UMIDIGI One Pro review

Oct 22, 2018


I spent a few weeks using the Umidigi One Pro before posting a review.



This phone caught my attention with its generous specification: FullSurface 19:9 notch display, dual cameras, 64GB ROM, NFC, fingerprint sensor, wireless and fast charging for less than 150€/170$.

Is it too good to be true?


Main Features:

UMIDIGI One Pro 4G Phablet 5.86 inch
● Display: 5.86 inch, 1520 x 720 Pixel Screen
● CPU: Helio P23 MT6763 Octa Core 2.0GHz
● System: Android 8.1
● RAM + ROM: 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM
● Camera: 12.0MP + 5.0MP rear camera + 16.0MP front camera
● Sensor: Proximity Sensor, E-compass, Gravity Sensor, Face ID, Light Sensor, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyroscope, NFC
● SIM Card: Nano SIM card + Nano SIM card / TF card
● Feature: GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
● Bluetooth:4.2
● 3250mAh Built-in

Unboxing and first look

The UMI One Pro is packaged with a black silicon cover, a fast charger (up to 12V/1.5A) and a USB type-C cable. A small envelope contains the instruction leaflet and the SIM drawer pin tool.
An unusual thank-you note giving credit to the product team covers the content.



Compared to my Xiaomi Mi A1, the One Pro is 7mm shorter (H148.4/W71.4/D8.7mm) but heavier by 25gr (3550mAh battery inside) and these 190gr  with the surrounding metal frame greatly contribute to the general impression of toughness.

The headphone jack has not been sacrificed and sits beside the USB type C connector.

Same for this other too often missing feature: a (blue) notification LED is present! It is very shy and may be unnoticed due to the low blinking frequency.

The picture below is an animated gif with a faster blinking. It would be nice if we could customize it that way.




The screen 

The display has a resolution of 720x1520 pixels with a 320ppi density. Just like the Redmi S2, it looks as good as full HD screen!

There's no indication as to what type of glass protects the screen but it feels like the Corning Gorilla 3 of my Mi A1. This is good news because there should be no need for an additional protection. The A1 has traveled in my pocket since October 2017 and didn't take single scratch!

With its notch design, the display covers nearly 90% of the phone: The screen is big and the phone size remains pocket-friendly.



Redmi S2 - Mi A1 - UMI One Pro

This attractive design is not exempt from problems: Some apps (like most of my favorite camera apps) have their controls just in the notch area.

It also tends to leave less space for the shortcut tiles on the top, and I often accidentally launched the clock app instead of the toggling the Wi-Fi status.

Since the tiles disposition can be changed in Oreo, the workaround for this is to move some of the less used functions to the beginning of the list in order to relocate Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in a less crowded place.

A bad start...

Once I gave my first phone call with my brand new UMI One Pro, I realized that the earpiece speaker was not working. I found out that the "fix" was to pinch the top of the phone. It was only helping for a limited time at first, but I must have pressed a bit harder, and it didn't fail at all since then.
This kind of assembly fault is rare but happens to bigger brands (I had this with a Sony Xperia), so, no hard feeling.

Sound quality

The speaker located on the bottom of the phone can be loud and yet keeps a decent sound quality.
A special feature of the phone is that the earpiece speaker is supposed to provide some sort of stereo effect. Well, that's a nice intention but it completely fails to convince. At best it helps to male the sound a bit louder, but there not even a hint of right-left separation.



Wireless charging: Didn't test, won't test

The method of induction charging is not the most efficient, with about 30% of the energy simply lost in the process, so I prefer the fast charger provided. Still, it's nice to have the choice.

In terms of wireless technologies, the One Pro is well equipped, and having NFC is rare in that price range. Wi-Fi 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz both worked fine for me. Bluetooth worked as expected with car and BLE equipment tested. The 3G/4G mobile data reception seemed to be a little bit more limited than with other phones I use to carry with me in same locations.



Unlocking options

The usual Pattern/Pin/Password are completed by a fast Face ID and an equality fast fingerprint recognition option (not as fast as a Xiaomi, but well fast enough).

The fingerprint sensor sits on top of the power button on the right side of the phone and has a slightly higher success rate than the Face ID, at least for me.

I read some criticism about the fingerprint reliability but found it to work well as long as the fingers have been initially scanned in their most natural position.



Cameras:

One and One Pro use a OV12870 sensor with 12+5MP back cameras (f2.0). The selfie side has a S5K3P3 sensor of 16MP.

In general, and under good daylight conditions, the pictures taken can be of comparable quality with my Xiaomi Mi A1. The AF is quite fast except in dark condition where the noise appears quickly and HDR is too slow to help.








It's possible to get decent results but the camera interface is nothing fun and quite terrible (I suppose it's Mediatek that we should thank for that!) with most options not directly accessible but buried inside secondary menus.

There so much room for improvement. Here's a few very common options that are missing:
- no way to re-assign the volume button to zoom instead of snap,
- no option to quick launch the camera by pressing twice the power button (or Vol- like in MIUI) like on most Android phones.
- no option to store the pictures on the SD card (although the internal space is generous)

Other ideas, inspired from Xiaomi phones, would be nice, like:
- more use of the second lens (e.g. 2x optical zoom),
- a 19:9 picture size,
- option to use the gyroscope for straighten pictures while shooting.


Open Camera is the good replacement. The others: Camera FV-5, CameraMX and A Better Camera are all have their controls trimmed by the notch interface.

Depth of Field effect: forget about it!


Just like the attempt to create a stereo effect with the earpiece speaker, the "stereo" camera mode is all but convincing


The Stereo Mode is supposed to combine the two rear cameras pictures to create a depth of field effect.
Somehow I was expecting something in the league of the Xiaomi Mi A1! We're so far from that!

It is normal for previously reviewed low cost smart phones (Doogee and Bluboo) to be bad at it, but the Umi One Pro is in a price range where you expect much better than that!


What You See is NOT What You Get

In 2 examples below, the first picture is the camera preview, and the second is the actual result:



In the example below, the preview was what I wanted but the saved picture didn't match.


Okay, below I pushed the settings a bit too far, but it's worth a look...





Look at this "masterpiece" where the software cannot tell the background from the foreground  between the leaves...


It is possible to get the effect right sometimes, but usually, it's by accident!

! A serious show-stopper (resolved)

I kept this for the end: the worst problem in the UMI One and One Pro is the fact that it does not launch non-system apps at startup. This means that, appart from SMS and Gmail, which are part of the ROM, no communication app will be able to notify you of incoming messages until you launched them first!

This affects apps such as Hangouts, Whatsapp, Messenger, Viber...!
This is quite serious for communication device!
See this forum thread for details and possible workarounds. There's no sign of acknowledgement from Umidigi despite the growing number of complaints.

At time of writing the latest ROM V2.0_20180914 is still affected by the issue.
Update: V2.0_20180815 resolved that issue, well done Umi!


Performance: nothing slow but nothing to show off either...











Conclusion:

The Umidigi One Pro is beautiful, compact, feels solid and well built, and has the most generous set of features for less than 150€/170$.

The notch design comes at a price and many apps don't play well with that.
The camera as such is good but let down by the too minimalist software. The half-baked depth of field processing in particular is really regrettable.


There's really plenty of room for improvement in that area ...

However, since the correction of the notorious notification bug, there's hope that Umidigi keeps on improving the functionalities of the One Pro.




GOOD
- Fast charge
- Wireless charging
- NFC (Pro version)
- Beautiful 720p display
- Gyroscope
- 64GB ROM (Pro version)
- Feels solid
- Notification LED (a bit shy but it works)

BAAAD
- BUG: User apps won't auto-start (means: no notification for new messages)
- Unpredictable depth of field/Bokeh effect due to poor software processing.
- Very basic camera interface.




0 comments:

Post a Comment