Conclusion and alternatives

70% Okay

The Umi C Note is a useful smartphone for beginners, but you have to make cuts. The nice build quality and the good design are the advantages of the smartphone. System performance with Android 7 and battery life are good as well. Disadvantages are the display, which is not illuminated equally, the below-average voice quality and the two software bugs (battery indicator & entering of the SIM PIN code).

All in all, we can recommend the Umidigi C Note with some restrictions. Before buying, you should know the device’s weak spots and reflect if you’re okay with them. Users looking for a smartphone with more power could choose the Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X (slightly more expensive) as an alternative.

  • design and build quality 80 %
  • display 70 %
  • operating system and performance 60 %
  • connectivity and communication 70 %
  • camera 70 %
  • battery 70 %

Price Comparison

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Best Just $140 *
 $171 *

The Umidigi C Note is the latest smartphone by well-known manufacturer Umi, which we got for testing. Umi tempts buyers with solid basic equipment at a reasonable price. For about 120$ you get a phone with metal casing, big 5.5-inch full-HD display, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, a 13MP camera by Samsung and an unchanged Android 7 system. The MT6737 quad-core processor is anything but a performance monster, but it should provide enough power for using basic functions. In addition, the device houses a strong 3800mAh battery. Will the Umidigi C Note be a success for the Chinese manufacturer? You’re about to find it out in the following review!

Design and build quality

The Umidigi C Note’s appearance does not suggest such a reasonable price. The smartphone has a metal casing and is available in grey and gold. The devices’ edges are rounded off and grinded down at the sides, which creates a pleasant feeling while holding the phone in the hand. Below the display, you find an oval home button, which also works as fingerprint scanner. It is a soft touch button, which cannot be operated mechanically. The fingerprint scanner convinces with a very high success rate (9/10 attempts) and it unlocks the phone in about one second. Next to the home button, you find two soft touch buttons, which are however not marked by a symbol. As an alternative, you have the possibility to deactivate the soft touch button in the software and to use the home button in a multifunctional way. This works well, although I prefer to have three buttons.

The speaker is located at the bottom at the right and left hand side of the micro-USB port. Beneath one of the holes the microphone is located, and beneath the other one, you can find the loudspeaker. The Umi C Note’s dimensions are 154.7×76.6×8.6mm. Considering the big 3800mAh battery, the smartphone is compact and does not appear bulky with a weight of 170g. Build quality is great as well. There are no gaps, the phone seems to be stable and nothing is creaking either. On the rear, there are two antenna lines at the top and button, which enclose the dual rear camera. Power button and volume control are located on the right. At the left hand side, you find the SIM tray, in which you can insert either two Nano-SIM cards or one Nano-SIM and one micro-SD card (up to 128GB). Dual-SIM mode and storage expansion at the same time is not possible. The battery is not replaceable. The display is framed with a thin plastic frame and therefore juts out a bit off the casing.

A notification LED, which shines in red and green, is located at the top of the display. The 5.5-inch display has a 14cm diagonal and 2.5mm bezel. In terms of design, the Umi C Note fully convinces. The smartphone is compact and light despite the quite big battery and the build quality is on a surprisingly high level.

 

Umi C Note scope of delivery

In the scope of delivery included are:

  • Power plug
  • USB charging cable
  • Silicone protective cover
  • Quick reference guide
  • SIM ejection tool

 

Display

Umi surprises with a 5.5-inch full-HD panel by renowned manufacturer Sharp. With a resolution of 1920x1080pixel, the phone provides a significantly higher pixel density than conventional HD-panels, which you would expect in this price section. Despite its low price, the Umidigi C Note is recommendable for multimedia lovers. With a pixel density of 400ppi you get a sharp picture. The display glass is slightly rounded off in order to create a high-quality impression while holding in the hand. the display’s brightness is on average with 450cd/m². Using the phone outside it not a problem, as long as the sun isn’t shining directly on the display. Colour representation is natural and strong ex works. In addition, you have the possibility to customize colour temperature in the display settings. However, an ingenious tool such as MiraVision is missing. Instead, the phone offers a handy double-tap-to-wake function, with which you can wake up the phone from stand-by by tapping on it twice.

However, the Umi c Note’s display is not fully perfect. There is one qualitative niggle: the display is illuminated unequally, as it is brighter at the lower edge than at the rest of the display, but this is not annoying in daily use.

The Umidigi C Note’s touch screen can register up to 5 points of contact at the same time and it works reliably and fast. In order to protect it from scratches, rounded off Dragontrail Glass was used. Although Umi does not use the glass of market leader “Corning Gorilla”, the display survived the scratch test with a screwdriver without any problems.

The Umidigi C Note houses a nice full-HD display with strong colours and good brightness.

Performance

In terms of performance, the Umidigi C Note will probably not reach a peak value with the Mediatek MT6737 processor. A Mediatek Helio P10 processor would have been a better choice. The Umi C Note’s MT6737 processor offers 4 Cortex A53 cores with 1.5GHz and it is supported by 3GB of RAM and a Mali T720 GPU. With this equipment, the Umidigi C Note is designed for using the basic functions. In use, the smartphone could convince with nice system speed while surfing and using Facebook or multimedia. Of course, you have to accept some load time, but this has to be expected when using a 130$ phone. Thanks to good system optimization, it is also possible to play 3D games occasionally. Asphalt 8 runs quite fluently with low graphics settings and also Dead Trigger and Overkill 3 can be played well. Gamers, however, should rather choose a considerably faster smartphone like the Redmi Note 4 for example.

3GB of RAM secure that the smartphone can run a few apps at the same time without closing other apps in the background. The RAM’s speed of 3.4GB/s is just on average, as is the reading/writing speed of 95/77MB/s. The size of internal storage is quite big (32GB; 25GB minus the system); if necessary, you can expand the storage via a micro-SD card.

Those expecting a performance monster will not be happy with the Umidigi C Note. Those looking for a smartphone, with which you can use basic functions with good speed, will get what they were searching for.

UMIdigi C Note with Android 7

Fortunately, the Umidigi C Note provides the latest Android version ex works. Users do not have to worry about an Android 7 update. It is not common for devices especially in the lower price sections to have Android 7, which lets Umi fulfil a leading position. Further, it is nice that the manufacturer leaves the system almost unchanged. Users benefit from an Android system without bloatware or useless apps. Thanks to good system optimization, the system works fast and reliably. Updates are installed via OTA. The Google Playstore is preinstalled.

Camera

The Umidigi C Note houses a 13MP camera by Samsung, which is equipped with a S5K3L8 sensor. There are no details about aperture. The camera additionally has a PDAF autofocus. In practice, the focus worked fast and reliably in good lighting conditions. Image quality is on average for a beginner smartphone. As soon as there is enough light available, pictures are sharp and look nice on a computer screen as well. The camera tends to depict objects too bright, which lets colours appear a bit cold. In addition, the image gets blurred towards the edges, which slightly lowers the overall positive impression. In bad lighting conditions, the camera – as it is the case with most cheap smartphones – is quite useless. Image noise occurs and the pictures are not sharp. The 5MP front camera is a disappointment. It is sufficient for video telephony, but it lacks sharpness when taking selfies.

Considering that the Umi C Note is a smartphone of a lower price range, it does quite a good job, although it cannot keep up with a Xiaomi Redmi 4 or Redmi Note 4.

Connectivity

The Umi C Note is a dual-SIM smartphone with two Nano-SIM slots. One of the slots can also be used for storage expansion. The following frequencies are supported:

GSM 850 MHz, GSM 900 MHz, GSM 1800 MHz, GSM 1900 MHz, W-CDMA 900 MHz, W-CDMA 2100 MHz, LTE 800 MHz, LTE 1800 MHz, LTE 2100 MHz, LTE 2600 MHz

The reception is on average and you never have problems connecting to LTE networks. However, we noticed a strange bug: if you put a SIM card with PIN code in the C Note, you can enter the PIN, but you cannot confirm it, as it seems that there is no button available. We couldn’t help but remove the PIN code via another smartphone before putting the SIM in the Umi phone. Then the SIM worked perfectly. During telephoning, the Umi C Note does not a good job. The caller is understood well, but your own voice sounds tinny. When talking hands-free, the voice sounds better.

There is a Wi-Fi module with a/b/g/n standard available, as well as Bluetooth 4.1. The reception is on average and you still have Wi-Fi a few rooms away from the router. Of course, the phone houses GPS as well as a gyroscope and a compass (besides the standard sensors). GPS accuracy has been a problem for Umi smartphones so far. The good news is: the Note C does a better job here. The position is determined up to 4-5 meters precise and pedestrian navigation works well with the compass. There are smartphones with a stronger GPS signal, but the Note C is suitable for occasional navigation.

The speakers at the bottom are useful. The volume is not that high, but instead you get a quite differentiated sound for a low-budget device. Of course, there is a 3.5mm audio jack as well. Connecting middle class headphones, you get a nice sound.

Battery

The Umidigi C Note provides a big 3800mAh battery. Since the processor works very energy-efficiently, the phone has a good run time. If you use the phone actively for 2-3 hours, the phone can run for approximately two days. This should be enough for most users. Again, there is an annoying bug, which will hopefully be fixed soon by a software update: as soon as the battery has less than 20%, the remaining capacity is gone in no time and the device is turned off. This bug makes it difficult for us to analyse the battery capacity in detail, as the battery status displayed in the system is not reliable. During the test, we had the subjective feeling that the phone has a good battery life, but we hope Umi will fix the bug quickly. Then, we can provide you with more detailed data. In the PC Mark battery test, the Umi C Note reached 6.5 hours (the value is okay, but not good).

* Incl. VAT and, if applicable, delivery costs – subject to interim changes.

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