Ule­fone BeTouch

Tech Advisor - - REVIEWS -

Ule­fone’s BeTouch is a Chi­nese phone that’s avail­able to buy in the UK through Geek­buy­ing for just £147 at the time of writ­ing. Bear in mind that Geek­buy­ing ships the BeTouch from China, so you may also in­cur im­port duty. If you do de­cide to take the plunge and pur­chase the BeTouch, you ab­so­lutely won’t re­gret your choice.

With a 5.5in HD (1280x720) screen, the Ule­fone is a large phone and what we re­fer to as a ph­ablet – some­where be­tween a phone and a tablet. How­ever, the avi­a­tion-grade stain­less steel frame and alu­minium-mag­ne­sium mid-frame help keep down the weight to just 160g, while the curved screen edges and slim bezels make one-handed use pos­si­ble.

De­spite the me­tal frame, the Ule­fone’s rear cover is plas­tic. It’s a re­mov­able cover that, use­fully, af­fords ac­cess to an also-re­mov­able bat­tery and the dual-SIM and mi­croSD slots. It sits flush to the case, which pre­vents it feel­ing cheap or creak­ing in the hand.

The 13Mp cam­era pro­trudes a lit­tle from the rear – it’s not some­thing we par­tic­u­larly like, but it is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly com­mon with to­day’s ever-slim­mer flag­ships. While the BeTouch isn’t as skinny as some phones on the mar­ket, at 8.6mm it’s thin for a bud­get phone.

Our sam­ple came in me­tal grey, although the BeTouch is also avail­able in silk white. The fully lam­i­nated dis­play is prone to pick­ing up fin­ger­prints, but the HD IPS dis­play be­low looks good. At this size and res­o­lu­tion, the screen is a good fit for view­ing media, and it dis­plays re­al­is­tic colours and use­ful bright­ness, with good view­ing an­gles to boot. You can also in­vert the screen colours if you find the dis­play eas­ier to read in this man­ner.

The power but­ton and vol­ume rocker are found on the phone’s left edge, which can be a bit of a stretch for right-handed users. How­ever, one of sev­eral use­ful ges­tures al­lows you to wake the screen with a dou­ble­tap, so we didn’t find the po­si­tion­ing a prob­lem in real-world use. Op­tions and back soft­ware but­tons sit be­low the screen, ei­ther side of a home but­ton that in­cor­po­rates a fin­ger­print scan­ner.

The beauty of this fin­ger­print scan­ner, and some­thing we haven’t been able to say about any of the fin­ger­print scan­ners found on ri­val cheap Chi­nese phones, is that it works. Us­ing touch- rather than swipe in­put, we found the BeTouch recog­nised our fin­ger­print ev­ery sin­gle time, and that means we’re ac­tu­ally likely to use it. It’s fast, too, recog­nis­ing your fin­ger­print in a frac­tion of a sec­ond, even when your hand is wet.

Six small holes on the BeTouch’s bot­tom edge al­low sound to es­cape from the built-in speaker. It’s a prefer­able ap­proach to a rear­mounted speaker that can fire sound into your palm, although front-fac­ing would be even bet­ter.

With a 1.7GHz octa-core pro­ces­sor from Me­di­aTek, 3GB of RAM and Mali-T760 MP2 graph­ics in­side, the Ule­fone BeTouch is a ca­pa­ble smart­phone. In real-world use, we found it very smooth, and this is no doubt thanks to not only the hard­ware but a lack of bloat­ware slow­ing it down.

We ran the Ule­fone BeTouch through our usual bench­marks, and the re­sults make for pleas­ant read­ing – par­tic­u­larly in Geek­bench 3, which mea­sures pro­ces­sor per­for­mance. In the multi-core com­po­nent of this test, the BeTouch scored a stag­ger­ing 3817 points. And that re­ally is in­cred­i­bly fast, beaten only by the fastest An­droid phones we’ve ever tested, the Sam­sung Gal­axy S6 and S6 Edge. (And the UMI eMax, although the Ule­fone shows bet­ter per­for­mance in other tests.) In the sin­gle-core com­po­nent the Ule­fone scored 794 points, which places it in be­tween the UMI eMax and UMI Ham­mer.

In SunSpi­der, which mea­sures JavaScript per­for­mance, the BeTouch did a good job for an An­droid phone, with this bench­mark’s scoreboards dom­i­nated by the var­i­ous iPhone mod­els. We ran SunSpi­der both on the browser that came pre­in­stalled on the Ule­fone, in which it scored 915ms, and in Chrome, which we use to en­sure a fair test across all An­droid phones, in which it scored 975ms. In SunSpi­der a lower score is bet­ter, which means it ac­tu­ally did a bet­ter job here than did the afore­men­tioned S6 and S6 Edge.

GFXBench is used to mea­sure graph­ics per­for­mance, and the Ule­fone recorded 25fps in T-Rex and 12fps in Man­hat­tan. Both are very good scores for a phone at this price point, and in line with flag­ship phones such as the LG G4 and Nexus 6.

Two new tests we’ve re­cently be­gun us­ing in the PCAd­vi­sor lab and for which we cur­rently have few scores to com­pare are AnTuTu and the bat­tery life test built into

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