Overview of UMI Iron
The most anticipated new product of this summer with a metal case and unique features
- Interface and software platform
- Benchmark performance testing
- Testing built-in sensors and GPS
- Camera testing
- Battery test
- Video review
We wanted to get the UMI Iron smartphone for testing since the first teasers appeared, telling about the design of this device and the unique functions that it will receive. It is worth paying tribute to the magnificent advertising campaign, which has become the most grandiose and memorable in the history of UMI. But the merit of the smartphone itself is also great, which received an interesting appearance, a fairly thin body with a metal back panel, solid hardware stuffing and a lot of interesting functions, becoming the most promising and intriguing device in its price segment.
We were expecting to receive our copy of the UMI Iron smartphone for testing a little earlier, but the manufacturer announced a delay in deliveries of the first batches of this device due to the need for emergency software development. The manufacturer kept his promise, not delaying the start of deliveries for a day, although he did not stop working on software updates for the UMI Iron smartphone for a minute. As a result, only in the latest firmware version, released the day before our testing, the manufacturer activated in UMI Iron all those functions that he emphasized so much during the advertising campaign.
First of all, in this smartphone, we were interested to find out how the eye recognition function, the so-called Eyeprint ID, works, as well as the heart rate monitor, which we see for the first time in a smartphone. It was also interesting to evaluate how true the manufacturer's statement about the presence of Hi-Fi level sound in UMI Iron would be. We could not ignore the cameras, because for them the manufacturer did not stint on installing high-quality sensors from Sony and OmniVision.
In general, on paper, the UMI Iron smartphone looked incredibly attractive, but how it performed in reality, you will find out by reading this review.
We will not torment you with long preludes and go straight to testing. And we will start, as usual, with our first impression of getting to know the smartphone - with a description of the packaging, delivery set and appearance of UMI Iron.
The UMI Iron smartphone comes in a square cardboard box, similar in shape and size to the box of the UMI eMAX smartphone we tested earlier.
The packaging of the UMI Iron smartphone consists of two parts. The outer part is made in the form of a cover that slides to the side and is made of silver cardboard with a texture imitating metal. On it you will find the manufacturer's logo on the front with the inscription "Rootjoy", and the specification of the smartphone on the back.
The inside of the package is a black box with the same logo on the lid. The lid of this box opens like a book cover, only in the opposite direction - from left to right, and under it you will find 1 tray with 4 compartments. In the largest compartment on the right is the smartphone itself, and in the other three on the left are accessories for it.
So, the delivery set of UMI Iron turned out to be as follows:
- Smartphone UMI Iron.
- Charger with a socket for our sockets and a current of 1.0A.
- Proprietary USB cable.
- Proprietary OTG cable.
- A paperclip to remove the SIM tray.
- Brief instructions for the phone
Both cables and charger are white and are of very good workmanship.
The package bundle of the UMI Iron smartphone cannot be called rich, but given the cost of the smartphone, there is nothing to complain about.
The front panel of the UMI Iron smartphone is covered with glass, but the manufacturer does not say how exactly. It is possible that Dragontrail glass is used here, but we cannot confirm this assumption.
At the bottom of the front panel of the UMI Iron smartphone, the manufacturer has placed an event indicator, which has an elongated shape. During operation, it pulsates, turning from a point in the middle into a luminous strip and back.
It looks great, and it is simply impossible not to notice it. It glows red when the smartphone is charging, blue for a missed call and green for unread notifications. These colors for the specified events are set by default, but you can change them in the settings to your liking by selecting 1 of 7 possible options.
You will not find traditional touch buttons at the bottom of the front panel in this device, since they are on-screen in UMI Iron.
In the upper part of the front panel there is a heart rate monitor, light and proximity sensors, a front camera peephole, a speaker slot and an LED flash window for the front camera.
Most of the back panel of the UMI Iron case is made of metal. It also forms the frame of the device. On the top and bottom you will find end inserts made of plastic, which, although painted in the same color and have the same texture as the metal part of the case, still stand out noticeably. These inserts are fitted to the metal part of the case quite tightly, but the joint between them is still striking. You could see a similar design from the latest innovations in Oukitel U10 and Honor 7 smartphones, while Meizu chose to make the entire metal back panel in its MX5, which provided a solid metal frame for this device. And for the normal operation of the built-in antennas, windows were milled in this panel, which were then filled with plastic. Although it would be foolish to expect a similar design from a smartphone that is almost 2 times cheaper than the Meizu MX5 .
On the left side edge of the UMI Iron smartphone case, on its metal part, the manufacturer has placed the power and volume buttons.
Whereas on the right side you will find only a tray for two Nano-SIM cards, one of which also allows you to install a Micro-SD card up to 64 GB instead of a SIM card.
At the bottom of the smartphone, on the plastic insert of the case, you will find a Micro-USB 2.0 connector and a microphone hole. On the same plastic insert on the back of the case, you will find an external speaker slot.
On the top end of another plastic insert, you will find only a standard 3.5 mm audio jack for headphones or a headset. On the same upper plastic insert from the rear surface, there is a rear camera eye covered with a protective metal ring, a dual LED flash module with two glow colors, cold and warm, as well as a second microphone hole for noise reduction. The metal ring of the chamber protrudes above the body surface. A rather strange design decision, which resembles an eye that has almost fallen out of its orbit.
Also on the back panel of the UMI Iron case are the manufacturer's logo in the upper part of the metal panel and the name of the smartphone model with the company and country of manufacture in its lower part.
The back panel of the UMI Iron smartphone case is non-removable, and in order to get to the battery in the service center, they will have to unscrew 6 special screws, 3 from each side end of the case, with which this cover is attached. But we do not recommend you to do it yourself.
The design of the UMI Iron case turned out to be interesting and not boring. And its assembly, despite the presence of plastic inserts, does not cause any complaints - the body of the device or its individual elements do not emit backlashes, squeaks or crackles.
In the hand, the UMI Iron case sits perfectly. The dimensions of this smartphone turned out to be average, since it turned out to be slightly shorter than Elephone P7000 , but slightly longer than Meizu M2 Note . Although in terms of case thickness, UMI Iron will outperform each of them. The same goes for its weight - it is 1 gram lighter than the plastic M2 Note and as much as 32 grams lighter than the P7000.
For lovers of exact figures, the dimensions and weight of the UMI Iron case are as follows: 76.5x152.3x7.9 mm, 148 grams.
Let's move on to the technical part of the device, starting, as usual, with the display.
The diagonal of the UMI Iron display is 5.5 inches, and its resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD, 401 ppi). The display of this smartphone uses an LTPS matrix, and the entire screen panel is made using OGS technology, which implies the absence of air gaps between the display, the touch layer and the protective glass. In the test of the MultiTouch Tester program, the display of the UMI Iron smartphone showed support for up to 5 simultaneous touches.
There is reason to believe that the display in the UMI Iron smartphone is exactly the same as in the eMAX model. The displays of both models practically do not differ externally. Both of them have a good supply of brightness, excellent color reproduction and high definition images. Also worth noting is the high level of contrast thanks to decent black levels.
The display in the UMI Iron smartphone is really very good, although if you find fault, you can notice a slight backlight at some viewing angles. We also don't like the black border around the display. Although here it is uniform from all sides, unlike the recently tested Elephone P8000 and some other smartphones. But we will not focus on this, because this edging is not very striking, or we are just used to it.
And at the end of this chapter, we note that the display of the UMI Iron smartphone has a very good touch sensitivity.
Interface and software platform
UMI Iron smartphone runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system. The shell interface in this device is almost standard, with the exception of changes in the design of some shortcuts.
Flipping between desktops occurs smoothly and without jerks, while the interface itself works quite quickly. And the interface of the standard version of Android 5.1 Lollipop has already been described in detail by us many times, but we will tell you a little about its work in the UMI Iron smartphone, as well as those small changes that the manufacturer made and that we managed to notice.
Swiping down from the status bar will open the notification panel, and with a second swipe you can open the panel for quickly activating the main functions of the smartphone. In this panel, you can adjust the brightness of the display, activate Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection, enable airplane mode or turn off the screen auto-rotate function, use the flashlight function, select a sound profile or power saving mode, and close all active applications.
At the bottom of the display are 3 soft keys. Pressing the buttons on the left will open the recent app tabs, pressing the center button will take you back to the desktop, and pressing the right button will take you to the previous menu (Back button function). A long press of the central button will bring up the Google now application, and a long press on an empty spot on the desktop will bring up its settings menu (setting wallpapers and widgets).
Let's move on to the smartphone settings. In the “About phone” item in the “System software update” tab, you can find out the firmware version of your smartphone. In our sample, we installed the latest firmware version 1.4 at the time of testing, which activated all the functions available in the device that make it so interesting. However, we were not able to install this version of the firmware "over the air", and we had to download it from the manufacturer's official forum. We wrote this firmware to the root of an external memory card, from which we installed it.
After installing the update, we were able to test the unlock function using eye scanning, the so-called Eyeprint ID from EyeVerify, which the manufacturer also calls Hypertech .
You can configure this feature by going to the "Security" tab of the settings menu and selecting "Eyeprint ID". To begin with, you will need to register your individual eye pattern into the device’s memory. This must be done in good light, and you will have to bring the smartphone to your eyes at a distance no further than 10-15 cm.
Reading and saving data to the device memory does not take long. After that, you can unlock your smartphone using this technology. However, for successful unlocking, one should not forget that the distance from the eyes to the front camera should not be too large (at a distance of about 30 cm, this function does not work). Also, do not forget about lighting conditions. In theory, the front camera flash should illuminate your face and ensure that this function works well at night, but in practice this does not work.
So, in our opinion, so far this feature is much less useful than a fingerprint scanner. Firstly, unlocking using Eyeprint ID without first waking the smartphone from sleep mode is not possible. You can do this by using the wake-up function with a double tap, or by pressing the power button. Secondly, scanning and unlocking with this feature takes significantly longer. And thirdly, imagine how the people around you will react to the fact that you are staring at the display of your smartphone from a distance of 10-15 cm, and you will understand that it will look pretty funny. In general, the usefulness of the Eyeprint ID feature is minimal, and its presence can be regarded as another marketing ploy to attract attention.
It will be much more interesting to use the voice unlock function of the smartphone, which is also available in the “security” tab. You also need to wake up the device, then swipe up from the company logo icon and say the previously set command. Depending on your settings, you'll be able to unlock your device with your voice, call the dialer, or use the Camera app. Although in reality, we recommend using the usual unlock methods for many using a pin code or pattern.
Also in the settings menu you will find the “Users” tab, which will allow you to create several profiles for using the device with different levels of access to its functions and applications. We have not seen this menu in competitors' smartphones, and it will be relevant for those who have several people in the family who can use one device at once.
As for transferring data from your device to another, UMI Iron only has Bluetooth for this. In earlier versions of the firmware, you could see the icon for the HotKnot function, although it did not actually work. But in the latest firmware versions, the manufacturer removed this icon.
The manufacturer also focused our attention on the presence of the U Health function, which is placed in a separate application on the desktop. With it, you can measure your heart rate and check your stress levels. To measure your heart rate and stress level using this application, you need to put your finger on the sensor window, which is located to the left of the conversational speaker, after selecting the appropriate function in the specified application.
In addition, it is also worth noting the presence of a proprietary equalizer for detailed sound settings when listening to songs in headphones, from an external speaker or on another device via a Bluetooth connection. This feature is also implemented in a special application, which in the latest firmware has been called Viper FX. With it, you can choose from several preset sound profiles or completely customize the sound to your preferences (treble and bass, as well as a host of other settings).
And finally, let's not forget to mention the presence of the MiraVision function in the display settings, with which you can customize the picture for yourself. In the display settings, there is also a tab for setting the event indicator.
After reviewing the most interesting features of the UMI Iron smartphone, we have the most favorable impressions about the operation of the software in this device, even despite the dubious usefulness of some of the functions that the manufacturer focused on during the advertising campaign.
Now it's time to move on to testing the smartphone in various benchmarks.
Benchmark performance testing
As we said earlier, the UMI Iron smartphone runs on the Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system. The display diagonal of the UMI Iron smartphone is 5.5 inches, and its resolution is Full HD.
The device is powered by an 8-core 64-bit MT6753 processor with a clock speed of 1.3 GHz for each core. The 3-core video accelerator Mali-T720 MP3 is responsible for processing graphics in this chipset.
The amount of RAM in the UMI Iron smartphone is 3 GB, and the internal memory is 16 GB, of which a little more than 11.5 GB is available to the user.
In the test of the AnTuTu v5.7.1 program, the UMI Iron smartphone scored 31723 points, which is quite expected and fully corresponds to the capabilities of this processor. Approximately the same result was shown by the Meizu M2 Note smartphone, and in a recent test, the Elephone P8000 smartphone with the same hardware showed 2 thousand points less. So, we can conclude that the optimization of the firmware for the UMI Iron stuffing by the company's engineers was excellent.
We were also not surprised by the results of 3D graphics testing in Epic Cytadel and 3DMark. In the last smartphone UMI Iron showed 4423 points, which is quite in line with our expectations.
In light of the results shown by the UMI Iron smartphone, when testing this device in the game Asphalt-8, we were more interested in the level of heating of the case, which will take place after 10 minutes of the game. After all, we already knew that at medium graphics settings, the UMI Iron smartphone coped with the game perfectly, and at the maximum, the expected lags and slowdowns appeared, which we also encountered in other devices with similar hardware.
With the help of a pyrometer, which appeared in our studio not so long ago, but has already managed to prove itself from the best side, we found out that after 10 minutes of playing the UMI Iron case heated up to a temperature of 43°C. This is somewhat lower than we have seen in smartphones from other manufacturers with the same hardware. Therefore, we can once again commend the UMI engineers for a job well done. Although we will remind you once again that smartphones with an MT6753 processor as gaming devices are far from the best choice.
Next, we will get acquainted with the built-in sensors that are on board the UMI Iron smartphone, and also check the operation of GPS navigation in it.
Testing built-in sensors and GPS
The Sensor List program showed the presence of a fairly large number of different sensors on board the UMI Iron smartphone, but only the accelerometer, light sensor and proximity sensor turned out to be working. The same picture was shown by other test applications. Perhaps with the release of subsequent applications, some of these non-working built-in sensors will come to life. Although the fact that some of them are actually not on board the smartphone is not ruled out. Well, the manufacturer can safely put a fat minus in this, since a smartphone of this price segment should have orientation and gravity sensors, as well as a gyroscope, especially given the reputation created by the manufacturer for this device.
As for the operation of GPS navigation in the UMI Iron smartphone, after a cold start and without connecting to Wi-Fi, this device connected to the satellites almost instantly. The positioning accuracy was about 5-6 m, which is a good result. However, the UMI Iron smartphone did not find the GLONASS satellites, and for the same reason, it is impossible to connect to them. Also, do not forget that the digital compass does not currently work in this device, so you will have to navigate in the direction when working with navigation. But in general, using a UMI Iron smartphone as a GPS navigator is quite possible.
Let's move on to testing the built-in cameras
The manufacturer claims that the UMI Iron smartphone has a rear camera with an IMX214 Exmor RS sensor from Sony and a resolution of 13 megapixels. This sensor is well known to us from smartphones, both medium and more expensive price segments from various manufacturers, but not all of them managed to realize its potential. It is all the more interesting to check how UMI succeeded in the UMI Iron smartphone.
In the design of the rear camera, the manufacturer used 6 lenses and a blue glass filter for more natural color reproduction, and the aperture value was F / 2.0, which gives hope for taking good pictures in low light. The presence of a powerful dual LED flash with two different colors of light - warm and cold - should also help in this.
As for the front camera, the manufacturer used an OV8858 PureCel sensor from OmniVision with a resolution of 8 megapixels. The aperture value of this camera is F/2.2. The manufacturer also installed a separate LED flash for the front camera.
We also noticed some minor changes in the interface of the Camera app. In the settings, you can choose panorama mode, HDR mode, Live Photo mode, burst and slow motion modes, and other standard modes that you have already seen more than once in smartphones on Android 5.1 Lollipop. Also in the settings there is a function of applying various effects, such as monochrome, sepia, negative, posterization and others.
Also in the camera settings, you will find the function of releasing the shutter using a voice command, taking pictures after detecting a smile or using a gesture, automatic scene detection mode, delayed shooting mode (timer), and so on.
In addition, in the camera settings you can activate the electronic stabilization function, as well as independently adjust the ISO sensitivity (ISO), exposure and white balance.
It is not possible to assign the shutter release function to the volume button in our firmware version of the UMI Iron smartphone.
You can choose up to 20 megapixels for the maximum resolution of images for the rear camera, although such images will be obtained using interpolation. The maximum video recording resolution is 1080p at 30 fps. The sound when shooting a video is recorded in stereo mode.
As for the interface of the front camera, there is also a function "snap shot", a self-timer function and the ability to manually adjust the ISO. There is also the possibility of applying various effects (photo filters) and a function to improve the image (changing skin tone and removing wrinkles). The maximum size of pictures taken from the front camera is 8 megapixels. The same camera can record video in Full HD resolution at 30 fps.
Sample shots from the main camera showed that in daylight the photos are very good. The pictures are highly detailed and clear, as well as the correct color reproduction. The sharpness of the details that are in focus does not cause complaints. We had some issues with auto focus in auto mode and auto white balance as sometimes the camera gets it wrong, especially when shooting close up (macro). But those who know how to use manual settings will not encounter these problems.
Pictures in low light conditions are also very decent, although night shooting is not the advantage of the camera in the UMI Iron smartphone. The power of the built-in flash is more than enough, although the white balance goes to a colder hue.
The same goes for shooting video. It will be able to capture any memorable moment from your life, but you will not be able to shoot a beautiful and clear video using the camera of this smartphone.
As for the front camera, it shoots in the same way as a regular 5 megapixel camera in an inexpensive device. To be honest, we expected more from this OmniVision sensor, although the smartphone manufacturer is most likely to blame for this, which could not realize the capabilities of this camera.
I don’t want to mention the flash of the front camera at all, since the benefits from it are less than the harm. The pictures are underexposed, and the white balance is heavily littered with a warm tone. In other words, if you want to get a red face like Hellboy, then a selfie at night is just what you need. In general, the manufacturer will still have to work on the algorithm of the flash for the front camera, although the margin of its brightness seemed to us sufficient to take normal pictures. Perhaps this is the root of the problem in the operation of the Eyeprint ID biometric eye scanning function.
In general, the cameras in the UMI Iron smartphone shoot quite mediocre, about the same level as the cameras in smartphones from other manufacturers of the second dozen Chinese manufacturers, which use the same sensor. Before smartphones LeTV One or Xiaomi Mi Note, which also uses the IMX214 sensor from Sony, the UMI Iron camera is very, very far away.
One could say that for this money one could not hope for the best, but in this case it would be possible to use sensors cheaper, and even more so not to chase the megapixels obtained by interpolation.
Lots of sources
The declared capacity of the built-in battery in the UMI Iron smartphone is 3180 mAh. The battery in this device is non-removable, and unlike the same Elephone P8000, there is no access to it at all.
In the battery test in the AnTuTu Battery Test program, the device scored 6128 points. The result obtained can be called quite good, although it could be a little higher. Using a special USB tester, we checked the actual battery capacity when charging this device from a full discharge state to 100%. Our device showed 3123 mAh, which, taking into account the possible error, corresponds to the figures declared by the manufacturer.
In other words, you will charge the battery in the UMI Iron smartphone every day or once every two days, depending on the mode of use.
Next, we will move on to one of the most interesting stages of testing the UMI Iron smartphone - sound testing.
First, we checked the sound from the external speaker of our device. The maximum volume level of the UMI Iron external speaker can be called a little above average. In terms of sound quality, the external speaker made a good impression, although it lacks a bit of depth. By adjusting the equalizer, the picture can be slightly improved, although it still does not produce the “wow” effect.
To check the sound quality in the headphones, we downloaded an audio file in FLAC format to the device’s memory, which we then listened to in Xiaomi Mi Headphones HiFi Edition headphones. According to the manufacturer, the UMI Iron smartphone has an audio chip from Texas Instruments, as well as a sound amplifier with support for DirectPATH technology. When listening to our favorite song, we were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the sound that UMI Iron gave us. We did a comparison with the LeTV One, the industry-leading smartphone in our studio, and couldn't pick a clear winner. What can we say about other smartphones in the price range up to $200.
However, not without a fly in the ointment. When trying to set the maximum volume level, we encountered the fact that the UMI Iron smartphone went into reboot or turned off altogether. There may be several reasons for this, but at the moment, in order to avoid problems, we recommend that you use the volume level no higher than 60-70% of the maximum.
So, we have considered the most important points in the UMI Iron testing process, and now it's time to sum up and highlight the main advantages of this device and its disadvantages.
Let's start with the advantages of the device:
1) The cost of a smartphone, taking into account its characteristics, materials used and built-in functions. Paying $170 for this device is really not a pity.
2) High build quality of the device body.
3) The use of expensive materials in the construction of the case (metal).
4) High-quality sound in headphones and the possibility of its detailed settings.
5) The presence of interesting functions, the most useful of which turned out to be a heart rate monitor.
Let's move on to the disadvantages :
1) On-screen touch buttons. It would be more practical and convenient to use the traditional touch buttons on the device under the screen.
2) Still raw software (non-working built-in sensors, mediocre camera performance, lack of the declared HotKnot function) and the presence of some errors (an error when shooting from the front camera in a vertical smartphone orientation, problems connecting to a computer via a USB cable, reboots at a level volume above 70% while listening to music with headphones).
3) Uselessness of the Eyeprint ID function.
4) Combined slot for memory cards, which can only be installed instead of one of the SIM cards.
5) Weak sound from external speaker.
Despite the fact that during testing we found no less shortcomings in the UMI Iron smartphone than advantages, we have no doubt that this device will be very popular on the market. To some extent, the merit of a successful advertising campaign carried out by the manufacturer is here, but to a greater extent, UMI really managed to launch a very good product on the market with an excellent screen, a metal back panel and a high build quality of the case, excellent sound in headphones and a number of interesting features that over time, "bring to mind." And taking into account the price of $170, there are practically no competitors to the UMI Iron smartphone.
You can buy Umi iRon on Aliexpress
Link to the product
Price - $169.99
Coupon - MBUI169
- Device type: smartphone/phablet.
- Available colors: silver, grey.
- Housing materials: metal, plastic inserts on the ends.
- Operating system: Android 5.1 Lollipop.
- Networks: GSM 900/1800/1900 (band8, band3, band2)
WCDMA 900/1900/2100 (band8, band 2, band1)
FDD-LTE 1800/2100/2600 (band3, band1, band7)
- SIM-cards: 2xNano-SIM, Dual Standby
- Processor: 64 bit, 8 cores Cortex A53 x 1.3 GHz, MT6753
- Video accelerator: Mali-T720 MP3, 700 MHz
- RAM: 3 GB LPDDR3, 800 MHz
- Storage Memory: 16 GB + memory cards up to 64 GB (Nano-SIM/Micro-SD slot)
- Interfaces: WiFi 802.11 (b/g/n) 2.4/5 GHz, Hotspot, Bluetooth v4.0, Micro-USB v2.0, OTG, 3.5 mm audio, OTA
- Applications: Texas Instruments DirectPath Hi-Fi Audio, Hypertech Eyeprint ID by EyeVerify, heart rate monitor, FM radio
- Screen: IPS, LTPS, 5.5'', 1920x1080 pixels, 401 ppi
- Cameras: rear 13 MP with interpolation up to 20 MP (5120x3840), Sony IMX214 Exmor RS sensor, 6 lenses, F/2.0, autofocus, electronic stabilization, dual LED flash (continuous shooting, digital zoom, geo-tagging, touch focus , face detection, HDR, panorama, ISO adjustment, exposure compensation, white balance, delayed shooting, scene selection mode), 1080p@30fps video + 8MP front (3264x2448), OmniVision OV8858 PureCel sensor, F/2.2, LED- flash
- Navigation: GPS, A-GPS
- Battery: non-removable, capacity 3180 mAh
- Dimensions: 152.3 x 76.5 x 7.9 mm
- Weight: 148 grams