Monsters from Asia: The incredibly priced, metal-clad UMi Iron with its iris scanner, heart rate sensor, and selfie flash

Monsters from Asia: The incredibly priced, metal-clad UMi Iron with its iris scanner, heart rate sensor, and selfie flash

With colleagues having gone through the latest major announcements to come out of China — of the Huawei Honor 7 and the Meizu MX5 — we were left with just one choice for this week's installment of our fortnightly Monsters from Asia column: the UMi Iron. In case you didn't know, this is the second time we're featuring a UMi handset, with the stylish UMi Zero having made an appearance already. The Iron, however, is a very different device, featuring top-shelf specs through and through.

Monsters from Asia: The incredibly priced, metal-clad UMi Iron with its iris scanner, heart rate sensor, and selfie flash
To start off, the 0.31-inch (7.9 mm) UMi Iron is a fully metal-clad phone, meaning that even the physical volume and power keys on the left side are made out of stainless steel. Overall, the phone reminds us of the HTC One M8. Moving on, the engineers at the company have nestled a large, 5.5-inch LTPS display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 (an excellent 403 ppi), under which we've got an octa-core, 64-bit MediaTek MT6753 with eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.5GHz and a Mali-T720 GPU, along with 3 gigs of RAM. In terms of storage, there are 16GB for you to play with, along with the ability to expand upon that through a microSD card.

Turning to imaging, we're looking at a 13-megapixel Sony IMX214 main camera with a two-color LED flash for (theoretically) more natural images in low light, and an 8-megapixel OmniVision OV8858 selfie camera with f/2.2 lens up front. That wasn't enough for UMi, though, so the company decided to include a front LED flash, though its inclusion probably also has something to do with the fact the the Iron sports an iris scanner, too. The thing allows you to unlock the device by just looking at it, which we've found to be a more convenient method than a fingerprint scanner, granted that it's fast and accurate enough. Speaking of the lock screen, the Iron also supports drawn gestures, allowing you to skip a song without unlocking, or launch an application quickly.

You'd think we're done by now, but that's just not the case. To add to the already impressive specs sheet, UMi has also picked a very generous, 3,350 mAh battery, dedicated heart rate and UV sensors that have their own health suite app to call home, two SIM slots, a large, customizable LED strip on the bottom for missed notifications/calls, and Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box. If you end up disliking UMi's proprietary skin on top of Android, the company is pretty open to modifications, and even provides special software that aggregates all relevant custom ROMs for easy flashing.

A hefty specsheet, but here's the real crazy part: the UMi Zero is currently up for pre-order through various international retailers for $179.99. This thing is a darn steal, if we've ever seen one.

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29 Comments

1. LuckySwitz

Posts: 26; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Monsters from Asia has been overused by PA..lol..

2. Android_Lollipop

Posts: 155; Member since: May 05, 2015

because they were underestimated by others

6. lallolu

Posts: 731; Member since: Sep 18, 2012

I think it is a good title which need not be changed since one knows what to expect when one sees the title. I usually look forward to "monsters from Asia".

15. mafiaprinc3

Posts: 585; Member since: May 07, 2012

same here, some pretty decently specced and and even more deent pricing. this is one looker though. classy!!

19. tabbas97

Posts: 11; Member since: Mar 03, 2014

you call that decent specced ? the damn thing is gonna run circles around my nexus 5 :'(

9. PhenomFaz

Posts: 1236; Member since: Sep 26, 2012

Reading the spec sheet of this phone was like having one candy, two candy and then too much candy. You can never have too much candy! Awesome phone :)

13. waddup121 unregistered

Monsters from Asia LMAO

14. engineer-1701d unregistered

but its a very nice device.

3. Sealblaighter

Posts: 423; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

They didn't mention anything about iris scanner, an anyway, Fujitsu made the first one with such a technology. Japan still can surprise the world!

4. shahrooz

Posts: 792; Member since: Sep 17, 2013

WoW, the price is incredible for these specs..

5. lallolu

Posts: 731; Member since: Sep 18, 2012

That price!!!

7. hafini_27

Posts: 945; Member since: Oct 31, 2013

That price and they mention the rooting and flashing other roms easily. I Might try to import this when it is available.

8. TBomb

Posts: 1186; Member since: Dec 28, 2012

Think it'll get timely updates or no? I don't have much knowledge in that area.

10. RandomUsername

Posts: 808; Member since: Oct 29, 2013

Too good to be true!

11. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

Good luck playing any games on it

18. mafiaprinc3

Posts: 585; Member since: May 07, 2012

the cpu and graphics should be perfectly able to handle games at decent frame rates

12. Cyberchum

Posts: 1013; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

Thank you China, for phones like this. They nailed it by making flashing custom roms easy, that's my only gripe with Chinese phones. Only wish the dev community will support this piece of awesomeness now.

16. WallStreet

Posts: 256; Member since: Sep 21, 2014

Monsters- the name fits well. Too bad it doesn't have the Helio like the MX5. But at least it's cheaper. I was just wondering: as so many Chinese phone are flooding the market worldwide, do you think they have some spying software right out of the box as well and the Chinese communists will invigilate us all? Just a thought.

20. aReefer

Posts: 52; Member since: Mar 21, 2015

Your security concerns have been a concern for me also regarding Chinese phones. Hardware-wise, it looks like a great package for the money though...

17. WallStreet

Posts: 256; Member since: Sep 21, 2014

Does it have Gorilla Glass 3?

21. tatail

Posts: 261; Member since: Jan 08, 2010

All thos great specs and price but very limited bands. 3 GSM bands and a few LTE that's a shame else this is a true monster.

22. mafiaprinc3

Posts: 585; Member since: May 07, 2012

That's always been my main problem with these asian and chinese made phones. but otherwise they seem great

23. WallStreet

Posts: 256; Member since: Sep 21, 2014

Searched for some info on the CPU- MediaTek 6753 and it turns out that it actually is not an upgrade from the older 6752. It is a cheaper (in production) version because it's clocked at only 1.3 and not 1.7 like the previous. It has scored 31000 on antutu , that's close to the 6735 low end CPU. Does anyone anything if this CPU is worth anything as a midranger??'???? This phone looks nice and doesn't have a screen with ovrrsturated colors, but maybe it's better to go with the Elephone P7000 and the 6752 CPU Clocked at 1.7????'?

24. aReefer

Posts: 52; Member since: Mar 21, 2015

Here's a hands-on video that may answer some of your questions: youtube.com/watch?v=aJS2GwUHrL8

26. thejamesarnold

Posts: 16; Member since: Jul 08, 2015

6753 is a good chipset. underclocked version of the 6752 but it's for efficiency.

25. smartphone2

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 12, 2015

Hi Has anyone actually used this phone? What is the speaker sound quality like? Is it as good as a Samsung or Apple. What is the microphone quality like? Is it as good as a Samsung or Iphone. Can you make video to video phone calls in real time, and is it as good as a Apple facetime or Samsung. Sat Nav - does it work? Can the maps be updated free of charge? Thanks

28. Sealblaighter

Posts: 423; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Which one??

27. smartphone2

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 12, 2015

anyone?

29. smartphone2

Posts: 3; Member since: Jul 12, 2015

UMI iron Phone Hi Has anyone actually used this phone? What is the speaker sound quality like? Is it as good as a Samsung or Apple. What is the microphone quality like? Is it as good as a Samsung or Iphone. Can you make video to video phone calls in real time, and is it as good as a Apple facetime or Samsung. Sat Nav - does it work? Can the maps be updated free of charge? Thanks

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