UMi is a Chinese brand that has been gaining traction in 2015. They are working hard to distance themselves from the general opinion that Chinese brands are a synonym of low quality and that can be confirmed by the improvements made, on both hardware and software, on the latest models.

The UMi eMax Mini

On the exterior of this UMi eMax Mini we find a 5” FULL HD IPS (443ppi), a rear camera with 13MP (Sony IMX214 CMOS sensor, f/2.2) with LED flash and an 8MP front-facing camera. Inside there are 16GB of space (9 of which available to the user), expandable to 64GB with an SDcard, 2GB of RAM DD3, and a SoC with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz and an Adreno 405 GPU.

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The battery, non-removable, has 3,050mAh.

The eMax Mini is a dual-SIM #Smartphone, but only one of the slots is LTE capable. It comes with Android 5.0.2 Lollipop pre-installed, with OneTouch launcher on top. The speakers are strategically place in the bottom of the device, separated by the microUSB plug.

Display

UMi eMax Mini’s display, a 5” Full HD IPS (1080p), meets the expectations for this range of prices, having a good contrast ratio, vivid colours and a decent viewing angle.

Touch responsiveness is good, though not perfect. That can be noticed when you use the double-tap to wake up feature, which many times requires a second go for the device to recognize it. Writing fast, however, is a pleasant experience, with a good response from the touch screen.

Hardware

This is not a high-end smartphone and, for that reason, the material chosen was plastic.

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Nonetheless, the UMi eMax Mini feels solid and there are no strange noises or screaking whatsoever. The back cover, with its circular emboss, gives it a classy touch unusual in this range. UMi has managed to keep the weight of this eMax Mini down, at around 130g.

Performance

The UMi eMax Mini comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor (64-bit) clocked at 1.5GHz and an Adreno 405 GPU. While this is not the most up-to-date SoC, it’s a great improvement from the previous Mediatek processors. Adding to this the 2GB of RAM DDR3, you get a smartphone capable of running everything with very little lag. The fact that UMi chose not to pack the eMax Mini with bloatware helps the performance meet the expectations. On Antutu’s benchmark, the UMi eMax Mini reached 28015 points.

Battery

As we said above, this smartphone’s battery has 3,050mAh and is non-removable. On a 5” phone, this would be sufficient for a full day of normal usage, and that’s exactly what happens. During our tests, the “small” eMax Mini managed to stay on during practically two days of online browsing, Facebook and messaging.

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Software

UMi added some special features to this smartphone, without filling it with useless apps. When it comes to sound, due to a partnership with JBL, you will find some original effects and good sound processing. There is also the usual “cleaning” app called, in this case, ‘SuperCleaner’ that tries to free up some memory and improve the device’s performance.  UMi did not forget the popular double-tap option to wake up the screen – very useful to avoid problems with the Power button due to over use.

Sound

The speakers were cleverly integrated in an iPhone-style, at the bottom of the device. This improves the sound quality when the device is on a table or you have a back cover on. The eMax Mini produces good quality sound, not losing too much quality even on high volumes. We found it to be above average, considering the price of this smartphone.

Camera

UMi eMax Mini comes with a 13MP camera, with a Sony sensor and f/2.2 aperture. Photo quality is average, but surprisingly this smartphones takes very good pictures in low-light situations, which was unexpected. During day light and in situations of high contrast, we found that the auto-focus was not helping, not being able to correctly balance the exposure. In these cases, the touch-to-focus worked perfectly, producing much better pictures. Since there is a capable sensor in the camera, we believe a software update could fix this focus problem and highly increase the picture quality. On the front side we find an 8MP “selfie” camera with the usual beautify filters and effects.

Conclusion

The UMi eMax Mini is a $139 smartphone that, without trying to compete with any high-end phone, certainly does not transmit a “cheap phone” feeling either. It executes everything that you throw at it without any lags, call quality is impeccable and battery life is pretty decent. If your budget is limited, this is without a doubt a good choice to consider. #Android