Video: Unboxing and first hands on with the UMi Zero


umi zero review

The UMi Zero has arrived with us today at GizChina, keep reading to hear our first hands on impressions and watch our UMi Zero unboxing and hands on video.

Since the first time I help the pre-production UMi Zero, and through-out all the hype I have been wondering just how good the UMi Zero would finally feel once the production models started to ship. Today, my question was answered when our Zero arrived.

UMi Zero – Hands on Impressions

It is plain to see that UMi are going for a more upmarket approach with the UMi Zero. The phone has features, design and build never before seen in a UMi phone (and rare for a smaller Chinese company to produce) and the packaging oozes extra attention to detail.

umi zero review

The UMi Zero come in a black box with simple Zero and Umi branding and looks more like an expensive perfume box than the packaging of a Chinese smartphone. Once the tight lid is removed additional boxes containing the charge, and USB wire are revealed along with an envelope containing a screen protector and small sim ejector tool.

umi zero review

Of course the phone itself is in the box too, and once you get it in your hand the feeling of quality continues.

umi zero review

Make no mistake, the UMi Zero is not a cheap phone. For $299 it is way more costly than your average Chinese smartphone, and with the lack of 4G LTE that might be a price a little high for many to swallow. But I wouldn’t say it was too expensive as the build, materials and thoughtful specification do add up to a great package.

umi zero review

Umi obviously didn’t want to cut corners where it would matter so the screen is a 5-inch 1920 x 1080 Super AMOLED panel which looks stunning. The body is alloy and feels great with a flush fitting SIM tray. The only area where money has been saved on the body is the rear panel which feels like a clear polycarbonate rather than glass.

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umi zero review

A 2780mAh battery is quite impressive for a phone measuring only 6.4mm thick, but to get the body so thin it is a non removable cell. This means getting to the SIM is via a tray using the included tool. Cleverly the SIM tray is designed to either use dual micro SIM or a single SIM plus micro SD card.

umi zero review

The rest of the specs are equally impressive with a 2.0Ghz octacore MT6592 chipset, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal memory, 8 mega-pixel front camera, 13 mega-pixel Sony F1.8 rear camera and stock Android 4.4.2 Kitkat. You will also be happy to know that all Google services are installed and ready to use out of the box.

UMi Zero unboxing video

UMi Zero hands on photos

UMi Zero early conclusion

We’ll have to wait for my full review to know if there are any hidden Gremlins, but so far my initial impressions are very good. This is not a UMi phone like you have seen before, but a well made and well thought out device with a nice splash of luxury.

It isn’t as affordable as some phones and it lacks LTE, but the UMi Zero more than makes up for that in hardware, features, and quality.

The UMi Zero is on sale through various online resellers not for around $299. Thanks to UMi for sending us our review phone so quickly.

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40 Comments

  1. Dan Valentin
    November 5, 2014

    reminds me of xiaomi

    • November 5, 2014

      Looks nothing like a Xiaomi

      • Bruno
        November 5, 2014

        andy how most does xiaomi mi4 64gb cost on sinlge days? i have a friend on china and i would like to know. cheers

        • Zoealandy
          November 5, 2014

          RMB 1799 Available at tmall on single days

          • Bruno
            November 7, 2014

            this price is for the 64gb version right?

            • Zoealandy
              November 9, 2014

              of course not, only 16GB version

      • Dan Valentin
        November 5, 2014

        the logo does. Like all these chinese over chinese clones. Oppo > Zopo etc.

      • ramdroid
        November 6, 2014

        Andi, xshot or meizu mx4 ?

        • November 6, 2014

          Both are great phones, depends on how you hope to use it.

          • ramdroid
            November 6, 2014

            i love the thin bezels on my G3, thats why i prefer MX4 plus its cheaper and i like the design more. but speed camera battery ? i dont know

    • balcobomber25
      November 6, 2014

      How does it remind you of Xiaomi??

      • Dan Valentin
        November 6, 2014

        just the logo

        • balcobomber25
          November 6, 2014

          Yea I can see that in the logo it does look a lot like the “Mi” from Xiaomi.

  2. Konstantinos Natsios
    November 5, 2014

    is lte that expensive to put on a device? i wonder… i find the device quite ugly, but thats just me..

    • Zoealandy
      November 5, 2014

      Actually less people need 4G LTE unless you prefer watching videos outside, if not, no need to spend much more on LTE phone with same specs like this. And this design is quite fresh and impressive, However, better they use Snapdragon instead of mediatek.

      • balcobomber25
        November 14, 2014

        The MT6592 is a very good processor. It is one of the chips that established Mediatek as an actual challenger to Snapdragon. It also is cheaper for these companies to use which means they didn’t have skimp on any other features to keep the phone at less than $300.

    • desponent
      November 6, 2014

      It’s not just you. It’s ugly alright.

    • balcobomber25
      November 14, 2014

      Most of these phones aren’t made to be sold in the US or Europe they are meant for the Asian markets. In many of those markets LTE is either non existent or too expensive.

      Even so there have been studies done that show LTE isn’t quite what it is marketed as. In some cities the LTE was either slower, comparable or only marginally (meaning less than 1mb) better than the 3.5G speeds.

  3. Rob
    November 5, 2014

    I have to say I’m not a fan of Amoled screens, had one on my galaxy note and a couple of my friends have them on their handsets too. It always looks to dark and lackluster, I do like the extra ‘pop’ and brightness you get with a good quality LCD.

  4. Fred
    November 5, 2014

    You finally nominate the most ugly back cover phone for 2014, and 2015 maybe I think. :p

  5. Jānis Elleris
    November 5, 2014

    – does it have knock code?
    – led notifications?

    • Zoealandy
      November 5, 2014

      Yes, According to official news, it support know code, just like LG G3, definitely with LED

      • Francisco
        December 30, 2014

        I don’t have LED notifications

  6. Ant
    November 5, 2014

    It’s too plain looking for my tastes. Maybe coloured versions will look better and show off the ‘quality’ build a bit more.

  7. kutrgmap
    November 5, 2014

    I guess Young version Xiaomi Mi4 will get more attention than this phone. $299, UMI need more appealing price model than that since Xiaomi cut the price to around $280 and they have enough horse-power in the OEM plants now. I instantly love the look of Zero but I may spend my money next time 🙂

  8. Aeonia
    November 5, 2014

    how does its build quality compare to the Jiayu g4s(octacore)?

  9. November 6, 2014

    אני לא אוהב את המוצרים של UMI הקודמים שלהם היו כושלים.

  10. Arifullah
    November 6, 2014

    Hi Andi,

    led notifications?

  11. balcobomber25
    November 6, 2014

    I’ve had multiple LTE phones over the last few years and personally it’s a gimmick to me. I can get speeds upwards of 10mb on 3G which is more than enough to do what I need to do on my phone. This phone just looks too much like a knock off Gionee to me and that back cover looks more like a ninja’s weapon than a case.

    • eliHd
      November 9, 2014

      Hahaha “ninja’s season’s” so true lol

  12. eliHd
    November 9, 2014

    I can’t wait for the review @Andy

  13. royalclass
    November 9, 2014

    china price rmb ??? mi4 ???? umi zero ??? mc4 ???

  14. st8ic
    November 10, 2014

    What’s the verdict? Does it worth a 300$ price tag?

  15. lyscanthrope
    November 14, 2014

    Interresting hands on 🙂 Do you have any feedback on the GPS of the device ?

  16. Skippy
    November 20, 2014

    best endurance test from 5:32″ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNZ3gUxl73s

  17. Nathan Brown
    November 24, 2014

    How good is the battery?

  18. Michael Cuito
    January 5, 2015

    Hi UMI, i really like you UMI ZERO and I want to buy one. But the problem is there’s no one here in the Philippines that sells that kind of phone. What should I do? please help me purchase that phone please!

  19. Ivan Se Hoo
    April 13, 2015

    My UMI ZERO DIED.. I’m really not sure why but the body of this phone is too fragile to run any diagnostics.. and UMI tech support does not seem to have a solution for my device.. I’m currently very upset with UMI but I hope they can give me an exchange for my device..

    HELP¬!!

  20. Charlles Costa
    April 15, 2015

    Hi there, I’m really wanting to buy this phone but I heard a lot of bad things about it. Do someone really knows how is the phone build quality, sound with headphones and gps? I know there are a few and probably better China phones up there, but this one is the most interesting of them.