Launched way back in December, O+ Imagine is the company’s most gorgeous handset to date. O+ took a huge step again in introducing a smartphone that looks a lot different than its older brothers, and even on the other competing devices. The O+ Imagine is crafted with a back-to-back glass design with anodized metal material on the sides which is a first in the local scene.
Now, we are looking at a smartphone that’s trying to penetrate at a more high-end market. But, does the O+ Imagine got what it takes to impress those people with a steep taste? Let’s figure it out on our review. In a hurry? Check out our video review down below!
O+ Imagine Specs
- Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean
- 5-inch AMOLED Display with Full HD resolution, ~441 ppi
- 1.5GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6589T processor
- PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU
- 2GB RAM
- 32GB internal storage, without external expansion
- 13-megapixel main camera, with autofocus and LED flash
- 5-megapixel front camera
- Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi hotspot
- 3G, HSDPA, HSPA+
- Bluetooth 3.0
- GPS, A-GPS
- USB OTG
- Scratch-resistant front and back glass
- Dimensions: 142.7 x 67.6 x 7.8mm
- Weight: 134g
- Li-Po 2000mAh battery
Hardware and Design
O+ Imagine’s design is way too different in their other handsets (like the O+ 8.15), and even far beyond with the competition. The device is dressed by a back-to-back scratch resistant glass that gives the phone a Sony Xperia-like, high-end feel.
In the front you would set your eyes on its beautiful 5” AMOLED Full HD display that is sandwiched with the impressively thin bezels, the 5MP front-facing camera, proximity and ambient-light sensors and the uniquely designed capacitive buttons a.k.a Breathing Light.
At the back is where the 13MP camera with LED flash sits and the almost unnoticeable speaker grill. I wish they could have placed the speaker on the back though.
At the top is where you would find the microUSB port, 3.5mm headphone jack and the microphone for noise cancellation. At the right side are the micro-SIM card tray and the lock/power button. The volume controls at the left. At the bottom is just the built-in microphone. Both sides of the O+ Imagine are build by an anodized aluminium material while the top and bottom are made of plastic.
The O+ Imagine’s speakers look divergent with any other smartphone these days. They’ve redesigned the speakers to give it a more refreshing look and enhanced the device’s sound production capability. It resembles the design that the HTC One has but on this one, the speakers look a little bit more sleek and thin so it almost doesn’t add any detail on the device and not ruining the Imagine’s beauty.
The device is probably one of the thinnest handset that we have encountered. The phone doesn’t feel large and bulky in our hands. In fact, the phone feels surprisingly ultra thin and light – but not as light as the Galaxy S4. The O+ Imagine’s good-looking and sleek design really impressed us, which makes us say that this department is probably one of the key selling point of this smartphone.
The O+ Imagine’s display is packed with a 5” AMOLED Full HD Display with a 441 pixel-per-inch density. You would see instantly see how striking its screen is even at first look. Having a 441ppi is one of the most impressive specification that a screen could have these days because we have yet to see an android phone sporting a 2k display. Some of the devices that have the same pixel density are the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the Sony Xperia Z1. As for local devices, we have the Cosmos Z and the Iceberg Mini.
The details on the screen look very sharp and crisp and it’s really hard to determine each pixels as they are hardly seen. The phone’s outdoor visibility is quite impressive. We were still able to decently see the screen contents on an afternoon outdoor walk just by maxing out the screen’s brightness.
The O+ Imagine also offers a superbly thin bezels which maximizes the screens size’s potential out of the device’s size. This also makes the screen even more stunning.
The screen’s size is just perfect for any different interactions like typing and for gaming controls. Though, users with big hands like us will definitely have to hardly adjust with the O+ Imagine as the phone size is a bit sleek and has a differently unusual size. The device just sometimes slip-out of our large hands as we play games or making a text. But installing the case that comes out of the box can increase ergonomics and will give you a chance of having a more secure grip on the device.
The O+ Imagine’s performance is just quite the same as the majority of devices that has a 1.5GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6589T processor. All the activities we’ve done were handled decently but there are some remarkable lag and freezing at some time, though these glitches just come and go instantly. Multi-tasking is also a pleasure on this one, switching from games to different social networking apps can be flawlessly done with the help of its 2GB of RAM. Antutu benchmark garnered the O+ Imagine a score of 15400+ which is just a fairly decent score on a device with this particular processing power.
The device is also packed with a PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU which is great for display activities like playing games and watching ultra high-def movies. However, even though it can run most HD games out there, it’s far from being the best GPU around.
The O+ Imagine runs Android 4.2.1 Jelly Bean out of the box. We’re quite disappointed that it only runs this version of Android as many of the devices being launched these days are equipped with Android 4.3 or, if lucky, Android 4.4 KitKat. Though O+ supports Over-The-Air updates, we’re still quite not sure if they’re going to grace it with a more latest version of Android so don’t get your hopes up.
Nonetheless, Android 4.2.1 still runs decent on this device. The O+ Imagine offers a true-blood stock Android experience by having the only the native Android apps pre-installed. It’s also nice to note that O+ didn’t pre-loaded some manufacturer-made apps that eats-up a very large amount of memory like what Samsung’s TouchWiz have.
But, O+ did some slight modification on the Android’s natural look. First thing you would notice is the device’s UI is themed in red. It really looks alluring and foxy if you would ask us. And besides, it is O+’s favourite color.
The notification tab at the top has also been revamped. All received notification at the same time can be just presented by just a one single icon. It really is convenient as it minimizes the clutter on the notification tab, though, it would really be quite annoying not to initially see what or where did your notification came from. The company also cluttered the switches with loads of options aside from the basic Android needs.
One of the key feature that makes O+ stands-out in the competition is its very own Air Shuffle Technology. The technology’s performance and features are still the same compared to the O+ Imagine’s older brothers. Camera Capture, Music Control, Gallery Browsing and FM Radio Surfing are a fun experience with this feature.
First-time users can feel a little frustration when using the Air Shuffle. Users must hover their palm a lot more closer than what is expected for the Air Shuffle to work.
Some clever software offerings that the O+ Imagine also includes are USB OTG (On-The-Go) compatibility, Flip to Silent, Shake to Answer/Hang-up Calls, and Call and Type.
The Capacitive buttons are hidden and only shows-up when you interact with them. The buttons are portrayed by a white horizontal light called Breathing Light. There are a lot of feature that the Breathing Light has which are being a notification indicator, homescreen activator/deactivator and a shortcut button.The Breathing Light blinks when you have notifications like new messages, missed calls, or alerts from different social networking apps. The light also responds when you charge the device.
The Breathing Light also has a “Knock! Knock!” feature – something similar to LG’s G2. Double tapping or ‘Knock-knocking’ the Breathing Light in the middle turns on and off the lockscreen. Probably the most handy feature of the Breathing light, is its capability to quick-launch an app. Sliding it from left to right and vice versa would launch a desired application which can be configured on the Settings Menu.
The camera app’s features are almost the same with any other Android smartphones. It has the Single Shot, HDR, Face Beauty, Panorama, Multi Angle View, and Smile shot. One feature probably that differentiates the O+ devices to other brands is their iconic and selfie-friendly Air Shuffle Camera capture. Were you just hover your palm to the top part of the screen to snap photos. The device is also capable of Full HD Video Recording, Touch Capture, and taking photos while recording. Touch Capture is very handy as I have shaky hands and pressing the shutter button can be hard in some situations.
The camera app performs a lot better than the other device that we review before, the O+ Fab Elite. There was a zero struggle on the view finder although there is a one second shutter lag which is pretty bearable – but they should have removed the claim of zero shutter lag in the settings.
The quality of the photos we’ve took looks winsome, but, for a 13=megapixel camera, it’s still just an average performer. Photos look’s well-detailed with the right and accurate colors. But, what disappoints us is that there’s a lot of visible noise and images are a little bit more washed-out than expected in some of the sample shots we’ve took.
Taking photos on low-light condition is surprisingly impressive on this device. You could expect a bunch of noise or grains that’s included on the photo, but the details or subjects on the pictures are still decently captured and projected. A good enough performer for social media needs.
Recording HD Videos is also quite disappointing on this one. The quality of videos we have recorded are the same with the still images that this device can make. Again, there are still those disappointing noises and lack of vibrancy.
Another selfie-friendly feature of this device is its 5MP front-facing camera which takes not only good photos, but also decent videos.
Watching videos or any other high definition movies is probably one of the preeminent feature of this device. The ultra-thin bezels really maximized the device’s display capability and the impressive viewing angles makes you really enjoy any video with a group of friends.
Also, in this section is where the notable speaker design shines. The horizontal construction of the speaker immunes the outgoing sound to be blocked by your hands as all of us has a different manner of holding a device while watching movie.
The O+ Imagine handled the games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Modern Combat III impressively well on medium to High Settings thanks to its PowerVR SGX 544MP GPU. There were clearly unnoticeable lags and graphics were still tight and crisp.
But one trouble that we have encountered is how the phone performs in Racing-type games. We have tried some popular racing apps like the Asphalt 8: Airborne and Real Racing 3. The first few races that we have played on the both apps were just bundled with a big amount of annoying lags. But, the mystery is, as we patiently played these games for quite some time, the sluggishness just went away. We’re not sure if it’s just a break-in thing on the processor or just a glitch somewhere in the app. It’s quite understandable though as the MTK6589T isn’t all that powerful to push that much pixels.
The built-in web browser on the O+ Imagine is no small time. O+ managed to pack it with features that really can give you a high-end browsing experience. Some unique features that the built-in browser has are the ability to save a webpage for offline reading and Quick Controls.
Quick Controls gives you an instant access to the browser’s controls by tap-and-holding either the left or right edge of the screen which is perfect for one-handed browsing.
Social Networking apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram looks gorgeous on this one. The device’s beautifully crafted design helps you browse those social feeds with ease and will not let you stiff your hands although at times you can feel tired of holding it because of the squarish-design.
As a Phone
Texting and Calling on the O+ Imagine is a real pleasure. Android’s native keyboard is always nice to type on, despite our love for Swiftkey. But it’s in the ergonomics in using two hands that this phone falls a little bit.. or maybe, we just really have big hands.
As what we have said, the phone’s sleek and sexy design really gives us an awkward feeling in operating it with two hands, particularly while texting, it always fear us that the phone might just slip out of our hands and just land on the evil floor. But that said, the phone feels perfectly when you use it single-handedly. Even people with short fingers can enjoy typing on this beautiful phone without having to worry that the other edge of the keyboard is unreachable.
Call quality only performs above average on the O+ Imagine. The unique earpiece design gives a scattered sound so you can still always here the person you talk to wherever you place the device in your ear. But we still prefer the standard earpiece design as its tiny small built is aligned directly to your eardrums so it throws the sound directly to it and gives a slightly better sound quality.
People may be disappointed when they first saw the spec sheet of this device as the O+ Imagine is only packed with a 2000mAh Li-Po battery compared with other device on its level that has a 2300mAh up to 2600mAh. But, during our experience with it, battery life has never been a problem and the device still manages to live-up throughout the whole day with a moderate use. Casual gaming or watching a one full-length movie on a single can charge can be enjoyed on this one without having to worry that your phone will ran out of juice before you can get at home.
The phone can do you an almost 8hrs to 12hrs of service from light to moderate use which is also the amount of hours that most of us people stays outside. But from heavy usage like ceaseless gaming or having a mobile movie marathon, expect the battery life to only last for only 4hrs to 6hrs.
O Plus Imagine Video Review
Being the first device with this exquisitely high-end build and design on the competition, this is probably one of O+’s biggest milestone achievement. The O+ Imagine’s glass-on-glass design with anodized aluminium side finish is an eye candy and always makes people mistakenly identify it as a Sony Xperia model.
But still, there are quite some disappointments that the O+ Imagine have. First would be the glitch that the processor have. Second would be its mediocre camera performance. And lastly, it’s less than 14 hours battery life.
But, as what we have experienced on this device, these shortcomings are have been covered-up by the device’s superbly sleek and elegant design, unique features (i.e Breathing Light, Air Shuffle), beautiful and large display and its neat, stock Android interface.
Now, to finally answer the question that set the objective of this review: Does the O+ Imagine got what it takes to impress those people in the higher market? Well, the answer really depends. First, if you’re a person that’s in the bandwagon of people that’s a big fan of good-looking phones with cool features – then you should really check out this device. But, if you’re a person who has extreme needs like hardcore gaming, heavy-app user, and do things that requires demanding processing power – then you might have to see something else because this phone is definitely not for you.
So, does the O+ Imagine justified its hefty price tag? This phone surely has a beautiful face which was packed with nifty features and decent performance, but the Php16,995 fee is still a bit to steep. There are still some drawbacks on this device to be hailed as a smartphone with such prestige price tag. Though we could possibly 100% recommend this phone if they would slash its heavy price by up a couple of grands.
Nonetheless, if you’re a person who wants to step-up from using an all-plastic, cheap-looking device then this phone is considerably worth checking-out. Take your pick.