Wiko ufeel Prime Review: The Value For Money Mid-ranger

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The name Wiko might be familiar among foreign smartphone markets, but it is slightly foreign for our market. They’ve brought in a few devices that they think suits our market, and one of them is the ufeel Prime. Launched back in September 2016, the ufeel Prime is one of their more premium offering smartphones, but still just slots into the mid-range smartphone market. As a device competing in such a competitive market, the ufeel Prime has pretty big holes to fill. With a price tag of only RM899, does it have what it takes to shine in the market or is it going to be another device drowning in the sea of devices?

Unboxing

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The packaging that the Wiko ufeel Prime is interesting. It is rather colourful and interesting box instead of the plain box we saw with most other more expensive devices. Wiko actually spend time design the box to be attractive. It’s a party in the box. Apart from the phone located on the top, the box packs so much more than the usual microUSB cable, a USB wall adapter and documentations. At this price, it even comes with a transparent soft case, a standard screen protector, a well designed SIM tray ejector with Wiko logo on it and even a small case for the ejector so that you can carry it around. At this price point, its well worth it.

Design

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The design of the Wiko ufeel Prime is pretty blend. While it is mature, well-restrained and has a premium design where Wiko likes to talk about, there’s really nothing too special about it. The glass front with chrome sides gives it a premium look and feel, but the rest of the body does not have the premium feel. The metal bits feel more like metal coated on plastic rather than actual metal. Nevertheless, they’ve tried hard trying to make it feel like metal, and it can get away with it at first glance.

The front of the devices consists of a 5-inch display. The bezels on each sides are rather thin, and all 4 edges of the glass are curved with chrome inserts, which makes swiping from sides a breeze. There’s very minimal accidental inputs as well. On the top, it has a 13-megapixel camera, an LED flash and the usual sensors. The bottom is a single physical button with a fingerprint reader built in. All the Android controls are operated all from that one button, or on-screen controls.

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The fingerprint reader takes 5 fingers, and while it is blazing fast and pretty accurate, it sometimes unable to take fingerprints at different orientation. It also allows finger to be scanned while the screen is off and device locked.

The left side consist of an ejectable tray. It consists of 2 slots. Like most other phones we’ve seen in the past, the primary slot takes a nanoSIM card, and the second slot takes either a nanoSIM card or a microSD card for storage expansion, so you do still have to choose between dual-SIM slot or expanding the storage. The 3.5mm headphone jack is located on the top, while the power button and volume rockers are conveniently located on the right. The microUSB port lives at the bottom, while on either side is the microphone and speakers.

The back is where the 13-megapixel rear facing camera lives, along with a dual-LED flash. There’s really nothing much apart from the Wiko branding and some regulatory items at the bottom.

The Wiko ufeel Prime is offered in 3 colours: Gold, Silver and Anthracite (which is more like a black). The bezels of the front glass is also colour-matched to the body, which is a nice touch.

Specs and performance

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On paper, the Wiko ufeel Prime sounds promising. Even though it runs on one of Qualcomm’s lower-end Snapdragon processor – the Snapdragon 430, it’s a full octa-core unit clocked at around 1.4GHz. Working along is a whopping 4GB of RAM. Sounds pretty good at this price point.

But what about real world performance? The Wiko ufeel Prime performs moderately. Not to say it’s slow, but there are times where it slows down to even perform normal tasks, such as opening an application or even making a call. The Snapdragon 430 is not designed to be a performer, but it’s expected to perform easy tasks well and efficiently. The weakness really shows during heavy tasks. When all 8 cores are fired up to the max, the back of the phone starts to heat up quickly and drastically impacts the battery life.

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Using Geekbench 4 to set a benchmark for the phone, the numbers really speak for themselves. Single-core score is at a rather low 620, and multi-core score tops at 1985. While single-core score might not sound like much, multi-core score is one of the highest we’ve seen in this price range, and with that score, it is expected that it would perform well.

The Wiko ufeel Prime is only offered with a 32GB internal memory, and it’ll take external storage expansion up to 64GB, even though you’ll have to sacrifice dual-SIM functionality. The Wi-Fi chip is only a 802.11 b/g/n and only supports Bluetooth 4.1. It does have 4G LTE, but there are times where it functions rather poorly. Sometimes the speed can be slow or can’t even connect to the internet with full bar of 4G. Doing an internet speed test side by side with other phones and you’ll see the difference. It does not feature NFC or IR blaster.

The audio performance is average as well. The speakers are loud, but audio is slightly muffled and could use a bit of clarity. The earpiece is not so good as well, as it’s quieter and audio is muffled as well, and there are times where just can’t hear what the other party is saying. Both microphones,

Display

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The strongest point of this phone is probably the display. Although it’s only a 5-inch display, it does tick all the right boxes. It’s an IPS panel, and has a Full HD resolution (1080 X 1920 pixels). With a pixel density of 441 pixels per inch, the display is sharp and pixels are barely noticeable. It’s hands down one of the sharpest display at this price point.

With the IPS display panel, it is one of the brightest as well. There’s hardly any gap between the panel and the glass, which is a big plus. The colour is vivid, and viewing angle is spot on. In fact, this display is better than the Zenfone 3 Deluxe we saw earlier. While it may not match the colour density of a Super AMOLED panel, it’s good enough.

Camera performance

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The rear facing camera of the Wiko ufeel Prime is a modest 13-megapixel setup, and the sensor is Sony’s IMX258. It shares the same sensor as other more popular mid-range smartphones namely the Sony Xperia XA, the OnePlus X and its sibling, the Wiko U Feel. The image quality turned out to be not bad at all. Daylight conditions is where the camera performs the best. Image quality is sharp, colours are vivid and spot on. Autofocus is fast and accurate. Stepping to low-light conditions and the camera starts to struggles a bit. Autofocus takes quite some time to figure out what’s going on and this means that you might miss the quick shot that you’re aiming for. But the plus side is it works hard to keep the lighting right without underexpose or overexpose the image.

Along with the camera are some hardware and software additions to improve the image quality taken with the camera. It has a dedicated Night mode which adds another second to the shutter speed to capture more light. Features such as HDR, Smile Shots, Pro mode and Beauty mode joins the Wiko ufeel Prime to allow the camera to perform at it’s max. Though the dual-LED flash is not True Tone and is just 2 white LEDs stacked on each other, they’re super bright and works really well, especially on an object or person closer to the camera. As expected, there is no Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), but a digital version is available to reduce blurs caused by shaking.

As a mid-range phone, the Wiko ufeel Prime only shoots at Full HD resolution (1920 X 1080) at 30 frames per second. Still, video is nice and sharp in sufficient lighting, and its smooth as well. In video mode it tends to jump on the exposure quite a lot when switching from one lighting to another.

The front facing 8-megapixel selfie camera allows you to take good selfies and share them on social medias. Unlike the “selfie kings” we’ve seen – the Oppo F1s and the recently launched Vivo V5, there’s a dedicated LED flash for the front facing camera like the Sony Xperia XA Ultra. Like the rear LEDs, the front flash is just a single white LED, while HTC’s Desire Eye offers dual-tone LED flash, and the Vivo V5 rely on the screen and sensors for a true tone flash. Nevertheless, it improves low light selfies massively, reducing unnecessary noises and horrible quality. The included Beauty mode also helps removing unnecessary details off your face.

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The camera app is also easy and simple to use. Swiping left allows you to access some settings for the camera, such as timer, toggling the shutter sound, changing the picture size and also reducing flicker, amongst other settings. Swiping right lets you access to more image modes. A pro mode is also included which allows full control over focus, exposure, ISO, white balance and sharpness, thus you can have the exact image quality you want.

To view sample photos and videos taken on the Wiko ufeel Prime, click here.

Software

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The Wiko ufeel Prime comes preloaded with Android 6.0 Marshmallow right out the box. Though it comes with a different launcher, different designs for pre-loaded applications and added functionality here and there, the experience is pretty vanilla. As the phone is not powerful enough to handle heavy themes and lots of extra functions, it’s a good choice for Wiko to stay close to vanilla Android. There’s not much bloatware that came with this phone, apart from a few that users might find useful. Still, the firmware is managed by Wiko, and we’re unable to tell the amount of updates Wiko plans to release, or when will Wiko stop providing updates.

Battery life

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Despite packing a 3000mAh non-removable battery, the battery life of the Wiko ufeel Prime is not particularly impressive. In our test, the phone can barely hold its battery life over 20%. Often it automatically slips into eco mode and shuts down Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mobile data, as well as dimming the display and limits functionality at the end of our day when it drops below 20%. As it has a rather low-powered processor, it often has to spin all its processors up which tampers with the battery life. There’s no quick charging technology either, which could be a nice feature.

Conclusion

As a mid-range device, the Wiko ufeel Prime is still a serious contender in the smartphone market by offering good looking and well designed hardware as well as some serious ability. The specs are right where we expect it to be, and overall experience is rather good. It may not be the best, but its not the worse either, and the Wiko ufeel Prime is worth to be in your list of phones to consider if you’re shopping for one at this price point.

Recap:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 Processor, 8x 1.4GHz, octa-core
4GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, supports microSD storage expansion up to 64GB
5-inch IPS display, 1080 X 1920 resolution, 441 pixels-per-inch
Dual-SIM, dual-standby
13-megapixel rear facing camera, 1080p videos @ 30 frames-per-second
8-megapixel front facing camera, with dedicated LED flash
3000mAh non-removable battery
Fingerprint reader

Pros:
Offers a lot of value for your money
Sharp display with vivid colours
Image quality on point with sufficient lighting
A whopping 4GB of RAM
Close to vanilla user interface

Cons:
Disappointing sound quality from speakers
Cheap feeling choice of materials
Terrible battery life
Connectivity issues
Lower performance