After 1 week of use of the device, Andi gives us the possibility to fully know the features in the new UMI phablet, UMI Cross!
I saw the UMI Cross the first time, or at least its chassis and its rear panel, during a visit to the company in September. At that time I was visiting the companies of Shenzen, trying to lend a hand to better understand the international mobile market and get some indiscretion on products not yet on the market.
When Charlie and Superman (a UMi forum moderator and a designer from the company) showed me the rear panel of the UMI Cross, I immediately showed some concern about the size. A 6.44-inch display with 4mm thick bezels made the UMI Cross not a small device.
My feelings, however, have changed day by day.
UMI Cross - Video Unboxing & Hands-on
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UMI Cross - Specifications
The UMI Cross has everything we would expect from a leading Chinese device. The display is a panel from 6.44 OGS with Full-HD resolution 1920 × 1080, the processor is a Mediatek MT6589T from 1,5 Ghz, 2GB of RAM, 32GB of internal memory, expansion slot for MicroSD, dual-sim support, front sensor from 8 mega-pixel and rear from 13 mega-pixel Sony Exmor, support for Miracast, OTG and HI-FI audio.[komper pid = 37 compareform = no]
One thing that is missing, but that many online retailers give for certain, is the NFC. The UMI Cross we received does not have the NFC in the specific sheet, it is not mentioned in the Settings and just miss the NFC chip in the back cover.
UMI Cross - Design
UMI, in agreement with Antelife, sent me the UMI Cross for review. I was and am already super busy with various reviews and projects and the idea of reviewing a device that I had already branded as "too big" didn't appeal to me that much. In the end, however, I agreed to review UMI Cross.
If you have not seen the unboxing video, you will surely have lost my personal amazement at having to deal with UMI Cross for the first time. Surely the UMI Cross is great, but now I can imagine myself using it, at least for the duration of the review.
The UMI Cross has 172 x 90 x 8.96 mm dimensions that make it slightly thinner than devices like the JiaYu G4 and the Neo N003. With a width of 90 mm, you can easily grasp it with one hand, but its management also requires the other. If, instead of grasping it, you could comfortably rest it on the palm of your hand, I could do the operations in a simple way, but it would not be the safer way to use it. I must add that on a probable UMI Cross 2 I would appreciate the frames a little thinner!
In Asia, devices of this size are very popular especially in the female audience who use their phones as mirrors and books hi-tech and therefore, in designing UMI Cross, designers tried to make it as fashionable as possible. The white version that we received for the review, has attracted the attention of more than one person, either for the Big Size size or for the really special rear panel; every square of the grid that makes up the design of the panel has a different inclination, so that the light hitting produces a sensational effect. Very beautifull!
At the bottom we find the 3 classic capacitive buttons with LED backlighting. This is perhaps the only flaw I found, the lights of the buttons are weak and not homogeneous can give the impression that UMI Cross is a low-cost device, and, given the price, it is not at all.
Turning the phone, we see the famous grid panel. There is also a version in dark blue, but white is our favorite. The rear camera from 13 mega-pixels with opening F2.2 is located at the top together with a single LED flash just below. We can see the Aliyun OS logo even if the international version will have a standard UMI ROM. At the bottom we find the Cross logo, the CE mark, other details and a speaker grille.
Just behind the volume rocker is a small indentation through which you can insert a fingernail and take out the panel, thus showing the big size battery, the trays for the two sims, the SDcard slot and LDS antennas for WIFI, GPS, Bluetooth, GSM, WCDMA etc. The idea of using LDS antennas works because they are faster and cheaper to produce, take up less space, are more performing and even better designed.
UMI Cross - Display
With an 6.44 inch Full-HD 1920 × 1080 display, the UMI Cross offers ample space to move around in the App Drawer, play, surf the web, write mail and watch videos.
With a pixel density of 342ppi, the display of the UMI Cross is in line with that of the devices of this generation, ensures clear and clean images, but gives its best in positive light conditions. The touch and accuracy are excellent. During the entire review we have not met a (that was only one) insecurity of the movements.
UMI Cross - Performance
The UMI Cross is powered by Mediatek quad-core processor MT6589T from 1,5 Ghz with PowerVR SGX 544 GPU and supported 2GB of RAM ... enough for an 5 inch Full-HD device, but on an 6.44 inch Full-HD panel will be enough?
As a gaming device I would like to try a game that at least requires a fast frame rate,
I've tested Riptide GP2, which I know will work well on a normal Full-HD 5 device; my first attempt was quite negative, I had to turn the phone back on.
The following ones went a little better, but still very far from being pleasant and well-functioning.
It was certainly no surprise that Antutu and the other tests returned lower than devices with similar hardware and smaller displays. Su Antutu recorded an average score of about 14000 and a maximum peak of 14358.
After a week with UMI Cross I can say that the excessive display and resolution are only part of the problem.
I found that the ROM installed on the international version of UMI Cross does not run perfectly so much so that I had to turn it back on several times.
The main problems I encountered are related to: the transition from the front camera to the rear one, the GPS not properly working and the strange behavior encountered during the charging phase, where the display turned on and off continuously show low battery despite the phone itself was reloading.
I think and I hope these problems are solved with subsequent updates. If you are not a gamer anyway, as regards e-mail, video enjoyment and web browsing, UMI Cross will satisfy your needs without problems.
UMI Cross - Camera
The UMI Cross is keeping up with the times on the photography front. The rear camera is a mega-pixel 13 with F2.2 aperture, the front one is a mega-pixel 8 with F2.4 aperture
The only flaw of devices with Mediatek chipsets is the functioning of the LED flash. Many manufacturers mis-calibrate the flash timing making a shot either too bright or too dark, but UMI has adjusted it well in this case!
Umi Cross - Photo examples
Battery and connectivity
The removable battery from 4180 mAh is definitely a plus, even if, with a single charge I managed easily but above all pleasantly, to go beyond the day. Consider that I kept 3G, WIFI, email and social network notifications on all the time.
As already mentioned, GPS has been a problem immediately. The first time I tried to adjust it took more than 20 minutes, in subsequent attempts it improved, but reaching a however strongly lamentable speed.
Call function, WIFI and Bluetooth we have not treated them here, but they work great anyway.
UMI Cross - Conclusion
Considering that I did not like UMI Cross and I was not thrilled to see it again, I still enjoyed testing this UMI Cross. The large display was nice to use during the review. Constructive quality, good camera and discrete performance make this device a decent product.
Switching from a 6.44 inch UMI to the 4.3 of my Xiaomi was strange and finally opened my eyes on larger devices, those from the 5 inch up to understand, but I still believe that UMI Cross is not for me.
The UMI Cross is a beautiful device and is proof that UMI has now acquired a great deal of experience both in the design phase and in the construction of new phones. Unfortunately the faulty software, the subdued performance regarding gaming and the malfunctioning of the GPS make it not go down poco.
Users who want a phone with decent camera, efficient battery life, and good overall performance will want to take a deeper look at this device; Those who want to experience top-range gaming experiences will stay away from it, until at least the performance is improved.
UMI Cross is finally available on the market. UMI, in collaboration with Antelife (official UMI dealer), offers the readers of Gizchina the UMI Cross at the fantastic price of 299.99 $ (about 218 €) through the discount code: Gizcross.VIA CIZCHINA.COM]