Ulefone T1 hands-on: A high-performing phone with nice-to-have extras


The Ulefone brand is a new name for me. Its website states that it is one of the biggest manufacturers of mobile devices and accessories in China.

Its range of phones are affordable, and it has a large range of agents selling its phones. I was keen to try one of its devices to see how well it compared to other Chinese smartphones

The Ulefone T1 phone is an impressive device. Running Android 7.0 Nougat with a few Ulefone specific tweaks, it set up quickly and performed well on all tasks.

IN THE BOX

Inside the box is the phone itself, a ring holder that sticks on the back of the phone, a coiled USB-C cable with cable clips, and a hard plastic screen protector.

It also comes with its own hard leather case to protect the back of phone. I really like the extra touches that Chinese manufacturers are now adding to their offering.

Hands on with the Ulefone T1 smartphone - A high performing device with nice-to-have extras zdnet

(Image: Eileen Brown)

HARDWARE

It has 6GB LPDDR4 RAM with a bandwidth of 32Gbps and an 8-core Helio P25 processor with a clock speed up to 2.6GHz. Compared with the Apple A10 fusion chip, which has four cores running at up to 2.4GHz, I was expecting a fast performance from the device. It also has 64GB ROM available.

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One of the clusters runs at 1.6GHz for trivial tasks, and the other cluster deals with high-intensity tasks. The clusters can switch power depending on task requirements, meaning that there is a reduction in power usage.

If you only use the phone for low-power tasks such as social media, email, or calls, the clusters will run at low power. Gaming or other high-intensity activities will cause the clusters to request more power.

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The phone has a 5.5-inch FHD display (1920×1020), and it’s comfortable to hold in the hand. It has a Mali T880 graphics chip running at 1GHz maximum. The casing of the phone is sleek and smooth. The metal body has been CNC-cut and grit-blasted for a satin finish.

The cameras are good, too. The T1 has 16MP and 5MP dual cameras. The 5MP gives a bokeh effect to images. There is a five-element lens, a two-tone quad flash, and PDAF fast focus.

FOR CONSUMERS ONLY

Unfortunately, the image manipulation tools also include several ‘beauty’ features for selfie images. You can whiten and slim the face, remove acne, and add foundation, blusher, and lipstick. There is also a breast enhancement feature, which firmly puts this phone in the realm of consumer purchasing, and rules this product out of enterprise procurement.

The audio sounds impressive from the NXP Hi-Fi audio chipset. It delivers a good, clear sound — even without external speakers. The phone’s ringtone is very loud indeed.

The phone I tested also had the ability to record phone calls, which were stored in the file manager. Although useful, be aware that this is illegal in some states without both parties agreeing to the call being recorded.

I liked the battery capacity and charging ability of the device. The T1 has a high decent internal battery with a 3680mAh capacity. It also has Quick Charge technology to charge the phone up completely in around 1.5 hours — a useful feature.

I particularly liked the responsiveness of the fingerprint sensor, which unlocked the phone for me almost immediately. In fact, I liked the responsiveness across all of the features of the phone.

For under $300, this is a really good, cost effective device with great performance and a sleek look.

It is a great phone. But the selfie beauty features would have to be disabled before it could be a suitable device for corporate use. Apart from that, the Ulefone T1 is a really great phone I would be happy to own.

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