Update: Checkout my updated hands-on review of the Umidigi A7S, complete with actual photos of the device here
Thermometer on an Android smartphone – who’d have ever thought that that would be a thing. Well, it’s a thing now, and on the newly released budget Umidigi A7S, you can use it to check body temperatures snappily.
But that’s not what this review is all about, the Umidigi A7S is still a smartphone, and from first impressions, it seems to strike the sweet spot between budget phone and capable. Is it a buy you should consider if you’re looking for a budget smartphone? That’s the question this review was meant to answer.
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Umidigi A7S design and build quality
With the A7S, Umidigi has ditched the glass sandwich build you’ll find on the pricier A7 Pro and S5 Pro. What you get is a full-on plastic (Umidigi calls it polycarbonate) build that wraps around the entire phone.
For a budget phone, plastic is not a bad material never mind it’s what you would get on pretty much every other phone from brands like Tecno and Infinix. On the Umidigi A7S, it looks good. Glass would have looked better. Still, considering the price and the added durability of a plastic build, we are not complaining.
The overall build of the phone is solid. It’s not premium, but you get solid clicking side-mounted power and volume rocker buttons, well-rounded edges, and a fantastic screen to body ratio.
The screen itself looks great. There’s the customary Umidigi style bezel that leads into a chin at the bottom of the phone. At the top end, you’ll find a teardrop notch that houses the front snapper. It’s essentially the same design language on Umidigi’s more popular smartphone options.
You can get the Umidigi A7S in three colour variants – Granite Grey, Sky Blue, and Peacock Green.
Umidigi A7S – Performance and spec-sheet
On the Umidigi A7S, performance is not a strong point, and that’s to be expected. The phone ships with an entry-level Mediatek MT6737 quad-core processor with a max clock speed of 1.25GHz and this pairs to an ARM Mali-T720-MP1 GPU.
The Umidigi A7S comes with just 2GB of RAM. 2GB is no doubt small in this day and age, but for what you’ll be doing with this phone, it should be enough. The entire spec-sheet rounds off to something that should be capable of doing regular everyday smartphone tasks; think mobile web browsing, watching YouTube videos, calling, and the likes. Hardcore gaming or performance-oriented task should be off the limits.
With the 2GB RAM and 1.25GHz specifications of the Umidigi A7S, it’s no surprise again to see that it spots only 32GB of storage. It’s not big, but for anyone getting this phone, 32GB is a steal at this price. There’s a Micro-SD slot, so you can expand the storage on the Umidigi A7S by up to 128GB if you need more space.
Umidigi A7S – Display quality
Continuing with the trend of downshifting to fit the budget, Umidigi has dropped the display capabilities of this phone. On the Umidigi A7S, the screen resolution is 1600 x 720 pixels. Low numbers, but need I remind you that that’s still an HD screen. There’s no official word on the PPI of this screen, but considering the aforementioned specs and the fact the size of the Umidigi A7S screen is 6.53 inches, it’s not out of place to assume that it’s okay like the resolution.
The Umidigi A7S screen is an IPS LCD screen, and as you’d expect, the images are more realistic than they’re vibrant. Colour quality and picture accuracy are decent, and screen brightness is certainly above par.
Overall, it’s not a spectacular screen, but it gets the job done.
Umidigi A7S – Camera
On the Umidigi A7S, you get a Triple camera setup on the back and a single 8MP camera out front. With the rear camera setup, there’s a main 13MP primary camera lens with an aperture size of F/1.8 that pairs to an 8MP ultra-wide lens and a 2MP depth sensor. Compared to the quad setup on the sister A7 Pro, this is a massive downgrade.
In the real world, don’t expect too much from the Umidigi A7S when it comes to camera picture quality. You’ll still get decent shots with a fair bit of bokeh, but it’ll be nowhere near what the Umidigi A7 Pro or Umidigi S5 Pro produce with their more advanced camera setup.
With both cameras, you can shoot 720p videos at a framerate of 30fps. There’s no optical image/video stability or continuous autofocus with either camera, so expect a fair bit of blurriness and shaky footages when you use the Umidigi A7S as a video recorder.
Umidigi A7S – Battery quality and performance
The battery onboard the Umidigi A7S has a capacity of 4150mAh, and that’s superb for a budget phone. 4150mAh should be enough to get you through a full day of usage, and in the box, Umidigi has included a 5W charger to juice up this device.
This is not a fast charger, but Umidigi says the A7S comes with support for fast charging.
Umidigi A7S – Special features
Three special features on the Umidigi A7S standout:
An infrared thermometer
When it comes to special features, the Umidigi A7S has an ace up its sleeves. It comes bundled with an inbuilt ‘non-contact digital infrared thermometer’ that Umidigi says will help you take body temperatures snappily. Any other time and this would have been dismissed firsthand as a gimmick. But, we are in the middle of a global pandemic, and thermometers have become something of an essential commodity.
A portable thermometer on hand could turn out to be handy in many situations, so this is mostly a usable feature.
An extra customizable button
On the top left edge of the Umidigi A7S, you’ll find an extra button that can be mapped to whatever function you want. It’s a handy feature that definitely improves the overall experience of using this phone.
Umidigi A7S – Pricing and Availability
For now, the Umidigi A7S is unavailable on Jumia and Konga. If you’re already sold on the device, you’ll have to ship it in from China. On Aliexpress, the Umidigi A7S costs $99, which translates to about 44,000 Naira without shipping.
What’s not to like about the Umidigi A7S
Frankly, for a budget android phone, the Umidigi A7S ticks all the relevant checkboxes. You’ve got a good camera, sound processor and RAM specifications, excellent battery life, and as an added perk, a digital thermometer.
The only real downside with Umidigi A7S is that it ships with a stripped-down version of Android called Android Go.
Also, at 44,000 Naira, it’s on the upper end of the ‘budget budget’ smartphone category, but that’s largely down to the current exchange rate in Nigeria. If you live elsewhere, $99 is a steal for an android device with a full HD screen, 4150mAh battery, support for 4G LTE, and a triple camera setup.
Should you buy the Umidigi A7S?
If you live in Nigeria, short answer, NO, and I’ll explain why. Without landing costs, the Umidigi A7S will set you back by 44,000 Naira if you ship it in from Aliexpress. On Jumia, the Umidigi A7 Pro costs just 40,000 Naira give or take. That phone comes with a better camera system, a better screen, and a more premium build. You even stock Android 10 right out of the box.
Understand that, as I hinted earlier on, this is primarily down to the faltering exchange rates in the country. If you live elsewhere, the Umidigi A7S is still your go-to phone when budget is a consideration since the Umidigi A7 Pro still costs about $130.