O+ 8.15 Review
Adam Parnala | On 07, Jun 2013
O+ USA’s new flagship android phone has been unveiled a few weeks ago and it was a highly successful launch as their new concept store on SM North EDSA was crowded by people who were excited to get hold of an O+ 8.15.
The predecessor of the O+ 8.15, the O+ 8.12, isn’t as much hyped as this one but I can safely say that it got tremendous success as well based on the great feedbacks we received from our review.
Moving on, it seems like O Plus did a great job in their follow up to the 8.12. Take this – O+ 8.12 has a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB RAM, and a scratch resistant display that could take a beating. And for the new kid, they did take it seriously again. O+ 8.15 has a powerful 1.2GHz quad-core processor, 1GB RAM, and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean out of the box so you’ll get to enjoy the latest version of android. It has some extras that 4.1 don’t have but we’ll go on to that later.
Let’s start this review by check what are the things that you’ll get when you buy this android phone.
What’s in the box?
Just like the other O+ android phones we’ve reviewed before, the package is pretty much the same. You’ll get the unit, charger head, microUSB cable, earphones, FREE 8GB microSD card, manuals, and warranty card. The box has a beautiful design which is appropriate for a flagship device. Check out our unboxing photos.
Design and Build
From the first look I can already tell that I’ve fallen in love with the design of the O+ 8.15. The handset is super slim and as a 5-incher it sure looks sweet. The body is not that big despite its huge screen. The bezels are also thin so it’s not ugly like other android phones who suffered criticisms for that matter.
Looking at the front of the O+ 8.15, I immediately noticed that the bezels were barely noticeable if its the screen is turned off. The black is really dark unlike other phones which obviously outs the bezels on the sides. It ain’t a big deal, but it adds some spice up which contributes to the added elegance of the overall design.
Right below the screen is three capacitive buttons namely: Menu, Home, and Back. Looking on top, we’ll find the 2-megapixel front camera and light and proximity sensors as well as the LED light. Flip it on its back and it’ll reveal the 8-megapixel BSI camera and the traditional O+ USA branding just below it. The LED flash is right in the middle of the branding and camera.
On the left side is the volume rocker while the power/lock button is placed on the right side. Looking on top, we’ll see the microUSB port beside the 3.5mm audio jack. The mic is located at the bottom.
Measuring at only 8.4mm at its thickest point, it easily surpassed other phablets out there. For comparison, the Galaxy S3 is at 8.6mm thick while the Galaxy S4 is at 7.9mm.
I must say that O+ 8.15 can hold its own stand in the design department when pitted to Samsung android phones and it even outshines most of them with its stellar build quality. Their brand is more known that’s for sure, but design-wise this smartphone is a real looker.
The 5-inch HD IPS Dragontrail Glass Display is very nice especially because of its scratch resistant feature. Also, the HD IPS display will make sure that the screen is vibrant and vivid. The contrast and saturation were also on the good side which enhances the viewing experience considerably. If you’re wondering where we got the info, we got it directly from an O+ representative.
But how good is a HD display? For the untrained eye, it will not look that special. But when you try to compare it with a qHD or WVGA, you’ll quickly spot the difference. Another notable advantage is the ultra bright IPS display which makes the HD display even more lovely to look at. O+ 8.15’s display has a pixel density of ~294ppi so its obviously very good and pixels aren’t that noticeable. It’s not a full HD but that’s just a marketing feature anyway as that much pixel can not be noticed by the naked eye.
When I took the handset out in direct sunlight, I was actually surprised that the content on the screen is indeed visible. It’s the brightest on the devices we’ve tested so far and I’m very pleased.
With the Dragontrail Glass technology, you will no longer need to apply a screen protector since it can take quite a beating. You don’t need to worry about about scratches and stuff like that. Also, screen protectors usually make the display less clear so it’ll be obtrusive for the HD screen of other phones. Matte isn’t good in preserving the clarity but clear will do just fine though. If you still want to put a screen protector, I highly suggest that you stay away from matte as it will make your screen look blurry.
Being a quad-core android phone, people will eventually assume that this handset is fast – and it is indeed very fast. All sorts of operation are very smooth and you will no longer curse your phone for freezing while you’re doing something important.
Let’s start with the UI. Navigating the menus, settings, and swiping left and right is fluid and even with custom animations from third-party launchers are handled easily which dual-core android phones tend to stutter a bit. The low end PowerVR SGX 531 GPU is also one of the main cause, and fortunately the O Plus 8.15 has a PowerVR SGX 544MP which is more powerful.
The O+ 8.15 uses a 1.2GHz quad-core MT6589 processor which is one of the most promising quad-core chipset in the affordable segment. Despite being aimed to the budget quad-core level, it doesn’t fail to deliver each time we put it to the test. We’ll tell you more details when it comes to gaming later.
One of the things that you would surely love about having an android phone with a large screen is that you’ll get to enjoy the content more as it gives you more details and better quality.
O+ 8.15’s HD IPS display makes viewing videos really fun especially if you’ll load 720p or 1080p videos. The default player was okay for the most part but I still prefer having MX Player on board as it brings more features to the table and as well as support for a wide range of video formats.
As an audio player, the O+ 8.15 doesn’t fail to deliver. The earphones are really nice and the color scheme is centered to the O+ branding though there’s no logo there. The speaker is also loud enough than usual and it can easily cater a small group of people or a room. But like any other smartphone, it can be outperformed when there is too much noise in the environment.
When we say entertainment, I’m sure another thing comes to mind – gaming. Yes, we’ll be there later so don’t get too excited.
Like the O+ 8.12 which we considered as far superior than any other local android phone before (and until today), the O+ 8.15 lived up to the flagship caliber as it delivers high quality photos in both good and low light conditions.
The autofocus locks in very fast and the shutter has almost zero lag. There are also several shooting modes such as Panorama, Multi Angle View, Smile Detection, Face beauty, and HDR. Also, it is capable of shooting 40 up to 99 continuously on burst shot mode. With all that added features and the stellar 8-megapixel camera and strong LED flash, the O+ 8.15 surely fit camera junkies and those who constantly take selfies.
The front facing camera is of good quality as well. It is far from the traditional VGA front cameras which returns blurry images and less accurate details. This time, O+ took a huge step and offered a superior 2-megapixel front camera with face detection which produced extremely good results.
Check out the sample shots below. *Scaled down. I’ll update it with full size images.
As for video recording, it records perfectly at 1080p so you can maximize the full potential of this beast. It doesn’t use the full sensor though, so you might notice that when you start recording it seems like it has moved forward a bit. But that’s a actually which is also present on the iPhone 5.
I have been a fan of how O+ give their low cost android phones a great camera and I’m glad that the O+ 8.15 exceeded my expectations. I was already assuming that it’s good before I got it, but was blown away when I tested it. Overall, it’s almost good enough as a point and shoot camera.
For gaming freaks, the O+ 8.15 can definitely serve you well. A major credit to this should also be given to the larger internal storage and the ability to move them to your external microSD card.
The O+ 8.15 handle most of the games perfectly without any lags and all of my usual game tests are all smooth. The 1.2GHz MT6589 quad-core processor and PowerVR SGX544MP is a hell of a combo and it clearly shows it power through games like GTA Vice City, Dead Trigger, and NBA 2k13.
If you’re more of a casual gamer, you won’t have difficulties playing Temple Run Oz and Candy Crush Saga here. All other games like 4 Pics 1 Word are obviously playable.
It’s also worth noting that the 1GB of RAM of the O Plus 8.15 gives supreme multitasking capabilities as it can easily handle a game, browser, and a random app altogether without any slow down.
Despite the growth in performance and screen quality, one thing that’s often neglected today is the internal storage which is equally important. If you have a small internal storage and you don’t have the option to move the apps and games on your microSD card, you’re in trouble.
O+ 8.15 will give you a good number of apps to install as it has a larger than usual 8GB of internal storage. That way, it ensures you that you can put all the apps you want without worrying much about it because you can quickly transfer them to your microSD card too, instead of the ‘phone storage.
For the record, the configuration is 980MB for the apps plus 5.44GB of phone storage which you can also use for storing apps and games in case you don’t have a microSD card. But since it has an 8GB microSD card included in the package, it won’t be a problem.
Messaging / Telephony
As it has a huge real estate, your fingers can roam around texting is clearly comfortable with the O+ 8.15 android phone. Because it is big enough for me to correctly hit each key with few slight errors, I can type my messages very quickly which is really nice when I’m busy and I just need to send some short texts.
There is also a built-in emoticon support in the SMS app making it easier for you to convey your feelings to the person you’re talking to. But the interface isn’t really heavily customized, though there are other additional options such as the pop-up message notification which can be found in the settings.
During my tests on voice calls, the reception was great and the sound can be categorized from normal to loud which is nice at times when I need it to be louder. The voices come out clean so I haven’t encountered any problem with it. As for the look of the contacts and dialer, it’s most likely stock.
Connectivity: HSPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Most of us are now getting more and more attached to the internet and if you’re that kind of person you’ll surely love the O+ 8.15 even more. The connection locks in instantly once it detects a network near you and even if it’s a few meters away, you’ll still get acceptable signal.
With the rather large screen, the amount of content that’s readily accessible within the display is plenty so viewing websites and as well as social networking sites is more comfortable. The pictures and texts are solid and can be viewed even from afar.
The first SIM is capable of giving the network a HSPA+ connection while the SIM 2 network will be limited to GSM/EDGE.
Both WiFi and mobile data connection are impressive and it didn’t slowed down a bit, unless it’s your own network. As I’ve said, multitasking on this device is very fluid and snappy. With this amount of RAM, the internet connectivity has leaped by a mile in terms of productivity.
OS, UI, Apps
Since it’s running Android 4.2.1, it comes with all of the Android Jelly Bean benefits and the much talked about Project Butter which brings added smoothness to the table. The experience is quite liquid and sleek and I have not experienced any lags or major slowdowns.
The UI isn’t that customized and it really is more of stock android – aside from the typical O+ icons which is we really like because of its lively colors. There are also some O Plus wallpapers and flavor were also implemented all in all it did not ruined the almost stock Jelly Bean environment.
The stock launcher is quite simple so I would suggest that you replace it with a launcher that has more useful features The most used and important ones are there, however for people who need more, Google Play is always there to help you in customizing the look of your device.
In case you missed our unboxing post, here’s the benchmark results of the O + 8.15 on our favorite apps – AnTuTu, Quadrant, and NenaMark v2. As you can see, the handset fared really well against other high end android devices. Check the results here.
The scores achieved were all based on the stock version and there are no optimizations done. The results were very close to its competitors as the MyPhone A919i Duo and Cherry Mobile Omega HD 2.0 are both at 12,500+ range
O + 8.15 also supports USB OTG. Meaning, you can connect a USB flashdrive and load or transfer contents from the device and vice versa. This feature is really useful for students or professionals who constantly manages their documents and what’s best is that they can do it wherever they are, on a handset.
It can also be used in connecting a physical gaming controller in case you’re more comfortable with it or you just want to take gaming to the next level. As for me, I use it in playing classic Playstation games like Marvel versus Street Fighter.
Air Shuffle Technology – I guess you’re all familiar with this by now? But if you’re not, then let me explain this quickly. The trick is initiated when you hover your hand a few centimeters above the display (specifically near the camera). By swiping either left or right, it will react as if you’re touching down. However, please note that this only work on Gallery, Camera, Music, and FM Radio. So don’t even try it on other apps, okay?
Now we’re at the stage where we will judge the battery life. By looking at the mediocre 2000mAh, it looks like it will run out of juice quickly – but that’s not really the case. Since I’ve used this device for around two weeks prior to this review, I was able to measure its battery life considerably and I have included the usage data I gathered using the Battery Analyzer app from the Play Store.
Now, you might be wondering what’s my usage? Well, it’s like my usage on other phones I reviewed. As you can see, I used the device extensively on the first day I installed the battery drain analyzer and I played a lot of games during that time. On the next few days, the handset lasted 1 whole day and a half. I’m constantly using it with WiFi turned on, several SMS, a few minutes of calls, and 20-30 minutes of playing a game (Punch Hero).
O+ 8.15 really emerged as one of the top performers in its category specifically because of its fast processor, 1GB RAM, and a stunning 5-inch HD IPS Dragontrail Glass display. It’s a sure winner in all aspects including its awesome 8-megapixel and 2-megapixel cameras. Add the elegant and solid build – we have a perfect mid-range smartphone that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
What makes O+ 8.15 so special is its user friendliness. Anyone can pick up this phone and enjoy it from the get go as they don’t need to do anything else to make it better. I would also like to mention the importance of the 8GB internal storage and option to move the apps to the free 8GB microSD card – or whatever you have. With that, you can enjoy more apps and games as you won’t be that limited. It’s a serious case that’s common on locally branded android phones forget to do. The good thing is there are workarounds that people can do – but that’s not for all. You know, most users are scared to mess up with their device, right?
O+ 8.15 Android Phone Specs
Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean
5-inch HD IPS *Dragon Trail Glass Display, 1280×720 pixel resolution, ~294ppi
MT6589 1.2GHz quad-core Cortex A7 processor
PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU
8GB internal storage
expandable up to 32GB via microSD card
8-megapixel BSI autofocus main camera with LED flash
2-megapixel front facing camera
WiFi, WiFi hotspot
Air Shuffle music, photos, camera, and FM radio
2000mAh Li-Polymer battery
As we all know, O Plus 8.15 is not the cheapest, but I’ve full confidence and experience with them that they do provide exceptional quality. The price of Php12,995 sure is more expensive than other competing brands, but O+ deserves to charge that much as this is really a solid product. I know that the offer is not that enticing for budget conscious consumers, but in case you have enough money to shell out – then I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it as it’s a great deal.