Sunday, December 23, 2012

O+ 8.5 Android Review, Specs, Benchmark

According to O+ USA's Facebook page, they are 'a technology company based in the United States who aims to cultivate technophile all over the world, starting with the world’s busiest mobile phone hub – Asia'.

Just released last November 2012 and out only for a limited time according to O+ USA, the O+ 8.5 Android is a product of its famous air shuffling O+ 6.3 and O+ 8.7 Android. This made the 8.5 Android more unique than other smartphones. So, if you’re tight in budget and if you want to be different from others because of its air shuffle features, then this phone is for you. Honestly, I only heard about O+ when I bought one. With no intention of buying it at all because I was planning to buy another phone that day. (Di ko nalang sasabihin anong Filipino phone.^^). It just so happened that when I was in their kiosk (Filipino phone), another customer was very mad about the specs of their product (kasi daw di daw totoo ang specs na nakalagay). While they were arguing, I went to O+ kiosk. Then the saleslady started to demonstrate about the 8.5 android. I instantly loved the unit despite the specs which is a little bit lower than the rebranded phone I was supposed to buy because of its iPhone 5 look and of course the Air Shuffle.

 

Packaging and Box Contents

 


The package itself is also unique from other phones. It is packed in a plastic crystal case which is very different from other typical box packages. Inside the case you’ll find the unit itself (of course), 1500 mAh battery, charger, headset, manual/user guide and a FREE 4GB microSD card.

 

Design and Build


The design is somewhat very similar to Cherry Mobile Flare but O+ is not a rebranded phone which made me very confident about the quality. As of now, it only comes in black color. Also, 8.5 is slightly heavier than CM flare which is very good because you can really feel its presence. The front side has its 4” capacitive display and 4 capacitive buttons below it (menu, home, back and search), a VGA camera, speaker grills for receiving calls, a tiny pinhole just below the search button for voice calls or recording and its sensor for Air Shuffle just beside the front camera. On the left side you can find the volume rocker. While on the right side is where the micro-USB port is located. At the top of the unit, you can find the 3.5mm headphone jack and the power/lock button. The 5MP Autofocus camera with a single led flash and speaker grills are located at the back part of the unit with an O+ logo at the cover. Just beside the O+ logo at the back is another pinhole which is for noise reduction as O+ 8.5 has a noise reduction feature.

Each side of the phone has a glossy black finish which looks classy. The back cover is made of plastic with a matte black finish which is good because it doesn’t leave fingerprints on. The design of the back cover is somewhat like has an anti-slip (yung merong slanting lines sa gitna para di madulas yung phone).


One thing I noticed is that the power and volume rocker buttons are a little bit loose and looks like it’s not secured very well. Also, the power button is a little bit smaller (parang iingatan mo talaga siya). The back cover however has a tendency to loosen up when you repeatedly remove it. It produces a little creaking sound when the back cover is starting to loosen up.

Display


O+ 8.5 has a 4” WVGA 800 x 480 TFT capacitive touchscreen which is very responsive and sensitive when touched especially during texting. Though it’s not as good as IPS display but it offers clear and rich colors. Angle viewing is not that good either. When tilting the phone facing down, the screen will turn blurry. Well, it is expected for a non-IPS display phone. But the good thing about a capacitive screen is that it doesn’t consume a large amount of battery.

Another downside is that it doesn’t have a built-in screen protection like Gorilla Glass or anti-scratch screen. It only has an ordinary screen which is very vulnerable to scratches. So it is advisable to put a customize screen protector because there are no accessories yet available for O+ units.

Software and UI


The O+ 8.5 runs on Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich OS which is very compatible in almost all Google Play Store apps. O+ doesn’t confirm yet if it is upgradeable to Jelly Bean. It is powered by a 1GHz processor and has a 512 MB RAM (474 MB max in benchmark). I’m not really sure why during benchmarking, the maximum ram is 474 MB instead of 512 MB. But I think it has to deal with the ICS OS or other built in functions. This is better though compared to some rebranded phone I’ve seen which is the max RAM is only 356 MB instead of 512 MB. You can see the complete benchmark result below.


O+ 8.5 doesn’t have an O+ app unlike CM or MyPhone which has CM apps or Pinoy apps, respectively. It’s good news for O+ users because it doesn’t consume additional memory and space. It has also a built in Android launcher which is not customizable. So I recommend using GO launcher or Atom launcher or any launchers that suits you.

Messaging and Telephony

 

The stock messaging features of O+ 8.5 is not astonishing. It has a boring and non-customizable interface. The QWERTY keyboard doesn’t have any enter key either. So I suggest using GO SMS or other SMS applications. The picture below shows the stock messaging of O+ 8.5.
 

No problems found during phone calls. There is voice clarity during conversation except if you’re in a place with bad signals. Also, it has instant messaging features if calls are not answered.

There’s a little problem in the O+ 8.5’s contacts/phonebook. It doesn’t recognize area codes (for ex. 0923-1234657 between +63923-1234567) even though they are just similar. But it can be easily solved because you can save multiple contacts. So I suggest saving both numbers in 0923-1234567 or +63923-1234567 formats in the contacts. Failure to save both numbers will result to unrecognized sender or incoming voice call.

Air Shuffle


Now the best part, The Air Shuffle. Air Shuffle is O+’s flagship or trademark. Although air shuffle is just the same as motion sensor, but no other smartphone companies utilizes this feature very well like O+. Air shuffle is moving without actually touching the screen. The secret is that it has a very tiny, almost invincible sensor just right side of the front camera. But it is only applicable in capturing picture/ videos, viewing picture in gallery, listening to FM radio or MP3s. It is very convenient, just like if you’re listening to music, you don’t need to go to the player to select the next song but you’ll just simply swipe your palm above the phone and it will play another song. Same thing in capturing pictures, if you don’t want your phone to be moved during pressing the capture button, you can just simply again swipe your hands on the phone and it will automatically take the picture.

Gaming


If you’re a hardcore gamer or uses phone as a gaming device, then this phone is not for you. Because it has only a two-point multi-touch screen, It means you can’t press 3-5 fingers together in playing. I’ve tried playing Dead Trigger in 8.5. It has no problem in gameplay, it doesn’t lag or hang-up. But the problem is that you can’t aim or shoot while walking because it only supports two-point touch. All I can say is that O+ 8.5 can play every game in the Playstore because it has a decent GPU hardware and a 1 Ghz single core. But you cannot play well for games that require using more than 2 fingers together. Below are my games installed in my 8.5 and screen shot of the game Zombie Dash. Only a few games were installed because I don’t usually use my phone in playing as I have my own gaming device.

Death Moto

Zombie Dash



Camera


The O+ 8.5 has a 5MP autofocus rear camera and a VGA front camera which can be used during video call like in Skype. It has a built-in panorama feature which is really great. Taking pictures using flash takes about 2-3 sec before capturing. Aside from that, taking pictures is just a snap, either using the capture button or the air shuffle feature. It has also a built-in screen shot. Just press the power button and volume down button together to have instant screen shots. Below are samples of pictures and video taken using the 8.5.

panorama shot sample




Battery


OK here’s the downside. It has only a 1500 mAh battery which is somewhat the minimum capacity of any android phones. For typical use like texting, calling, listening to music and playing a little games, the battery will last you for a day. With 15-20% battery life left. For gaming or hardcore use, it will just take you 2-3 hrs of playing time. So the charger will be your bestfriend here.

Conclusion


Pros:
  • It has an air shuffle feature which is very unique and make your phone different from others
  • Sleek and beautiful design
  • Fast and very responsive user interface
  • With built-in panorama and screen shot so you don’t need to download apps to enjoy these features
  • Can offer a decent quality gameplay
Cons
  • Contacts and phonebook cannot recognize between 09 or +639 numbers
  • Air shuffle sensor is not that sensitive compared to its new released O+ 8.9 and O+ 8.12
  • Shorter battery life because it has only 1500 mah battery which requires you to bring your charger always.
  • Cannot play well in games which requires more than two point touch

Summary


If you want to be unique and different with the others because of its air shuffle feature, and if you’re looking for alternative cheap phones and with a built quality, then this phone is for you. Although there are other phones with a price range between PHP 4k-6k and offers more specs than O+ 8.5 like Cherry Mobile, MyPhone and etc., it’s still up to you which phone best suits you.

Specifications:
  • 4’’ 800 x 480 Capacitive multi-touch Screen
  • Android 4.0.4 (ICS)
  • Air Shuffle FM, Music, Photos, Camera –highlight new feature of being able to Air Shuffle in taking photos!
  • 1GHz processor for quick access to FB, Twitter on the go.
  • Dual camera with 5MP Auto Focus back camera with flash
  • Noise Reduction for clearer communication
  • Quad band and 3G connectivity
  • Voice command navigation [over GPS/AGPS]
  • Games Galore! Up to 32GB expandable memory
  • Easy file sharing via Bluetooth connectivity
  • 1500mAh Battery
  • Dual SIM
  • 512 RAM and 2gb internal memory
Price: Php 5,995.00


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About the Author

Vincent Sevilla

I’m just an ordinary man living in Cebu. This is my first time to write a review regarding smartphones particularly the O+ 8.5. Wala na akong masabi kasi I’m a man with a few words..hehe.. All I wrote here are only my opinions and based on my experiences using the O+ 8.5. Thanks to Sir Alexus for giving me the opportunity to write a review on his blog :)

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