Audio, Display and Camera Quality
So, had Ulefone decided to include a 1080p display in the Paris, it could have easily priced it as a mid-range phone. Does that mean the 720p display is not good? Not at all. In fact, it’s quite good and MediaTek’s MiraVision software allows you to tweak a lot of settings manually.
Viewing angles are good, the colours are vibrant, maybe even a tad oversaturated, and the fact that you can use MiraVision to tune the display just right is good news for advanced users.
Does a 720p display make sense in an era of 1080p panels? Well, on 5-inch devices it still does, because the pixel density is relatively high, so in most cases user experience is not degraded. Of course, a 1080p panel would have been even better, but then this wouldn’t be a $120 phone, would it?
Audio quality is average. There is no noise-cancelling microphone, which is to be expected on such an inexpensive device (and it’s missing from some much pricier phones). The earpiece is loud and clear, while the side firing speaker distorts bass when it’s maxed out. The speaker is still sufficient for the occasional video or hands-free call.
The camera is a mixed bag, to say the least. With a decent sensor behind an f/1.8 lens, we expected good performance. We got it, sort of. The Ulefone Paris can snap some good photos, but the camera app leaves much to be desired. It does that camera software and firmware are not well optimised, causing slowdowns and lag. The phone starts to heat up after a few minutes in the camera app, especially when you start playing around with custom filters and other features.
The sluggish UI was a disappointment and we expected subpar images as well. However, when we reviewed the photos, we were in for a nice surprise.
Daytime indoor shots were nothing short of excellent, as our 100% crop proves. Almost everything was spot on: exposure, colours, focus.
Night images taken under incandescent lighting weren’t as good, as they were relatively soft and oversaturated. However, they're not bad for such a cheap device.
Outdoor shots were adequate as well. We also tried HDR in a couple of scenes and the results were mixed.
Sometimes it worked quite well, but on some occasions it would generate artificial outlines in high contrast areas (sky in park images). As this crop proves, a lot of detail was preserved in HDR shots.
The troublesome camera app offers a lot of options, including 15 filters, picture-in-picture mode, gesture support and other useful and not so useful features. If it didn’t suffer from performance issues and slow viewfinder response, it would have been an average camera app. The default settings produced oversaturated images, especially in low light, but this can be tweaked in the app.
We also tried installing Google Camera, hoping to address some of these issues. The viewfinder was somewhat smoother, but still not smooth enough. This leads us to conclude that the camera firmware is not optimised.
It’s a pity, because the camera hardware is obviously capable of delivering good results. It’s always frustrating to see unused potential.
The front camera is a 5-megapixel unit based on an OmniVision sensor, but for some reason Ulefone decided to interpolate it to 8 megapixels. It delivers average results, but it gets the job done, unless you’re a selfie fanatic.