UMIDIGI is one of China’s rising smartphone brands. The company has a well-established set of models which clearly demonstrate its evolution through the years. Though it positions more firmly in the mid-range and higher-mid-range niche of the smartphone market, UMIDIGI does release some entry-level smartphones now and then.
Such devices are perfect for users with very tight budgets or are in need of smartphones that are not their everyday companion but perform reliably, offer the latest software and practical features. One such smartphone is the UMIDIGI A3 .
Design and display
It is a well-made budget smartphone, looks and feels good, and offers stable performance which is perfect for browsing, texting and calls. The handset employs a surprisingly advanced image sensor for its main camera – the 12MP Sony IMX386 one and packs a reasonably sized battery, which coupled with the 5.5-inch HD+ display and power-efficient chipset offers a good one-day reliable battery autonomy. Let’s have a closer look at the device.
UMIDIGI A3 is built around a 5.5-inch in-cell IPS display with an HD+ resolution (namely 720 x 1440 pixels). We measured maximum white luminance of 483 cd/m at 100% APL. The handset is powered by a 3300 mAh battery paired with a 5V/1A charger and is based on a MediaTek MT6739 chipset paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage.
The camera department features an 8MP OmniVision OV8856 front-facing shooter with an f/2.0 lens and a dual rear camera setup that couples a 12MP main shooter with a 6-element lens, f.2,0 aperture and a 5MP auxiliary snapper. The main rear camera uses either a Sony IMX386 sensor or an OmniVision OV12870 sensor. Our unit has a Sony sensor.
The device is equipped with a Micro-USB 2.0 port, 3.5 mm jack, single bottom-firing BOX speaker. There’s a triple-slot tray on board for two Nano-SIM cards and a microSD card. On the back of the device, a fingerprint sensor is placed. It is relatively fast and accurate.
The model also has the following sensors: accelerometer, magnetometer, light, proximity, orientation, geomagnetic rotation vector. The A3 supports LTE Cat. 4 speeds and VoLTE. Its wireless connectivity options include dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Display, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, etc. The handset works with GPS and GLONASS for satellite positioning and navigation.
UMIDIGI black rectangular box with a lid that has a pattern reminiscent of fingerprint lines. The brand name is imprinted in the centre of the lid with gold-coloured letters. On the back of the box, there’s information about the main features and specifications of the model. Inside, the smartphone lies on top of an envelope with documents and below them are the charger and charging cable. We have purchased the device from the UK so the plus is UK standard. If your purchase from other shops, you will get an EU standard plug. Here are the full contents of the box:
5V/1A charger (UK plug)
Micro-USB data cable
Black TPU protective case for the back
SIM tray pin
Quick start guide
For such a budget smartphone, UMIDIGI A3 uses materials that are usually found on devices of higher rank. On the front and back, UMIDIGI says it uses 2.5D curved glass but the brand and generation are unknown.
The chassis is made of aluminium alloy and the frame has a matte finish in silver colour that beautifully contrasts with the glossy back and front. Especially, if you have the black version as we do. Well, it is named Space Grey but looks closer to black. Otherwise, the handset is also available with a gold-coloured back. As long as it concerns ergonomics, the smartphone lies comfortably in the hand. It is not slippery at all and the weight is just right to feel it’s there without being heavy.
There have been 70 smartphones with 5.5-inch displays and 3300 mAh batteries on the market for the past 4 years.
UMIDIGI A3 is currently in the top three most compact models among those. It is very narrow with a width of 70.2 mm and is the shortest one with a height of 147.2 mm. Its width of 8.5 mm is a bit above average for the size class and the weight of 186 grammes is typical for this type of smartphones.
The top frame of the model is bare, while the bottom one features a 3.5 mm jack, microphone hole, Micro-USB 2.0 port and a Box speaker grille. On the left frame, there’s the triple-slot tray and the on the right one, you’ll see the Volume and Power buttons.
On the front, above the display, there are the front camera, earpiece, light/proximity sensor and LED notification light. On the back, the dual camera module is vertically aligned in the top left corner, while the fingerprint sensor with an oval shape occupies the middle of the upper half of the body. At the bottom, the UMIDIGI brand is imprinted accompanied by some design and certifications texts.
Os and Performance
UMIDIGI A3 runs on almost stock Android 8.1 Oreo so there won’t be any surprises when you work with it. All the standard Android Oreo features are on board, including the basic desktop shortcuts, notification dots, improved storage and battery life management, re-designed notification cards and quick settings.
UMIDIGI A3 is the first smartphone with a MediaTek MT6739 chipset which we test. This system-on-chip was announced a year ago, in September 2017 at the India Mobile Congress. It is built after the 28nm process and is created especially for entry-level smartphones that need to support important features such as 18:9 displays, dual cameras, the latest 4G LTE functions and connectivity options such as dual VoLTE and Dual SIM Dual Standby (DSDS) with 4G+4G (L+L).
There’s a quad-core CPU onboard consisting of four Cortex-A53 cores that tick up to 1.5GHz. The graphics department is handled by a 570 MHz PowerVR GE8100/IMG 8XE 1PPC GPU. On the A3, the chipset is paired with 2GB of LPDDR3 single-channel RAM clocked at 667MHz and 16GB of eMMC 5.1 internal memory that can be expanded. Of those 16GB, 11GB are available to the user. Below you can check out the results from some benchmark tests we ran on our unit. All of them show a typical performance for this chipset.
UMIDIGI A3 is equipped with a 3300 mAh battery paired with a 5V/1A charger. We’ve purchased the smartphone from the UK, so the charger has a UK plug. If you buy it from a Chinese or European store, it will arrive with a standard EU plug.
Charging test (2 hours and 58 minutes)
It took our review unit 2 hours and 58 minutes to charge the 3300 mAh battery from 0% to 100% with the included 5V/1A charger and cable.
The charging speed is almost steady with a minor slowing down after the battery reaches 50% of its capacity, which happens in 1 hour and 20 minutes from the start. It takes another 40 minutes for the battery to reach 80% of its capacity and the last 20% need 48 minutes to complete. The battery temperature starts at 24°C and gradually increases to 29°C during the first 1 hour and 10 minutes. After that, it makes a peak and goes up to 34°C for a few moments before gradually dropping down to 38°C at the end.