Mintt UltraMintt Y3 review: Good value for budget buyers

Posted: 8 October 2019 7:24 am
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Mintt Y3

The Mintt UltraMintt Y3 provides an excellent range of features for its price, and while it's not the fastest or best smartphone, it's hard to argue it's not good value for money.

Quick Verdict

The Mintt UltraMintt Y3's core recipe provides good value for folks looking for a more affordable phone handset.

The good

  • Good battery life.
  • Relatively clean Android interface.
  • Fingerprint sensor.
  • Case included.
  • Wireless charging.

The bad

  • Selfie watermarking is annoying.
  • Helio P30 isn't particularly powerful.
  • Beauty modes can take smoothing way too far.

Mintt – and no, that's not a typo – is an Australian smartphone company selling a range of affordable handsets directly through its website. You may have hit promos for them on The Block, and the entire focus of the company is on low-cost handsets. That puts them head to head with offerings from much more established brands such as Alcatel, Nokia, and even the entry-level phones from the likes of Samsung and LG.

Not that the phones are being built in Mintt's Queensland headquarters, mind you. It's very much a case of partnering with a Chinese OEM to take an existing model build and deliver it to Australian consumers. The Mintt UltraMintt Y3 is the company's "flagship" model, and it's got some very impressive features for the asking price.

Mintt Y3

Design

  • Shiny amethyst finish that you'll either love or loathe.
  • Fingerprint sensor.
  • 6.3-inch display.
  • Full HD+ display, but it won't play Full HD Netflix.

We've seen an increasing number of smartphones in the higher tier of the budget space bring more extravagant designs to bear, and the Mintt UltraMintt Y3 is no exception. It stands out in bold fashion with a curved rear cover in either Amethyst blue or Anthracite black, although at the time of writing Mintt only appears to be selling the blue model.

I rather like blue as a smartphone colour, although the shimmering effect on the rear of the Mintt UltraMintt Y3's case is one I can very much see as being divisive. You'll either find it entrancing or distracting, I suspect.

The Mintt UltraMintt Y3 is a reasonably large phone with a 6.3-inch, 2,340 x 1,080 pixel display, which is pleasantly sharp for a phone in this price range. While at a technical level it generally shoots above what you'd expect at this price range, visually it tends to oversaturate its colours, which again is pretty normal for what is ultimately a rebadged Chinese OEM phone. There's a teardrop notch, because this is a 2019 smartphone, although there's no evident way to obscure it with a black bar if you prefer that style from within the Mintt UltraMintt Y3's settings.

If you're thinking that the Mintt UltraMintt Y3 might make an excellent Netflix binge watching platform, you'll need to temper your expectations somewhat. While the display has enough resolution for Full HD, you'll only be able to watch Netflix content on at 480p, because it lacks the necessary DRM certification for higher resolution streams.

The Mintt UltraMintt Y3 handles unlocking via admittedly insecure facial unlocking, or via a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor that should provide a higher level of security. It's a quick and quite convenient way to unlock the phone that never failed me during testing.

The Mintt UltraMintt Y3 features a standard headphone jack – something that's still fairly common in the budget range – and a feature that's not so common. You get a simple plastic protective case in the box, which is a great inclusion. Just because you're buying a cheaper phone doesn't mean you shouldn't protect it.

Mintt's own range of official accessories is a little on the slender side, with just a leather style flip case. Here the OEM nature of the Mintt UltraMintt Y3 does open up other possibilities. The exact same phone is sold as the Blu G9 Pro, and a little web research finds plenty of case accessories for that phone. They're one and the same, so Blu G9 Pro cases should easily fit on the Mintt UltraMintt Y3.

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Mintt Y3

Camera

  • Triple lens camera shoots mostly acceptable images.
  • Low light and zoom aren't great.

Simply reading the Mintt UltraMintt Y3's specification sheet again suggests that you're getting an utter bargain in terms of camera capabilities, with a triple lens (20MP/16MP/5MP) rear array and 24MP front-facing camera module.

If you read Mintt's rather breathless prose, you could be further convinced, what with talk of "effective 96MP" shooting modes, AI-driven low-light shooting and a "beauty algorithm" for making those instagram shots extra-special.

As always, there's marketing talk, and then there's the reality of using a budget phone camera. The Mintt UltraMintt Y3 doesn't quite live up to the hype that Mintt lavishes on it, but then it's hardly the first phone brand to somewhat overstate the capabilities of a cheaper phone camera.

The camera app on the Mintt UltraMintt Y3 is, like so many Chinese phones, more or less a clone of the iOS camera app, which at least means it's quite simple to use. Switching between modes is as simple as a flick of your finger, and naming is easy enough for photo novices to understand. It can be a little slow to change camera modes, which is more of a concern if you want the Pro mode to the far right of the UI or the Night Mode to the far left.

In good light, the Mintt UltraMintt Y3 shoots pictures that are entirely acceptable within its price range. It does sometimes tend to oversaturate colours whether you're using the rear or front lenses, and again that's a super-common approach for many lower priced cameras to take.

While Mintt's marketing materials promise up to 30x zoom with "still-sharp" imagery, the reality here is that just about any level of zoom delivers exactly what you'd expect out of a lower-cost phone, with quite a large quantity of noise, and images that you certainly wouldn't want to print, and may not even want on a website.

It's much the same story for its AI-led Night Mode, which can deliver a little more light to your dimmer pictures, but not by much, and with typically plenty of noise along the way.

If there's a hallmark of Chinese phone brands, it's an obsession with somewhat over-the-top beauty modes, and the Mintt UltraMintt Y3 is no exception. You can trust its AI for auto beauty mode, or choose smoother, slimming, whitening or eye enlarger modes.

I'm thankful there are adjustable sliders for this kind of thing, because you can very easily take them too far and turn yourself into a boggle-eyed plastic person. Of course, your own taste in selfies may differ, and that might be the exact look you're after.

One annoyance I only realised after taking a few selfies is that by default, the brand watermark is set to "on" for selfies. I'm still trying to work out who beyond Mintt employees would want this plastered on their selfies. It's an on-or-not prospect too, so you can't even set your own watermarks if that's what you'd want.

If all of this sounds entirely dismissive of the Mintt UltraMintt Y3's camera capabilities, it's well worth noting that the general results are entirely in line with what I'd expect at this price range. If you want really good low-light shooting you'll have to jump price brackets up to at least the Google Pixel 3a. For its price range, while the hype is a bit inflated, the practical results are generally okay for what you're paying.

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Mintt Y3

Performance

  • Helio P60 offers fair mid-range performance.
  • Essentially stock Android.

The Mintt UltraMintt Y3 uses Mediatek's Helio P60 processor, and we've only seen a handful of phones, such as the Nokia 5.1 Plus running on that platform. Like much of Mediatek's output, it's a processor built to meet a budget price point, so you do have to temper your expectations somewhat, especially given the Mintt UltraMintt Y3's 4GB of onboard RAM.

The arrival of the Mintt UltraMintt Y3 into our review labs also coincided with the shift from Geekbench 4 to Geekbench 5, where the Mintt UltraMintt Y3 scored 277 in the single core test and 1,348 in the multi-core test. Geekbench 5 scores aren't properly comparable with Geekbench 4 scores, and for the Helio P60, our previous test Nokia model refused the Geekbench 4 benchmark entirely.

The Mintt UltraMintt Y3 did run 3DMark's Slingshot Extreme test, but a graphics powerhouse this is not. Here's how it compared on that benchmark against similar budget handset options:

The Mintt UltraMintt Y3 runs on Android 9, which means it's more current than many competitors in the budget space. It's quite plain Android as well, although it's not Android One as rival Nokia/HMD Global's phones are. The model tested only had up to the July 2019 security patches in place and available, but as always with budget phones, there's a rather open question around future updates for both security and major Android updates.

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Battery life

  • Genuinely good 4,050mAh battery.
  • Wireless charging, but it can be temperamental.

The budget end of the market has been generally quite good of late in delivering phones that save on processors or screen quality but provide good capacity batteries. In the case of the Mintt UltraMintt Y3, the screen is good, albeit with that DRM issue, and the processor is mid-range, but the battery is quite high for its price range.

It features a 4,050mAh battery onboard that Mintt claims is good for around 40-odd hours of usage. That's obviously going to vary depending on your usage type, but my own day to day testing certainly shows that it's more than capable of lasting through a day's decent usage.

The switch to Geekbench 5 on Android unfortunately robs us of its battery benchmark, and even sideloading the Geekbench 4 API onto the Mintt UltraMintt Y3 wouldn't get it to run. While it's a less than perfect test, running full screen YouTube video at moderate volume for an hour on the Mintt UltraMintt Y3 saw its battery capacity drop to 79%, which does suggest that you could send it flat within a day if you were determined. We'll need more comparable data for that figure to have more meaning, however.

The Mintt UltraMintt Y3 charges via USB C, which is a nice inclusion in a price bracket where we still see a lot of MicroUSB charging solutions. It's also notable for providing support for Qi wireless charging, a genuine rarity at this price range.

Qi can be super convenient, although the Mintt UltraMintt Y3 does top out at 10W, so it's not going to be particularly fast. I also found that the Mintt UltraMintt Y3 was rather temperamental in how it dealt with some wireless Qi chargers. Often it would negotiate charging, start charging with a chime... and then drop it again. Seconds later it would start charging, chime again... and repeat until I put the phone into silent mode.

The Mintt UltraMintt Y3 would seem to charge, but that dropout rate on an otherwise well-behaved charger was a concern.

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Mintt Y3

Should you buy the Mintt UltraMintt Y3?

  • Better value than many phones in its price range.

Buying any budget phone is a matter of compromises, because you're starting from a compromised budget situation to start with.

The Mintt UltraMintt Y3 overcomes many of the classic limitations we see in the budget space, thanks to its full HD display, great battery life, inclusion of features such as wireless charging, a fingerprint sensor and clean Android install.

It doesn't entirely live up to its camera hype, and it's not the fastest phone we've seen even at this price range, but as an overall proposition, it's a good value phone. If you're looking for a budget phone in its price range, it's easily worth considering.

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Mintt UltraMintt Y3: Pricing and availability

The Mintt UltraMintt Y3 sells outright online only for $399.

Mintt UltraMintt Y3: Alternatives

The rest of Mintt's range consists of much lower specification and cheaper devices, which we're waiting to review. Stay tuned for our opinion there.

At the time of writing, if you had $399 to spend, you've got several very good alternative options.

If you wanted guaranteed Android updates, consider one of Nokia's Android One phones, such as the Nokia 5.1 Plus or Nokia 6.1.

If you're after exceptional battery life, you could consider the Motorola Moto G7 Power, which packs in a 5,000mAh battery into its frame.

Mintt UltraMintt Y3 Specifications

Display

Camera

Physical dimensions

Connectivity

Power, storage and battery

Device features

Display size 6.3 inches
Resolution 1080 x 2340
Pixels per inch (PPI) 409.1
Rear camera megapixels 20MP + 16MP + 5MP
Rear camera aperture size N/A
Video recording 1080p
Front camera megapixels 24MP
Front camera aperture size N/A
Dimensions 157mm x 75.8mm x 8.75mm
Weight 183g
NFC Yes
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Network category speed N/A
Processor MT6771
RAM 4GB
Operating system Android 9
Internal storage

64GB

External storage support Up to 256GB
Battery capacity 4,050mAh
Headphone jack No
Fingerprint sensor Yes
Water resistance N/A
Wireless charging Qi
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