It looks like the new standard for a flagship phone is now pegged at 5-inches and comes with a quad-core chip. That’s where the O+ 8.15 is sitting at right now. Check out our full review after the break.
O+ is a fairly new player in the local market so it has a lot of catching up to do. Based on what we’ve seen so far, and the number of devices they’ve been releasing, they’re actually catching up pretty quickly.
We’ve asked the folks from O+ on the unique naming convention but couldn’t get any solid answers either. All we understand at this moment is that the higher the number after the decimal point, the better/bigger the handset is.
Design and Construction.
The handset follows the same design signature as many other O+ handsets before it. This is evident with the glossy polycarbonate body with a distinct pattern. The chassis design is simple and polished. The body feels very solid, has a two-tone color scheme (white and silver).
The power button is placed on the right side of the device while the volume rocker is on the left side. At the top is where they placed the 3.5mm headphone jack and the micro-USB port.
At the back side is where the 8MP camera is positioned with the LED flash just below it, along with the noise-cancelling microphone. The O+ logo sits just below them and then speaker grills are flushed at the bottom left corner.
At the front is an all-glass panel with a little gap on the top end for the earpiece. A number of sensors line up discretely in the same corner, hidden below the glass panel.
The soft buttons for Android menu are found on the lower corner, visible only by back-illumination. The glass panel is framed by a thin strip of metal and surrounded by another layer of silver polycarbonate trimmings.
On the side, you will notice a slightly curved body that arches around the mid-section. This is similar to the design execution we’ve been familiar with in the Xperia Arc before. It’s a nice simple touch that leaves a good impression.
The O+ 8.15 packs a large 5-inch display with a screen resolution of 720×1280 pixels, giving it a pixel density of 294ppi. Not bad for a display with a 5-inch real estate size. Images are clear and crisp, has good contrast and great viewing angles. We played a full HD 1080p movie and the video was really smooth and vibrant.
We’re not sure if the IPS LCD was protected by Gorilla Glass or some sort of scratch resistant coating just like the one on the 8.12 but from the looks of it (and after a few scratch tests), we think it’s tough and durable.
OS, UI and Apps.
O+ uses a simple custom UI and its own set of icons and widgets. While there’s not much to rave for here, we wished they could have just stuck with the vanilla Android flavor and be done with it (would have looked better).
One of the things that surprised us is that the O+ 8.15 comes pre-installed with Android 4.2.1 which is very close to the latest version (most handsets come with 4.1 only). The only other devices that came out with this close to the latest version are the Samsung Galaxy line and of course the Nexus line.
Access to hundreds of thousands of apps and games on the Google Play Store allows you to maximize the use of the phone and even customize it to your liking.
The virtual keyboard is very simple and basic but that works well for us. The keys are spaced well apart although predictive text doesn’t really work for us. the clean and simple layout is actually better in our book.
Multimedia and Camera.
The handset is great for multimedia consumption. The large 5-inch display is just right for viewing photos, watching full HD movies and browsing the web. Audio from the speakers at the back sounded good and was as loud as we wanted it to be, especially when playing games and watching movies.
The 8MP camera takes decent photos. It’s not very sharp but color saturation is pretty good. Here are some sample shots taken with the the 8.15:
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Here’s a sample video clip taken with the camera:
One thing that we found to be a bit cumbersome is that the hover feature of the screen actually activates the shutter of the camera so we found ourselves taking multiple shots before actually composing the frame or actually focusing on the subject.
Performance and Benchmarks.
The handset can practically handle anything we throw at it — be it full HD 1080p video playback, multiple apps running at the background or dozens of tabs loading on Google Chrome — we didn’t any any significant lags. All of the popular games like Temple Run 2, Drag Racing and Dead Shot Zombies worked well and smooth.
Our Quadrant test gave us a final score of 3,995 while Antutu Benchmark results to a score of 13,189, both of which are already pretty good. NenaMark2 test resulted to a maximum frame rate of 45.7 fps.
Based on the graphic-heavy games that we played, the frame rates are good and over-all experience is smooth.
Call Quality, Connectivity and Battery Life.
Call quality of the handset is pretty good and we did not experience any problem with switching between the 2 SIM cards that are running on the phone. Voice calls are clear and crisp, SMS came thru with any significant delay and the HSDPA+ connection was actually surprisingly fast based on several speed tests we’ve made.
As for battery life, the results were pretty decent. We’re able to last close to a full day on a single full charge with both SIM cards active. If it were just voice, SMS and light WiFi internet to run the usual apps (Twitter, FB, WhatsApp), then we’re quite satisfied with it running thru the night before we’d recharge.
To give us a more accurate measure, we played a full HD 1080p movie in a continuous loop at 50% brightness and 0% volume and the battery latest for about 7.25 hours (compared to the 11.5 hours on the galaxy S4 on the same test). That’s pretty efficient considering the battery is only rated at 2,000mAh.
The 8.15 came with dual-SIM with 3G/HSDPA+ capabilities, Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi which is pretty much what we’d expect for a handset at this price range. No NFC or LTE here but we can’t really demand that much considering the price tag. The FM radio tuner also works great but needs the earphones plugged in to act as the antenna.
A good combination of hardware, simple and elegant design and latest Android Jellybean — all packaged in an affordable price makes up for a compelling offering with the O+ 8.15. O+ USA definitely has a really good contender for the quad-core smartphone category.
Suggested retail price of the O+ 8.15 is Php12,990 and is now available in stores nationwide (they held an opening sale of only Php9,990 last Saturday).
O+ 8.15 specs:
5.0” IPS LCD display @ 720×1280 pixels
Mediatek MT6589 1.2GHz quad-core processor
PowerVR SGX 544 300MHz graphics
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
8MP rear autofocus camera, LED flash
1.3MP front-facing camera
GPS w/ aGPS support
FM Radio tuner
Android 4.2.1 Jellybean
Li-Ion 2,000mAh battery
What we liked about it:
* Very good performance
* Nice, large HD display
* Good build quality
* Jellybean 4.2 out of the box
What we did not like:
* Average camera performance