O+ is here again with nothing but a new device to flaunt its 360 technology. The O+ 360 Alpha Plus is not only an immediate follow up to the company’s pride category, but it is also the second iteration of the earlier device, the O+ 360 Alpha.
The difference in spec sheet, and even the pricing, are not really significant. The company is taunting a new feature called Selfie Fix, but other than that, I don’t see any difference from the non-Plus version, or at least on paper. The Alpha Plus still utilizes the same processor, display and even an identical camera sensor. By reading the figures, it isn’t really clear what the update is for. How this device any better than the older one — or better yet, how does it stand out from the other devices in this category? Let’s answer those questions in this full review.
O+ 360 Alpha Plus Specs
- Android 4.4 KitKat
- 4.5-inch IPS LCD touchscreen
- 1.3GHz quad-core processor
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB internal storage
- microSD support up to 32GB
- 5-megapixel main camera, with autofocus and LED flash
- 5-megapixel front camera, with LED flash
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
- Dual (micro+regular) SIM with dual standby
- 3G HSPA
- Dimensions: 136 x 66 x 8mm
- 1500mAh battery
Design / Build Quality
The first O+ 360 Alpha was the smallest device in the company’s category because if its screen size. Other smartphones like the 360 HD and 360 Extreme had 5″ and 5.5″ displays respectively. And now with the second iteration, the O+ 360 Alpha Plus still holds the same dimensions, which is still at 4.5″.
The device also still uses plastic as the material of choice in construction, although, this thing attains a more subtle, yet has a look that is pleasing the eye. The back portion has this elegant look in it, wich has a for-professionals visual feel. The rear is painted in black matte, which is also a big plus for some minimalists out there, including me. However, the back surface is prone to smudges and fingerprints; but those marks isn’t as annoying as what you would experience in a smartphone with glass shell.
The O+ 360 Alpha Plus is also incredibly compact thanks to its, not only its modestly-sized display, but also because of its thin and lightweight profile; the device is easily pocketable, or can absolutely fit in to any purse. Ergonomics were also highly optimized with its rounded corners and the seamless transition from the back panel to the edges. The device can sit perfectly in your hands, without stressing it even after hours of use.
Taking a tour, right at front we do see a 4.5″ IPS display, ambient light and proximity sensors, 5-megapixel front-facing camera with LED flash and the earpiece. Although the chin of the device may look spacious enough to fit the capacitive buttons, but O+ decided to have on-screen buttons instead.
The left side is empty; while the right side has the volume controls and the lock/power switch. Despite being made with plastic, these buttons are well protruded which makes it very tactile.
At the top we have the 3.5mm headphone jack and microUSB port. The bottom only has the built-in microphone.
At the back still have the same 5-megapixel sensor with LED flash, the contact for the 360 feature and the loudspeaker at the bottom right. The speaker’s performance is pretty decent. The volume is pretty loud and well-balanced. The lows and highs are there and can be easily perceived by the ears, although no deep and thumping bass
The 360 Alpha Plus houses a 4.5″ IPS display, with 960 x 540 resolution, and has 245 pixels-per-inch. The device’s underwhelming pixel count may be forgivable considering its display size and the amount of money you’ll be paying on this one; but how much you can tolerate this saddening screen resolution will really depend on to what you are using it for.
Contrast ratio and saturation is pretty impressive, although, display brightness and sharpness is just really indistinct. Sure, the display is all right for reading any forms of texts and checking out social media; But it’s in visually enthusiastic contents that the display may show infirmity. Videos from YouTube are capped to a maximum resolution of only 360p when streaming any type of content. I also did tried to import a 1080p video on the device’s internal storage, and the video playback still shows the same results. This quality still hangs around when playing games or viewing photos, of course.
As expected to any IPS display, viewing-angles is terrific on this one. The display is can be conveniently sight at any angles, without the occurrence of any color or contrast shift. Outdoor visibility is just also middling as the screen doesn’t beam that much light.
The display may not be the sharpest of them all, but it was still able to get the job done. Its performance is not that inferior enough to trash the device, thus, I was still able to get through a day staring at it.
Hardware / Performance
The device is powered by MediaTek’s 1.3Ghz quad-core processor, with 1GB of RAM and a Mali-400MP GPU. This MT6582 chipset is a standard in budget-friendly devices like this — also, it’s more perfect for devices with smaller display sizes, like the O+ Alpha Plus. The processor’s minuscule architecture is, of course, only optimum to an elfin device. The larger the device is, the more processor-demanding it is; I have seen a lot of devices that has the same chipset, but cased on a 5.5″ body. It’s like dumping a sedan’s engine to a passenger bus.
With that said, overall performance have been pretty satisfying, for as long as you’re not a demanding user. Light or day-to-day apps works all right, although some tiny little jerks, like when scrolling through social media feeds are present, but still bearable and not irritating enough. The chipset’s performance while gaming is also pretty acceptable. Games like Plants vs. Zombies and Real Racing 3 ran seamlessly, however, I saw the device struggle a lot when I ran a benchmark test called 3DMark; there were a lot of frame drops as the benchmark’s action-packed visualization play through; which basically translate how the device may struggle with applications with a lot of heavy frame renderings.
Check out these bechmark test results:
Multitasking is also adequate. You can jump through and open different applications quickly, and also come back to a previous app from where exactly you left, as it doesn’t restart. This is probably the prime reason why all of us love the stock-Android experience; something that we’ve become accustomed to with all O+ devices.
Software / User-Interface
Depending on what your preference are that you might find this disappointing or not, but the O+ Alpha Plus has a pretty outdated software version, which is Android 4.4.2 Kitkat. Despite being a thing of the past, some users may still prefer this Android version, as the later version, which is the Lollipop 5.0, is known for some of its flaws and glitches like some random app crashes and unsound RAM management. But still, some might be actually really disappointed to know that they cannot have and experience all the good stuff that the Lollipop has (i.e Material Design, better security implementations, and improved notification alerting system.)
But nevertheless, Android 4.4.2 Kitkat is still what we have known and loved. And with the device’s stock-Android interface, we can fully embrace and appreciate how Google wants the UI to look like. I do commend O+ for always keeping everything clean; there are no visible interface shenanigans like icon redesign, senseless transition effects and irritating tones.
And of course, let’s not forget to talk about the 360 feature. For those who are still unfamiliar, O+’s 360 devices has a touch panel at the back — nope, not an extra display, but just a surface that has the capability to recognize swipes and taps, something like a the touchpad that those laptops have. That having said, having some extra and witty feature on any device is cool to have, but not something that is really revolutionary. Yes it feels funky, but not something that you can’t live without.
I’ve found that the 360 feature is perfect for horizontal swiping like browsing through your gallery and what not. But using this while social media surfing can be a pain. The module at the back isn’t responsive enough, which makes swiping through the actual display makes browsing a lot faster; also, the panel will sometimes mistakenly register my swipes as taps, thus, accidentally opening a link on the News Feed or unwillingly liking someone’s posts. However, this thing is perfect as a shortcut button to instantly launch any app, which you can set on the settings menu. It’s also works as a shutter button, which makes more sense when taking selfies, as you can conveniently take a snap without the hassle of reaching that on-screen button.
Screen-off gestures are also present. You can quickly launch an app, or do some commands while the screen is off. Applications can be opened instantly by drawing some shapes to the display; the gesture assignment is also customizable in the settings menu, which means, this thing can also work on your third-party applications.
Speaking of selfies, these self-portrait lovers may just have a special place in O+’s heart. The device’s maxim is being a pro-selfie device. This is being practiced with the help of the company’s Selfix Fix Innovation, which is basically a remodeled camera app, and offers some beautification effects. There’s a leveler control that softens any photo, which results to a more blurry snaps, hence making your skin seem more fairer and making wrinkles and pimple marks less visible. This new feature that the company is promoting may not appeal everybody, but I can see some people actually using it.
The Selfix innovation is a whole interface itself; but it’s embedded on the native camera app, and activated right off the bat as you open it. Shifting to the standard camera UI is as simple as tapping the first icon at the top. Although I must say, having the Selfix feature appear initially rather than the native camera UI is sometimes annoying, considering if that’s not really your thing.
That having said, both of the device’s camera utilizes a 5-megapixel sensor. Both the front and back shooters also have their own LED flash respectively. Quality wise, the snaps it can take is decent and worthy enough to share online. The lack of sharpness is out of the question; but still, details aren’t that dull enough to trash its capability. Dynamic range is also failing, although it was still able to get the contrast and saturation a bit right. Depth-of-field is also passable, considering that there’s enough light.
The O+ 360 Alpha Plus accommodates a quad-band GSM, that is capable of up to 3G network connectivity. The device can house two sim cards; a micro and regular sized one. Network connection have been pretty stable and satisfying, despite the fact that we’re now already seeing a lot of devices which already have 4G connectivity, that are also under the same price tag.
The device’s Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi 802.11 b/g/n are expected; something that’s standard in today’s low-end to mid-range devices. There’s nothing too fancy here — no NFC.
The 360 Alpha Plus only has 1500mAh battery. This may be a bad news to some, considering that majority of the devices that are in this category has a battery capacity of at least 1800mAh. But during my time with it, the power longevity have still been pretty decent.
Screen-on time almost reached our standard four-hour mark. That test consisted of entirely playing a YouTube playlist over WiFi, with both screen brightness and audio volume set to 50%. On the other hand, light to moderate usage like casual web browsing, send messages and making calls lasted the device for almost twenty hours. Just like most of the smartphones that are out today, the Alpha Plus requires’ everyday recharging.
I kind of like how O+’s business model looks like; releasing new devices from time to time, thus, insanely intensifying the already saturated local market. The company introduced the 360 technology almost a year ago, and since then, there are now five devices under that category, including the new O+ 360 Alpha Plus, not to mention the other unclassified smartphones like the O+ Ultra, O+ Grande, O+ Fab Elite 2.0, and the list just goes on. This strategy not only helps the manufacturer to gain a lot of market share, but also it gives the consumers a lot of option, anywhere from different price points to product features.
Despite of constantly releasing new products in the market, O+ doesn’t actually look like a trigger-happy, as what they may look like. The company was still able to incorporate some nifty and clever traits on its devices. The Alpha Plus’s 360 and Selfie Fix technology are some features that you don’t usually see in any device. Although the usefulness of this tools may really depend on your preference or needs.
I would like to give O+ USA a pat on the back because of the Alpha Plus’s pocketable structure, minimalistic look and a pretty capable processor. The display and camera quality could have been better, but considering the limitations caused by the price tag, they were still able to do a pretty good job.
Although, having it running under Android 4.4.2 Kitkat, instead of the newer version, which Android Lollipop, left me a little puzzled. I have seen a lot of smartphones that are also offered on the same price range that was still able to attain a latest version of Android. Battery capacity is also a bit questionable; despite almost achieving our standard expectations, still, almost is never enough.
To wrap things up, the O+ 360 Alpha Plus is an okay device. If the cheeky features pleased you, the device is available for Php4,995.00. But if it wasn’t able to hit your tastes, there are clearly a lot of smartphones for you to ponder out there.
- Compact design
- 360 and Selfie Fix technology
- Decent performance
- Runs on Kitkat
- Middling battery longevity