Saturday, February 9th, 2013
Back in December, we gave you a primer of the 4.5-inch dual-SIM handset from O+. Now it’s time to look deeper into this handset and hopefully answer the question if the O+ 8.12 is worth its asking price.
Just so we’re on the same page, we highly suggest to skim through our short first impression of the smartphone here. Majority of our impressions about the design and build quality of the handset are already discussed there.
Display and Video playback
Even though smartphones with 5-inch and bigger displays are the trend nowadays, there are those who still prefer the more conservatively sized handsets. Thus, the 8.12’s 4.5-inch display should be a welcome feature to those who are not a fan of gargantuan phones. Its ample display is backed by a qHD screen resolution which aids the phone in providing decent display quality.
One of the gripes that we had with the phone is its poor video performance. There was a noticeable fraction-of-a-second delay on the clips that we were watching. At first we thought that it was a file related issue or that there were too many apps running on the background, so we tried restarting the phone and trying out other clips. But even after doing so, there’s still this annoying misstep on the video playback.
Audio and Call Quality
On the upside, we were pleased with the audio quality from this phone. The sound coming out of the loudspeaker was louder (and crisper in some regards) than most of the handsets of the same league. The sound was great too when we tried listening to our tunes with an earphone attached to it.
Call quality, on the other hand, is a different case as we experienced numerous choppy and dropped calls in places that seemed to have good reception. The reason why we thought that it’s the handset that’s causing this rather than a network-related issue is we tried other phones using the same SIM and we were able to establish a steady connection with it.
The O+ 8.12 comes with an 8MP autofocus camera accompanied by a single LED flash. The resulting images we got out of it isn’t exactly the best we saw from the lot, but is very usable for basic photography needs such as uploading to social media.
Shooting in well-lit condition is a breeze with the handset’s snapper. It was able to lock in on the subjects in no time and was able to provide satisfactory shooting experience. Though not as good as when shooting in places with ample light source, the camera was also able to provide a rather decent lowlight performance thanks to its LED flash. Sample images can be found here
In addition to its imaging arsenal, the camera app also provides a number of customizations and filters which allows users to be more creative with their shots.
Just like the stills, the videos we’ve recorded using the 8.12’s camera were also on the positive side. Some of the customizations that are present in the camera mode are also present in video mode, giving users more control over their clips.
OS, UI and Apps
OS-conscious users may be disappointed to know that this smartphone only runs on a slightly altered Android ICS out of the box. Although the handset is capable of running the latest version of Android, it’s uncertain whether O+ has plans of rolling out an update for the device.
Other than some minor tweaks, the overall feel of the OS is pretty much stock. In fact, the only two significant differences between 8.12’s UI and the other’s is the addition of the Music player shortcut in the lock screen (as seen above) and the Air Shuffle.
Speaking of Air Shuffle, let us point out some of the things we noticed about it. First, the feature only works inside the Gallery app (flicking through pictures), Music app (changing songs), Camera app (taking pictures) and FM Radio app. Air Shuffle is done by waving an object above the sensor near the front-facing camera and the direction of the object dictates which actions will the phone do. Should you be irritated by this “feature” you can switch it off by going to Settings > Accessibility.
In all honesty, we’ve rarely used the Air Shuffle feature. In fact, the only time that we’ve used it is when our friends asked us how it works. Other than that, we used the handset like any other touch-enabled handset. We guess we just didn’t see the point of waving our hands on the sensor to change or go back to a previous track when we can always (and easily) do it with the device’s screen.
As far as the apps are concerned, we’re glad to say that we didn’t encounter too many problems in installing and running apps on the device. And for those of you who are wondering if apps can be installed on the memory card, yes it can. Moreover, you’ll be given an option to decide where you want your apps to be installed by going to Settings > Storage > Preferred Installation Location.
The performance we got from the O+ 8.12 is pretty much at par with the other mid-ranged handsets with the same engine we’ve reviewed in the past. It was snappy for the most part and was able to run games like Temple Run 2 quite smoothly. As mentioned earlier, the only source of frustration we had with the phone’s performance is when we used it to play video files as it tends to lag a bit.
As far as the benchmark results are concerned though, the added RAM doesn’t seem to affect the score of the O+ 8.12 as its results are almost identical to that of the Star Mobile Crystal’s. It got a 6622 score from AnTuTu and 2713 from Quadrant. In terms of GPU, the handset scored 24.1fps on NenaMark, slightly higher than Crystal’s score (23.8fps).
On slight-to-moderate usage and without any data connection (WiFi or 3G) the 8.12 lasted for an entire day before we have to recharge its 1,800mAh battery pack. However, as soon as we enabled the data connectivity of the other SIM card, the mileage decreased by more than half. It’s still a commendable mileage, but nothing really over the top.
After using the O+ 8.12 as a primary phone for nearly two months, we can definitely say that it has enough fire power to deliver an admirable performance to its user. It would’ve been better though if it didn’t have the issue with video playback, but it’s a slight and forgivable misstep that can easily be swept under the rug.
The real question here, however, is whether its Php11,995 price tag is reasonable for what you’re getting. We think it’s still on the pricey side, consider a lot of other dual-SIM competitor’s rarely go beyond the Php10k mark these days.
O+ 8.12 specs:
4.5-inch qHD display @ 960×540 pixels, 245ppi
MediaTek MT6577 1.0GHz dual-core processor
PowerVR SGX531 GPU
4GB internal storage
up to 32GB via microsd card
HSDPA 7.2Mbps, HSUPA 5.76Mbps
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
8MP rear autofocus camera, VGA secondary camera
720p video @ 30fps
1,850mAh Li-Po battery
Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich
What we liked about it:
* Decent qHD display
* Good audio quality
* Good camera performance in bright conditions
* Speedy performance
* Decent battery life
* Shatter-proof and scratch-proof display
What we didn’t like about it:
* Laggy HD video playback
* Slightly below average call quality
* No Jellybean out of the box
* Air-Shuffle seems gimmicky
* Still a bit pricey for its specs