We’ve been impressed by what we’ve seen from Chinese phone maker UMI so far, having recently reviewed both the Zero and Hammer. This UMI eMax is an altogether more powerful beast, with an octa-core processor, a standout 5.5in full-HD screen and a massive 3780mAh battery that can even serve as a power bank for other phones.
The best bit about the UMI eMax is its price, and right now it’s available for just £115 from Coolicool.com. That’s amazing value for money. Bear in mind, though, that this phone ships from China, so you may also incur import duty when purchased in the UK.
Unlike the Zero and Hammer before it, the UMI eMax is a relatively plain-looking, unassuming device. With a 5.5in screen this is a phablet, but it’s still just 148g and with slim bezels reasonably easy to operate in a single hand.
From the front, the phone is marred only by the always-visible legends for the Home, Back and Options buttons. Switch on the screen, though, and you instantly don’t care: with a full-HD resolution this IPS panel is crystal clear, and as sharp as many flagship Androids at 401ppi. You absolutely should not expect a full-HD screen at this price. Colours are bright and realistic, even with the brightness turned down, and viewing angles are very good.
From the rear, the eMax is less attractive, but by no means ugly. We’re confused by the ChineseEnglish translation in the eMax’s marketing materials, which states: “The one piece art of frame battery cover is made by Polycarbonate with 200 times processing brushed stainless steal [sic].” This phone looks and feels very much like a plastic device to us, although there is a subtle brushed-metal effect to the rear.
The rear cover is non-removable, with side-loading trays for the two SIM slots and microSD card. A power button and volume rocker are also found on the eMax’s right side, while there’s a headphone jack at the top and Micro-USB charging port at the bottom. Despite its plastic feel the eMax feels very sturdy – not as tough as the Hammer, but tough nonetheless.
We’re not so keen on the way the phone’s 13Mp camera sticks out at the rear, but this is becoming increasingly common in today’s ever-thinner phones. And this is one of them: at 7.9mm thick, you’d never guess the eMax costs just £115. As is the case on the Samsung Galaxy S6, though, this camera is centred and squareish, so it won’t rock nearly so much when placed flat on the table as, for example, the iPhone 6.
Also at the base of the rear is a speaker grille. Usually this is a no-no for us, muffling sound as it fires it into your palm, but this phone’s phablet dimensions stopped this being a problem in our testing.
Hardware and performance
Inside the eMax is a 1.7GHz MediaTek MTK6752 octa-core 64-bit processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage and an ARM Mali-T760 MP2 graphics processor. We have seen this setup before, such as in the Kingzone Z1, while the Ulefone BeTouch (page 36) adds an extra gig of RAM. But the eMax appears to have put its hardware to the best use – at least if our benchmarks are to be believed.
And therein lies the catch: benchmarks can’t always be trusted. Nevertheless, we found the UMI eMax smooth and responsive in real-world use, with no sign of lag.
In Geekbench 3.0, the eMax gave its standout performance. We use this test to measure processing performance, but have also recently begun including results from its battery life test. The eMax aced both – and the latter is certainly no surprise, given the capacious 3780mAh cell found inside. With OTG support (and an adaptor included in the box), the eMax can even be used as a power bank to charge another phone – it will fill an iPhone 6 twice, says UMI. So, you can expect several days’ life with normal use.
The reigning champions of our Geekbench 3 tests are the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, with the S6 scoring 4438 points in processingand 4136 in battery performance, and the S6 Edge 5076- and 4011 points. The UMI eMax got incredibly close to those scores performance, with 4101 points in processing-, and 4006 in battery performance. By comparison, in processing performance the UMI Hammer recorded 2203 points and the Kingzone Z1 3689. We also ran the Kingzone through the battery life test, and it scored 3074 points.
AnTuTu is another new test to the PC Advisor lab, and with few results with which to compare devices for now it’s rather difficult to understand what the scores are telling us. However, through AnTuTu’s own database we can see that the UMI eMax’s 41,799-point score is faster than both the Nexus 5 and LG G3, but slightly below last year’s flagship Samsung Galaxy S5. It also performed better than the UMI Hammer (32,506) and Ulefone BeTouch (41,661).