Much can be said about the history of Chinese smartphone makers — both big and small — and their attempts to commoditize the smartphone, but none speaks louder than UMi's new $89.99 ROME phone. And for that kind of cash, you're getting one incredibly decked out device.
While unconfirmed, the UMi ROME appears
to have a metal frame encircling the 7.9mm chassis, and the resemblance at the back with the Xiaomi Note Pro/Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is "uncanny". In terms of hardware, UMi is offering a 5.5-inch, 720 x 1280 resolution AMOLED display, good for a pixel
density of 267 ppi, which while not excellent, is nevertheless quite acceptable at that price point. The glass covering the panel is of the 2.5D curved type, which always adds some class to devices in our experience.
Underneath the screen, UMi has packed a 64-bit, octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor with ARM Mali T-720 GPU, coupled with the extremely generous 3 gigs of RAM. Considering the 720p resolution, at least on paper the phone should perform quite well. There are also 16GB of built-in storage, though there's no word on whether the ROME will support expansion through a dedicated microSD card slot. On the imaging front, we're looking at a 13-megapixel Sony IMX164 sensor and a dual LED flash at the back, and a 2-megapixel selfie snapper up front. Finally, the device is powered by Android 5.1
Lollipop and a 2,500 mAh cell.
From what we're told by the press release that UMi sent us, the ROME is due for release "next month", which is a bit ambiguous, and so is the entire story around the phone for that matter. Quite frankly, UMi now has a track record of promising pretty amazing devices that are yet to be released to the public, so we'll be keeping an eye out for the ROME, but also the previously announced (but still unreleased) Zero 2
. If we assume there's no monkey business going on here, however, we've got to say that this is likely to be a hit with consumers, who're increasingly craving high-end packages sold at near cost.
Any potential takers?