O+ USA finally took the huge step forward in introducing huge phablets to their avid fans with the release of the O+ 8.16. Check out our full review of this device to know if it’s worth your hard earned money.
In a nutshell, O+ 8.16 is a bigger O+ 8.15 android phone. They’re similar in numerous ways but there are some obvious improvements made. The competition on the 5-inch market has been very fierce lately and the phablet arena’s also building up. This means that the demand is there and people’s love on larger smartphones has grown enormously over the past few months.
Today we’re looking at another contender in the 5.5-inch+ smartphone battle. Before this review, I was using a 5-incher so I’ll be sharing my experience on the transition to a bigger screen. Let’s start.
O+ 8.16 Specs
- Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean
- 5.7-inch HD 1280×720 pixel resolution IPS Display, Dragontrail Glass
- 1.2 GHz MTK6589 quad-core processor
- PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 8GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
- 13-megapixel autofocus main camera with flash
- 2-megapixel front facing camera
- HSPA+, Quad-band
- WiFi, WiFi hotspot
- GPS, A-GPS
- Air Shuffle Music, Photos, Camera and FM radio
- Flip to Silent, Shake to Answer/Hang-Up Call
- USB OTG
- Color: Black only
- Price: Php12,995
What’s in the box?
The package contains the unit itself, microUSB cable, wall charger, in-ear headset, manuals, warranty card, and free 8GB Sandisk microSD card. All the usual O Plus stuff.
Hardware and Design
In terms of design, O+ 8.16 looks the same as the older mid-range device O+ 8.6. It’s definitely a bigger brother of the said smartphone as they have similar shape and matte black back case. It’s not surprisingly at all that the 8.16 doesn’t look anywhere near the O+ 8.12 and 8.15 as that’s their strategy from the start. This is also the first time that they launched a flagship model with an all-black color instead of the Panda version (black and white).
The front has the Dragon trail glass protected display with three capacitive buttons located below it. The typical arrangement of the buttons was retained: menu, home, and back button. Honestly, I never liked this set up. For a right-handed person like me, reaching the back button was really hard especially for bigger phones. It’s actually more commonly used than the menu button and I really wish that they would consider moving it to the left side just like on Windows Phone and Nexus devices.
At the back is the familiar O+ USA branding together with the 13-megapixel autofocus camera with LED Flash located just below it. The speaker is also placed on the lower right corner. As I’ve said earlier it has a matte finish which I really prefer over glossy ones even though it’s more of a fingerprint magnet.
The sides are covered with a silver lining which adds up to the already classy design. Both the power button and volume rocker can be found on the most common placement on a smartphone – volume rockers on the left side and power/lock button on the right.
On top, we can find the 3.5mm port for earphones/headphones and the microUSB port for charging and transferring files.
HD displays used to be the big thing, but with the emergence of full HD screens it has become mediocre to the eyes of some of geeky people. Well, to be honest, it’s still very good and you can’t barely notice a significant improvement from the full HD unless your eyes are trained to see all those uber tiny pixels. But we have to give credit to Samsung, HTC, Sony, and LG’s great work and stunning displays on their flagship android phones this year. Other local brands are also catching up and I must say that this phone’s a little late to the HD party.
O+ 8.16 has a 5.7-inch IPS display protected by Dragontrail Glass with a 1280×720 pixel resolution and a pixel-per-inch of (245). It’s also remarkably brighter than the previous O+ 8.15 flagship smartphone by a mile. To put things in perspective, I usually use full brightness on the 8.15 while I’m contended with the lowest setting to half-bar brightness on the 8.16. The latter also has better sunlight legibility. If I would estimate the difference, I’d say it’s around 25-35% brighter.
I’m surprised by the quality of the screen of this phone despite being a 5.7-inch as that means it’ll get a lower pixels-per-inch than the 5-inch predecessor – which equals to inferior quality. But it turns out that’s not the case, or I should have my eyes checked by a specialist. J Well, what I’m saying is that it’s still great and more than what I’ve expected.
The Dragon trail glass is strong enough to handle light scratches like the pressure from nails, cutter, and scissors. However, we should note that it’s just scratch-resistant – not proof – bear that in mind. You can choose to use a screen protector to save it from accidental damage though. Personally, I don’t use one.
Of all the things I like about this device, the camera could easily be the thing I love the most. This was impressively enhanced to take better photos than its predecessor.
The picture quality iss really amazing and it performed incredibly on good lighting conditions thanks to its 13-megapixel camera. On low light, it’s still average though but the strong flash could help you get a better shot.
Despite the zero shutter delay option in the settings, there’s still a second wait that annoys me everytime. It’s not big of an issue as almost every other phone from a local brand still has this small problem but I really hope that would be addressed very soon on upcoming releases.
O+ 8.16 camera is relevant upgrade from 8.15’s 8-megapixel shooter and it’s really noticeable when I compared them. Check out our review here for the samples from the 8.15.
Here are sample shots taken using O Plus 8.16.
The same processor, GPU, and RAM were used on this phone as its predecessor so we didn’t really expected it to outperform it in this category. Make no mistake, the 1.2GHz quad-core CPU from Mediatek is still powerful based on the current standards but it’ll probably start to show its age in the next few months when the Turbo variant become more affordable.
I tested the device on AnTuTu and the score it got was just the same on the 8.15 – 13,000+ – which is pretty decent.
General functions were performed smoothly and I haven’t really encountered any significant lag aside from the not so instant launch of some apps and occasional stutter. Multitasking was great and though it only had 1GB of RAM, I didn’t really felt the need of more than a gig. I’m a power user so it’s really interesting that I don’t usually use them all, but still 2GBs could be better (maybe in the next release?).
I really liked the performance of the O+ 8.16 and it’s fast most of the time despite my fairly heavy set up (multiple widgets and background apps). It’s obvious that it doesn’t have the most advanced specifications among its competition, but it can definitely suffice and exceed your performance expectation for your everyday needs.
I’m not really a gamer but I often find myself rocking with other players on Clash of Clans whenever I’m bored. It’s really addictive but you need to be patient to build your own powerful empire. I was originally playing it on my iPad Mini but I linked it on this Android device the next day I got it so can take it with me anywhere I go.
I had fun playing games on the 5.7-inch HD display of the O+ 8.16 simply because of the huge screen estate and bright screen. I have successfully installed and played NOVA 3, ShadowGun, and Dead Trigger 2. They were all smooth with little to no delay.
As a phone
To be honest, the first thing that came to my mind when I first received this handset was that it’s awkward to use in public. Why not? It’s uber huge that even people several meters away from you can see what you’re doing with your phone.
Texting was really hard especially because I have to look around to see if others are snooping to see what I’m typing. This can be lessen through the use of a 3rd party messaging app like Handcent SMS cause you can set the fonts smaller there.
Calling is just as bothersome as I don’t really like putting a huge black slab next to my face but I got used to it in a matter of days. Call quality is clear and crisp and I didn’t experience any problems with it. There’s also a note taking app shortcut by swiping from left to right and a built-in call recording feature which can be useful at times.
The 2500mAh Li-Polymer battery on this phone is just average for its size but I was surprised that I could easily go through an entire day without needing to reach out to the charger. I used this phone a lot – checking emails, web browsing, Facebook, and sometimes playing Clash of Clans. I also have several widgets like Beautiful Widgets, Appy Geek, and Google Keep running.
For me, it’s somewhat impressive considering the large 5.7-inch screen of this device. Though if your usage is more on internet browsing and gaming, I bet it’ll die on you in no less than 8 hours.
O+ 8.16 might not be for everyone because of its size, but it’s a very good device for those who want to get more out of their smartphone. Handsets are now becoming larger each year as it’s starting to be the norm. O+ USA also has two other phablets coming dubbed as the O+ Fab Elite and O+ Fab Turbo – with a screen of 6.5-inch and 6-inch respectively.
For me, a phone this big is quite awkward. I’m not tall and I don’t have huge hands so it’s kinda annoying. However, I find it very nice to use especially when you’re trying to be more productive. It’s perfect for watching videos and playing games. I’ve also used a floating browser and other floating apps just so I can stay on the current app I’m on and it works wonders. You can also do this on smaller android smartphones, but you won’t be satisfied if you have a smaller screen.
There are several competitors worth looking at though especially because this phablet is more expensive than them – and some of them even offer better specifications. You can also check out other alternatives from MyPhone and Cherry Mobile for more choices before you decide. Some mid-range smartphones from international brands are also available within this price range (i.e. Nexus 4). At the end of the day, it’s all about personal preference.
In any case, O+ 8.16 is a great phone and one I would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a phablet. You can buy one on all O+ kiosks and official retailers nationwide for Php12,995.
PS: If you want a more premium looking O+ android phone, you can check out the recently announced O+ Imagine which offers a Xperia-like glass-metal-glass design.