Foul play by UMI India

Being a follower of electronics – especially those having origins in China, I was very excited to hear about UMI being launched in India. I was glad about the fact that I would be able to avail the X2 at the same price as the Chinese, and avail domestic warranty without having to send the device back to China. I was caught off guard by the UMI guys over at India – if they actually represent UMI, which is not clear even as of today. I will be referring to the people behind this as ‘the people’ henceforth in this article. So, the people were fast in setting up innumerable Facebook pages and websites – www.umimobiles.in, www.umimobiles.com, www.umimobile.in, https://www.facebook.com/umimobile, https://www.facebook.com/UmiIndia. Indians are in the coming-of-age phase when it is electronics, so the interest they managed to garner was HUGE. Apart from the websites and webpages, the people were also quick in setting up a working bank account and a ‘customer care unit’ which never had an executive who could attend your call, all of them apparently were ‘busy on other calls’.

The first Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/umimobile, also the most popular in terms of followers (3376 followers at the time of writing this post), was set up on January the 30th, 2013. Since then, the people have announced various devices – ranging from ultra low budget phablets to UMI’s flagship, the UMI X2. The device became hugely popular, and UMI got many takers at the same time. The device was priced at 14,000 INR which is pretty much at par with the Chinese counterparts, and a person like me would think the device is a steal at that price, since I have only been importing gadgets from China and they tend to cost a whole lot more after import. Anyway, back to the people. They also put up a pre-order link, where the buyer had to pay 500 INR at the time of booking and the remaining 13500 INR before shipment. Pre-ordering and online payments do not have many fans in India, where people started buying online only after the introduction of the COD (Cash On Delivery) concept. In spite of that, people went ahead and pre booked the UMI X2 in huge numbers – only to be disappointed through the coming months. If my memory serves me right, people started pre-booking in February, and were promised delivery in March. In March, the people started putting up statuses on the UMI Facebook page saying the devices would be in India on xxx date, and that they would start shipment on yyy date. Unfortunately for the buyers, nothing materialized, the string of false promises grew by the day. Now, people were starting to get agitated, and the only way to get in contact with the people was via the Facebook page. So, buyers started putting allegations on the people and started posting their queries on the Facebook page as they had nowhere else to go to. The people’s reply to this was amazing – all those who asked questions on delivery and vented their anger, WERE BLOCKED FROM THEIR FACEBOOK PAGE. People without access to the internet and debit/credit cards paid the pre-booking amount offline, and many did not even have proof to show they did. This sort of a behaviour from a company trying to make a name for itself is not expected.

I bought myself an UMI X1 last year, imported from China, and was quite happy with it. I had also reviewed the device which got a good response and pushed me forward to review the UMI X2 as well – but this behaviour from the people made me swear to myself to not buy an UMI device unless it is for free.

I am still in confusion if it is the same UMI guys as the ones who make the device in China, since there were talks about a franchise called AndroidGuruz (www.androidguruz.com, https://www.facebook.com/Androidguruz (the website says ‘coming soon’ since more than 2 months)) which would be selling a total of 42 Chinese branded phones in India including UMI, Jiayu, Xiaomi, etc. I would hope that it is the AndroidGuruz people behind this fiasco, being a liker of UMI.

Also I would suggest readers to NOT pre book any device with UMI/AndroidGuruz until you have seen the device in stock or at a retail store out of the 200 they claim to be working on.

Following are the sort of false promises I talked about – none of them has materialized yet.


I was one among the other 9000+ to call and there was no call back, which they had promised to do.


Posted this picture a few weeks back but no word yet.



It never came to India.


No deliveries were announced, even after almost 2 moths.


JiaYu G4 Spec Review and comparison with similarly spec’d devices

After reading a lot about this phone, I decided to do a specs review of this phone. (I don’t have it yet)

Key specs:

SoC MT6589
Clock frequency 1.2 GHz
Processor architecture ARM Cortex A7
No. of cores 4
Memory (RAM) 1GB/2GB (Youth/Advanced)
Storage (ROM) 4GB/32GB (Youth/Advanced)
Screen 4.7″
Screen protection Gorilla Glass II
Resolution 1280×720 (720p)
Battery rating 1850mAh/3000mAh
Cameras 3MP/13MP (Front/Rear)

The phone will be unlocked for worldwide use, with dual SIM support and support for HSPA+ in either of the SIM. Expect the price to be in the $210-230 for the Youth and in the $240-300 range for the Advanced version. As I type  this Pandawill are pre-selling it for $218.99 and $248.99 which seem good prices at the moment. But if you like a little more security like me, you might want to wait till sellers start getting stock and then buy from AliExpress or eBay.

I will be upgrading from my UMI X1 to the G4 (hopefully the Advanced version) in the coming month (or whenever there is stock). Why I will go for the Jiayu G4 over any competitors despite Jiayu’s poor marketing skills (Read: innumerable delays):

  • Solid build – The basis is Jiayu G3 here. It was reportedly the best built in its generation of phones.
  • Gorilla Glass protection
  • Huge user base – This means there will be custom ROMs and fixes
  • 1280×720 as opposed to 1920×1080 – FHD is overkill for a sub 7″ device if I’m concerned. I honestly don’t think I have eyes powerful enough to differentiate between  720p and  1080p on a sub 5″ screen. A 1080p screen looks pretty on paper for sure, but in real life situations a 720p is more than enough and it also means better battery life.
  • Large capacity battery – The UMi with its 1750mAh battery has managed to impress me. A 3000mAh will come in really handy.
  • Design

Having said this, I would also like the readers to know that I plan to live with this phone for quite some time now. If you do not have similar plans, there are quite a few options. Here are a few competitors (all based on the same platform – MT6589):

  • UMi X2 – Just like what the UMi X1 did to the Jiayu G3, the X2 will hope to do to the G4 – launch before the G4 and take advantage of Jiayu’s poor marketing skills. The X2 comes with 2GB RAM and a 5″ 1080p screen. No word on the type of protection offered yet. Expect it to sell for around $250.
    USP – Price and 1080p screen for some.
  • iOcean X7 – This is a very pretty phone which borrows its styling from  Sony Xperia devices. Comes in Youth (1GB RAM) and Premium (2GB RAM) versions just like the Jiayu G4. iOcean is reportedly a big OEM manufacturer so quality shouldn’t be an issue. Expected price should be under the $250 mark.
    USP – Styling, price, screen.
  • Neo N003 – A decent looking phone for a decent price tag. Again, comes with an option of 1GB/2GB RAM (Youth/Advanced). I don’t expect the build to be better than Jiayu. Touted to be the world’s cheapest phone with a 1080p screen.
    USP – Pricing.
  • Various Zopo devices. This brand has never impressed me much so I haven’t dug up a lot.
    USP – English website and English speaking staff.

A video showing the gaming capabilities on the Jiayu G4

Testing the strength of Gorilla Glass

Also, a franchise is claiming to bring 42 Chinese brands to India. This means that Indians will be able to buy these phones for as much as it is sold in China. I personally hope this does come out good. More on this after I can confirm the news.

I hope this post helps many electronics enthusiasts like me make a decision as to what to buy. Any questions, feel free to comment.