We’ve previously previewed three of the newest handsets from O+ USA, the O+ 8.31z, O+ 8.36z, and O+ 8.37. We were able to get two of these for review, the O+ 8.31z, and O+ 8.37. Of the three budget phones, the O+ 8.37 is the most expensive, retailing for PHP 4,995. However, it does provide (expectedly, I might add) the best specs of the three, though not by much.
O+ 8.37 Specs
- 4.0-inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen LCD IPS display
- 1.3GHz Dual Core ARM Cortex A7-based MediaTek MT6572 processor
- Dual SIM , Dual Standby
- Android Jelly Bean 4.2.2
- Mali-400 GPU
- 512MB RAM
- Expandable storage up to 32GB
- 3.2MP auto focus main camera with LED Flash, 0.3MP Secondary camera
- WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, WiFi Hotspot, 3G
- GPS, A-GPS
- 3.5mm Audio Jack
- Stereo FM Radio
- 1,500 mAh Li-Ion battery
As you can see from the spec sheet, it does share much of the internals from its smaller siblings, save the larger screen at 4.0″ (with a better resolution), a faster processor at 1.2GHz Dual-Core, and in the case of the 8.31z, double the RAM at 512MB. It also comes with a free higher capacity microDS card at 8GB. All the additional specs amount for the 2k more the price of the 8.31z (or 1k more in the case of the 8.36z). It would’ve been nice if we got an upgrade of the battery as well for the same price. The larger screen will definitely guzzle a lot more juice. More on battery performance later.
Design and Construction
The look and feel of the phone isn’t too far off the O+ 8.31z, meaning it’s not that great, but I can say that’s really good. I guess the best I can describe it for the moment is that it’s serviceable. It does its job well, and nothing more. People won’t go wow when they see you use it, but then again, there are certain advantages to it. At least it won’t be as thief-magnet. In fact, it really looks very generic and bland.
For a 4.0 screen, the resolution is average at best. At that size and price point, I expected its 480 x 800 resolution which is now standard in the entry-level market. Colors are also sometimes washed out, but that’s to be expected from budget phones. If you plan to use this as an entertainment device, I’d suggest keeping your expectations low. YouTube and other low-res videos would do fine. Try watching higher resolution ones and you’d run into trouble (or at least I did). 720p videos are okay though.
Software and UI
There’s absolutely nothing different on the software side compared to the 8.31z. So, the Air Shuffle is also present, and so is the OTA Update feature. If you didn’t like the Air Shuffle then, this phone won’t change your mind. Performance-wise, both phones feel similar, but again, having that double RAM definitely makes a difference. Operation is more responsive and smoother for the most part, although there are still noticeable hiccups here and there, especially when you open a lot of apps and/or switch from one to the other constantly. Sometimes, some apps would just crash, as if the load was too much that it experienced a nervous breakdown. But, again, it’s not as prevalent as the 8.31z.
The keyboard is really responsive and accurate most of the time. I don’t know if it’s just me, of if its keys’ touch areas are smaller than expected – or maybe I’m just used to larger screens. It takes a few presses sometimes before the keypress registers if your fingers are sweaty so make sure to put a screen protector. Luckily, the text prediction is serviceable enough, although I do miss SwiftKey. I swear, I don’t think I’ll ever find any onscreen keyboard that can match it in terms of usability and accuracy.
Related: O+ 8.15 Android Phone Review
Like all budget phones, the telephony aspect is a-ok. Audio reception is clear, and sending SMS is worry-free. Just don’t expect too much when using the “smart” aspect, though, as you’ll find that it’s cut corners through and through. It performs incredibly well in casual games and as well as some high-endish games like Shadowgun and Dead Trigger.
Now we’ll go with the camera. Image quality is relatively okay, considering it being a budget phone. Colors are slighly bland, but it’s generally okay under good lighting conditions. However, it progressively gets worse in low light conditions. Even for ordinary, run-of-the-mill shoots, you may find it not up to task but often good enough for social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The problem with the budget phone market is that at any given price point, there’s bound to be some pretty stiff competition. Priced at PHP 4,995, its competitors simply out-class it in terms of features. At that range, you already get to see phones sporting Quad-core processors, 4.5″ and above screens with superior resolution, higher battery capacity, double the RAM, well, you get the drift. While it’s true that its performance is acceptable, it’s not stellar, and definitely not enough to overlook the superior specs of its competitors. Adding a bit of value via the Air Shuffle is a nice touch, but I doubt that you’ll be enamored to use it often.
O+ 8.37 is still a very good buy if you just want to get a durable and affordable android phone with decent performance. Sure it’s a step lower in raw power, but it’s more than enough for first time android users and casual gamers. O Plus 8.37 is now available on all O+ stores and retailers nationwide for Php4,995.