Smartphones are an ever-evolving beast pushed by technology with new processors, better cameras, more RAM, and storage capacity and constantly updated operating systems. One tech area within smartphones that has unfortunately been put by the wayside has been smarter, larger and more efficient batteries. As manufacturers try to squeeze more power from thinner devices, total use time has been diminishing over the past few years.
Enter the Ulefone Power 2; a smartphone that accentuates and embraces its heavier and bulkier frame all in the name of power. Not processing power or graphical power–but battery power that can get any user through a heavy-use day, and then some. Ulefone has positioned the Power 2 to sell to smartphone users that are fed up with charging their devices at the most inopportune times.
Packaging: The Power 2 comes in somewhat non-traditional packaging that doesn’t quite attain the feel of a high-end electronics device. Ulefone ships the Power 2 in a simple black box with a ‘POWER II’ logo that adorns the front side. Ulefone’s Power II logo reminded me of something you’d see on a generic car battery or hardware battery pack. Upon opening the box I found a nicely packaged device with all seemingly all the right accessories.
Inside the box:
- Ulefone Power 2 Smartphone
- International charging brick
- 3-foot red micro-USB cable
- USB to micro-USB adapter
- Protective case
- Screen protector
- Carrying ring
- Multi-language Manual
- Sim ejection tool
Ulefone does not include a regional power adapter, as this is not for my local region, but thankfully any standard micro-USB charger works just fine. Also not inside the box: earbuds. Considering that I now have a half a dozen cheap headphones lying around and that I normally prefer a good set of Bluetooth headphones, I was not upset by Ulefone’s decision to ship the Power 2 without a set of earbuds.
Body: Sleek, Dark, Bold. The Ulefone Power 2 has a very traditional look and feel that is both classic and modernized. The metal body pairs well with the 2.5D glass and feels great in the hand. I definitely noticed a premium feel the first time I picked up the phone. The curved edges are different from both of the recent offerings from Samsung and Apple, which makes the Power 2 feel unique while retaining a more traditional overall look.
The Power 2 feels hefty with the massive internal battery but never caused any wrist or hand fatigue over extended periods of use. It harkens back to more of a blocky, brick feel of some earlier smartphones, but with the large screen, the size is definitely emphasized. The chamfered back edges of the Power 2 feel great in the hand and add to the overall ergonomics.
I was surprised to find both a protective case and screen protector in the packaging with the Power 2. The case is sturdy plastic with a pseudo-leather styling that reminded me of something Motorola may offer in its Moto style line. I’m normally the type of person that keeps a case on my daily driver, but with the Ulefone Power 2, I felt just as comfortable with the case on as I did with the case off.
The fingerprint scanner is built into the physical home button found in the middle of the bottom bezel and it works incredibly well. It was just as fast, if not faster that the best scanners from Apple and Samsung. One additional feature that I found very handy was the ability to just touch the fingerprint reader to turn on and unlock the device from an off-state. It’s quick and accurate–just as a fingerprint scanner should be.
Screen: The Ulefone Power 2 has a 5.5-inch full-HD display that is neither stunning nor underwhelming. It’s a simple IPS LCD with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 that auto-adjusts with a light sensor and proximity sensor just above the screen. I found the auto-brightness feature to not work as well as some other phones, but in general, the Power 2 does a fairly decent job of adjusting to changes in environmental lighting.
Not once did I notice the screen to seem too saturated, too glossy, too cool or too dithered. Honestly, this is a great screen especially when you consider the Power 2 is a budget-friendly device. The biggest drawback to the screen size is the fact that it’s in a traditional 16:9 layout while new devices are experimenting with high aspect ratios to allow for more screen real-estate without making the device feel too large. Samsung and LG both offer higher aspect ratios that make their flagships large without being too wide for most users’ hands. Ulefone Power 2 retains a more historically common 16:9 ratio that may change in future iterations.
Sound (speaker, headphone, Bluetooth):
The Power 2 has a single speaker at the bottom of the device which plays fairly loudly but does not overly impress with quality nor overall volume. Yes, it gets loud for its size, but, like most smartphones, it will not fill a room with booming sound. Thankfully a universal 3.5mm headphone port sits at the top of the phone if you wish to get full stereo sound from a set if headphones or auxiliary speaker. The Ulefone Power 2 also has Bluetooth 4.0 out of the box to support a multitude of Bluetooth headphones, speakers, car and home device connections. I was able to easily connect a multitude of devices to the Power 2 over Bluetooth with no issues.
Camera: With a 16MP rear-facing and 13MP front-facing selfie camera, the Power 2 has you covered in megapixels. The lenses feature 14 different light filters as well as what Ulefone calls 100-stage beautification–just imagine how beautiful you will look on this phone. In all seriousness, the Power 2’s rear camera has an auto-HDR mode that requires a steady hand but offers some better shadow processing for more natural looking photos. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of photos in well-lit environments, however, low-light shots left a lot to be desired.
With the budget friendly pricing, I expected very little from Ulefone in the camera department. Thankfully, most daytime shots turned out great with no over-saturation and a great amount of detail. Night shots and low-level indoor shots were fairly grainy and often-times blurry. The Power 2 is not a smartphone for users looking for a great way to take photos but does a fair job for most common daytime photography.
The Ulefone Power 2 has a huge 6050 mAh, built-in battery. This large battery is non-removable but considering the size and capabilities, this should not be an issue. The massive size of the battery adds some heft to the overall feel of the phone but also affirms that you’ll rarely need to charge the device. Ulefone advertises that most users could make it four full days without needing to charge and power users should make it through two days without issue.
I found that I was able to make it through about three days of normal use before I felt the need to charge. I was amazed every time I went to check my battery status. Smartphones I’ve used in the past have had a hard time staying charged through one day of extensive use, but the Power 2’s ability to get me through multiple days was a real surprise–and I don’t know if I ever want to go back. In most instances, while checking the Power 2 throughout the day, I was surprised to notice that the battery had dropped only a few points from the last time I had checked.
The “Power” name designation perfectly accentuates the main selling point of this smartphone from Ulefone–it really is a game-changer. I commend Ulefone for pushing overall battery power considering one of the main drawbacks of the most popular smartphones today, is the lack of overall battery capacity. Ulefone includes a 2 amp fast-charging adapter that can give you a full day’s charge in just a half an hour which is perfect for times when you only have a few spare minutes to recharge.
Processing: Inside the Power 2 is an MT6750T from Mediatek, which is an Octa-core processor running at 1.5GHz. While this chipset is not widely known or utilized in more common smartphones, it is plenty capable of running virtually any application available today. MediaTek advertises the MT6750T as a mid-tier system on a chip that incorporates an ARM-A53 cluster running at 1.5GHz paired with an ARM-A53 cluster running at 1.0GHz.
Paired up with the MT6750T is the MT6176 modem that covers worldwide 4G spectrum and includes Carrier Aggregation. This is just a standard way for mobile carriers to combine separate LTE carriers for higher bandwidth capacity–nothing special to this device. I was very surprised to discover that the Ulefone Power 2 has a dual-sim slot that allows for multiple connections to the GSM band. One minor drawback to this capability is that only one connection will support full speed while the second slot will be downgraded to standard voice while in use.
Memory: Inside the Power 2 you’ll find 4GB of dedicated memory that’s great for running multiple applications smoothly. I was able to quickly switch between a couple dozen apps with no slow-down. I felt the Power 2 did a wonderful job of memory management as well, considering each application loaded back into an active process with no visible issues. Having 4GB of memory available was a smart choice and another surprise from Ulefone.
Storage: Ulefone offers a whopping 64GB of storage with the Power 2. This is double of what most smartphone manufacturers provide as a base starting point unless a customer is willing to pay more for extra storage. On top of that, the Power 2 also includes a micro-SD card slot that supports an additional 256GB of storage space.
I was able to load all of my common day-to-day applications and still retain over 75% of my allocated 64GB. This is great for users that don’t want to immediately purchase an extra micro-SD card for photos, videos, and additional large applications. You could literally put a couple thousand songs from your music library on the Power 2 without issue.
The Ulefone Power 2 features Android 7.0 (Nougat) out of the box and has been optimized to function as smoothly as possible. While navigating between screens and across different apps I found that the Power 2 responds to every tap and swipe perfectly. The operating system never chugs or stutters; Ulefone did a great job here.
The Ulefone Power 2 integrates Android 7 very nicely but unfortunately, it’s skinned with something called ‘Cooler OS.’ Cooler OS skins familiar Android icons with ugly aberrations that remind me of a teenagers Microsoft Windows icon pack from 1999. This was my least favorite part of the entire Power 2 experience, but fortunately, since this is Android, I was able to download and set a new launcher with a much more visually pleasing icon pack. The strange octagonal icons remain in the settings menus, but I found them much less jarring than the standard home screen icons.
Cooler OS functions almost identical to stock Android but adds a few functions that are also unique and useful. The usefulness of these included software features may vary between users but I discovered that most of them were worth checking out. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.
Float Gesture: Float gesture places a permanent, floating button on the screen that allows for quick access to floating applications like ‘Float Music,’ ‘Float Video,’ ‘Read Mode’ or quick access to locking the device’s screen. I found this feature to be more obtrusive than beneficial in most instances, so decided to leave it off.
One Hand Floatview: One Hand Floatview turns on the ability to swipe up from the bottom, right corner to get quick access to device shortcuts. Initially, I had some issues with this feature, but after some extensive research, I was able to fully use One hand Floatview.
Smart somatosensory: Smart somatosensory is designed to allow a user to swipe through designated applications with just a wave of the hand to change through songs, photos, launcher screens, etc. This feature was the most inconsistent of all additional Power 2 features as I had a hard time registering swipes to execute any changes.
Gesture Motion: Gesture Motion is designed to add features within the system and telephone categories by allowing designated gestures as functions. If enabled, these functions allow you to silence a call by turning the phone on its face, answer a phone call by swinging it up to your ear or to turn off the speaker by placing it close to your ear. While I did try most of these functions to see how well they worked, I decided to leave most of them off as they offered very little in overall usability.
There were also options to turn on three-point screenshots, three point camera entry, two point volume adjustments and a double-tap of the home key to lock the screen at any time. These require some experimentation to fully understand but still offered a varying degree of usability and function depending on a users devotion to understanding each feature independently. Personally, I ended up using the double-tap feature to lock the screen as well as the related double tap function to unlock the screen while it was off.
Gesture Unlock: This feature can be turned on or off to allow for a multitude of specific gesture-based shortcuts (which can be enabled or disabled individually). Double-click to wake was the feature I found most useful within this list. Here’s the full list of gesture unlock options:
- Double-click to wake
- Slide up to unlock
- Slide down to camera
- Sideslip cut songs
- Gesture ‘m’ to start music
- Gesture ‘c’ to start phone
- Gesture ‘e’ to start browser
- Gesture ‘o’ to start assignable application
- Gesture ‘w’ to start assignable application
- Gesture ‘z’ to start assignable application
The final three gestures (o, w & z) can be set to any installed application, which is a great bonus to the entire Gesture Unlock feature.
Parallel Space: Parallel Space was the most interesting item from Ulefone within its dedicated feature settings. Parallel Space allows you to run an application separately from the normal instances of your apps as a new or different user. Essentially this allows you to have two different logins for one application without setting up and switching logins. This can be beneficial to users that have separate personal and work logins for certain applications.
The Power 2 really accentuates its name by offering a ton of battery power. This device provides days of power on a fully charged battery. Outside of its emphasis on battery power, the Ulefone Power 2 is a fully capable smartphone that keeps stride with any other budget phone but at an even better price. As of review time, it’s possible to purchase a Ulefone Power 2 for well under $200 USD. This places it in an exclusive, low-cost price bracket that makes it incredibly enticing.
While there are definite areas to improve upon, Ulefone has designed something unique and empowering with the Power 2 smartphone. I’d love to see what’s next in line for the Power series of devices from Ulefone. If the Power 2 successor can improve on the processor and the camera without adding too much to the overall cost, it may just have become a major competitor in the budget phone arena for next year.
We’d like to thank GearBest for supplying the unit for this review. You can find
the Ulefone Power 2 for sale on GearBesthere.