Monday, July 27, 2015

Ulefone Be Touch 5.5 inch

Ulefone Be Touch 5.5 inch


Ulefone’s BeTouch is a Chinese phone, but don't underestimate this one. If you do decide to take the plunge and purchase the BeTouch, you absolutely won’t regret your choice.

With a 5.5in HD (1280x720) screen, the Ulefone is a large phone and what we refer to as a phablet – somewhere between a phone and a tablet. However, the aviation-grade stainless steel frame and aluminium-magnesium mid-frame help keep down the weight to just 160g, while the curved screen edges and slim bezels make one-handed use possible.

Despite the metal frame, the Ulefone’s rear cover is plastic. It’s a removable cover that, usefully, affords access to an also-removable battery and the dual-SIM and microSD slots. It sits flush to the case, which prevents it feeling cheap or creaking in the hand.

The 13Mp camera protrudes a little from the rear – it’s not something we particularly like, but it is becoming increasingly common with today’s ever-slimmer flagships. While the BeTouch isn’t as skinny as some phones on the market, at 8.6mm it’s thin for a budget phone.

Our sample came in metal grey, although the BeTouch is also available in silk white. The fully laminated display is prone to picking up fingerprints, but the HD IPS display below looks good. At this size and resolution, the screen is a good fit for viewing media, and it displays realistic colors and useful brightness, with good viewing angles to boot. You can also invert the screen colors if you find the display easier to read in this manner.

The power button and volume rocker are found on the phone’s left edge, which can be a bit of a stretch for right-handed users. However, one of several useful gestures allows you to wake the screen with a double-tap, so we didn’t find the positioning a problem in real-world use. Options and back software buttons sit below the screen, either side of a home button that incorporates a fingerprint scanner.

The beauty of this fingerprint scanner, and something we haven’t been able to say about any of the fingerprint scanners found on rival cheap Chinese phones, is that it works. Using touch- rather than swipe input, we found the BeTouch recognized our fingerprint every single time, and that means we’re actually likely to use it. It’s fast, too, recognizing your fingerprint in a fraction of a second, even when your hand is wet.

Six small holes on the BeTouch’s bottom edge allow sound to escape from the built-in speaker. It’s a preferable approach to a rear-mounted speaker that can fire sound into your palm, although front-facing would be even better.

With a 1.7GHz octa-core processor from MediaTek, 3GB of RAM and Mali-T760 MP2 graphics inside, the Ulefone BeTouch is a capable smartphone. In real-world use, we found it very smooth, and this is no doubt thanks to not only the hardware but a lack of bloatware slowing it down.

We ran the Ulefone BeTouch through our usual benchmarks, and the results make for pleasant reading – particularly in Geekbench 3, which measures processor performance. In the multi-core component of this test, the BeTouch scored a staggering 3817 points. And that really is incredibly fast, beaten only by the fastest Android phones we’ve ever tested, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. (And the UMI eMax, although the Ulefone shows better performance in other tests.) In the single-core component the Ulefone scored 794 points, which places it in between the UMI eMax and UMI Hammer.

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In SunSpider, which measures JavaScript performance, the BeTouch did a good job for an Android phone, with this benchmark’s scoreboards dominated by the various iPhone models. We ran SunSpider both on the browser that came pre-installed on the Ulefone, in which it scored 915ms, and in Chrome, which we use to ensure a fair test across all Android phones, in which it scored 975ms. In SunSpider a lower score is better, which means it actually did a better job here than did the aforementioned S6 and S6 Edge.

GFXBench is used to measure graphics performance, and the Ulefone recorded 25fps in T-Rex and 12fps in Manhattan. Both are very good scores for a phone at this price point, and in line with flagship phones such as the LG G4 and Nexus 6.

Two new tests we’ve recently begun using for which we currently have few scores to compare are AnTuTu and the battery life test built into Geekbench 3. In AnTuTu, the BeTouch recorded 41,661 points, which is a little below Ulefone’s claims of 45,000 points-plus, and put its performance somewhere between the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Nexus 5.

In Geekbench 3’s battery test the Ulefone recorded 2540 points (04:38:40), which is a little behind the LG G4. Arguably, though, even the best phone battery will quickly be drained by a heavy user, so how fast the phone can recharge its flat battery is also important. Using the included charger the BeTouch can reach 35 percent in just 15 minutes.

Also pleasing is the fact the Ulefone BeTouch’s 2550mAh battery is removable, which means you could carry a spare.

With the exception of NFC, the BeTouch has all connectivity bases covered, with dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, A-GPS and GLONASS and OTG. Plus, not only is it dual-SIM, with one slot supporting a full-size card and the other Micro- SIM, it supports 4G. And, unlike some Chinese phones, wireless updates are available, making it easy to install software updates.

Slapped on the back of the BeTouch is the same 13Mp Sony Exmor IMX214 camera that is found on the rear of many Chinese phones. That’s not a bad thing, though, and the photos it takes are much better than you have any right to expect at $250.

The camera is quick to focus once you’ve launched the app, although a dedicated camera button would make doing so even faster. There’s a dual-LED flash and the BeTouch stretches to ISO 1600 for better low-light pictures, while the rear camera also supports up to 4K video recording at 30fps and has a tracking autofocus for capturing moving objects. Around the front is a 5Mp selfie camera with an 80-degree wide-angle lens.

Both cameras support real-time application of filters, plus various modes including picture in picture, live photo, motion tracking, beauty, panorama and multi-angle. You can trigger a shot with a gesture, smile or voice command, although in doing so the camera switches off its anti-shake feature. Face detection is also supported.

HDR is not automatic, but we found photos look better with it turned on.

The Android Lollipop operating system pre-installed on this phone is exactly as Google intended, and that makes a refreshing change. There is zero bloatware pre-installed, and we found all but one of the shortcuts fit on a single page of the Nexus launcher app tray – amazing.

The only changes Ulefone has made are for the better: there’s the aforementioned option to invert screen colors in the Quick settings drop-down, plus you can set custom gestures that allow you to launch an app of your choice from standby simply by drawing a letter on the screen. The ability to wake the screen with a double-tap also eases managing this phablet in a single hand.


Verdict

Ulefone’s BeTouch is an unrivalled deal at $250. It’s fast, it’s dual- SIM with 4G connectivity, it has a working fingerprint scanner for security, the screen is large and with an HD resolution plenty crisp enough for the money, and there is absolutely no bloatware. A few minor quibbles aside, it’s genuinely difficult to fault this phone at this price.


Specifications

5.5in HD (1280x720, 267ppi) IPS 2.5D Arc screen with Corning Gorilla Glass 3;
Android 5.0 Lollipop;
1.7GHz MediaTek MTK6752 (ARM Cortex-A53) octa-core 64-bit processor; 3GB LPDDR3 RAM;
16GB storage (plus microSD up to 64GB);
Mali-T760 MP2 dual-core GPU;
4G FDD-LTE/3G WCDMA/GSM;
dual-SIM dual-standby (1x full-size, 1x Micro-SIM);
dual-band 802.11b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi;
Bluetooth 4.0; OTG;
GPS;
A-GPS;
GLONASS;
fingerprint scanner;
13Mp Sony Exmor IMX214 rear camera, dual-LED flash, 4K video recording;
5Mp front camera with 80-degree wide-angle lens;
2550mAh removable battery;
77.4x8.6x158.1mm;
160g


By Marie Brewis

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