Huge and thick phones. You may either like it, or despise it. There are many “tough” phones available right now and you can buy them from Banggood.com at a very affordable price. But is it worth your money to buy from a lesser known brand for a waterproof and shockproof “tough” phones? This review will probably change you mindset after this.
I called it, the Clumsy Mum Phone. Actually, my wife calls it that. The Umidigi BISON is one tough phone that not only thicker than normal, but also a little heavy, thanks to its 5000mAh sized battery. You may think that a lesser known brand like Umidigi will come up with a flimsy phone build with cheap material plastic body but see how wrong you are.
To my surprise, this BISON is nothing less than awesome.
Umidigi BISON – First Look & Design
The Umidigi BISON came in a simple minimal white box. On the front is just the name of the brand and at the back, it shows the specifications of the phone for easy reference. It doesn’t show that it needs to impress. What is important is in the box itself.
Upon opening the box, the first thing you’re going to notice about the BISON is the thickness. It is thicker than most mid-range Android smartphones right now but with its kind of build, I would expect it to be thick and tough. In fact, I want it to be thick and tough. Second thing you will notice is the weight. As mentioned earlier, it is heavier due to the large battery capacity of 5000mAh.
With all that weight and thickness, we have a highly durable waterproofed and dustproofed device made to survive in extreme conditions.
The design is pretty simple at the front. The large 6.3″ FHD+ display is bright and vibrant. The display is at 2340×1080 resolution to give that full HD experience. At the middle section at the top it a small u-shape notch that houses the 25MP selfie camera.
Around the back, there is the camera bump that holds 4 camera setups – 48MP main camera, 16MP ultra-wide angle camera, 5MP macro camera and 5MP depth sensor camera. There is also a dual LED flash to give that extra boost of light in dark areas. But, more about the camera performance later on.
The back is made of plastic but it feels rather soft, almost like a rubbery material. It feels good and solid. It does give me a little more confidence to handle this device because it feels grippy. The name BISON is printed in the middle with shiny plastic background. This made it look good and stylish. There is the back firing main speaker located near the bottom area. It produces loud and clear sound which I think is not bad.
There is a red “hoop” at the bottom, probably to attach a land-yard or something like that. This is a tough phone, so there is no point to slap on a case on the Umidigi BISON. Doing so will make the phone thicker and bulkier, I won’t suggest doing that.
Moving on to the sides. The best part about the sides is the metal reinforcement. Being a solid build smartphone, having the metal reinforcement for the sides made it look and feel premium. The side buttons are made of metal too. Not many phones today that has this, even the flagship ones. I would give high points to build quality and the overall feel of the Umidigi BISON. It feels great – heavy, but great.
There are 4 buttons located on the right side of the phone. The two volume rockers are at the top, and the power button right below it. The surface is textured, giving you that grippy feel. This also helps in the overall grip of the phone itself. There is another button near the bottom for underwater camera. Press once to activate the camera while being underwater and press again to take the shot. To exit from the underwater camera function, simply press the power button.
This is very useful when taking underwater shots. Some phones that comes with IP68 waterproofing doesn’t have a dedicated camera button. To press on the shutter button on the display is an annoying task. Sometimes is register the touch, most of the times it doesn’t. So having a dedicated camera button is a huge plus point.
On the left side of the phone, you can find the SIM tray/TF card slot, which you can simply pull out with your nail instead of using the pin. Very convenient. Below it is the side mounted fingerprint sensor which performs really good. It is very fast and accurate. One of the most accurate fingerprint sensors that I’ve touched.
Right below that is another button. This is a programmable button to do whatever you set in the settings. On default, it is a PTT button that works with the pre-installed walkie-talkie app, Zello.
Around the top, there is only the 3.5mm audio jack available. On the opposite end, you can find the USB type-C port and the tiny mic hole. That’s it. Simple yet functional design on a smartphone.
Now here’s a quick look at the specifications:
- SoC: MediaTek Helio P60 (MT6771), Octa-core 4x Cortex A73 2.0 GHz + 4x Cortex A53 2.0 GHz
- GPU: ARM Mali-G72 MP3 700MHz
- OS: Android 10
- Memory: 128GB 6GB RAM
LCD IPS 6.3″ FHD+
2340 x 1080 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (409 ppi density)
Li-Ion 5000 mAh, non-removable
48MP Wide Sony IMX586 Exmor RS, ƒ/ 1.79
5MP Depth sensor
5MP Macro camera
- Selfie Camera:
24MP Sony Exmor RS
Fingerprint, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer.
- Colours: Black/Orange, Black/Blue
Umidigi BISON – Performance & Daily Use
In terms of power and performance, the Umidigi BISON is powered by MediaTek Helio P60 octa-core SoC and supported by 6GB of RAM. On paper, this is a medium specification which should be able to run multi-tasking job easily. Games are also supported and in fact, it went better than I expected.
First lets talk about the daily use. For normal usage like checking emails, chatting on messenger apps, photo editing, social media and all the other usual day-to-day stuffs is a breeze. The 5000mAh battery is able to last almost two days of use. On my normal usage condition, the battery can last almost a whole 48 hours before I plug in the charger again. The battery endurance is good.
On heavy usage like photo + video editing, movie and music streaming, light gaming and lots of camera use, it performed well too. The device does not heat up during heavy use, which is a plus point. And the battery can last me the whole day until late night before it hits 10%, which is good too. So far I am impressed by the Umidigi BISON.
For my usual hard gaming sessions, I will usually test it with PUBG Mobile. I can set the graphics to high on the BISON, and it is able to run quite smoothly at 30fps settings. More than that, it shows a little bit of hard working lags. Ultimately, I am able to run and play PUBG Mobile on the Umidigi BISON. When the graphic is set properly, I am able to run the game smoothly and get that Chicken Dinner.
On another note, the battery is able to last close to 10 games from 100% until down to about 15%. It does not run hot, just slight warm around the back. The back firing audio is somewhat unsuitable for this type of game, but the sound is very loud and clear.
Testing the IP68 waterproof on the BISON is easy. I wish we can travel to the riverside on the weekends but because of the pandemic lockdown, we are stuck in our own district at the moment. So to test the Umidigi BISON waterproofing, I only dip it in a kiddie pool at home. And yes, it worked as advertised.
Not much to say about the daily usage with the Umidigi BISON except that it worked wonderfully when and where its needed.
Umidigi BISON – Camera & Photography
A good camera is at least 70% of the selling point for any smartphones. People will always ask, “how’s the camera like?”. I get this a lot! But it is ultimately how you use it, not entirely on the camera’s megapixel count.
The BISON’s main camera is a 48MP Sony sensor, which is pretty much a standard for many mid-range smartphones out there. It is not a bad camera sensor. It is not the best either. It all goes down to the camera app post-processing functions and how it is fine tuned by the developer.
In which, I think the Umidigi BISON is able to take decent photos. Most of them are sharp and vibrant. Auto focus works rather fast but it definitely can be better. Just need to find tune the camera app and it’s all fine. The camera app is easy to use. Switching to different mode is easy, all can be selected right from the main camera interface.
For easy photo mode, simply switch on the AI function, letting the app to automatically select the best scenario for your shots. There are 13 scenario available, each with its own unique settings. Very useful for a quick no-frills photography session.
Manual mode is also available for those who likes to make their own adjustments for exposure, colour balance, aperture and many other “pro” settings.
Enough talking. Time to check out the photos from the camera below. You can be the judge for yourself. It is not as great as many of the flagships but it does a decent job capturing the moment without losing too much details.
Umidigi BISON is something else. I have tested and reviewed many Android phones in the past but this is the first time I received a “tough” phone. It is thick, heavier than most, and most importantly durable.
It is an excellent phone to get if you work outdoors or doing food delivery services. With it, you don’t have to worry about working your phone in the rain or in rough conditions. You can also remove the fear of dropping it from your mind. The rubber feel at the back and the grippy sides will instill confidence in your daily routine.
Get the Umidigi BISON if you’re always working outdoors. Get it if you want something different. I am very happy with it so far. And I don’t think it will underestimate its build quality from here onwards.
I got the Umidigi BISON from Banggood.com, a marketplace full of gadget and home stuffs with prices that you won’t believe (it’s cheap). It is based in China and has now become my go-to marketplace for cool gadgets and stuffs. Delivery is between 9 to 12 days time, speaking from experience. Do expect some delays during this pandemic time but that doesn’t happen often.
If you’re thinking of getting the Umidigi BISON for yourself, hit the button below to immediate purchase. Price is US$154.99 (Approximately RM640.00)