As usual, we were not hired or paid to write this review. If it’s bad, we’ll tell you it’s bad.
If you can deal with the inconvenience of not being able to buy a flashy new case and perfectly fitting screen protector right off the shelf, buying a smartphone directly from China is becoming an ever more appealing option. Especially for those of us who are on a budget…
Edamame Reviews has been – up until this point – mostly about the games on our smartphones and not the actual smartphones themselves. Today we would like to do things a little differently with our review of the UMIDIGI S2, a $200 smartphone from China which we have been using as our main Android testing unit for the past 3 months.
Introduction to the UMIDIGI S2
Right off the bat, if you’re in for a smartphone that can do anything, (i.e. take great pictures, LTE everywhere, a battery that seems to last forever, etc) buying a smartphone from China probably isn’t the smartest decision you could make. Although there are some great smartphones you can buy such as the Xiaomi Mi6 (A smartphone that is reported to have specs almost identical to that of the iPhone 7+) the price – although lower than anything you could get in the US, UK, Canada or Australia – isn’t actually all that much lower, especially considering the inherent risks you take on (such as the lack of manufacturer support for when something goes horribly wrong).
So, why would you buy a smartphone from China? Well, for the crazy devices…!
UMIDIGI S2 is in its own respect a
n amazing crazy device. Featuring 4GB of RAM, 64GB of Storage (expandable via Micro SD up to 256GB), and a whopping 5100mAh battery UMIDIGI claims will last most users 2 full days of usage in a single charge, although charging isn’t really a problem considering the UMIDIGI S2 supports Quick Charge 2.0 via USB-C which should get you a full day’s usage out of a single 30 minute charge.
On top of all this, the UMIDIGI S2 also features dual-SIM-card support, (one of which can be replaced with an SD Card for that extra 256GB of storage), which may be useful(?) so long as you can receive proper coverage wherever you happen to be located.
The dual 13.0MP and 5.0MP cameras on the back of the phone, as well as the 5.0MP front-facing camera, are well,… usable… to say the least…😅 (You probably won’t be winning any photography awards though.)
Last but not least, the 6-inch display (with an 18:9 aspect ratio) is probably the best feature on this phone – hands down. Although a lot of the games available on Google Play, don’t fully support this relatively new screen size, (which we will talk more about later), this enormous screen together with the phone’s near bezel-less design results in an awesomely immersive experience you wouldn’t exactly expect from a $200 smartphone.
Gaming performance on the UMIDIGI S2…
During our time playing with the UMIDIGI S2 we did one thing and one thing only, that’s right – gaming! If you’ve followed our site for a while now, you probably already know that we are all big fans of casual indie-games which the UMIDIGI S2 powers through like a beast! With almost no difference in casual gaming performance when compared to a device such as the iPhone 7, (my current personal favorite), there frankly isn’t any real reason for you to choose a more expensive device unless you are really passionate about having an annoying $1,000 iPhone X notch cutting into your field of view…😂
That being said, there are limitations. Although we didn’t experience any severe lagging while playing heavier titles such as Lineage2 Revolution, (yet another game we have yet to published our review for), the only game that managed to get the UMIDIGI S2 to lag noticeably was We Are Illuminati, a clicker game we were experimenting with for the sole purpose of seeing just how far we could push before we actually broke the game. The results were pretty amazing!
The only real downfall we noticed on the gaming side of things was the audio. Although almost to be expected from a phone at this price, if you’re playing anything where music is involved we would highly recommend using a pair of headphones either via Bluetooth or using the included USB-C to headphone jack adapter. The phone does not include headphones.😢
Also, a 6-inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio is only amazing when the apps and games you are trying to play or use actually make use of the extra space they are given. Even a lot of the more modern games we tested either couldn’t make use of the extra space or attempted to go full-screen, loosing important visual elements in the game due to cropping…
Although this is a bit of a problem right now, with the number of flagship devices in 2017 making use of the new 18:9 aspect ratio, it will only be a matter of time until most of your favorite games are updated to work nicely on all full-screen android devices. …and, the games that already do – look amazing…!
Much as this doesn’t have a whole lot to do with gaming, the all red aluminum build looks beautiful, especially if you (like us) are intending on purchasing this smartphone for its gaming potential. Red seems to be a favorite color among gamers everywhere, which makes it extra disappointing that the pre-included case is a plain unexciting black. Personally, we would have much rathered UMIDIGI include a matching red or even clear case to go along with such a beautiful looking device… hint… hint…😉
In conclusion… For now…
The UMIDIGI S2 is a great Value-for-Money device we look forward to playing some more with over the next few months. Hopefully, we will be able to test out the UMIDIGI S2 PRO with higher specs and some rather interesting features such as UMIDIGI’s version of Face-ID, 6GB of RAM and some form of water resistance!
In the meantime, stay tuned for our review of the MAZE Alpha X another beast-of-a-smartphone with 6GB of RAM, a near bezel-less 6.0-inch display, and 128GB of storage.