O+ 8.12 Android Phone Review
Adam Parnala | On 08, Mar 2013
O+ 8.12 has been getting a huge media face time lately in the country’s leading noontime show and as well as a TV commercial that’s aired almost every day. But what can this device offer aside from its scratch and shatter proof display and stellar camera? Read on our full review of the O+ 8.12 to find out.
There are many affordable android phones out there but very few are able to snag a complete combo of great specifications that will give a seamless performance in multitasking and gaming. The most evident reason, as what everyone points out, is the mediocre 512MB of RAM. The MTK6577 1GHz dual-core processor is already a powerful enough CPU but in most cases, since there is limited amount of RAM, the lag kicks in. While these low cost android phones’ performance are sufficient to people’s daily needs, some geeks just need that extra boost that they need to do their tasks and to play resource intensive games. This dilemma then leads them to look for android phones with bigger memory, specifically at least 1GB of RAM.
Better specs eventually mean that you need to pay more, but that doesn’t mean that you’ll only get nothing more than extra memory. O+ 8.12 is O Plus’ current flagship android phone will not only give that 1GB of RAM because it also includes a qHD scratch and shatter proof display, a great 8-megapixel camera, and a lot of more. Also, to give a more concrete understanding of how this device performs, we’ll use the Cherry Mobile Titan W500 (regardless of its price) as the point of comparison in some cases to help you get a better picture of the performance of this O Plus android phone. How do this smartphone stack up in day to day usage? Is it worth the Php11,999? We’ll share our experience about it so let’s get started.
What’s in the box?
The box of O+ 8.12 is unlike other conventional smartphone package out there. It’s far from the traditional look and just a glance at it will surely invite your eye to lock in and take a closer look. The parcel is an elegant square shaped box with the huge print of O+ in front. But what’s even better is the smartphone and accessories hidden underneath. I’ve listed down the box contents of the O+ 8.12 below. You can also check out our unboxing post here.
- O+ 8.12 Android phone
- Charger adapter
- microUSB cable
- 1850mAh battery
- FREE 8GB microSD card
The Design: It’s elegant!
At first glance, the O+ 8.12 reminded me of the Lumia 900 and the Acro S. It has the same shape but looking a bit closer will reveal its true identity. I immediately noticed its great and solid build and I was really impressed by how it fits my average-sized hand perfectly. The weight is also fine and on the light side against other heavy android phones that we’ve held before. We got the black and white variant and at first I didn’t really liked the combination and I thought that the all black was better. But after a day, I got used to it and I realized that it looks elegant this way.
The design is minimalistic and sexy. We were greeted by the stunning 4.5-inch qHD display and right below of it is the usual three capacitive: menu, home, and back buttons. The front camera and proximity sensor are on the top right side.
The volume rocker is found in the left side of the phone while the lock/power button is on the right side. Looking at the top, we can see the microUSB port and the 3.5mm audio port. Flip the handset over and we’ll find the 8-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash at the top of it.
The camera is slightly mounted so that could take a beating if it will not be well taken care of. I’m kinda torn between its stylish implementation and the exposure of the cover of the lens, but I think the design overweighs the latter. However, until O+ releases accessories for the O+ 8.12, I would still classify this as a minor design flaw. Under it is the ‘O+’ branding and ‘Designed for O+ in the USA’ tag which looks cool enough to show it off in public. After all, O+ is an American brand which creates their own smartphones so there is nothing to be ashamed of.
Overall, I honestly think the design is top notch and is not like those generic designs that we usually see in other smartphones. It’s actually not the thinnest among all the smartphones today but measuring at only 10.9mm at its thickest point, it’s still not bad and it actually does add more assurance to the grip on your hand. It has an elegant finish and though it’s mostly made up of plastic, it doesn’t actually look cheap. Indeed, O+ 8.12 portrayed the flagship look gorgeously.
The Display: Scratch and shatter proof, high quality IPS display
Most affordable android phones right now were created with WVGA and FWVGA resolution and very few enjoy qHD displays. Although the lower 480×800 pixel resolution is already sufficient for basic smartphone duties, we can’t deny that there is still a great leap in overall performance if a high quality display is used because it offers rich colors and accurate details that even the slightest dot will be noticed – that is if you have a sharp eye, though. Let’s face it, not all people are able to recognize those tiny pixels but as always geeky enthusiasts consider them as an eye sore.
O+ 8.12 features a 4.5-inch qHD (960×540 pixel resolution) scratch and shatter proof display so that means you’ll not only get a good display, but as well as protection on those accidents which can dent the screen of your lovable gadget. Sometimes screen protectors aren’t enough. Fortunately, O+ took the plunged to address that kind of circumstances with the ultra-tough display.
We’ve tested a demo unit extensively and we smacked it with a bread knife in all possible directions plus a full blow as a final test – and guess what, it did survived with flying colors. But as much as I want to give you a video demo of it, I can’t since I don’t want to try it on our own unit (you know). What I can tell you though is that we’re regularly letting our friends to try to scratch it through the use of their nails and so far we haven’t received a single scratch. Also, for the purpose of this review, I have decided not to put a screen protector to fully test its strength in everyday usage. Up until now, even with its continuous suffering in my pocket with coins, keys, and other stuff – still, a single mark is unseen.
Apart from the tough display, O+ 8.12’s screen is also an IPS. Meaning, viewing angles are wide and it’s still clear even up to around 178 degrees. Sunlight legibility is also wonderful unlike on the Titan where we can barely see any content on the screen. Even at the lowest brightness, the content on the display of O+ 8.12 is still recognizable. When indoors, the display at full brightness is really one of the best we’ve seen so far because it is really, really bright.
Plenty of you might argue that they should’ve put up a much bigger screen since this is their best phone as of the moment, but I think this size is just right for its price category and is made to keep the level of clarity of the display as high as possible. After all, most Filipinos don’t have huge hands so the build is just ideal for most of us. If you want a 5-incher, you can try the O+ 8.9 but it doesn’t have the same specs as the O Plus 8.12.
Performance, CPU, and RAM
Like most other android phones in the Philippines, the O+ 8.12 is powered by Mediatek’s 6577 processor so that will make you think that there’s nothing special about this – but there is, the 1GB RAM. People who buy cheap android phones usually complain (there’s no reason to, actually) about the measly 512MB RAM that comes with their handset because it limits their smartphone. The doubled RAM to 1GB sure looks great on paper, but it feels a lot better in actual usage.
I often find the 512MB RAM lacking when it comes to multitasking and I was delighted to know that the O+ 8.12 can net me a smooth multitasking experience. Running multiple apps and returning to them is swift and the drawbacks are very little to no show. Even the Grand Theft Auto Vice City was kept in the memory while I’m texting and the game returned to the pause screen whereas my other handset with 512MB RAM struggle to play the game and it eventually exits whenever I try to pause the game and do something else. That’s an evident huge jump in performance if you’ll ask me.
The 1GHz dual-core CPU is sufficient most of the time so the slowness is usually caused by the low amount of available RAM especially if you have tons of widgets in your home screen and an enormous number of background apps. For an average user, this is likely ignored as they only care about the apps and games that’s why it’s easy to understand why they crave for a higher RAM when they are told that their RAM is small. The O+ 8.12 resolves that issue here and it’s a testament that a dual-core CPU and 1GB RAM is a good compliment to each other.
O+ 8.12 carries a formidable combination of specs so we could probably expect high scores in benchmark tests. On AnTuTu, it managed to get a score of 6,847 which is just slightly below on the Galaxy Nexus. Check out the screenshot below so that you could see the configuration of this device.
Quadrant Standard gave it a score of 2,709 which surpassed both the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Nexus. Our last test was from the NenaMark2 which measured an average of only 24.1 fps. This is most likely the cause of the stutters in GTA.
It’s also worth-noting that the benchmark results of the O+ 8.12 are not far from its competition. Actually, it’s just a few hundreds above but still that’s already a good benefit in a consumer’s standpoint. Also, the advantage of having 1GB of RAM is appreciated more in everyday usage because it really provides efficient multitasking in contrast to those who have lower RAM because they usually encounter app redraws instead of being back on where they left them. In comparison to the Samsung Galaxy S3 Mini which costs Php14,999, it’s not way behind because the score difference in AnTuTu is just 60 (S3 Mini scored 6907) so that means that the performance will be on par with the Samsung slate. Also, we should note that the S3 Mini is already running on Jelly Bean that’s why we’re sure that the O+ 8.12 will snatch the benchmarks victory once the JB update comes out.
OS: Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, upgradeable to Jelly Bean
O+ 8.12 comes pre-installed with Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich and I know you’re thinking that it’s not a good deal to buy a device for Php12k and you’ll end up getting an older version of Android. Well, the good news here is that O Plus will be providing a software update to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (hopefully it’s 4.2) in Q2 this year. It’s almost the end of Q1 so we’re expecting it to go live anytime next month or the month after so if you own this phone, you better stay tuned at their official Facebook fanpage. The smartphone is already smooth even on ICS but we’ll gladly take a peek at Jelly Bean and its Project Butter once it’s out.
The Android ICS on O+ 8.12 is not that heavily customized like Samsung’s TouchWiz and HTC’s Sense but it indeed have some modifications up on its sleeve which can be seen right after pressing the power/lock button. The lockscreen is not the usual ICS lockscreen. It has four options wherein you can directly access messaging, phone, and camera app straight away. A music player widget is also included which can appear by swiping up from the bottom of the screen and you can hide it by swiping down. Once we go to the homescreen, we’ll be greeted by the colorful wallpaper of O Plus and customized icons which I’m okay with but I replaced it with stock ICS icons afterwards because I like it better.
Connectivity: 3.5G, Wi-Fi, etc
I’m a person who is always checking on my email and social networking accounts on mobile so 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity is one of my main priorities. The web browsing experience is very nice and enjoyable as it lets me switch from different apps seamlessly. I use Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Chrome, and 9GAG app all at the same time and I was still able to browse smoothly. In contrast, the smartphones with lower RAM struggle to switch different apps.
The Wi-Fi connection with O+ 8.12 is also great as it’s able to capture the hotspot even I’m far away from the router. Meanwhile, the 3G signal is also decent and you can opt to switch to WCDMA only mode to force your connection to 3G but if you prefer to have it on automatic, it’s there as well. And oh, you can use 3G on either SIM 1 or SIM 2 as it has an option on which you want to enable 3G.
Camera: Awesome 8-megapixel camera
I’m not really a fond of using the camera of a smartphone since there are only times that I need them. Surprisingly, it made me want to capture more photos with it. With the help of the air shuffle technology, I was able to take stolen photos easily without my classmates even noticing it. It’s quite naughty but yeah that works like a charm whenever you want to set up a prank.
The 8-megapixel camera surpassed our expectations. We’re confident from the start that it will produce high-quality images but upon seeing it in action, I was really blown away. No exaggeration intended but it was really that good. In a well-lit environment and outdoors, the captured images are awesome and I almost feel like I have a digicam with me – and sometimes, even more. Photos on low-light conditions are impressive as well and through the help of the strong flash, it was able to capture decent looking photos from the dark. Without flash, the shot is still nice enough to be uploaded on your favorite social networking site. The rear camera can also be used to take self-portrait shots effortlessly with the help of Air Shuffle.
But it’s not all about that as it also helps users to take self-portrait photos without a sweat. The VGA camera in front is good enough for a shot for Facebook or Twitter but if you want it to keep it, the 8-megapixel camera will make that moment last. That is if you’ll be keen enough to secure it in your computer or to the cloud because we’ll never know what will happen. Take a look at the sample images below.
As for video recording, the O+ 8.12 can record up to a 720p quality so you will not fall short in case you need it to capture precious moments. Sample video will be uploaded soon.
This enhanced camera is such a huge factor for me since this feature has been one of my frustrations on the Titan. In fact, I almost forgot that it did have a camera. With the O+ 8.12, I was able to play around with its shooter more but what made me (and my friends) enjoy it better is the “Air Shuffle” technology which we’ll talk about below.
Air Shuffle Technology
The most emphasized feature on O+ android phones is probably the Air Shuffle which lets users to just swipe above the screen a few cm up and the screen will react on it. This is also featured on an O+ TV commercial before and also on Eat Bulaga. At first, it looks puzzling on an average person but to help all of you understand, I’ll explain how this work.
The sensor used in Air Shuffle is located in the top right corner of the O+ 8.12. It’s actually on the same slot as the front camera and proximity sensor so that means that when swiping above the screen, your hand should pass through that portion so that your gesture would be recognized. Meaning, if you swipe above the screen but you didn’t hit that upper right point, it would not react.
The Air Shuffle is also limited to a number of apps namely: Camera, Gallery, FM Radio, and Music. I hate to bring the bad news but you won’t be able to utilize it on other operations of your smartphone such as swiping in the homescreen and app drawer. Most people expected it to work that way since that was the initial impression of people who hear Air Shuffle. Anyway, I don’t see any problem with that as it’s not convenient to use an android phone without touching it.
Messaging / Telephony
O+ 8.12 is also a dual-SIM and dual-standby smartphone so that means you’ll get the most out of it by being on two networks at the same time. This feature is one of my must have lately because it’s really a hassle to bring two smartphones with me (but I still do it, ’till now). It’s really convenient to receive all the notifications in one device but along with that advantage comes the factor that you need to take note which network you’re using. I usually use my main SIM to send text messages and make calls while I let my other SIM run so whenever I receive a notification, I can just reply using my other network. It’s easier to manage given that you’re always aware of the one you’re using or else you’ll burn your credits without even knowing it.
The messaging on the O+ 8.12 is sweet but there’s a small caveat that hinders my usage. There are several instances that I experienced some inaccuracy of the keyboard while I’m texting. It gets confused on which to render and it mistakenly enters the one beside the letter I’m touching. For example, when I touch the letter ‘s’, the input registered was ‘a’. At first I thought I was just not used to it but it happened to me at around 3 times in my 3 weeks usage. It’s not a serious problem though as it is returned to normal responsiveness just by closing the messaging app and launching it again. So far it hasn’t happened to me again after that 3rd time.
O Plus 8.12 handle calls brilliantly. The output is great and is loud enough to be heard even when I’m in a mall. I have never experienced any problem with it and the call quality is consistent. The earphones included in the package can also be used in calls as it also has a mic.
Multimedia: Music, Video
Most android phones today are typically used as media players and with O+ 8.12, playing music and videos works well. The display size is above average so expect that it will be a viable video player in case you want to watch some videos here and there. Since it has a ppi of 245, the subtitles are still readable – but you still need a good pair of eyes to understand it. Anyway, the built-in speaker is good enough to cover a small room full of people. O+ 8.12 can handle almost all types of videos provided that you download a third party video app called as MX Player as the default player is limited to a few formats only.
As a music player, the O+ 8.12 can be a very nice tool to show off but it can be frustrating as well. For one, it can be used to show your friends how the air shuffle works. But when you’re just using it as an audio player, you’ll be irritated because it will switch tracks and radio stations with just a slight hover above it. This disturbs me so I turned off the Air Shuffle for the said app. It can be done by going to Settings > Accessibility.
The audio output is loud but is nowhere near the thundering sound produced by china dumb phones. It’s okay when used in loudspeaker mode but it won’t give you much. I’d still recommend that you use speakers or a good set of earphones if multimedia is your fancy.
Gaming: Play as you wish
The O+ 8.12 is a gaming machine. The display is adequate for gaming and it’s in between an average sized android phone and the phablet territory. Most gamers would have preferred a 5-inch android for gaming, but for those who just want it for killing some time and occasional entertainment, the 4.5-inch is the sweet spot.
All of the games we tried run smoothly with only rare glitches on extremely demanding HD games. We’ll skip the casual game discussions here as it can play all that thanks to the ever-reliable Mediatek 6577 CPU and PowerVR SGX531 GPU which are also used on most local android phones. It’s quite decent though it is also known to struggle a bit in games like the GTA Vice City. The game is playable but you’ll really notice the lack of better frame rates as it looks choppy at times. Anyway, in order to make it more pleasurable to play, you can adjust the visual effects and screen resolution in the settings. UPDATE: I found out that the lag was caused by the apps and modifications I made to customize it to make it look like Windows Phone 8. I’ve removed it to test it again and right now it’s running fine even on high quality settings and lags were largely reduced.
Dead Trigger and Beach Buggy Blitz, two of my favorite games, are also running on this device and they are obviously smooth. Playing on the 4.5-inch screen is fine for the most part but since I’m more accustomed to 5-inchers, there are times that I missed the extra real estate because it lets me move around without disturbances or my finger going out of the screen. But for those who are migrating for sub 3.5-inchers, it’ll not be a problem at all and you will even find it pleasurable. If you’re curious if this phone can play Temple Run 2, yes it can run it smoothly so you’ll be focused on navigating around and moving away from the obstacles.
Battery Life: Just above average
Battery life has been one of the main concerns of people who use android lately because they can’t fully enjoy the power of their smartphone due to the limited juice that’s inside it. It’s also one of the major factors that I consider when choosing an android phone because a long uptime is important for me.
Thankfully, the O+ 8.12 has a decent battery capacity. With 1850mAh, it can get me on a full day of heavy usage and almost 2 days at a moderate one. In fact, in slight-moderate you can even net up to two and a half days. The longest uptime I received on O+ 8.12 with one SIM in use, more than 1 hour of Wi-Fi, occasional gaming, frequent texting, and around 30 minutes of call, is an astounding two full days. If there are two networks, the battery can last you a day and a half with moderate to heavy usage. However, this test is relative since your browsing and gaming can be different from mine. Anyhow, I can guarantee you that it would at least you a day – but that is if you’re not going to play and surf the whole day.
The battery life is already impressive considering it powers a good set of specs which means it eats more juice than other android phones. I would also like to mention that the battery cover is removable so if ever your no longer satisfied with the uptime of your battery, it’ll easily be replaceable. I initially thought that the uptime of this android phone would be disappointing but I was wrong. It’s not superb but it gets the job done.
Mobile manufacturers have been spoiling us with huge displays and while that’s good at some point, it hinders other people who like to have a superb android experience minus the large screen. In this case, the O+ 8.12 would be perfect as it is a high performance android phone housed in a not-so-big case. There are other phones with 4-inch displays but they don’t have as much power as the O Plus 8.12. Up until now, we don’t really have a device with great specs and small screen in the local market and this thing is as close as you can get on that definition. I know it’s not really that tiny but that’s what I feel about it because I came from a 5-inch android device before taking this phone for a spin.
Sure there are alternatives but they do cost several thousands more. But the price is not the only reason to get this than other brands. For a price of Php11,999, O+ 8.12 gives you a scratch and shatter proof display which is a very big deal maker – at least for me. Yes you can put a screen protector on other smartphones but it’s a compromise to the display quality especially the matte one. Moreover, this thing has a dual-SIM and dual-standby feature so you’ll be able to take calls and SMS on two networks simultaneously.
O+ 8.12 Specs
- Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, upgradeable to Android Jelly Bean (Q2 2013)
- 4.5-inch qHD IPS display, 960×540 pixel resolution, 245 ppi, 16M colors
- MTK6577 1GHz dual-core processor
- PowerVR SGX531 GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 4GB internal memory, expandable up to 32GB via microSD (FREE 8GB microSD card included)
- 8-megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash
- 0.3-megapixel front camera
- 720p HD video recording at 30fps
- HSDPA, HSUPA
- Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA
- Bluetooth v3.0
- microUSB v2.0
- FM Radio
- GPS, A-GPS
- Colors: Black, White
- Dimensions: 124 x 64 x 10.9 mm
- Battery: Li-Ion 1850 mAh
O+ 8.12 offers a great performance but still there are some point where you would get to reach the limit. It’ll be not that easy to push the device out of its boundaries, though. It’s not the best specs in town, but it’s the most you can get for its price. The dual-core 1GHz plus 1GB RAM combination is far from being obsolete and I could see this blend stay in style up until the end of the year. Furthermore, should you have any problem with the device, O Plus has a unique service warranty wherein they will pick up the handset from your house and have it delivered back to you for only Php50 (in Manila). If you’re in the province, you just need to ship it to O+ and they will send it back to the comforts of your home for Free. That’s the right kind of customer service, right?
Overall, I would say that the O+ 8.12 is a pretty capable and durable smartphone. I know that some might argue that Php11,999 is too much for a relatively new brand, but I assure you that you would be very satisfied if ever you decide to get this android phone. I won’t lie – I also think that the price of this one’s a bit close to top international brands’ prices, but we can’t complain given the awesome features showcased in this device. We’ve been spoiled by local brands that’s why we usually think that anything more than Php8k is expensive for a well-built smartphone, but that shouldn’t really be the case. I bet this one would sell like hot cakes if it’ll be priced at around Php10,000, I guess. Still, with all things considered, we could say that the O + 8.12 is one of the best android phone deal for Php11,999. Go check it out in O Plus kiosks, folks!