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.