“Two are better than one” – this is the new motto in the smartphone sector. Dual-cameras promise better pictures and effects like those of expensive reflex cameras. Besides the big manufacturers, merely Chinese manufacturers design new devices with a dual-camera. Ulefone now launches a beginner version with the Ulefone Gemini. However, how good are dual-cameras for less than 130$ really?
Nowadays, it is not enough for a smartphone to have only many megapixels or a good selfies camera. This is why many manufacturers invent new tricks to satisfy demanding customers. Dual-cameras are relatively new: they pretend to be an expensive reflex camera with zoom lens.
How it works? On the smartphone’s rear there is not only one lens, but two, which both have a different focal length. When taking a photo, two pictures merge. This improves the image quality and the Bokeh-effect occurs (lower depth of field, i.e. displaying objects in front of a blurred background). Usually, you can only have this effect with a widely opened camera aperture.
So far so good, but does it work in practice? Not really. You cannot expect “artistic pictures” from the 13MP camera, as Ulefone advertises. Instead of stylish fuzziness you get faded pictures, which look like the lens is steamed up. The forced fuzziness is sometimes transferred to the focused object and screws up the whole picture. The image quality is not good even without the so-called “SLR” effect. As soon as the lighting conditions get worse, image noise occurs.
It is not possible to change the point of focus later, as the Huawei P9 for example can do. Strictly speaking, the Gemini has three cameras: there is also a 5MP front camera for selfies with nice quality.
Ulefone Gemini scope of delivery
The scope of delivery is quite extensive: besides the smartphone, there are a USB-charger cable, a power plug, headphones, and even a silicone protective cover as well as a tempered glass screen protector.
Setting up the phone is done quickly: you have to turn it on, sign in, select your language, and then you can start. Those having had an Android phone, and therefore a Google account previously can install all apps immediately. The internal storage of 32GB is sufficient, but those who like to expand it can do so with a micro-SD card (up to 256GB).
The menu-driven operation as well as operating apps are annoying. The Gemini has no additional buttons at the front side, but a centre-button instead. Those who are not used to it will despair soon. The on-screen buttons always cover a part of the display and are not there when you would desperately need them.
I couldn’t find the integrated feature “screen mirroring”, however, the Gemini has a “turbo-download” function. This makes it possible to download a large data volume faster thanks to a common connection of Wi-Fi and 4G. Our test device ran with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, whose interface was only slightly adjusted in terms of design. Ulefone promises an update to 7.0 soon.
Three cameras, but just four cores (Mediatek MTK6737T). Ulefone saved some costs, but you do notice that in daily use. Apps run fluently, websites are opening fast and the system is stable. Thanks to 3GB of RAM, multitasking is also not a problem for the Gemini.
However, it was not designed to be a gamers’ phone, but considering the price of 130$, it doesn’t have to be. The Ulefone Gemini’s heat development is good, during normal use it doesn’t get warmer than 30°C.
The Ulefone Gemini supports the following frequencies:
GSM 850 MHz, GSM 900 MHz, GSM 1800 MHz, GSM 1900 MHz, W-CDMA 900 MHz, W-CDMA 2100 MHz, LTE 800 MHz, LTE 1700/2100 MHz, LTE 1800 MHz, LTE 2100 MHz, LTE 2600 MHz
The smartphone has a good reception. Talking on the phone, you can understand your partner well, but sometimes too quietly, depending on the receiver’s position. You can use two SIM cards, but then you have to go without storage expansion.
The speaker at the smartphone’s bottom is quite weak. The output is quiet, and the sound is tinny. However, if you connect headphones, the sound is quite good.
In order to manage everyday life, the Gemini uses gyro, gravity and touch sensors. Navigating via GPS works precisely and reliably. Listening to music via Bluetooth on a car radio worked perfectly in the test.
Design and build quality
The Ulefone Gemini feels nice while holding it because of its weight of 185g and its dimensions of 154.5×76.8×9.1mm. It is significantly slimmer and more filigree than the Ulefone Power for example. The metal body leaves a high quality impression, but watch out: it is really slippery because of the smooth surface! The provided silicone protective cover helps you to prevent the smartphone from falling.
Concerning the exterior, Ulefone follows the trend. The Gemini is available in black, grey and gold. Power button and volume control are located on the left. On the right side, you can find a camera button, which starts the photo-app and functions as trigger as well. There is no LED on the front, neither are there additional function keys, which makes operating the phone more difficult (see section “Android”).
Luckily, Ulefone decided to kick the fingerprint scanner on the rear side which was almost not usable without fingers made of rubber. The new standard fingerprint scanner does what it’s supposed to do: unlocking the phone reliably and fast. In the test, 9/10 attempts were successful.
A 5.5-inch and full-HD display sounds quite nice – and it lives up to the expectations. The Ulefone Gemini provides 1920×1080 pixels, which means a pixel density of 401ppi. The image is clear and sharp, colours are intensive and the viewing angles are great. MiraVision, which the Ulefone Power lacked, is now available in the Ulefone Gemini. The tool makes it possible to adjust contrast, sharpness, saturation, brightness as well as colour temperature.
The rounded off Gorilla Glass 3 protects the smartphone from the worst. The display can register up to 5 points of contact simultaneously.
The Ulefone Gemini has a 3250mAh battery. The capacity is enough to get through the day with an average use of 3 hours. Power users will not be satisfied. Shortly after watching a YouTube video, talking on the phone or gaming for some time the Ulefone Gemini has to be charged. The Gemini reached 5 hours of performance in the PC Mark battery test. You can’t remove the rear cover, therefore, the battery is not replaceable.
The Quick-charge function, with which Ulefone advertised on their website, did not work.
* Incl. VAT and, if applicable, delivery costs – subject to interim changes.