Wiko ufeel Fab Review: Shines Pretty Well for a Budget Device
Wiko in Malaysia has been hard at work at bringing in as many devices as possible to our market, offering some more choices for the local consumers as well as an alternative to the Chinese brands that are flooding the market. The latest device that they’re offering is the ufeel Fab. You might be wondering – what are the headlines? Let me tell you this – it features a 5.5-inch display as well as a huge 4000mAh battery. And the best of all? It only costs RM799 and is aimed at lower end of the smartphone market. So, how does this package works? What are the pitfalls, and what are the advantages? Let’s see.
The packaging of the Wiko ufeel Fab is quite nice. It features the same packaging design as other Wiko devices – colourful design, actual photo of the phone as well as some specifications listed on its back. The phone is immediately presented on the top on a tray in a protective sleeve when you remove the cover. Opening the box on the left, you’ll get your usual accessories – a USB wall adapter, a microUSB cable for charging and data transfer, as well as a pair of earphones. But of course, like other Wiko devices, it does come with some extras, including a transparent soft case, a screen protector, a few SIM-card adapters and some documentations. For the price, you can’t complain.
The design of the ufeel Fab really differentiates itself from the rest, especially recent smartphones that tried so hard to make a carbon copy of the iPhone with metal unibody design. This time however, we’ve finally come across something different. While it may not look the best or have the most premium touch, for just RM799, there’s nothing wrong with its looks. It even feels like it been put together well and is solid while holding it. It is quite a heavy and thick device, weighing just a little over 200-grams and measuring at 10.6mm thickness, but putting the included 4000mAh battery into consideration, it is quite reasonable.
The front glass looks and feels premium with its 2.5D glass design with slightly rounded edges. The main highlight of the front is it’s 5.5-inch display, which is what other mid-range devices give you these days at a much higher pricing. The bezels on each side is a good small amount, which means less change of picking up unnecessary inputs while resting your finger on its sides. The usual earpiece, 5-megapixel front facing camera with LED flash and couple of sensors live on the top, while the bottom only consists of a multifunction button. Instead of just home, it will all the other Android navigation controls as well. It even has a rather quick fingerprint reader built-in it. While the reader is quick and accurate, there’s a noticeable lag before the screen actually turns on. It’s the same story with double-tapping the screen or pressing the power button to wake it up.
It’s totally clean on the left, which leaves the usual volume and power buttons to the right. As for the ports, the 3.5-mm earphone jack lives on top and the microUSB port lives at the bottom, both slightly aligned to the left.
The back is rather good looking and clean. While the grey “metal” part in the middle of it are premium looking and feeling metal, knocking it suggests otherwise. The top and bottom are just black plastic. The 13-megapixel camera lives on the top, along with an LED flash and a Wiko branding. The speaker is right at the bottom of the back.
You do notice that we did not mention anything about a “removable tray”, and its because this phone does feature something we have not seen in a while – a removable back cover. However, for this phone I’d rather have a removable tray, as it is quite tricky to pry off the back cover. The plastics on the side of the phone and the back cover are actually in one piece and it might take some time and patience to get the whole thing off. Once it’s off, you’re presented with the usual slots: 2 micro-SIM card slots as well as a microSD card slot for storage expansion. Those who requires dual-SIM functionality as well as storage expansion, rejoice! The ufeel Fab does offer that functionality, especially when the built-in 32GB storage might not be enough for everyone. You’ll also get a chance to look at the 4000mAh battery, even though it is sealed-in and non-removable.
Specs and Performance
For a budget phone, the specs on paper is just average. Qualcomm Snapdragon processors are nowhere to be seen, but instead we have a quad-core MediaTek processor, and it is clocked at 1.3GHz. They’re all equally low-powered cores, which means its important for them to spread tasks all across all cores to carry out tasks as efficiently as possible. Wiko has also decided to throw in 3GB of RAM into the mix.
The result speaks for themselves. In the real world, its not going to blow you away with amazing performance. While it is still a budget device, it does perform just average. The phone can handle normal day-to-day tasks easily, but it starts to struggle when stepping up to higher-powered tasks. You just had to expect a slight delay between tasks, and that delay is noticeable when running a new application or switching between applications. It is rather disappointing considering the fact that it comes with a pretty vanilla version of Android operating system, only with added functionality added here and there.
The results we got from Geekbench 4 benchmarking app are not that impressive either. Single core score is only at an average of 528, while multi-core scores at around 1473. It can really use more performance.
A 32GB eMMC internal storage is the sole option, with available storage expansion, which takes microSD cards up to 64GB without sacrificing dual-SIM functionality. An added bonus is that it is able to fuse both the internal and external storage to create a single partition. That function requires you to format your SD card before creating a partition and making sure the card is in all the time.
Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n dual-band Wi-Fi and LTE. Fancy things like NFC and IR blaster are nowhere to be seen.
Unlike phones with unibody designs, the loudspeaker is located on the back panel, and it will be covered when the phone is laying down on a flat surface. Nevertheless, it is a rather loud speaker, but it lacks clarity and bass at all volume levels. At its maximum level, there are little signs of distortions. Performance from the 3.5-mm headphone jack is not a problem, and could be better especially when paired with an external amplifier.
The highlight of this phone is the 5.5-inch display, which is almost unheard of at this range. 5.5-inch is probably the sweet spot in screen dimensions these days and it is nice that Wiko has made it available at this price range. However, sacrifice must be made in the resolution department, as it only comes in a 720p resolution (1280 X 720). With screen density of only 267 pixels-per-inch, it is not exactly the sharpest display out there, nor is it the worse. It is perfectly fine for daily use.
The IPS panel that it packs is quite good for its price. It is bright enough and perfectly fine under the sun or extremely bright conditions, and it has rather vivid and accurate colours. There are available screen modes to choose from based on your liking, and its best to leave it in vivid mode, and it’s perfectly fine as far as viewing angles go. There is an issue, however, with the display brightness, as it constantly jumps around in auto mode, even under the same conditions. It can be annoying as it goes unnecessarily bright or dim for no reason at all.
As a budget device, the camera of the ufeel Fab is both a hit and miss. Unlike phones around this price range, the ufeel Fab does feature decent sensors and software. For starters, the primary camera features a 13-megapixel sensor, which sounds good to start off with. Under bright conditions such as under the sun is where the camera shines. Colours are pretty accurate and vivid, with details are, rather surprisingly, well preserved. Under interior lighting conditions, it tries its best to keep everything natural without blowing things up too much.
Sadly, that’s where the good news ends. While it features the similar software as the more expensive ufeel Prime that we’ve checked out few months back, the hardware is the one that drags all of the good experience away. It does take some time to get the exposure right, and that’s especially bad during darker conditions. Accurate colours and natural details are completely destroyed under those conditions, and those pictures does look like its been taken with a terrible camera. This issue can be somewhat solved by tapping on the screen and let it focus on the object or using the manual mode.
The video recording on the ufeel Fab is a weird one. While Wiko claims that the ufeel Fab does record in Full HD resolution (1920 X 1080), our unit only records up to 720p resolution (1280 X 720) in 3GP format, both in 30 frames-per-second. Being a 3GP video, videos recorded are decent enough and quite smooth, but the audio can be slightly muffled. There aren’t any video stabilisation to aid in video recording, and can look very shaky.
You can also count on the front-facing 5-megapixel camera for good selfies, but just like the rear camera, its sweet spot is under sufficient lighting conditions. Under dark conditions you do get quite a lot of noise in the image.
The camera app looks just like the ones found in the more expensive ufeel Prime. Everything is logically laid out and simple to operate. There are 5 shortcut controls on the left, while the shutter button and camera recording button is on the right. When you tap on the video recording button, it starts recording immediately without going to any video mode. Swiping up and down brings you to either the modes or settings. There is a pro mode available which allows you to manually tune the settings, which includes focus, exposure, ISO, white balance as well as sharpness. While overall the software side of things are working quite well, it’s the hardware that is a let down.
To view samples taken with the Wiko ufeel Fab, click here.
As a bare minimum, the ufeel Fab does comes with Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, and kudos to them for not throwing too much of their own customisations at it. The overall experience is a rather vanilla and that is a good thing. Apart from the different launcher and a few added functionality here and there, other parts of the operating system does look like the familiar Android we know. We found that installing Google’s Now Launcher and use that as the default launcher improves the experience massively as the launcher that came with the phone is rather messy and unrefined. With that said, please do not expect it to perform like a normal Google Nexus or Pixel device would, as the performance is way off as we mentioned in the performance section above.
Battery life is not a problem with the ufeel Fab at all, thanks to its beefy 4000mAh battery. While it may be slightly worse than its own little brother, the ufeel Go with its smaller display, it does match with most of the flagships out there. With a mid-to-heavy daily use, it still manages to return over 25% after its been away from its charger for over 14 hours. For lighter usage, it will easily go over 24 hours on a single charge. While it does not feature any quick-charging technology, it does support charge up to 2A.
While the ufeel Fab is not the best phone in the world, at that price point, we can’t complain. At some point it does feel like a budget device, but overall we’re impressed with the effort that Wiko has put in to make the ufeel Fab feels more premium than its price would suggest, and how value for money it is.
5.5-inch IPS display, 720p resolution, 267 ppi
MediaTek 1.3GHz quad-core processor
3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, microSD support up to 64GB
13-megapixel rear facing camera
5-megapixel front facing camera
4000mAh non-removable battery
Value for money
Good looking exterior
Vanilla-ish user experience
Good battery life
Mix and match camera performance
Terrible speaker performance
Mid-range performance, not quite good user experience
Does not feature quick charging