New mobile phone: Ulefone Vienna

It’s been now a little less than two month since my wife and me got the Ulefone Vienna delivered. Two identical ones at the same time. This gave us the chance to use them in real life including business trips and holidays.

Order and delivery was not spectacular but worth some fun if you order from China. So the VAT tax we had to pay to the delivery guy from DHL. But since I didn’t that or how much it would be it was unlucky when he came and I had not the required twenty-something pounds in cash or a cheque. More fun was to get a text message from DHL about one hour later to tell me than I would need to pay the tax in cash and how much it was. Quick research on the internet and I found out that you can pay with cards online. Did that and next day no problems getting my hands on the phones.

First two things were a bit disappointing: During setup I entered a 6 digits PIN, but to unlock the phone I could only enter 4 digits after which it would say “wrong PIN”. Not a big deal and testing the factory reset. Second at some point during first charge it stopped charging due to a loose cable. Wasn’t sure if I didn’t plug it in properly or if this was an issue.

But from those to funny and unique “problems” it just got better and better. The battery took a few charges to finally reach full capacity and compared to the iPhone5 I used unhappily before it lasted two to three times longer even with a bigger and much better screen. During a four day trip with heavy Wi-Fi usage I had only to charge it the last night.

The dual SIM functionality was the one I was looking for to consolidate work and private phone in one device. Setup of this was straightforward. Both SIM cards in and then choosing the defaults for text messages, calls and data connection. I left most on “ask” . Only the data connection had to be set. It works as expected. Making a phone call it asks me which SIM to use and the same when texting. If a call comes in it displays the line name I setup… someone calls me one the private number it would show “private”. Easy and works well.

The camera does nice pictures. As expected not the best ones it’s a low cost phone but for snapshots or photos for private use certainly enough. Here is one picture which was taken at very light conditions during our last holidays in Crete.

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In term of general performance I have absolutely no complains. The specs can be found here. Application install is fast, surfing as well and closing of open apps was not necessary so far. Storage is way more available than I will ever need since I don’t carry my music or movies with me.

Interesting for the more tech savvy, this phone has no lock down in terms of access to the operating system. No need to root the phone. This is specially helpful if you run into problems which are not solved by restarting the phone or if you want to customize the phone to your needs.

After a few weeks an update was available which was easy to install (if the battery is full enough) and done within a few minutes.

wp-1468782905065.pngUnfortunately a bit before the update the mobile phone started to display very often two advertisements on the full screen. Those both ads were coming up every minute and it happened on both phones. Clearly annoying and clearly planned. The apps advertised for were named “DU Battery Saver” and “Superb Cleaner”.

After some analysis I narrowed it down to one of two apps to pop up those ads. Here came the root access handy and after disabling both apps the ads did not show anymore. wp-1468782886158.pngThe apps I disabled without any side effect so far were “Search Applications Provider” and “Search Service”.

And now, a few weeks after the last update, another one is waiting to be installed. Not sure if this is a good sign and they keep up with patches or if they had so many issues in that they needed to produce already two updates in about 8-10 weeks.

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