Umi Cross Full Review

Umi Cross Full Review

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After a few weeks of hands on use we have finally completed out evaluation! Keep reading for the complete UMi Cross review.

UMi Cross

I first layer eyes on the UMi Cross, well at least the rear panel and chassis of the phone on a trip to Shenzhen in September. At that time I was visiting phone companies, helping them to better understand the international phone market and check out their latest unreleased products.

When Charlie and Superman (a UMi forum moderator and designer at the company) handed me the rear panel of the Cross I was a little apprehensive about the footprint of the device. At 6.44 inches in display size and bezels measuring almost 4mm, the Cross is by no means a smaller device and I for one was convinced it was just too big.

So have my feelings toward the UMi Cross changed during my hands on time with the retail product? Keep reading to find out.

Video: UMi Cross Unboxing and first hands on

UMi Cross Specifications list

The UMi Cross packs almost everything we have come to expect from a flagship Chinese smartphone. The display is a 6.44-inch OGS unit with a FHD resolution of 1920 x 1080, there is a quad-core MT6589T processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB of built-in memory, SD card memory expansion, dual-SIM support, 8 mega-pixel front camera, 13 mega-pixel Sony Exmor rear camera, support for Miracast, OTG and HiFi audio.

[komper pid=116 compareform=no]

One feature that is missing, and one which many online resellers are listing the Cross as having is NFC. The UMi Cross which we were sent for review did not have NFC listed in the spec, there was no mention of NFC in the settings and there was no NFC chip on the rear cover.

UMi Cross: Design

UMi arranged for Antelife to send me the UMi Cross for review I was less than enthusiastic. I was/am already snowed under with many reviews and projects, and the prospect of reviewing a phone which I had already labelled as just too big wasn’t all that appealing to me, however I agreed to the review and the phone arrived.

umi cross review gizchina

If you didn’t watch the above unboxing video you would have missed me expressing my surprise after handling a complete Cross device for the first time. Sure the UMi Cross is big, but I could actually picture myself using the handset, at least for the duration of the review.

umi cross review gizchina

The Cross measures in at 172 x 90 x 8.96mm making it slightly thinner than some smaller phones like the JiaYu G4 and Neo N003. At 90mm wide I was am able to easily grip the phone with one hand, but for one-handed operation a less secure hold of the phone must be adopted. If I balance the rear of the phone on my fingers rather than holding it securely I can almost reach across to the opposite side with my thumb. It isn’t a particularly safe mode of use, neither is it comfortable so for most of the time I took a 2 handed approach. Thinner bezels on a UMi Cross 2 would be more appreciated!

umi cross review gizchina

In Asia phones of this size are very popular with women who like to use their phones as a high-tech mirror and their own personal photo booth, so when designing the Cross UMi have done their best to make it look as fashionable as possible. The white model which we received certainly grabbed the attention of more than a few people while we used it in public, partly due to the size but the attractive grid effect rear pattern also received a few compliments too. Each square in the grid is angled differently so light hitting the rear gives a nice holographic effect. Very cool!

umi cross review gizchina

Taking a tour around the phone we have the 6.44-inch OGS display upfront. About the display we have light and proximity sensors along with an 8 mega-pixel front facing camera with f2.4 aperture.

umi cross review gizchina

Across the chin there are 3 capacitive touch buttons with LED backlights. This is the only real area of concern for me on the quality of the phone as the lights are dimly, and unequally lit. This gives the impression of a cheap phone, which at $300 the UMi Cross is not!

umi cross review gizchina

Turning the phone over to the rear we get to see that attractive grid pattern once again. There is also a dark blue version available, but the white is our favourite. A 13 mega-pixel rear camera with F2.2 aperture sits at the top with a single LED flash just below. Below that is an Aliun OS logo, the international version has a standard UMi ROM. And at the bottom we have the Cross logo, CE mark, specification details and speaker grill.

umi cross review gizchina

The only physical buttons on the UMi Cross are the power/lockscreen button and volume rocker both located on the right hand side.

umi cross review gizchina

A 3.5mm headphone jack can be found at the top of the phone and micro USB in base.

umi cross review gizchina

Just about the volume rocker there is a small recess where we can place a fingernail and pull the rear case off revealing the large battery, dual-SIM bays, SD card slot and 3D printed LDS antennas for WIFI, GPS, Bluetooth, GSM, WCDMA etc. The idea behind LDS antennas is that they are fast and cheap to produce, take up less room, offer more surface area and better performance, they also look better too.

umi cross review gizchina

Compared to previous UMi phones such as the UMi X1 and including the UMi X2, the UMi Cross represents a huge leap in manufacturing, quality and materials.

UMi Cross Screen

Measuring in at 6.44-inch with a full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080, the UMi Cross offers ample space for viewing your app drawer, playing games, browsing the web, typing emails and watching movies.

umi cross review gizchina

The display is so large that the Cross makes for a great budget option for customers interested in the equally large Sony Xperia Z Ultra, and allows easy viewing and sharing of images and media with a group of friends. I also personally found the large display of great benefit when showing friends new mountain bike trials to ride, with the large display offering enough room for comfortable check a section of map together rather than huddling over a smaller device.

umi cross review gizchina

With a pixel density of 342ppi, the screen on the Cross is right on the money for current generation models and gives a bright crisp image in all but the brightest direct sunlight conditions. Touch performance and accuracy are also spot on. Not once during our review did we notice ghost touches, something common on some other phones.

UMi Cross Performance

The Cross has a 1.5Ghz quad-core Mediatek MT6589T processor with PowerVR SGX 544 GPU and 2GB RAM, enough for a 5-inch 1080 phone but how does this set up handle the larger 6.44-inch FHD panel of the Cross?

As a gaming device I would keep things mellow as any game with which requires a fast frame rate, and advanced graphics struggles to run smoothly on the Cross. As usually I ran Riptide GP2 on the cross, a game I know to run exceptionally well on 5-inch 1080 Mediatek phones. My first attempt at running the game proved to be so slow that I had to restart the phone, subsequent attempts were better but still far from smooth and much slower than I have come to expect.

It didn’t come as a surprise that Antutu and other benchmark results were lower than phones with similar hardware but smaller screens. On Antutu the UMi Cross received an average score of just over 14,000 points. The highest being 14,358.

umi cross review gizchina

Nenamark tests showed that the Cross can only handle a frame rate of around 51fps.

umi cross review gizchina

Quadrant gave a score of 4706.

After a full week with the UMi I believe that the display size and resolution to be only part of the issue with the performance. I came to find the that ROM on the international UMi Cross to be less than perfect and I was forced to restart the device on a number of occasions.

umi cross review gizchina

Bugs which I came across with my time with the Cross include the camera failing to start after switching from the front camera to the rear, GPS which failed to lock on out of the box and odd behaviour when charging which had the display flash on and off showing no power then the percentage it had charged. These bugs are hopefully going to be addressed with updates, and if you are less of a gamer and more of a web browser, email writer and media consumer you should find the Cross to offer more than enough power.

UMi Cross Camera

The Cross ships with pretty good camera specifications. The main camera is a 13 mega-pixel Sony Exmor with F2.2 aperture and the front is an equally good 8 mega-pixel camera with F2.4 aperture.

umi cross review gizchina

Both the front and rear cameras do a great job of capturing images and overall I was impressed with the majority of photos I was able to take and found the front camera to be particularly impressive.

umi cross review gizchina

One complaint I often have with Chinese Mediatek phones is the performance of the LED flash. Many manufacturer get the timing all wrong and have the LED flash activate at the wrong moment causing either too bright or dark a picture. UMi have got theirs right and photos taken with the flash turned out pretty well.

umi cross review gizchina

Low light indoor performance is also pretty good, but enough of words here are some photo samples taken with the Cross.

UMi Cross photo samples

Battery life and connectivity

A 4180mAh replaceable battery is more generous than some manufacturers would allow you, and I found that I could easily go a day or more on a single charge. Keep in mind though that this was with WIFI and 3G on constantly, with emails pushed and all social media notifications on.

umi cross review gizchina

I also liked to have the screen on quite brightly, so could easily believe that more conscientious users will be able to get more than a day of life from the Cross on a single charge.

As mentioned above, GPS was a pain from the start. The first time I attempted to get a fix took around 20 minutes, subsequent attempts were faster but no where near the speed you or I expect. Call clarity and reception, Bluetooth and WIFI worked flawlessly though out our review.

UMi Cross: Conclusion

Considering that I expected to dislike the UMi Cross, and wasn’t all that excited about reviewing it, I really did enjoy my time with the Cross. The large screen was a real treat to use during my review, and the quality construction, good camera and acceptable performance all conspired to create and enjoyable experience.

umi cross review gizchina

Going from the 6.44-inch Cross back to my 4.3-inch Xiaomi has been a real eye open, and I will certainly invest in a larger 5-inch+ device for my next phone, however I’m still not convinced that the huge screen of the UMi is for me.

The Cross is a well made phone, and UMi have really gained much need experience in both manufacturing techniques and manufacture for the Cross, but the buggy software, lower than average gaming performance and poor GPS do let the phone down.

Those users wanting a large phone with good cameras, battery-life and want to be productive on their phones will want to give the UMi Cross a serious look, gamers stay clear until performance has been improved.

The UMi Cross is available from resellers now, UMi have teamed up with Antelife who are one of their official resellers and are also offering the UMi Cross at $299.99 to GizChina readers with the following code: Gizcross

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  • bonkie

    found a mistake at the end with the “will on their phones will won’t to give the UMi Cross a serious look”. Should be want, please and thank you 😀

  • David

    Gorilla glass?

  • David

    Hello.

    Gorilla glass?

    3G WCDMA 900/2100 or 850/2100?

    What about Audio support, Yamaha chip?

    Thank you.

    • pa5t1s

      +1
      Andi, can you please have a look “under” the battery and tell us what you can read (if relevant)? 😀
      On UMI Europe, it’s advertised as “900/2100 MHz”, which is really good for me at least, but everybody outside China will prolly want to know as well.
      TIA

      • Specs are GSM 850/900/1800/1900 WCDMA 900/2100 I double checked with UMi and they confirm this is accurate

        • pa5t1s

          Cool! thanks for the info 😉

    • Rus

      Andi, could you answer these questions?

  • giantNOSE

    Andi what about this gps ? Is there only problem with initial lock in , or it is loosing signal as well ?
    I’ll take it definetly for 300$ it is a steal but I’m using gps everyday and it’s most important thing form me in phone.
    Thanks for Your reply

    • I find that it stays locked on once it eventually gets a signal.

  • giantNOSE

    Andi for how long this discount code will work ?

    peace

    • Until they have no stock

      • Carlorff

        Andy, why don’t you put on full size camera samples, at least in zip file without resizing? At least I would like that so I could get an idea of cameras…on the mobile phones.

  • lepingos

    Hello , could you confirm the 900 Mhz for 3G ?

  • Simon

    Very comprehensive review, thanks very much. Its looks like a giant compared to the Xiaomi handset.

  • Jerry

    It looks that 900Mhz WCDMA is only a joke, also discount code is not valid 🙁

    • pa5t1s

      Why “a joke”? i didn’t get it :S

      • Jerry

        I have been waiting almost two years Chinese smart phone with 900Mhz WCDMA. There is only few phones available and all of them have some lacks. Example only with one sim, poor battery, display more than 5″, not gorilla glass, no removable battery, no slot for memory card… I have also asked more WCDMA informations on this site, but never answers. So i´m almost lost my hope. I have ordered now a “Pipo” tablet. They said (message from Pipo service) that it has WCDMA 900/2100Mhz, but i do not believe it before i test it. So it looks like a joke, for me :).

        • pa5t1s

          Hehe, OK, i understand 😉 Anyway, on UMI European site, it is listed as 900-2100MHz and I think it really is. Afaik it’s only a matter of putting the proper baseband code into the phone (and prolly paying the proper fees for 3G).

          BTW i bought a Pipo M9 too, lately, and didn’t choose the Pro version with 3G for this reason 🙂 Let us know!

          • Jerry

            I do not have Pipo tablet yet, but i got a picture from my forwarder in China. I sent that picture to Pipo and here is answer from them:

            Hi Jari,

            Yes, from your picture, I know your tablet is M9 Pro 3G.

            And all our Pipo M9 Pro 3G tablets are with 900/2100Mhz WCDMA.

            Best regards,

            Anna

            PiPo Technology Co,.Ltd(digisino group)
            金森数码产品(深圳)有限公司
            website: http://www.pipo.com.cn
            Email: [email protected]
            Skype: Anna_pipo

            • pa5t1s

              Nice to learn that directly from Pipo! 🙂 it’s a bit late for me but i’ll remember next time i’d buy a Pipo tablet (they do rock!).Thanks for the tip!

      • pezastic

        The discount code IS valid. I bought one and have just received it. I asked them to send it to me ONLY if it has NFC. Now that I got it, how do I verify that it does?

  • nicosen1i

    Mhl?

  • Nicolas

    Could you confirm about NFC !
    We can see NFC write on this photo between SIM card and flash
    http://1-ps.googleusercontent.com/h/www.gizchina.com/wp-content/uploads/images/650x433xDSC_0171.jpg.pagespeed.ic.8yBRLzv78g.jpg

    Thanks

    • The current UMi Cross does NOT have NFC, it WILL be on later models

      • Nicolas

        Thanks for response !
        I planned to buy it, but I will change and try to find the good one !!

        • Nicolas

          Hi,
          I sent a mail two days ago to antelife and I receive the response this morning : “Dear customer,

          The UMi Cross support NFC, thank you very much”
          I checked on UMI website and they don’t NFC. I think you’re right when you say than UMI Cross don’t support NFC, but I’m so disapointed about Antelife response !
          Thanks again, without your review, I would have bought it and made a mistake, because I want NFC in my phone !

          • I have it one on my desk now (which Antelife sent to me) and confirm that it does not have NFC. UMi also told me that the current models don’t have it.

  • Jose Amarildo

    6.44 inch is very big to me.

  • lepingos

    I bought Antelife on Tuesday. Then I saw that it actually was not NFC
    I asked him to confirm that the model is NFC.
    They said: “We confirm the phone supports NFC
    Do not be worry about it ”

    I asked to cancel the order because I’m sure he would not NFC ….
    There have not shipped.
    We’ll see if this site is serious

  • Guest

    Does UMI still manufacture this phone? The Cross is out of stock or sold out on many reseller sites.

  • ivanterrible

    Hi everyone!
    Andi, a friend of mine has bought an UMI Cross and has broken the screen… 🙁
    He can´t find a place for getting a new one, or even the UMI official email for asking for the replacement. Can anyone give us an email or anything for getting a new screen?

    Thanks in advance!!!! 😉

  • jangbahadoer

    look out there is no stof about Umi Croos don’t buy

  • Sue de Nym

    Very strange – mine does have NFC – I have used it and it works very well. It even comes with an NFC tag in the box so that’s proof enough.
    Ibought mine last year from hyhtech for £249.00 inc postage on eBay UK (phone sent from UK not China ). I think you can still buy them from China or look for used on eBay.
    It’s the est phone I have ever had since they mobiles invented!
    Cases are available on Amazon, eBay, Aliexpress or DHGate – make sure you get the Umicross 6.4″ not the Umicross C1 as that’s smaller. A slip case for Samsung Galaxy Mega should fit.
    Best data sim (cheapest) is from MobiData (uses 3 mobile). However 3 mobile data sims on contract form 3 mobile don’t work for some reason or maybe I was unlucky. Otherwise any some will work.