Software

There are some things to like about the Umi Touch’s software. For starters, this device is loaded with near-stock Android 6.0 ‘Marshmallow’ by default, which is basically the latest version of Android. The lack of bloatware is a serious positive in my eyes: there is nothing included on this device out of the box that shouldn’t be there.

As the Touch runs stock Android by default, there are very few features around the operating system to discuss. In the settings screen you’ll find a Turbo Download mode for downloading using Wi-Fi and mobile networks simultaneously, and a range of touchscreen gesture features I didn’t bother using. You can also schedule times that the Umi Touch turns itself on and off, perhaps overnight if you don’t want to be disturbed.

AOSP apps are pre-loaded on the phone, so the calendar and contacts apps don’t surprise or bring anything unique to the table, for example. Oddly, the Touch includes the Play Store, but many of the typical pre-loaded Google apps are missing, including Gmail, Maps, and YouTube. These can be downloaded through Google Play, and I suspect Umi is being a bit sneaky here.

I did notice a few inconsistencies through the operating system that could have been polished a bit better, like the lack of a background to folders in the launcher, and a weird over-the-air updating utility that isn’t 100% reliable while downloading updates (it’s fine while installing them, though). For the most part, though, Umi has just taken stock Android 6.0 and installed it on the Touch, which is fine.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects to the Touch’s software package is first-party support for installing other ROMs. Through a Windows utility called Rootjoy, provided by Umi, you can install various custom ROMs including MyUI, Flyme, Vibe UI, 360OS, and Windows 10 Mobile. Yes, you can install Windows on this smartphone through the utility, although I expect most people will stick to Android.

The flashing process is pretty straightforward: everything is essentially done in a single click, taking away the complications of rooting the device and getting ROMs to install correctly. If you want to try out something that’s not just stock Android 6.0, potentially with more features, support for the aforementioned ROMs by Umi is great to see.

Personally, none of the other ROMs really appealed to me as I’m a fan of stock Android, so I quickly reverted back to Android 6.0 after trying out some of the other operating systems on offer.

As for updates, at least on the stock ROM Umi sent out updates on a reasonably regular update to address performance and other issues. I’m not convinced this sort of support will continue long into the future, and I doubt Umi will push security updates through to the Touch, but it was good to see this device actually receiving updates rather than just being abandoned immediately after launch.