UMI Ham­mer

Tech Advisor - - REVIEWS -

With the Ham­mer, UMI blends an avi­a­tion-grade alu­minium al­loy frame and a tough poly­car­bon­ate shell with a 5in dual-glass IPS and Go­rilla Glass HD dis­play to cre­ate a vir­tu­ally un­break­able de­vice that still man­ages to be both good look­ing and light­weight. You might not in­tend to ham­mer nails with this smart­phone, but you could.

But there’s more to the UMI Ham­mer than its tough de­sign. In our bench­marks, the 1.5GHz Me­di­aTek quad-core pro­ces­sor, 2GB of RAM and ARM Mali-T760 GPU pow­ered the UMI Ham­mer to some de­cent mid-range re­sults, with an AnTuTu score of 32,506 putting it in the same class as the Google Nexus 5, LG G3 and HTC One. Not bad for a phone that costs just £93 from Geek­buy­ing (re­mem­ber to add in im­port duty).

Add to that its 4G con­nec­tiv­ity, a 13Mp rear cam­era with dual-LED flash, built-in dual-SIM and mi­croSD sup­port, and a re­mov­able bat­tery, and the UMI Ham­mer is a great deal.

What’s re­ally in­ter­est­ing about the Ham­mer, though, is its soft­ware. Out of the box the UMI runs An­droid 4.4 KitKat, and has a slew of both use­ful and cus­tomis­able smart ges­tures. With sup­port for Rootjoy, though, things get a lot more in­ter­est­ing. Rootjoy is an ap­pli­ca­tion that you down­load to your Win­dows PC or lap­top, then plug in your phone to quickly in­stall up­dates, flash a new ROM of your choice (in­clud­ing Lol­lipop and MIUI6), in­stall a cus­tom UI or back up your data.

With the UMI Ham­mer, you get all the con­nec­tiv­ity op­tions you’d ex­pect, in­clud­ing OTG sup­port, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Blue­tooth 4.0. With a sep­a­rate GPS re­ceiver in­stalled ef­fi­ciency is said to be im­proved by 35 per­cent, get­ting around the sig­nal prob­lems of­ten ex­pe­ri­enced by metal-chas­sis phones.

De­sign and build

As the name sug­gests, UMI’s Ham­mer is se­ri­ously tough, and yet it’s much bet­ter look­ing than most rugged phones you can buy. UMI has taken a su­per-strong avi­a­tion-grade metal chas­sis and fixed to it an also-tough poly­car­bon­ate shell and dual-glass dis­play.

That dual-glass screen is a 5in IPS panel with an HD res­o­lu­tion of 1280x720 pix­els and a Go­rilla Glass protective top layer. To give you an idea of its clar­ity, the Ham­mer’s 294ppi pixel den­sity falls just short of the 326ppi of the iPhone 6. It’s very bright and very colour­ful, with ex­cel­lent view­ing an­gles. Fur­ther pro­tec­tion is af­forded by the slight lip to the screen bezel.

Avail­able in black or white (and sup­plied to us in white), the UMI Ham­mer is a nice-look­ing phone. The 13Mp cam­era juts awk­wardly at the rear, but this is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly com­mon in to­day’s ever-thin­ner smartphone­s. The Ham­mer is a su­per-slim 7.9mm, and de­spite its tough chas­sis just 159g.

With a 5in screen and slim bezels, it sits nicely in the hand, aided by the slight curve to the Ham­mer’s rear. UMI refers to this poly­car­bon­ate cover as be­ing as smooth as a baby’s bot­tom; it’s not the first thing that springs to mind, but it is in­deed smooth to the touch. Pleas­ingly, it’s also re­mov­able, and gives ac­cess to an also-re­mov­able bat­tery, dual SIM slots and a mi­croSD card slot.

The vol­ume rocker and power but­ton are well-po­si­tioned for use with the right thumb, but the rear-fac­ing speaker is muf­fled by the palm. Three An­droid-stan­dard touch-sen­si­tive but­tons lie be­low the screen, while you’ll find a Mi­cro-USB charg­ing port and 3.5mm head­phone jack on the top edge. At this price you shouldn’t ex­pect top-end hard­ware, but you’ll be pleas­antly sur­prised by what you do get for just £93 – and that is mid­dle-of-the-road per­for­mance at a bud­get price.

In­side the UMI Ham­mer is a 1.5GHz Me­di­aTek MTK6732 chip, a 64-bit quad-core pro­ces­sor based on the ARM Cor­tex-A7. This is paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of stor­age, of which some 12.5GB is avail­able to the user (and, of course, you can add up to 64GB via mi­croSD). ARM Mali-T760 MP2 500MHz graph­ics com­plete the pack­age.

As well as our usual bench­marks, we ran the UMI Ham­mer through AnTuTu, a popular An­droid bench­mark that takes into ac­count CPU, RAM and GPU per­for­mance, as well as the user ex­pe­ri­ence. In this test the Ham­mer recorded 32,506 points, putting it in the same class as 2013/2014 flag­ships in­clud­ing the Google Nexus 5, LG G3 and HTC One.

In Geek­bench 3, we saw 728 points in the sin­gle-core test and 2203 multi-core, show­ing bet­ter sin­gle-core per­for­mance but slightly lower multi-core per­for­mance than UMI’s octa-core Zero. The Ham­mer took the lead in SunSpi­der and GFXBench, how­ever, with 18fps recorded in T-Rex, 8fps in Man­hat­tan and 1020ms in Google Chrome for JavaScript per­for­mance (865ms when tested us­ing the pre­in­stalled browser).

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