We have seen an influx of Chinese smartphones in recent years. There are plenty of Chinese brands that offer great hardware specs for fraction of the price. The Umidigi S2 Pro offers full view display, metal unibody, and a dual camera setup. So, let’s see how this device stacks up against the mid-range bunch in our Umidigi S2 pro review.
The first thing you will notice right off the bat is that bright red color of the phone. We particularly liked the bright color but you can opt for the more subtle black option. The phone has a unibody metal construct and the feel of the phone is premium on the hand. Being a tall phone, you can easily carry it around but it’s not ideal for one hand usage.
The phone has slipped too many times from my hands and from my pocket due to its slippery polished back. So, a back cover is a must and Umidigi has provided one inside the box.
If you are against a back cover, it is worth mentioning that this phone doesn’t get any scratches. During my review period, I constantly kept the phone in my pocket along with keys when I am driving. And surprisingly, the phone didn’t get any scratches. The phone also doesn’t attract any fingerprints and it’s super easy to just wipe off any dust from its surface.
The phone although is on the chunky side, the curve back does a good job of hiding its thickness. On the plus side, the phone is splash and dust resistance as well which is an awesome feature to see in a mid-range segment.
The Umidigi S2 Pro comes with a tall 18:9 aspect ratio featuring a 6-inch Full HD+ IPS LCD display. We would have loved to see an AMOLED panel which would have made the display punch better with deep blacks and high contrasts. Its competition like the Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro has an AMOLED panel to enhance its viewing.
However, the display panel is bright and vibrant. I really enjoyed watching videos and playing games on this huge display. It also gets bright enough to be clearly visible outdoors and there are no color shifts at all with varying angles. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 4. You have MiraVision to change the Color mode and have some additional control over the display.
The Umidigi S2 Pro is powered by Mediatek’s Helio P25 octa-core chipset clocked at 2.5GHz. What’s offered here may not be a high-end performance chipset, but considering the price of $279, it delivers the power when you ask for it.
Normal navigation, scrolling, and all the basic tasks can be carried out without breaking a sweat. When it comes to gaming, the Asphalt 8 was well playable with no noticeable frame drops or lags. I also tried the new PUBG for mobile and it automatically rendered on low quality. The game was pretty much playable on low quality, but there were minor lags here and there as I played. The phone does heat up after a while of gaming but it stays constant and there’s nothing too serious so you can continue for hours.
The phone offers 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM. You can easily switch between multiple apps opened in the background without breaking a sweat. Turning on the battery saving options do affect the multitasking ability to some extent. Nonetheless, the phone is a capable performer and it would suffice the need of an average user.
The phone is running on Android 7.0 Nougat, which is pretty outdated by today’s standard. This phone is running the heavily skinned UMI OS 2.0. Like any Chinese OEM’s there’s no app drawer and to my surprise, this is the only Chinese phone I know of that completely restricts the user from using third-party launchers. I couldn’t be more disappointed.
Adding to a load of disappointment is the bloatware and they are everywhere, so much so that you could fill up an entire screen with it. This bloatware includes Speed Up cache cleaner, a security app that also acts as a cache cleaner, an App Clean Up that clears the cache, so you get the gist here. There are also dual apps, quick touch, and others include an app store from UMI and theme store.
That’s already a lot of app on first boot to overwhelm anyone. Fortunately, some of them can be uninstalled and some stay with you for eternity. The inclusion of blue light filter and anti-theft are neat features.
For me, the purchasing decision of a smartphone comes down to the camera, and I believe it is the same for most of us as well. The Umidigi S2 Pro comes with the dual rear camera in a pair of 13MP + 5MP with f/2.0 aperture. The secondary lens is here for the bokeh effect. And the first thing I tried with its camera was the bokeh effect and it really didn’t impress me much. The bokeh effect just felt a complete hit or miss. Often times there would be a whole area outside the subject without any blur and sometimes half of the subject would be blurred out.
Coming to the image quality of the phone, the pictures it takes has a good amount of saturation with its image processing. If you love punchy colors in your pictures like that from the Samsung phones then you’d love what it has to offer. On Zooming in details as you can see in the images are well preserved in good lighting conditions. What I’ve noticed from the samples is, the phone increases the highlights making the images bright but despite that, the images maintain a very close to the natural color.
The shutter is quite snappy so you can capture fast moving life as it’s happening. There aren’t plenty of shooting modes here, but you get few standard ones like the slo-mo which creates a jittery gif like slow motion video, time lapse, and color filters. The phone doesn’t offer pro mode, however. The S2 Pro is capable of shooting 4K videos but the quality is not up to par.
Now coming to the front 16MP camera of the device I thought it’d be fun but upon seeing the results I couldn’t be more disappointed with it. Images have pink tint overlay and even with enough light, the image contained few grains and dark spots. There is face beauty mode, and face cute mode with AR stickers.
Talking about connectivity, the phone lacks a headphone jack. And to deal with that the phone does offer USB C to 3.5mm headphone jack dongle. The S2 Pro comes with dual nano-hybrid SIM Slot. With 128GB storage on board, you will rarely use any extra SD card with such enormous storage.
It has all the wireless connectivity options such as WiFi (ac), Bluetooth 4.2, and GPS.
For security, you get fingerprint sensor along with face unlock. The face unlock is way slow when compared to the one on OnePlus 5T or even the Vivo V9. It takes about 1 or 2 seconds to unlock the phone.
One of the biggest assets of the phone is its mammoth 5100mAh battery. Now, this size is something that we don’t see often on smartphones and it’s here to solve one of our biggest issue of battery drainage. The phone is a beast when it comes battery life providing 2 days of backup. I would always have 40-50% battery left on my phone at the end of the day – my usage mostly included browsing social media, taking photos, and gaming.
The phone offers Pump Charge 2.0 fast charging that charges the device within 2 hours. It feels reasonable considering the size of the battery.
The Umidigi S2 Pro definitely has got the hardware punch that we don’t see in the midrange phone under $300. The phone comes with a beautifully crafted metal body, ample 128GB of storage and a mammoth 5100 mAh battery.
This phone is definitely a good pick for someone looking for a good aesthetic, more storage, and a 2 days battery life. But on the contrary, the poor selfie camera and iffy UI can turn you down. But in my opinion, it’s a small tradeoff for all the goods you are getting for the price.
However, in Nepal, you need to pay an exorbitant price (Rs.54,900) if you buy the phone from the official channel.
But, you can get the phone for just $279 from gearbest. To buy from gearbest, you need to have international card or a PayPal account. They provide free shipping. but you need to pay for the VAT and custom TAX whereever applicable.
|Sleek Design & Build||Average gaming performance|
|Good display||Average Cameras|
|Commendable battery life with fast charging||Highly Priced in Nepal|