In the end of 2016 UMI – a Chinese company – decided to follow the global trend of rebranding. The manufacturer, previously known for making smartphones, reinvented itself as UMDIGI. Why? Officially, “to use the latest technologies and create affordable yet high-quality products”. Probably just a marketing trick to gain attention.

The first creation of the reborn brand was UMDIGI Z Pro, which was a popular and a well-received device all around the world. Today we’ll talk about their second phone, UMDIGI C Note. We have the grey model with 32 GB of storage (user gets about 22 GB).

So, UMDIGI C Note

The smartphone was unveiled in the spring of this year. Right from the beginning it got a lot of attention due to decent specs, premium design and clean Android Nougat 7.0 OS.

UMIDIGI C Note
Standard GSM 850/900/1800/1900 WCDMA 900/2100
LTE FDD 2100/1800/2600/800
SIM cards number 2×nanoSIM
OS Android 7.0 (Nougat)
RAM, GB 3
Storage, GB 32
Memory slot MicroSD (up to 256 GB)
Dimensions, mm 154.7×76.6×8.4 mm
Weight, g 172 g
Dust and water resistance
Battery 3800 mAh (non-detachable), no quick charge
Screen
Size, inches 5,5″
Resolution 1920×1080
Matrix type IPS
PPI 401
Brightness sensor +
Sensor screen (type) capacitive screen
Processor specs
Processor Mediatek MT6737T + Mali T720MP
Core type Cortex
Cores number 4
Frequency 1,3 GHz
Camera
Main camera, MP 13
Video +
Flashlight +
Frontal camera, MP 5
Communication
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi (a/b/g/n)
Bluetooth 4.1
Geo-positioning GPS/GLONASS
IrDA
NFC
Interface slot Micro USB (USB 2.0)
Additional
Audio jack 3,5 mm
MP3 player +
FM radio +
Body monoblock
Materials Metal
Keyboard type On screen

Packaging

In the box of UMIDIGI C Note we find nothing unusual for a Chinese smartphone. Here we have a phone, a charger, a protective case, a screen protector, a charge cable, a clip for the SIM-card slot and an instruction manual. Unfortunately, no headset is included.

Design and ergonomics

UMIDIGI C Note shares the basic design with the flagship UMIDIGI C Note Z Pro. The company calls it premium, but in reality it’s nothing more than another iPhone clone. I grow tired of these identical phones, but if you still consider Apple design the best, UMIDIGI C Note is for you. The body is made of aluminum alloy, and the build quality is excellent. No screeches, nothing’s loose. UMIDIGI C Note is 0,1 mm thicker than its brother, but otherwise it’s identical to UMIDIGI Z Pro. It’s also 3 grams lighter (172 g vs 175 g).

The front of UMIDIGI C Note looks quite good, especially for a $130 phone. Huge 5,5” screen with thin bezels and 2.5D glass makes the smartphone look more expensive. This one thing I didn’t like is the low-quality oleophobic screen coating. This screen is a fingerprint magnet.

Under the screen we find a soft home button with fingerprint sensor – another feature, previously reserved only for high-end devices. There are also two usual soft buttons on the sides of the Home button, but they are easy to miss because they are completely unmarked. A stylish, if a bit unintuitive design.

Above the screen sits a 5-megapixel camera, a speaker, brightness sensor and notifications indicator.

The back panel of UMIDIGI C Note is made of aluminum, which makes it look shinier and more expensive. The camera block is located high, on the left. The upper and lower parts of the phone are separated by dielectric inserts. As I was saying, this is iPhone 6 all over again, but Chinese manufacturers have always been okay with copying Apple.

The lower part consists of a speaker, a mic and a microUSB port. The latter is the only thing that looks cheap in UMIDIGI C Note.

There’s nothing interesting on the top safe for a 3,5 mm audio jack.

On the right side of UMIDIGI C Note there’s a volume button. Nothing wrong with its size of performance. Below is the on/off button. On the left – a slot for two nano-SIM and a microSD card.

Screen

One of the best things about the smartphone. UMIDIGI C Note has a SHARP display with Full HD (1920×1080) resolution, just like the one in the flagship Z Pro model. The screen is obviously too good for this price range; it’s bright and crisp and boasts great contrasts and view angles. The pixel density is 401 ppi.

There’s one problem with the screen – it’s not all that great in sunny weather. The picture becomes bleak; the brightness is lacking. Automatic brightness works fine. The sensor recognizes 10 simultaneous touches.

Multimedia

Now for the bad part. The speaker is bad. It’s loud, but the sound quality is awful. I advise keeping the volume down, don’t make it too loud.  Also, don’t use music tracks as ringtones – safe your and others’ ears and nerves. While speaking, though, there were no problems: I could hear the voice just fine, the sound is soft and clear. The volume is more than enough.

Music player is standard. The sound quality is decent. The sound in my headphones was clear with good levels of detalization. It’s loud enough. Supported formats: MP3, 3GPP, MP4, SMF, WAV, OTA, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, ASF.

Communication

UMIDIGI C Note has a slot for two NanoSIMs. Both work in 3G/4G.

Network types:

2G bands GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
3G bands HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100;
4G bands Cat4/Cat6

Otherwise it’s business as usual: Wi-Fi: a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS and GLONASS. NFS is not supported.

Camera

UMIDIGI C Note has a 13-megapixel Samsung S5K3L8 camera with phase autofocus and dual LED flashlight; on the front there’s a 5-megapixel camera for selfies.

At first sight, the camera app is fairly simple, but one swipe to the right, and we get a myriad of settings and Professional Camera mode, which in theory should drastically improve the quality of photos. UMIDIGI promise quality of DSLR cameras, but let’s not believe that. Professional mode lets you have complete control over the settings, but UMIDIGI C Note is still a low-cost phone. As usual, in daylight we get good pictures, but the situation worsens radically in bad lighting.

The frontal 5-megapixel camera has a weak 1/4-inch sensor and F/2.0 diaphragm, No flashlight. Once again, photos are decent enough in good lighting. I’ve got nothing bad to say about detalization, sharpness and colors.

Photos in daylight:

Photos indoors:

Photos in full resolution

Performance and OS

We’ve already proven that UMIDIGI C Note looks absolutely unlike a low-cost device. Premium materials and quality build make it feel like a much more expensive phone. But what’s inside? What was sacrificed to cut the price?

The answer is inside. Playing Asphalt 8 is going to be a problematic: MediaTek MT6373T and Mali-T720 MP2 don’t seem to be able to handle big games, which turn into slideshows. Sure, you can run them on lowest of settings. Still, when it comes to ordinary tasks, UMIDIGI C Note passes with flying colors – thanks to 3 GB of RAM.

Synthetic tests also disappoint: 1872 points in Geekbench 4 and 39 691 points in AnTuTu. When running heavy apps, the phones gets warm – but not critically.

What is good is that UMIDIGI C Note has a completely pure Android 7.0 with no modifications and brand apps. Many potential buyers will be ecstatic to learn about that.

Battery life

Another great thing about UMIDIGI C Note is its battery. 3800 mAh battery is produced by Sony. It makes the phone a bit thicker, but also makes the phone work longer than others. The manufacturer talks about 2 days of active use, which turned out to be not true: while I did manage to get it work for as long, I was using it very sparingly. In active use the phone dies after 20 hours, which is still a decent result.

Unfortunately, there’s no quick charge option – the phone gets to 100% in about 3 hours.

While playing a movie (HD) the battery lasts for 9 hours; while playing games it lasts for 5. It can play music with maximum volume for up to 22 hours.

Verdict

UMIDIGI C Note is a quality low-cost smartphone with nice, if a bit drab, design. The build quality and materials are top notch. The phone is sturdy, comfortable to hold and feels like a device from more expensive price range. UMIDIGI C Note has a fingerprint scanner, a decent camera (if you use it in daylight) and a great display. On the other hand, it’s not very powerful, doesn’t have oleophobic coating and uses a very low-quality speaker.

UMIDIGI C Note

Liked:

• Design
• 2.5D glass
• Big battery
• Fingerprint scanner
• FM radio
• SD cards support

Didn’t like

• Slow performance
• Mediocre cameras
• No headset in the package
• The screen is a fingerprint magnet
• Speaker quality