Unihertz Luna Test
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Unihertz Luna Test

Apr 19, 2023

In this article, we cover our review of the Unihertz Luna, the Chinese manufacturer's new 4G Android handset with plenty of storage and long battery life. However, Unihertz would not be Unihertz if they did not stand out from the competition in some way with the design of the Luna. As with all other smartphones from the manufacturer, everything about the Luna revolves around one or more special features.

Inhaltsverzeichnis / Table of contents

Besides several RGB LED strips on the transparent back, the Luna also offers four cameras, a multitude of sensors, an infrared transmitter and unlocking via facial recognition and fingerprint. The system hardware is also quite impressive with a 2.2 GHz 8-core CPU, 256 gigabytes of data storage, 2400 x 1080 pixel LCD display and 8 gigabytes of working memory.

However, compared to other models and manufacturers, the Luna has to accept some functional compromises. We will tell you what these are and how the 4G cell phone performs in everyday use in this hopefully informative review article.

A silver-colored cardboard box houses the scope of delivery of the Unihertz Luna. Essentially, this consists of the cell phone, its protective case and the charger. The small tool for opening the SIM card slot is in the same envelope as the user manual.

Unihertz sells the Luna in black and white. The case measures roughly 17 x 8 x 1 cm and is not necessarily suitable for extended outdoor activities, for example, especially because of its weight of just under 300 grams. Its four corners at the top and bottom are rounded with a radius of about 1cm, while the sides are kept flat.

The camera lenses on the back protrude from the surface by about 1.5mm. A strikingly designed panel can be seen through the transparent back plate, whose shapes and patterns are presumably based on a fictional industrial design. Framed by the back panel are also the 5 predominantly curvy RGB LED strips, which can be turned on and off and customized via the operating system.

The display of the Luna is already equipped with an unfortunately hard-edged protective foil out of the box, which occasionally made itself haptically unpleasantly noticeable during use. The protective film also has an unattractive horizontal indentation in the lower third in our case. Another protective film and cleaning cloths are included with the Luna. The 32-megapixel front-facing camera is located in the upper left corner of the display, and the speaker's narrow opening for phone calls is in the center above it.

The frame houses the USB-C port on the bottom, the slot for two nano-sized SIM cards, a small opening for the microphone, and the speaker for media playback. The top side houses the infrared transmitter and 3.5 mm jack.

The on-off button with integrated fingerprint sensor is located on the right side, above it is the volume control button. On the left side, there are two individual buttons in the center, whose function can be configured on the software side in each case.

The frame of the Luna is made of shiny black metal and is just smooth enough to create rough mirror images on the surface. The rear camera lenses are also framed with this material. The back is made of various plastics, including Panda King glass, and the protective case included with the Luna is made of TPU, or thermoplastic polyurethane, making it relatively soft and flexible.

As far as the phone's build quality is concerned, we didn't find any reasons to complain about the device itself, but it hadn't lost its unpleasant chemical smell even after the 2 weeks we tested the Unihertz Luna. Otherwise, as mentioned, only the protective foil of the display was less satisfactory.

The included USB-C cable is exactly one meter long. The power adapter for the European Schuko socket supplies 2.0 amps at 5 and 9 volts or 1.5 amps at 12 volts, and we didn't notice any flaws here either. Last but not least, the small tool for the two-sided SIM card slot is also made of metal.

When the Luna is turned on for the first time, the setup process is started in addition to the usual queries. To use the Google Play Store, the phone can be linked to a Google account at this point. Various common search engines are available from the start.

A PIN can be set to secure or unlock the Luna, but unlocking via facial recognition and fingerprint can also be set up. All recognition methods can also be used for other purposes, for example to log into apps.

After the setup, the Luna can already be used as usual. For example, a widget on the homescreen can be used to turn the LED lighting on the back on and off or configure it.

Unlocking the Luna via fingerprint sensor worked very satisfactorily. On the one hand, the speed with which we reached the surface when the fingerprint was recognized was pleasant, and the sensor also recognized our fingerprint very reliably.

Already with a single photo of one's own face, the facial recognition setup is completed and then works by looking into the activated lock screen in the direction of the front camera. Unlocking is usually as fast as fingerprint unlocking, but it occasionally takes a few seconds. By the way, we did not succeed in tricking the face recognition with photos.If the recognition failed several times, you have to wait for some time until you can perform it again, then only the PIN or fingerprint can help.

Other security features can be used via Android 12, such as Smart Lock, Google "Find my device" and screen fixation, but we will not go into them in this review of the Unihertz Luna.

The Luna can be operated well with one hand as well as with both hands; at most, the weight always caught our eye a bit negatively in this regard. The keys are easy to reach for both left- and right-handers, but we usually find right-handed operation the most comfortable.Some will notice the absence of the lower function keys. By default, their function is taken over by gestures that are executed from the bottom edge of the screen. If you don't like this operation, you can return to the three familiar function keys via the following sub-items in the settings: Operating aids -> System controls -> System control -> Operation via 3 buttons.

We were not at all taken with the design of some menu interfaces, for example the fold-out menu of the notification bar. Despite the size of the buttons there, their labels are only displayed in single lines. Overlong labels, which occur frequently, are cut off and displayed as scrolling text. We find this an absolutely unsatisfactory design decision for which there is no obvious remedy. Reducing the system-wide font size did not help us in any case. However, since the Luna uses an unmodified Android 12 interface, we don't blame Unihertz for this.

The LED control panel is a widget and can be moved around or removed entirely. Swiping further left on the first page of the homescreen takes you to Google search.

For our Unihertz Luna review, we naturally took a closer look at the cameras. There are a total of four cameras or camera sensors installed in the Luna, two ordinary plus one macro and one infrared camera. We derived the following information about the individual cameras from the pictures we took.

The official claims on the part of the manufacturer are certainly somewhat misleading, as both the 32-MP front and 108-MP main cameras actually deliver far fewer pixels in the raw shot than is supposedly possible. The finished photo is then apparently only upscaled, post-processed with some filters and saved as a JPEG file.

In this respect, in most cases we would advise against using the highest resolution of each of these two cameras, i.e. 108MP and 32MP respectively, as they consume significantly more storage space while offering no qualitative gain.

The difference between raw data, i.e. the original quality shot, and JPEG file is clearly visible. Among other things, the white balance, contrast and exposure of the raw data are processed on the software side before the image is saved as a JPEG file. Visually, the post-processed images are nice to look at, but a closer look occasionally reveals an unattractive loss of detail. Unfortunately, you can't influence the type and intensity of the automatic post-processing, so it's all or nothing here.

Those who want to get the maximum out of the cameras can be happy about the raw data format DNG, but the setting options in PRO mode are limited. The shutter speed cannot be determined in principle and only defaults are available for the white balance, no slider. The manual exposure can only be set in 5 coarse steps (-2,-1,0,+1,+2), the ISO value can be set in steps from 100 to 12800, but also only relatively coarse. By the way, we have only slightly post-processed the raw data shots that we show in this review of the Unihertz Luna.

The macro camera delivers quite nice results, but unfortunately only in 1600 by 1200 pixels or around 2 megapixels. The focus point is also fixed at 4 centimeters. The black and white night vision camera with 20 megapixels also works well in complete darkness, which is made possible by the two infrared LEDs installed on the back.

All four cameras can record both photos and videos, which we found particularly interesting for macro and night vision shots. Electronic image stabilization is available for video recording, abbreviated only as "EIS" in the options. Its effect is clearly visible in high-resolution videos, but we could hardly notice a difference in macro videos, which might be due to the only low base resolution that has to be worked with there. The following video shows a macro camera shot without image stabilization enabled.

Built into the Luna is a Helio G99 MT6789 SoC from MediaTek, whose eight CPU cores clock partly at 2.0 and partly at 2.2 GHz, depending on the required computing power. The ARM Mali-G57 MC2 is integrated as the graphics card on this SoC. Otherwise, 8 gigabytes of working memory and 256 GB of UFS 2.2 mass storage ensure fast data processing and storage.

We used 3DMark's Sling Shot as well as PCMark's Storage 2.0 and Work 3.0 benchmarks to classify the hardware performance for our review of the Unihertz Luna. The Luna achieved 3513 points in the Sling Shot benchmark, which determines the graphics and computing performance of current mobile devices, and thus surpassed 69% of the other devices. PCMark's Work 3.0 tests practical tasks in the areas of Internet use, word processing, video and image editing, and data manipulation. The Luna scored 9015 points here. In Storage 2.0, which specifically looks at data storage, 27545 points were achieved thanks to high read and write rates of 896 and 808 MB/s.

A look at the leaderboards reveals that it is in the range of the Xiaomi Redmi K50i or Huawei Honor 80 in the Storage 2.0 benchmark. In the Work 3.0 rankings, it did better than the Xiaomi Poco M5 or Samsung Galaxy A72, but slightly worse than the Unihertz Tank.

The Luna handles GMS, UMTS and LTE and can accommodate two nano SIM cards. To insert one, use the included tool to press into the small hole of the SIM slot until it slides out.

With our SIM card inserted, we were on o2's network according to the operating system, and the status bar showed the 4G icon next to the connection bars. With the "Mobile Data" option enabled, we were able to surf the Internet beyond a WLAN connection without any problems. We could limit the data consumption via data-saving mode and exempt selected apps from it.

The priority special feature of the Luna is certainly the LED illumination on its back, which Unihertz also makes more than clear in its advertising messages. We were mainly bothered by the few setting options in this regard. New patterns could be created, but they only consisted of a single selectable color. We could not create color gradients.

The so-called Ambient Light changes the color according to the screen content, which worked well during testing. However, since the LEDs blinked continuously, they were more of a nuisance than a pleasant background for the atmosphere. We like the idea of LED lights, but we still see a lot of potential for improvement in the implementation.

Furthermore, the Luna comes with an infrared transmitter as well as a number of small tools that make use of its various sensors and can help with all sorts of tasks. We could not check the specifications of some of the tools in this review of the Unihertz Luna due to a lack of suitable measurement methods.The heart rate measurement app, which works via the main camera, often failed to accurately measure our pulse, but warm hands helped improve the result. We had to calibrate the compass several times, avoiding magnetic interference, before it showed the north pole mostly correctly.

The spirit level can't necessarily be used accurately in the first place due to the unevenness of the case. The apps Protractor, Plumb and Hanging Image project measuring aids onto the camera image and thus facilitate aligning objects. We were positively surprised by the built-in infrared transmitter. With it and the preinstalled ZazaRemote app, we were able to remotely control our aging Toshiba TV, for example.

The Luna's LCD display has 2340 by 1080 pixels, so it has a pixel density of 378 pixels per inch. Only when looking very closely do we begin to see the fine gradations in the on-screen fonts. However, this high resolution cannot be reduced via the settings, as in other cell phones, in order to save energy, for example. Contrast and colors of the display appear equally strong from all viewing directions. Only the brightness decreases slightly at increasingly oblique viewing angles. We had difficulties recognizing the content well in sunshine even with maximum screen brightness.

The built-in speaker for media playback sounds cool or bright to our ears, which is hardly surprising due to its small size and the resulting lack of bass. In terms of quality, the sound is very clear, but too high volumes quickly sound rattling.

To test the front microphone, we first downloaded the app MyRecorder from the App Store because the preloaded and only very rudimentary sound recorder only saved recordings in very poor quality. We then got what we thought was very good recording quality, especially considering the type of microphone.

5000 milliampere hours of capacity has the battery of the Unihertz Luna and is thus generously dimensioned, which, however, may also have contributed significantly to the rather high total weight of just under 300 grams. For this review of the Unihertz Luna, we ran through several charge and discharge cycles.

Using the included power adapter and USB-C cable, we were able to charge the Luna from 10% to 90% capacity within an hour. However, the remaining 10% needed another 1.5 hours. Thus, if you are in a hurry, you should save the remaining 10 to 15% of the charging process, also because according to some sources, this saves the battery.

We ran 1080p videos on YouTube continuously with a fully charged battery in tests. Nevertheless, the battery coped quite well with such intensive media use: It took 7.5 hours for the battery state to drop by 90%. According to the manufacturer, the battery should even last 700 hours in standby.

All in all, we concede it a good performance for a price of 280€ at the time of testing (currently € 279.99 *). However, we noticed a few small things about the Unihertz Luna less positively in the test, which could at least piss off the unprepared buyer. The long battery life would make the Luna a versatile multimedia companion, if it wasn't also a bit unwieldy due to its relatively high weight and dimensions. Just like that, the high-resolution display is limited by a not too high brightness, especially in sunlight.

The LED lighting as an important unique selling point has too few software settings for our taste, but we see a lot of potential in the concept. We found the preloaded Android 12 interface very impractical in parts, which unfortunately could not be fixed. The installed speakers have a very cool and pointed character; a too high volume sounded rather unpleasant to our ears.

The lack of a memory card slot is at least partially compensated for by the 256 GB of internal UFS 2.2 storage, but we still miss the upgrade capability. We only noticed flaws in the build quality of the protective film on the display, but apart from that, the Luna was apparently very well built. We were not really impressed by the four built-in cameras, but you can still take nice snapshots with them. If you want to get more out of the cameras, you have to use the available raw data format DNG and edit it manually.

The performance of the system hardware remains, which could at least hold its ground quite well against the competition in benchmarks. All apps ran very smoothly in practice, but you should not expect top performances in graphically demanding games.

The Unihertz Luna delivered a solid overall picture during our test despite some functional drawbacks. We noticed the long battery life, good computing power and ample storage space as positive aspects. The LEDs on the back could have used more settings.

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Basic Features Display Connectivity Properties Other Camera Resolution maximum .DNG raw files (in megapixels) Resolution maximum .JPEG (in megapixels) aperture Focal length Device Audio sample