With the release of the UMi Rome, UMi redefined what could be expected from an entry level #Smartphone. The pre-sale price was set at $99.99 in almost all online resellers (you could even find it at $89.99 in some stores), making it a real bargain for a smartphone with 3 GB of RAM, MediaTek MT6753 octa-core SoC, AMOLED screen and aluminium frame.

The rest of the specs for this device are dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi (2.4gGHz/5GHz), Bluetooth 4.1, GPS and dual-SIM LTE (micro format) with dual-standby. 

The price has now risen to around $120. Does this still represent good value?

In terms of performance the UMi Rome is smoother than some other budget phones like the Moto G.

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With a performance similar to the two-year-old HTC One M8, you can say this budget phone has a mid-range performance.

Additionally, the UMi Rome comes with SuperSU pre-installed and ready for any root-needing app, something the most tech savvy user will find to be very useful. In daily use we found the UMi Rome launched all apps quickly and the continuous scroll of the home screens gave the perception that navigation was perhaps faster than it was, taking advantage of its octa-core 64-bit processor, ARM Mali-T720 GPU and 3GB of RAM.

Storage

As internal memory you get 16GB, which is double the usual values for this price. From these, you get 11GB of Rom available to install apps or store photos. There's also room for a microSD card that will take up to 64GB of your personal stuff.

Battery

UMi has fitted the Rome with a 2500mAh removable battery that, for most users, should be good for a full day's use.

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UMi claims oon their advertising that you'll get 12.5 hours of 'on-screen' time or 8.8 hours of 4G web browsing with this battery. Unfortunately we’re still not seeing fast or wireless charging in this price range.

Camera

UMi Rome's primary camera is a 13Mp Sony IMX179 sensor, while there is a front facing 2 Megapixel camera which has an LED flash as well. Unfortunately the selfie camera provides poor pictures and the flash is very poor, not making much of a difference to the picture unless you’re in complete darkness. As a side note, let us clarify that the front camera is actually an 8Mp model interpolated to 13Mp.

Screen

The smartphone has a design that took clear inspiration from Samsung's Galaxy Note5. It has the same curved back as well. The Rome packs a slightly smaller 5.5″ display compared to the 5.7″ display on the Note5 though. The resolution too is lower as it is a 720p panel but an AMOLED one nonetheless, an unusual screen technology to find in most Chinese phones. It also has a curved 2.5D curved glass display.

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However, in spite of that promising technology, we didn’t find the contrast levels we were expecting and colors could be more vivid.

Our veredict

UMi keeps launching new phones with novelty features, trying to stand out from the Chinese wave of cheap brands that came out during 2015. So far, we’ve seen some very good devices, considering the price range practiced. The UMi Rome is currently priced at $119.99 on the official store.

Now the only question is: when are UMi's users getting an update to #Android 6.0 Marshmallow?