UMI eMax

Tech Advisor - - REVIEWS -

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 Cooli­ 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).

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