For the past year, Wiko has gotten really aggressive with its marketing efforts on pushing out its entry-level Y-range and stylish U Feel range smartphones. When I reviewed the U Feel Prime last time, I commended that it was the best Wiko smartphone I've ever used, while it is still far from perfect from more well known smartphone brands, the product alone shows Wiko's commitment in bringing better devices to the Malaysian market. What I have been using over the past week apart from the Huawei Mate 9, is the Wiko U Feel Fab, the company's latest addition to the family that features a huge 5.5-inch display and a beefy 4000mAh battery, while it is technically the bigger brother of the recently reviewed U Feel Go, I've find it to be a rather enjoyable piece of gadget.
Design and Hardware
I hate it when certain smartphones tend to mimic a new heroic iPhone colour, the Wiko U Feel Fab thankfully has nothing of that sort. Sure, the review unit that I receive is a True Black color, but it isn't a glossy or matte black like everyone has been so fond of on the iPhone 7. Instead, the U Feel Fab features a two-tone color design on its chassis which I personally love as it differentiates itself from the rest. The backplate is also removable and gives you access to the phone's dual SIM slots and MicroSD card, the U Feel Fab still accepts Micro SIM cards, which can be rather annoying considering Nano SIMs have become mainstream.
Aesthetically, the U Feel Fab thankfully isn't a heavy device despite packing a rather huge battery, the smooth metallic back isn't slippery as well and definitely feels high quality and well made. The U Feel Fab has its power button and volume rocker positioned well that it is within my finger's reach, and I particularly like that small and textured power button, which tends to give me a feeling of satisfaction when I press on it.
The U Feel Fab still has some visible bezels but they aren't ugly, it’s a shame that the 5.5-inch display only produces HD resolution but if you happen to miss that on paper, it still looks good despite of that and you get to have great viewing angles all thanks to the IPS panel. In addition, the U Feel Fab's display works pretty well outdoors even under direct sunlight, input response is also good for those who loves to type fast.
Similar to other U Feel siblings, the U Feel Fab features a fingerprint scanner that can be assigned up to five fingers with different purposes, for instance you can have one of your fingers to unlock certain apps, or even have one of them execute a task such as calling someone when you unlock the phone, these are convenient features that you don’t get to find in smartphones of the same range even if they have fingerprint scanners. On a side note, the U Feel Fab's fingerprint scanner is a fast and accurate one.
What you are probably not going to like if you are particular about specs would be the phone's performance internals, Wiko is an apparent fan of Mediatek CPUs and the U Feel Fab uses the MT6735P quad-core CPU clocked at 1.3GHz. Before you start spatting on how bad the U Feel Fab could be, Wiko has been rather kind to offer 3GB of RAM and 32GB of flash storage, hence I find the phone's performance to be decent in day-to-day performance despite being powered by a low-end Mediatek processor. But still, you are not going to find buttery smooth graphics frame rates in games like Asphalt Xtreme and Modern Combat 5.
Similar to other U Feel siblings, the U Feel Fab comes preloaded with Wiko's My Launcher skin running on top of Android Marshmallow, though functionality remains the same as other Wiko devices, I find the software experience to be very responsive, I have hardly encountered any sudden app freezes when using the device, even browsing the web with Google Chrome seems to be effortless for the device, I assume that Wiko has probably optimized the software for the U Feel Fab and I certainly hope it continues to be the case for future Wiko devices.
Despite of the great performance, I'm not a fan of Wiko's launcher software due to its limited customization features, for instance apps are still shown all over the home screen and can't be removed despite having an app drawer, and there's no easy way to rearrange the home screens. Therefore, I have been using Action Launcher 3 during my review period, a great stock Android skin that comes with great customization options, and it works very well on the U Feel Fab.
For those who are waiting for Android Nougat to reach the U Feel Fab, Wiko hasn't announced any plans to have it updated, and I certainly don’t expect the company to do it anytime soon, given that the company hasn't set a record yet in bringing the latest Android software to their products, not to forget to mention that the phone still comes with an outdated Android security patch at this time of writing at 5 September 2016.
When it comes to smartphones below RM1000, I've never set any sort of expectations on their cameras, while most smartphones around the price range of the U Feel Fab tend to have Sony sensors that could capture 13-megapixel stills, they fail to impress at times due to poor software. The U Feel Fab surprised me in this department, the 13-megapixel main camera is just simply responsive and even with some quick snaps, the camera produces beautifully saturated photos in good lighting with sharp details, though there are still times where the camera tend to overexpose shots. Otherwise, you can expect some pretty decent low light performance from the U Feel Fab's camera, just click on the sample pictures taken to see it for yourself.
The U Feel Fab's 5-megapixel selfie shooter does a decent job of ensuring a flawless face, there's also a LED flash that is helpful in low lighting conditions, while I have never find the need to use that during the review period, it can be somehow useful for those who loves to take selfies at the night.
I was a little worried when I processed the news release of the U Feel Fab, as I learned that the phone has a bigger screen yet maintaining the same 4000mAh battery of the smaller U Feel Go, but after using the U Feel Fab I can assure you that the battery life is excellent and I can easily get through the day with a single charge, probably make it to the second day if I barely use the device. The only thing that I don’t like is the lack of fast charging, while thankfully the phone charges fast enough over a 2A charger, it still takes a while to fully juice up the U Feel Fab's huge battery.
The U Feel Fab has been a very enjoyable smartphone to use during the review period, on surface you might view it as another huge screen smartphone made affordable but otherwise, this seem to be a smartphone that Wiko has really taken seriously, the phone is fast and reliable, comes with great battery life and most surprisingly, a rather capable camera which I will definitely like to use in road trips. At RM799, this might be a little overpriced for what it offers on paper, while the certainty of future software updates is still unknown, you might just want to look past all of that if you want a phone with a huge screen that offers a great battery life and camera.
- Solid build quality
- Good screen quality despite 720p resolution
- Battery life
- Surprisingly good camera
The Not so Good
- Wiko launcher lacking customization features
- No fast charging
- Still uses Micro SIM
- Mediocre gaming performance