9 Mini: ET 1/20 sec | ISO-100 | 16MP 16:9
Bottom Mi 2A: ET 1/15 sec| ISO-100 | 8MP 4:3
Top Z9 Mini: ET 1/25 sec | ISO-200 | 16MP 16:9
Bottom Mi 2A: ET 1/24 sec| ISO-123 | 8MP 4:3
Top Z9 Mini: ET 1/14 sec | ISO-4000 | 16MP 16:9
Bottom Mi 2A: ET 1/24 sec| ISO-126 | 8MP 4:3
The above pictures are not edited, but only reduced to a width of 620px.
Click the following link to watch the pics in full size:
I have also collected other camera samples from other reviews/users.
The album contains 140 samples click following link to see:
The wireless receiver in the Z9 Mini does its job very well. The wireless signal is stable and it has a good range. Its range is better than average and its comparable with the decent receiver of the Lenovo K3 Note. It has similar performance, but the Z9 Mini manages to get faster speeds.
Usually you don’t have to worry about the GPS reception of Chinese Qualcomm devices. The Z9 Mini proves this – its GPS reception is very good. Indoors it has 23 satellites in view and it connects to 8-9. Both the signal strength and the accuracy are solid.
All results are from inside the house.
Coverage and call quality
Its coverage is great and the call quality is (above) average. A plus is that the device has two microphones.
The sound that the speaker produces is clear and it has a very high maximum volume. The speaker produces a lot more sound than I’m used to hear. At the maximum level, it start to sound a bit distorted ,but if you lower the volume a bit it sounds great. There is little bass, but this is normal for a phone speaker and as mentioned before the little speaker is pretty powerful. The 3.5mm headphone jack performs average not bad and not great either.
The looks of the Z9 Mini are a big plus in my opinion. It looks luxurious and it feels solid too. One handed use shouldn’t be a real problem due to the screen size and measurements. The device sports a nice full HD display and decent Sony camera’s. The Snapdragon 615 should be fast enough for most people and many users will appreciate the dual-sim slot and the micro SD slot.
Battery life is satisfactory and it will get you through the day – 2 days should be possible too with light usage. The back is removable, but the battery isn’t. However, a removable backcover gives you to ability to switch back covers to give it a unique look, but quickly replacing the battery is not possible.
In most cases the Z9 Mini will come with a multi-language ROM. Unfortunately, the translation is not always noticeable, and there are some useless apps pre-installed. The official ROM only contains English and Chinese and it contains a number of Chinese apps. Fortunately, 90% of them are easy to remove, but you’ll have to install GAPPS yourself. The multi-language rom has GAPPS (playstore) installed. Nubia UI looks nice and on the whole it works reasonably fast.
The shiny plastic on the back easily attracts smudges, fingerprints and dust. You can solve this by cleaning it a lot or you can purchase a different (alternative) back cover. The body becomes moderately hot, at least warmer than I'm used to. It doesn’t become unconformable or extreme, but it is noticeable. This could be solved or reduced by software updates.
The Nubia Z9 Mini is quite expensive for a Chinese midrange device. Devices with similar performance and hardware, for example, MT6752 devices have a much lower price tags. The higher price of the Z9 Mini is probably due to its design, material, and the two Sony camera sensors. However, all in all the Z9 Mini should be a good option for people who look for a high-quality and nicely designed smartphone with good photographic features and decent battery life.
Sources used for review
(Info, screentest and samples)
Camera pics review full size: http://imgur.com/a/DLy2o
140 camera samples: http://imgur.com/a/93AQB
Klik hier voor de Nederlandse review: productreview: Lenovo K3 Note Wit review door benbaba
Design and body
Extras (additional links, comparison, high-res pics)
Lenovo is the largest manufacturer of personal computers in China and worldwide a well-known manufacturer of consumer electronics, but does the company make smartphones too? Yes, the do! However they don't sell them everywhere, not in the Netherlands for example. In fact, Lenovo Mobile Communication Technology Ltd. produces smartphones since 2002. So Lenovo is not only a large manufacturer of PC's, but also that of smartphones.
The goal of the company is to develop and deliver "stylish, simple, innovative and high-quality" products. Since 2009, the mobile division is fully part of the Lenovo Group and in 2014 the company also acquired Motorola, as shown in the timeline below.
The company produces various types of devices divided into a number of series. So, for example, they have the premium Vibe Series and fashionable S series. This review is about the Lenovo K3 Note; a K series device. The K3 series devices are also known as the "Lemon Music", because there are models available that contain a yellow backcover and a large circular speaker on the back.
The Lenovo K3 Note is available at a very competitive price. The main features of this device are the 5.5-inch Full-HD IPS display, the 13MP camera and the 64-bit MediaTek MT6752 chipset - supported by 2GB of RAM. Additionally, it has space for for two SIM-cards and a microSD card slot. The main specs round off a reasonable upper midrange device. The K3 Note runs Android 5.0 Lollipop and you can buy it for only 145 dollars in China. Internationally for about 179 dollar, which is still a great deal. Summarized you''ll get the following specifications:
5.5" 1080p capacitive IPS LCD screen
Physical home, back and menu buttons
64-bit octa-core processor: MediaTek MT6752 (1.7GHz)
ARM Mali-T760 GPU
Android - 5.0 Lollipop
13MP AF camera with dual flash and 1080p video recording
5MP front camera
16GB of storage and a microSD card slot
2 GB of memory
Dual SIM with 4G LTE support, Bluetooth, FM radio and a microUSB 2.0 port
This review is about the 'normal' K3 Note (k50-t) that has a white backcover, without an additional speaker. There is also a smaller K3 (K30-T) version for sale, for those who think the k50-t is too big.My K3 Note comes from Pandawill and they sell it for $ 179.99 at the moment. They sell the white and yellow version, click the following link: http://www.pandawill.com/landingpage/K3Note.html
The K3 Note comes packed in a fairly compact box and it only contains the standard accessories without any extras. In the brown and black box you will find the phone, the charger, a micro USB cable and a Chinese manual with a warranty card. On top of the light brown box you'll find Lenovo''s logo and not far from it a product sticker and some barcodes. On the flip side you'll find a sticker with specifications, but in Chinese. However you can still see that the box contains the k50-T , and the EAN and IMEI numbers are readable too.
If you open the box you''ll see the device placed on top and you can easily pick it up with a handy pull tab. Underneath the device you'll find some documents and the accessories. The included charger has powerful capacity of 2A, but it needs an EU attachment.
The Lenovo K3 Note has a simple and ordinary design. The front is almost completely flat: the screen is not entirely flush with the screen edges. You can feel the edges with you finger and it could protect the screen a bit if it drops. The device contains a capacitive home, back and menu button below the screen and they do not contain a back light. The home button does not have the usual home/house as a symbol, but it looks a shamrock. Furthermore, you'll see the usual sensors, a speaker, a camera and a notification led.
The screen itself is dark enough to fit the whole. The device has a length of 152.6, mm, a width of 76.2 mm, and a thickness of 7.99 mm. The device is quite thin and with 146 grams not heavy. The size and weight of the body are pleasant for a 5.5-inch device; the K3 Note is not too big or too heavy.
The back is just as simple and flat as the front, only the edges on the left-and right bend very slightly were they meet the sides of the phone. This is not the case for the top and bottom of the backcover. The plastic back cover has a white color and in certain lighting conditions it may also seem like silverish. The cover is matte, so you hardly notice any fingerprints.
The 13MP camera is placed in the upper corner. The lens does not protrude and it's surrounded by a silver edge. Below the camera Lenovo placed a double flash. In the other top corner you'll find a second microphone and not far from it a speaker grill. Normally the speaker grill is placed horizontally, but Lenovo placed it vertically and slightly below the speaker grill you'll find Lenovo's logo. The back side of the phone is not very remarkable or unique, but the placement of the speaker is quite uncommon.
The sides of the phone are completely flat and basically the battery-cover covers the sides. For example, phones with a metal frame contain a back cover that only covers the back of the phone, but the backcover of the Lenovo K3 Note also covers the sides of the phone.
All buttons are placed on the right side and from top to bottom you'll see the volume rocker and the smaller power button. Both buttons have a silver color and they are very easy to reach. The left side is completely flat and it contains nothing.
The bottom only contains the main microphone and next to you'll find the slit to take off the back panel.
Centered at the top you'll find the micro-USB connector and next to it the 3.5mm audio jack.
Underneath the backcover you'll find the removable Li-ion battery. The battery sits tight in the case and it's actually not very easy to remove. However you can open the backover very easily because of the slit. Underneath the battery you will find the usual printing and some stickers with information. Additionally, you can clearly see that SIM slot 1 supports a USIM and provides support for 4G, 3G and 2G. SIM slot 2 only supports 2G. Both sim slots support a Micro SIM (3FF) card. Next to SIM slot 1 you'll find a micro SD slot.
You can use the K3 Note on-handed, but not everyone will be able to reach all corners with his or her thumb. The K3 Note is reasonably compact compared to other 5.5 "phones. The device feels very light and it also feels good in your hand. It doesn't look very expensive or luxurious due to all the plastic, but nevertheless the device seems well built and finished.
Have a look at extras - at the very end of this review - to watch the above pictures in high resolution.
The screen of the K3 Note seems to be better than average and it shows a very acceptable images, especially for its money. The screen has a decent amount of sharpness and it has a nice contrast.The color reproduction seems to be fine: all the colors look quite accurate, but I find white a bit yellowish at times.The IPS technology provides great viewing angles, but you can clearly notice a decrease in brightness, contrast and color saturation at an angle. The screen has no problems with backlight bleeding, only at the bottom a little, but nothing serious.
Below you''ll find some pictures of the FHD screen of the K3 Note and also comparison to the HD screen of the UMi Hammer and the FHD screen of the Honor 6 Plus. I also borrowed a screen comparison to the Meizu M1 Note and the Xiaomi Note 4G from a Chinese review. The same review states a maximum brightness of 390cd / m≤. Personally, I find the maximum brightness of the K3 Note average.
[sub] [i] Note: The screens are set at maximum brightness and where possible at standard display-mode. The Meizu M1 Note clearly has a higher brightness (584 cd / m≤) than the rest of the screens. Also keep in mind that there could be panel lottery [/ I] [/ sub]
Original test pictures
The K3 Note has a replaceable battery with a capacity of 3000mAh and a voltage of 4,35V. This makes the amount of energy 11,40WH. Many unknown or smaller Chinese smartphone manufacturers sometimes state a higher battery capacity than the actual value. I don't expect this from Lenovo and I therefore assume that the battery contains the stated capacity.
3000mAh is obviously a good amount and in practice the battery life of this phone is rather good. Normally it shouldn't be a problem to reach the end of the day. Please note: this can vary greatly per user. However if you don't activate your screen a lot it should be possible to reach 1,5 to 2 days.
I ran the PCMARK battery life test which simulates daily activities, such as typing text, scroll through documents, web browsing and photo editing. You can see its great score below.
Lenovo has added a number of battery-saving modes, more about this in the software paragraph. The K3 Note charges in about 2 hours and 10 minutes due to the quick charge feature. This is almost as fast as, for example, the OnePlus One. In addition, the manufacturer also promises 4 hours of talking time with only 15 minutes of charging.
At the end of 2013, the Taiwanese MediaTek came with their first True Octa-Core system-on-chip (SoC), called the MT6592. Tthis meant that the chip could use all the eight cores at the same time. The first True Octa-Core SoC had eight ARM Cortex-A7 processors and a Mali-450 MP4 GPU, but it did not have on-board LTE support.
The Lenovo K3 Note is powered by the newer and improved MediaTek MT6752. This is also a "true octa-core configuration. The MT6752 is produced by the 28 nm HPP (High Performance Plus) process and has eight Cortex-A53 cores with support for ARM's 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture. The processor cores can reach a maximum clock speed of 1.7GHz and they are assisted by the Mali-T760MP2 GPU at 700MHz. The SoC is connected to 2GB lpddr3 memory that works at 800MHz and it uses a 32 bit single-channel memory controller.
The K3 Note offers everything you would expect from a device of this caliber. It supports WiFi n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and LTE. It also contains 16GB of storage and a micro-SD slot.
The K3 Note is very fast in practice due to the relatively fast hardware. Android works fine and smooth. You can clearly see the power of the MT6752 in the benchmarks results. The processing power is great and it's comparable with with the current high-end models, but the GPU has less power, for example, it is noticeably slower than the Adreno 330 GPU of the Snapdragon 801. However, it is clear that the MT6752 contains a lot of power and it's able to realize a smooth and fast Android experience.
Note: the K3 Note doesn't support all 4G (LTE) bands/frequencies and this can be a problem in some (European) countries, for example, the Netherlands. Make sure you double-check the supported frequencies in your country and the ones of the K3 Note.
I ran some benchmarks on the K3 Note to test the speed of the CPU, GPU and browser. You can use the benchmark results to compare it with other devices. You can see the results and a comparison below.
|Peackeeper||922 (905 Chrome)|
|Kraken||11014.7ms (10792.2 chrome)|
|GFX Manhattan||6.2 fps (381.7)|
|GFX T-Rex||16 fps (869,5)|
|AndEBench Native||21265 (1 Thread 2671)|
|AndEBench Java||1791 (1 Thread 294)|
|Geekbench Single core||818|
|Androbench - sequential read||153.37 MB/s|
|Androbench - sequential write||51.36 MB/s|
|Androbench - random read||17.59 MB/s|
|Androbench - random write||3.14 MB/s|
I have compared the outcomes of the K3 Note with the results of other devices. I picked the Galaxy S6, One M8, M1 Note, Hammer and the M690 +. All devices have different hardware configurations, so you could draw a conclusion. You can find the specifications and the results below.
|Devices and Specs|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 | 2560x1440 | Exynos 7420 | 3GB RAM|
|HTC One M8 | 1920x1080 | Snapdragon 801 | 2GB RAM|
|LENOVO K3 NOTE | 1920X1080 | MEDIATEK MT6752 | 2GB RAM|
|Meizu M1 Note | 1920x1080 | MediaTek MT6752 | 2GB RAM|
|UMi Hammer | 1280x720 | MediaTek MT6732 | 2GB RAM|
|Mijue M690+ | 1280x720 | MediaTek MT6952 | 1GB RAM|
The results compared:
The Lenovo K3 Note comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop and contains the Vibe 2.5 UI skin. Visually you'll notice a lot of difference compared to stock Android. The interface looks like a mix of different skins and Lenovo has changed all things in the interface such as notifications, home screens, icons and menus.
At the first boot you'll see different selection screens, for example, language, wifi, data, Lenovo ID, etc.
The lock screen looks pretty standard: it includes a clock, the date and SIM/rpovider info. You can unlock to the homescreen, but you can also swipe directly into the dialer or camera app. The the main menu (app drawer) has been removed and all the apps are placed in three pages. The first page contains a widget and a number of apps. The second page is completely filled with apps and the third page contains 4 apps.
Lenovo preloads a lot of bloatware and unfortunately you can't remove them without root. The K3 Note contains a lot of cleaning and optimization apps, for example, the annoying DU booster and DU battery saver.
The notification screen has IOS-8-like design and the 15 toggles will only appear if you swipe down twice. Once opened you can also adjust the brightness or click the settings logo.
The settings menu looks different and it also contains other options. It has a white background and the icons are colorful. It mentions Android 5.0 as OS and also 16GB of storage, with 10.22GB of free space. The entire OS takes up 4.81GB and the pre-installed applications 728MB. The menus launch quickly and they are pretty logical. However if the device wakes-up from a long sleep, things seem to work a little slower, but after a short while it works fine again. Here and there you'll still find some Chinese characters, but not at crucial places, so nothing annoying.
Back to the battery: as described earlier Lenovo added some battery saving options. These options can be found in Power Manager (it replaces the regular Battery or menu). In this menu you can also check the power consumption of hardware and software. You can also activate Ultimate Power Saver. This options will deactivate most of the apps and will only activate calling, texting and the clock. With Smart Switch you can activate this feature automatically according to a schedule. Lenovo also included a Stanby power saver and power saving helper. Another addition is Character settings: in this menu you can activate various shortcuts and alternative unlock methods, for example, double-tapping or quick camera access.
You can change the visuals a bit by using another theme in the Theme Center. The device is not rooted and as I mentioned before a lot of apps (bloatware) is preloaded. Unfortunately you can't remove them without root. Next to all the optimization apps you'll find, for example, three preloaded browsers: UC Mini, Baidu and Maxthon Browser. I personally didn't like any of them so I had to install Chrome anyway which worked a lot smoother. Vibe UI works fine and remains stable, but occasionally I received the message that the - annoying - DU booster has stopped working. The software is rather good, but there is certainly room for minor improvements.
Lenovo SnapIt is the default camera app on the K3 Note. The app opens rather fast and it working with it is simple. Te main screen contains the usual options and somewhere in the corner there is an option to activate panorama, different effects and a QR scanner. It also induces a separate settings menu in which you set and adjust a number of things, for example, resolution, aspect ratio, white balance, scene mode, ISO, location info, storage and so on. It is quite logical and classified and the entire app works fine.
The K3 Note has a camera of 13 megapixels supported by dual flash. The camera is placed at the back in the corner and the flash slightly below it. The camera shoots pictures at 13 megapixels at a resolution of 4160 x 3120 pixels. The details of the photos reveal a maximum aperture of f / 2.0 and a focal length of 4mm. The camera supports auto-focus and it can record in Full HD,
The K3 Note has all the tools to shoot great pictures, at least on paper. You can shoot rather good pictures in good light conditions. The pictures contain somewhat detail and usually not a lot of or no image noise.The colors seem to be reasonably accurate, but the dominant flashlight sometimes ruins this. The device has a tendency to use the flashlights in decent lighting, which makes the colors less accurate and the pictures overexposed, but fortunately you can easily turn it off. In the dark. However in darker situations the flash does perform well (much better than the majority of the Chinese (budget) devices).
I have a feeling that the camera sensor and the lens are able to shoot decent pictures, and this is mostly the case in proper light situations, but somehow making pictures with the K3 Note feels like a inconsistent experience. Sometimes the colors seem less accurate and occasionally the focus is off. Close up pictures look very good and on the whole, the camera quality is reasonable. I think that maybe with a software update a few things can be improved.
For comparison I chose the UMi Hammer (13MP) and the Xiaomi M2A (8MP). The first series of photos are taken by the K3 Note with default settings (13MP, 4: 3). Below them follows a comparison.
Comparison between the K3 Note, Hammer and M2A:
Lenovo K3 Note (p1)
UMi Hammer (p1)
Xiaomi M2A (p1)
Lenovo K3 Note (max. zoom)
UMi Hammer (max. zoom)
Xiaomi M2A (max. zoom)
Lenovo K3 Note (p2)
UMi Hammer (p2)
Xiaomi M2A (p2)
Lenovo K3 Note (flash, zoom-text)
UMi Hammer (flash, zoom-text)
Xiaomi M2A (flash, zoom-text)
Have a look at extras - at the very end of this review - to watch the above (camera)pictures in high resolution.
Below I will deal with other features of the device such as the GPS, WIFI, speakers and call quality.
The Wifi reception of the K3 Note is stable and has a very good range. Its range is better than that of the Xiaomi M2A and the UMi Hammer. At the same location the K3 Note performs better: the device has a better signal strength, and a higher download and upload speed. From left to right you can see the results of the K3 Note, Hammer and M2a.
The GPS in the K3 Note works fine. The Xiaomi M2A (Qualcomm), which also supports GLONASS, detects more satellites and gets a quicker fix, but the signal strength is comparable to the K3 Note. Normally, the K3 Note detects 13 satellites and makes connections with approximately 7,8 or 9 satellites. The first screenshots below are from inside the house and the second ones are from near a window. From left to right you can see the results of the K3 Note, Hammer and M2a.
Near a window
Call quality and reception
The reception and call quality are both fine and they are both comparable to other phones I've used.Voices are clear and the speakers work fine. Another plus: the device contains two microphones.
The speaker is pretty good and it seems to perform above average. Its volume is rather good and audio sounds clear. The bass it produces sounds a bit better than I'm used to and it doesn't sound distorted at high volumes. Audio through the headphones seems average: it's not bad, but not great too. If you plug in some earphones you can use the FM radio. According to a Chinese review the maximum volume should be 90dB. It is also good to know that the music app includes different options like sound effects, a song scanner and a lyrics option. I recorded the speakers performance of the K3 Note and the UMi Hammer. You can clearly hear that the K3 Note does a better job.
Speakers K3 Note vs Hammer: http://picosong.com/jngp/
00:00 till 10:00 K3 Note | 00:10 till 00:25 Hammer
00:25 till 00:46 K3 Note | 00:46 till 01:00 Hammer
01:00 till 01:19 K3 Note | 01:19 till 01:45 Hammer
01:45 till 02:03 K3 Note
The Lenovo K3 Note offers hardware which is pretty similar to current high-end models, but than at a lower price. The device does not feel luxurious nor very cheap, but it is well made. The screen contains enough sharpness due to the Full-HD resolution, but it does not excel in other aspects. The maximum brightness of my device looks average, but overall it looks good and it can keep up with the competition. The K3 Note also features Android Lollipop, 4G (LTE), two SIM slots, a micro-SD slot and its battery life stands out in a positive way.
Software has still room for improvement, for example, the amount of bloatware (preloaded apps) and the translations could be better. The camera is decent, but its performance is inconsistent. 5.5-inch will not be pleasant for everybody and the lack of support for all the 4G-frequencies can be a bummer for some.
However, you get a powerful smartphone for approximately $179 and it is made by a decent and well-known manufacturer. The K3 Note feels smooth and quick in practice due to the processor and the amount of memory. If Lenovo could improve the camera through a software update, the K3 Note won't have any disadvantages, besides the 4G frequencies and availability (import). All in all Lenovo offers a great device for a small sum of money.
Update: the amount of bloatware is less in the official ROM. The multilingual ROM which Pandawill installs contains more "junk". In addition, there are several (custom) ROMs based on Android 5.1 that enhance the software experience.
- Comparison: K3 Note next to other devices
- Inside the K3 Note / parts
- Extra/ useful links
|Lenovo K3 Note(5.5'')||152.6 x 76.2 x 8 mm | 146g|
|Jiayu S3 (5.5'')||152 x 75.5 x 8.9 mm | 160g|
|Meizu M1 Note (5,5'')||150.7 x 75.2 x 8.9 mm | 145g|
|Honor Play 4X (5.5'')||152.9 x 77.2 x 8.65 mm | 165g|
|Xiaomi Redmi Note 4G (5.5'')||154 x 78.7 x 9.45 mm | 188g|
|Apple iPhone 6 Plus (5.5'')||158 x 77.8 x 7.1 mm | 172g|
|Oneplus One (5.5'')||152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm | 162g|
Comparison: K3 Note next to other devices
(klik om te vergroten)
Inside the K3 Note / parts
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)
Extra/ useful links
Nederlandse review: productreview: Umi Hammer Wit review door benbaba
Body and Design
This review is about the latest model of the Chinese manufacturer UMI: the Hammer. According to the manufacturer, this model should be durable and strong. You can buy this model at Coolicool.com
For those interested below two videos in which the strength of the body of the Hammer is tested.
Umi Hammer Amazing Test-Violent test
UMi Hammer Drop and Smash Test
MTK6732, Quad-Core, 1.5GHz
ARM Mali-T760 MP2,500MHz
5.0 inch HD IPS Screen 1280 X 720 pixels
13.0MP back camera - Front, 3.2MP
144 x 71.6 x 7.9mm 168g
The box of the Hammer is quite small and thin. It basically contains two parts: a white shell and a blue box with the phone in it. The manufacturer's logo is printed on the white box and underneath it rootjoy. On the other side you'll find two stickers with the specifications and some other information.
The blue box contains the company's logo and again rootjoy is printed underneath it. When you open the box you will find a total of three separate spaces. At the left side the phone. next to it the micro-USB cable and EU charger 1A. Among these items you'll find a small overview paper and a blue silicone stand. The packaging of the Hammer looks like the the packaging of the OnePlus One, but UMI used a different color and changed the inside a bit. The box contains:
• 1 x UMi Hammer Smartphone
• 1 x 2250 mAh battery (already in the phone)
• 1 x 5V 1A charger
• 1 x micro USB cable
• 1 x documentation / overview
• 1 x silicone stand
The packing looks nice and it is very decent for a budget-phone. A fun fact: it doesn't say Made in China, but Made in PRC (People's Republic of China).
Body en design
The UMI Hammer looks like the VIVO Xshot. This isn't necessarily bad, because the Xshot is well built and it has premium finish. The same can be said about the UMI Hammer. Its design is simple, but the device feels fine and solid. This is mainly due to the aluminum frame which gives the device a luxurious look and feel. The edges are slightly thicker at the top and bottom and they highlight the slightly curved back. The metal edge is interrupted by six plastic inserts: two times at the bottom, two times at the top and at the left-and right-hand side.
The front contains a 5-inch screen which makes the device 71,6mm wide and 144mm long. The bezels are rather average - not small and not very thick. Furthermore, you'll find a well-placed screen protector on the screen. At the top you will find the front camera, notification LED, speaker grill, proximity sensor and light sensor. At the bottom you'll find the three commonly used capacitive buttons. The menu, home and back buttons have a silver color without backlight.
The first thing you notice at the back of the device is the the rather large camera lens. The lens is not only large, but it also sticks out noticeably. This is not really necessary, because the camera module itself is rather small and it does not need such a large protective lens. Anyway, next to the camera you''ll find a double flash and centered at the bottom the new UMI logo. Here you''ll also find three pieces of text: Hammer, Designed by UMI in China and UMI Technolgy & Android Smartphone. Below the text you'll find a small speaker grill. The battery cover is made of polycarbonate (plastic) and feels nice and soft. Fingerprints are hardly visible, and the thin material contains a small opening at the bottom.
The left side contains one insert and no buttons. On the right side you'll find the power button and above it the metal volume buttons. The top of the device contains the micro-USB connector and the 3.5mm headphone jack. The bottom side of the handset contains two plastic inserts and a microphone.
All in all I must say that the Hammer is a well built device and it doesn't look inexpensive. The device is well made and doesn't have rough edges or open spaces. One handed use will be possible for the majority and fortunately the device isn't a fingerprint magnet. The device weighs 168 grams which is quite heavy for a 5-inch device, but it matches the quality look and feel.
The 5-inch screen of the Hammer has a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels, which makes a pixel density of 294ppi. The screen is not extremely sharp, but it looks good. It is certainly not unsharp, but someone with a good eye will notice some rough edges compared to FHD screen. This is not a disaster, because the screen looks decent on the whole. The brightness seems average, the black levels and color reproduction seem fine.
The IPS technology gives it decent viewing angles. However the brightness and contrast sightly decrease at an angle, but this is the case for the majority of the screens. There is not much to complain during normal use. The pixels aren't very close to the surface, like laminated screens, and you can clearly see black borders around the screen due to the white bezels. The screen shows some backlight bleeding, but nothing serious and it can register up to five fingers.
UMI also jumped on the 64-bit train. The Hammer contains a new MediaTek MT6732 quad-core SoC, the successor of the popular MT6582. It is the first 64bit mobile processor made by the Taiwanese company MediaTek. It is a quad-core processor with four ARM Cortex A53 cores at a maximum clock speed of 1.5GHz. The cores are supported by a T760MP2 Mali graphics processor and 4G LTE support is also supported.
UMI has installed 2GB of RAM and 16GB of built in storage (12,6GB available). Also present are a micro SD slot and space for two SIM cards. Bluetooth and hotknot are also present, but 'normal' NFC is missing. The Hammer also supports 4G LTE on the 800MHz frequency (Band 20) which is used in (some) European countries.
The specifications are fine on paper and in practice the Hammer offers an excellent user experience providing smooth and fast animations.Due to the rather powerful GPU and the amount of pixels the device doesn't have real problems with heavy 3D games. Multitasking is not a problem for the Hammer because of the 2GB of RAM.
I ran some benchmarks and you can find the results below.
3D mark icestorm: 4985
AndEMark Native: 2382 (1 Thread)
AndeMark Java: 153 (1 Thread)
GFX Manhattan: 8.2 fps (1080p offscreen: 4.1fps)
GFX T-Rex: 18 fps (1080p offscreen: 11 fps)
The Hammer has a fairly modest battery capacity, at least for today's standards, its capacity is 2250 mAh. Nevertheless,with low to moderate use it is certainly possible to work on the device a entire (working) day. This is of course not a guarantee for everyone, because if you start to game for hours you most likely have to charge before the end of the day. It's hard to say exactly how long the battery will last due to several aspects. Think of signal strength, screen brightness and the type and amount of applications.
However I've done some battery benchmarks to tests the battery life. In the first test I played a video continuously at full brightness. The Hammer lasted for 4 Hours. I did the same thing with the Mijue M690+ and iOcean X1. Of course, the maximum brightness differs per unit, but it gives you reasonable idea. For the the second test I used the battery test of PCMark. This application simulates daily activities, such as browsing, typing and scrolling through documents. You can find the results below. Fully charging the battery will take about 2 hours and 5 minutes.
PCMARK UMI Hammer
4h 21m -- [35% brightness]
Videoloop [100% brightness]
UMI Hammer (2250 mAh) : 4h
Mijue M690+ (1950m mAh): 3h and 40m
iOcean X1 (1600 mAh): 2h and 35m
The UMI Hammer comes with a (almost) stock Android KitKat version. However it has minor additions. There is no skin on top of the interface, so no changes visually. UMI has added a few options to the settings menu. One of these options is HotKnot: a data exchange application - similar to NFC - designed by MediaTek. This function uses the screen of the device and does not need any antennas. You simply place the device on the screen of another device with Hotknot to make connections and in order to exchange data.
Another addition is Gesture Sensing. This allows you to control apps without touching the screen.This works reasonably well, but your hand has to be very close to the sensor. You can use this enable this feature for 6 applications. Smart Wake is a more useful addition. With Smart Wake you can enable ten different ways of unlocking or waking up your device. One double-tapping the screen and other options are swiping lines and drawing letters. This works fine and it can be useful.
Wireless Update is also added to the settings menu. It is also known as over-the-air update (OTA).This allows the phone to search for software updates (automatically) and when available to install it too.
The UMI Hammer includes several languages. The translation works fine and about 99% percent is translated correctly - from English to Dutch for example. Only gesture sensing, smart watch and the app permission manangement remain in English. The device is pre-rooted and SuperSU, Super Cleaner, WeCall, Torch are the only pre-installed applications.
The lockscreen has only one options, which is swiping to the right to unlock. The main or homescreen contains nothing fancy or flashy. The only thing that's changed is the button on the appdrawer- it has UMI's logo.
A PC program made by UMI which allows UMi owners to update, backup and even install custom ROM’s. It works fine, but I wouldn't call it something essential. The program is designed for the UMI Zero, because you won't find any updates or custom ROMs for the Hammer and it shows a picture of the Zero instead of the Hammer, even if you connect your Hammer.
The Hammer has a 13 megapixels rear shooter with dual flash, at least this is what UMI claims. However the single flash of my Xiaomi M2A produces more light than the dual flash of the Hammer. In other words the single flash of the M2A performs better than the Hammer's dual flash. The camera shoots 13MP pictures at a resolution of 3120x4160. The details of the pictures indicate a maximum aperture of f /2.0 and a focal length of 4mm.
The Hammer also uses the the default Android camera app. The camera app starts fairly quick and the same goes for taking a picture. Using it is simple and you can choose a couple of modes. Switching to the front cam is also simple and quick. The front cam has a resolution of 3.2 MP. The quality is nothing to write home about, but I guess it's better than no front camera at all. The device records with a maximum resolution of 720p @ 30fps.
If you take a look at the big camera lens and the claimed specs you'll most probably expect decent pictures. The Hammer unfortunately proves otherwise. The pictures show a lot of noise and often appear to have some sort of glow in them. The colors are a bit dull and not very accurate.The auto-focus does its job, but clearly struggles in darker situations. The camera also tends to use the flashlight in fairly light situations. This results in overexposed pictures. Simply put, the Hammer contains a very average camera. It's certainly not something you expect from a 13 megapixels camera and a huge lens. The camera is okay for some pictures here and there. The camera, front and back, disappointed me and they are not the strongest point of this device.
1st UMI Hammer (13MP) - 2nd Xiaomi M2A (8MP)
The Hammer supports WiFi 802.11b / g / n. Not sure if 5Ghz is supported to, couldn't test it. The Wi-Fi reception of the Hammer is about average I think and once connected it remains stable.
The GPS signal seems to be below average. The unit spots fewer satellites than I'm used to. It also struggles to get a quick fix. The Hammer usually spots 11 satellites (in view) and it uses 5 or 6 of them. This is less than other (MTK) devices I've tested in the past. The signal strength or signal to noise ratio (SNR) is also below average. I think this is partly due to the metal frame of the device. The Hammer, at least my unit, is not suitable for daily navigation.
The Hammer contains a micro-SIM card and a standard SIM card slot. The reception and call quality are both fine; the speakers and microphone do their job, but the sound is less clear than more expensive phones. The speakers also work okay. The sound isn't bad, but also not great. The notification LED works well, but it can only light red or green. The light is pretty bright and therefore clearly visible.
The UMI Hammer is a decent and pretty attractive budget smartphone. The device has (full) 4G support, a modern 64-bits processor, a fairly recent and stock Android version, and a very decent body. These are the strong points of this device - all for approximately $140.
The screen resolution is 'only' 1280 x 720 pixels, although the overall picture is fine. In addition, the camera is not good, to say the least, for some maybe good enough. The front camera is of poor quality and therefore not suitable for selfie lovers. The GPS reception is also below average in my opinion.
The well made and decent aluminum frame is quite unique in this price range. The device feels good in the hand because of this. The Hammer is a pretty decent device, at least if you accept the weaker points. It offers good value for the money and it's worth considering.
Official UMI website
Product page Coolicool.com
All review pics full resolution(imgur album)
Needrom (Hammer page)