Budget smartphones are a coming in at aggressive price points, the UleFone Paris is $166 on Amazon and come with a 64 bit OctaCore processor and LTE support. Smartphones at these aggressive price points are getting good enough when it comes to taking a half decent photo and having a display that doesn’t offend the eyes. The Paris comes in where most other comparable smartphones don’t is that it offers dual SIM LTE whose bands cover the European telco providers. If you’re in the US, you should keep on looking.
The UleFone Paris is has a premium look with a mid range smartphone feel, in hand the device feels sturdy and it sports specifications that are extremely good for the price.
|Screen||Display Size:5.0 inch 720 X1280|
Type: On-cell IPS LTPS, full Lamination (2.5D Arc screen)
Material:Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3
|Color:||Metal Gray / Silk White|
|Capacity||RAM: 2GB LPDDR3 RAM 1866MHZROM: 16GB EMMC (SD card Up to 128GB)|
|Chipset||64Bit MTK MT6753 processor Octa core 1.3GHz CPUARM Mali T720 GPU|
|System||Android 5.1 Lollipop|
|Sim Card||Dual sim dual standby, 2 x Micro SIM|
|Camera||Rear Camera: 13MP Omnivision OV13850 F1.8 Aperture|
Front Camera: 5.0MP (OmniVision OV5648)
|Network and Wireless Connectivity||4G: FDD – LTE 800/1800/2100/2600(band1,band3,band7,band20)3G: 900/2100 (band1,band8)|
2G: 850/900/1800/1900 (band2,band3,band5,band8)
WIFI : WiFi802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi 2.4GHz
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
Hall Effect Sensor, Gravity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Touch Sensor, Digital Compass, OTG
|Battery capacity and life||Non-removable SONY 2250mAh lithium-ion Polymer BatteryStandby Time: About 268 Hours|
Others: USB2.0,support OTG
3.5 mm headphone jack
|Sensor||Hall Effect Sensor, Gravity Sensor, Ambient Light Sensor, Touch Sensor, Digital Compass, OTG|
|Multi-media||Supported Video formats:MP4,3GP,MOV,MKV,AVI,FLV,MPEG|
Supported Audio formats:
|Size||Dimensions: 144.5 x 71.7 x 8.0mmNet Weight: 128g(with battery)|
When you hold the Paris in your hand it the finish of the chassis doesn’t feel premium but it does feel good. I was surprised to find out when verifying the build of the smartphone that it had a metal chassis, the removable back of the smartphone is made of a polycarbonate but the edges and internal structure are made of metal. This adds to the durability of the device, but I still have trouble believing it’s metal since it really doesn’t feel like it.
The curves and angles of the handset make it comfortable to hold and not too slippery because of the layering on the side of the case.
When I first lay eye’s on the Paris I thought that the slope of the corners was a little too much like an iPhone for my taste. The Paris does have some design elements from the luxury phone company, but in this case it’s lost in the detail around the fit and finish. It looks good and feel ok, but it’s not a high end smartphone and that’s already because it comes with an appropriate price tag.
When looking at the, UleFone claims that it has a 2D display, this is something a lot of company’s are adding in these days. But UleFone added in a visual cue to give it that effect with out the cost of actually creating a floating display. If you take a closer look at the edge of the display you can see that the slope is done with a plastic boarder, there might be a slight slope to the glass, but I’m doubtful. Not that it matters, it’s just worth addressing since they brought it up as feature.
The bezel is done in stages which makes it look smaller than it actually is, there is far too much bezel on this smartphone for the size but it doesn’t look like it because of the way it’s been visually broken up. There are three stages to the bezel a bumper, another bumper that makes it look like a curved display and then the bezel on the display itself. Personally I like it, it makes me think that the display is less likely to shatter
if when I drop it.
The back of the handset doesn’t remind me at all of a Cupertino product, the UleFone logo is raised and so far a week in protected in my bag hasn’t yielded any scratches or signs that logo wears easily. The camera is raised and with out getting into issues of quality it’s an easy tell for which end of the phone is the top.
The power buttons is located on the right hand side and is below the volume rocker, the volume rocker. The power button doesn’t feel as solid as the volume rocker, I’m not afraid it will stop working immediately, but I don’t think that this is a device that you’ll be using for more than a year.
It might be easy to dismiss this as just another iPhone clone, but the shape from the front is where it ends.
The Paris has a 5 inch IPS LTPS display, as I addressed in the design section, I don’t think this is a true 2.5D display, but it doesn’t matter, it look great and the slopping plastic bezel provides the Gorilla glass 3 with more protection. The display resolution is 720 x 1280 which with the decent quality of the panel is acceptable. The viewing angles of this display are very good, you’ll be able to share media with your friends without having to worry that one person won’t be able to see through a white haze. It’s bright enough to be used outside but on a sunny day but I did occasionally find myself shielding the display when trying to take a photo.
The camera isn’t as impressive as the rest of this budget phone’s spec, but it’s more than acceptable for such a cheap device. In fact i’d go as far as to say that it’s more than I expected for the price. Keep in mind that if I put it up against a Samsung Galaxy S6 or the LG G4 it wouldn’t compare, but those phones are more than 3 times the price of this one, so for the price it takes a great shot.
For impressive photos to be taken you’ll need good lighting conditions, but this holds true for most handsets. When it’s too sunny it’s easy for the photo to be over or under exposed, the swing on exposure when you’re tapping to focus is pretty extreme. HDR needs some work an UleFone actually issued an update mid review which fixed those issues. This surprised me since you don’t expect updates from relatively unknown Chinese manufactures.
Low light photo’s are grainy with little detail. One thing that really surprised me was how well the zoom worked. Here is a photo of the statue of liberty and the next is on zoom and the outline of lady liberty is visible.
For the price the phone can take a great photo but you’ll be reminded quite quickly that the camera doesn’t nail it every time.
UleFone has opted for a 13MP shooter on the rear, Omnivision OV13850 with F1.8 aperture which means that we should be able to take good low light photos since most smartphones offer an F2.2 aperture. This isn’t the case, the software processing needs some work in low light, but having said that it’s more usable than the low light photos I took with the One Plus X which is a significantly more expensive mid range device.
The front facing camera carries 5MP with the OmniVision OV5648, low light photo’s aren’t great, but the Selfies I took are absolutely usable. It also has the feature where if you put up a peace sign it starts a 2 or 3 second countdown to take a photo.
Call quality is acceptable though I did find my self plugging my other ear and searching for a quite area pretty much anytime there was moderate background noise. The sound quality for sharing media is loud enough but the audio itself if very flat, you won’t be wanting to listen to anything for long periods of time, headphones or a Bluetooth speaker would be preferred. However, if you need to share a video or song in a pinch you’ll be able to do so without any problems.
The single speaker is located at the bottom of the handset. UleFone claims that the Bes Smart audio processor increases the volume and adds richer deeper bass. It’s very hard for a smartphone to mimic Bass, HTC with their Boom Sound comes the closest, this is acceptable audio, not spectacular.
The Ulefone Paris ships with a 1.3GHz MediaTek MTK6753 octa-core processor, 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM and ARM Mali-T720 graphics. Performance for a budget phone is very good, and in real-life use it shows very little lag – launching the Camera app is probably the slowest thing, which takes just a couple of seconds. Plus, having all your apps on the home screen can speed up finding what you’re looking for, provided you don’t have too much installed.
There’s 16GB of storage inside, although only 9GB is available to the user. Fortunately there’s a microSD card slot, which supports up to 128GB when many budget phones can accommodate only 32GB.
The battery is removable, with 2,250mAh capacity. Ulefone says it provides a full working day, and 268 hours on standby.
During the review period I was testing out the OnePlus X so I didn’t have my SIM card in the Paris, the standby time is impressive and likely on par with what UleFone is proposing. But you can’t expect WiFi on with out 3G connectivity to be an example of standby time. I never failed to make it to the end of the day even if i had a late evening and wasn’t home until after midnight.
The Ulefone Paris supports 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and GLONASS and USB OTG. Although there’s no NFC, there is support for HotKnot, which is a MediaTek equivalent popular in China.
When looking at 4G LTE Connectivity includes 800/1800/2100/2600 (band20, band3, band1 and band7). Germany uses bands 20, 3 & 7, you want to see what telco uses which band you can visit the LTE Networks Wiki here or if you’re in another country, check out the Global LTE Wiki. If you’re curious specifically about the US, you’re out of luck, you won’t have LTE support at all.
We’re a big fan of Dual-SIM Smartphones, it allows you to separate work and pleasure and throw in a local SIM during trips abroad to keep connected cheaply. Both SIM slots support 4G, but you can only use data from one SIM at at time while operating in dual-standby mode.
The Ulefone Paris sports Android 5.1 Lollipop with a custom U Launcher which removes the app drawer. There are two styles of UI a more traditional Google UI which has an app drawer or an iOS style which keeps all your apps on your homepages. This works out fine for most people as long as you don’t have too many apps. The downside to not having an app drawer on Android is that most variations don’t include a way to search for an app. You’ll also need to try to keep your screens somewhat organized so if you’re not comfortable making folders and moving things around you might often feel lost while trying to get around.
The budget price point means that you’re going to get users that aren’t very savvy, and no app drawer on Android with out the tweaks that Apple includes like search can leave users stumbling around.
If you don’t have a problem organizing your icons and remembering where things are you’ll be happy with the level of customization available in the Themes. You can alter the look of these icons, and you switch between them by tapping the Change Skin button on the home screen. You can also tap the Theme button to download extra themes and wallpapers, then set them as the default with a single tap.
One addition we do like is the gallery time line shown on the final home screen. It’s an elegant way of showing off your photos and quickly finding photos if you remember around when they were taken. You can see that on the first photo in the software section. In the photo directly above you’ll see the notification center and notifications for a some preloaded games that constantly spam you, unfortunatly I’m not sure where this is loaded to so I can’t uninstall it. This is a real shame.
There are a few other things worth mentioning, smart gestures aren’t that customizable but you can do things like turn on three-finger screen shots (you merely swipe up or down with three fingers to take a screen grab), or gestures when making, receiving or muting phone calls and taking photos.
On Amazon you can pick the UleFone Paris up for $166, which is a deal as long as the 4G works in your region. The display is vibrant with great viewing angles even though it’s only HD we were happy. When it comes to performance it’s competently fast apart from how long the camera takes to open, except for that, it’s acceptably quick. The battery life is in fact all day though you’ll want to stay away from power hungry activities like gaming if you want to ensure you won’t run out.