In typical same-old fashion, local manufacturers have always been eager in offering new goodies on the table by releasing new devices after new devices, to always shake things up and intensify the competition. And O+ is definitely a member of the pack. The company did got pretty excited about their 360 innovation that they have already released five devices under that category in just the first half of the year.
Months after, O+ USA is here again. Not to release a new smartphone with back-to-back touch technology, but a device that’s now packed with a new feature that the company said they’ve developed. Here we have the O+ Ultra, a smartphone with a large 5.5″ display, a pretty obese 4000mAh battery, and the first device to pack O+’s new PowerPlus innovation.
Is the O+ Ultra unlike anybody else? Let’s figure that out in our full review.
O+ Ultra Specs
- Android 5.0 Lollipop
- 5.5-inch screen, HD resolution
- 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6582 processor
- Mali-400 MP2 GPU
- 1GB RAM
- 8-megapixel rear camera with flash
- 5-megapixel front camera with flash
- WiFi,WiFi hotspot
- 3G, HSPA+
- 4000mAh battery
Body and Design
The O+ Ultra was given an almost all-plastic treatment as for its material choice. Using plastic primarily in constructing this device is quite forgiving and really unsurprising considering the price you will be paying for this one. However, I can assure you that this thing doesn’t look and feel anywhere cheap, as something you might expect on a device that was cooked using second-rate ingredient.
The device feels surprisingly solid and industrial, it seems like everything is well-stitched together. The back panel may be constructed with plastic, but still screams industrial build quality. The rear end is also painted in matte gray, which gives a fake impression of being assembled with plastic. Having it tinted that way also prevents the exasperating fingerprint and dirt marks.
The sides and edges of the device also retains that feeling as it comes as an extension of the back panel.
It’s also obviously large. For a smartphone with a 5.5″ display, the O+ Ultra falls under the phablet category. But despite being a bit ginormous, the device still feels comfortable to hold — or at least for a tall guy like me, which also has a large enough hands to fit this thing perfectly and use it ergonomically. The Ultra also fits decently in my pocket, although having it bulging is to be expected.
Probably the deal-breaker here is the crossed out removable back feature. Users do appreciate that companies give them the ability in having to replace their batteries instantly as they ran out of juice. However, you might find comfort to know that one of the highlights of this device is having an extra-large battery capacity. What we’re dealing here is a whopping 4000mAh battery. Weather how many hours you can play on the O+ Ultra before it runs out of juice, shall be reserved on the Battery section below. But as for now, all I can say is, the battery module really does add up in the device’s overall weight. However, the Ultra isn’t disturbingly heavy, nor feels light as a feather; but it appears to be caught in the middle. The device is comfortably hefty, which also contributes in achieving its industrious-feel title.
Taking a tour, we do have a large 5.5″ IPS HD display on front, together with the 5-megapixel front-facing camera with flash, earpiece, sensors, LED notification indicator and the Android Lollipop-inspired capacitive buttons. But despite of assigning the first button to launch the Recent Apps tab, it’s still fixed as a Menu button, which can be really frustrating at times. Knowing that this device is running on Android Lollipop, I do expect that everything, especially these buttons, are working in accordance to how the software are intended them to. Anyhow, these annoying implementation can still be set right with a simple software update.
The left side has the microSD card slot, which is disappointingly capable of only 32GB of storage. The left side has the single slot for two sim cards (all of these slots requires the use of the ejector tool that comes with the package), and the flat, yet very tactile volume buttons and lock/power switch.
At the top we do see all the ports for the 3.5mm headphone jack and the microUSB. the bottom only has the tiny hole for the built-in microphone.
At the back we see the 8-megapixel primary camera with flash, the second microphone for noise-cancellation, and the loudspeaker. It’s nice to see that O+ still gave importance to the audio section. Sound recording and making calls captures clean sound, and the loudspeaker delivers a well-balanced output with a decently loud volume.
The O+ Ultra utilizes a 5.5″ IPS HD display, with 1280 x 720 resolution and has 267 pixels-per-inch. Judging by the device’s pixel count, it may clearly state that it isn’t the sharpest of them all. This is due to its extra-large size; the Ultra’s 720p resolution is a bit stretched-out to achieve the 5.5-inch length.
But being not too finicky about it, the display is still beautiful nonetheless. And besides, next to 720p display is 1080p, which is impossible to pop on this device, considering its affordable price tag. Colors look decently vibrant, although blacks aren’t really deep blacks. Texts from websites or other reading materials still looks visible even when zoomed out. It’s in gaming where this department fell short; frame drops are present from time to time; although, the screen was still able to impressively perform visually.
Outdoor visibility is just middling. Although it’s still visible in direct sunlight, but I have seen some competing devices who performed better, that has brighter displays. Viewing angles, on the other part, is a big thumbs up.
Performance / Hardware
For the device’s price tag, some compromises aren’t really surprising. The O+ Ultra may be compelling on other departments, but not on this part. Although, the device uses almost the same chipset with other competing devices, but as per my time with it, overall usage shows a bit weakling processing performance. What we’re talking here is a MediaTek 1.3GHz quad-core processor (MT6582), with 1GB of RAM and a Mali-400MP GPU.
That said, almost everything feels bumpy on this one. Running through the homescreen shows some hiccups; browsing through the web or your favorite social media apps exhibits some stutters; and of course, playing games shows a lot of frame drops. Nenamark 2 gave it a score of only 50.4fps. Even watching some high-definition clips on YouTube shows a number of frame drops. There are also stacks of occasional app crashes.
Although, these tribulations aren’t really the processor’s fault per se; the O+ Ultra is equipped with Android 5.0 Lollipop, which is known for its number of issues and bugs. — inefficient RAM management and random app ruling glitches are some of them. Also, the device’s large 5.5″ HD display may also be the one to blame on this predicament; the larger the display size is, the more processor-demanding it becomes.
Check out these benchmarking test results:
As I have already spoiled it; yup, we do have Android 5.0 Lollipop on this one. Besides having the latest OS version, the device is also running on full stock Android user-interface, a standard on all O+ devices. That having said, you can get your hands on all of the perks and goodies that the software has. These includes the beautiful material design philosophy, utilitarian drop-down menu, and many more.
O+ may not have included custom UI on its devices, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t planted something in there that may improve the overall user-experience. Doodle controls are here, which enables you to quick-launch an app while the display is off. One Hand feature is also present, which has the same implementation with iOS’ assistive touch. These features isn’t something very new; the company just adopted these features and reimagined it to give it their own personal touch.
The O+ Ultra uses an 8-megapixel sensor for its primary camera; and a 5-megapixel one for its front-facing module. Both of these shooters’ came equipped with their own flashes. — yup, there’s a front-facing flash for your selfies.
The 8-megapixel camera can perform and meet the standards that I’m expecting from it. Just like any other smartphone camera, you can only fully utilize its potential when shooting outdoors, or anywhere with a good light source. By judging from the sample shots I took below, photos taken outside looks crisp and sharp, with the just right contrast and saturation. Macro shots are also possible, with an impressive depth-of-field. Taking snaps indoor, with a scarce of available light source, the O+ Ultra can still produce imposing photo quality. Noise and grains are now more visible, but still worth sharing on either Facebook or Instagram.
While the 5-megapixel front-facing camera produces pretty decent pictures. You may just look a little pale if you take selfies on this one, which is probably due to the lack of the camera app’s intervention in willingly toning the photos automatically, something that some other devices are doing already for years. But nevertheless, given the appropriate editing skills, the shots it can took are still usable. The accomplice’ flash is also no garbage as it fires a well-balanced light, which doesn’t overblow the photo.
There’s nothing too exciting here. The device only has all the basic antennas and networking options. The O Plus Ultra is capable of connecting to the world via its 2G and 3G networks. Bluetooth and WiFi is also here, of course.
Both the Bluetooth and Wifi were able to perform well. I was able to seamlessly connect the device on a wireless bluetooth speaker, seamlessly. Without any noticeable distortion or signal noise.
Now we will proceed to probably the X factor of this device. The O+ Ultra can easily get attention because of its insanely large 4,000mAh battery. Although, the Ultra is not the first device to carry this enormous battery capacity, but still, we don’t see a lot of this out there, especially in the local market.
I did tried to push the Ultra’s battery to the limit, and my tests showed real impressive results. Light to moderate usage lasted the device for up to a whole 24 hours. This test consists of casual web-browsing, social media surfing and posting updates, and exchanging SMS from time to time. While screen-on time had the device running for a good 8 hours; that’s playing a YouTube playlist; which means being entirely connected to Wifi, with the screen brightness and volume set for about 50%.
Mind you, though. I didn’t completely deplete the battery juice in this tests. Thus, there are still 15% left in the indicator, an ideal figure to recharge the device.Speaking of recharging, the device comes with a 2A charger, a powerful wall adaptor that was able to fill-up the device back to 100% in about two and a half hours.
The PowerPlus technology is also here, a technology that might be inspired with the likes of Samsung’s Power Saving feature. Switching on this feature thus tone-down the device’s overall system. The display color will be changed to gray scale, screen brightness will be automatically reduced, number of usable apps are limited, background apps are cleared; and antennas like Bluetooth, WiFi and Data are turned off. O+ promises that the O+ Ultra can still stay up for hours even with only 15% left on battery juice. The results of my tests may approve this. It took almost two hours before the battery indicator slashed 3% as I only send SMS and make some few calls.
O+’s latest offering clearly did tried its best to make itself look charming and interesting, by attaining an unusual mix of traits and facets. The O+ Ultra did excel and even busted the roof in some areas, but still, flanked in some more important aspects.
The device’s large 5.5″ display is bizarre for its price category; surprisingly sturdy build quality despite the choice of material; tip-top camera for its class, with the selfie-lovers on mind; and of course, a robust extra-large battery capacity.
Although, despite of it all, the device did miss one of the most important component in any device, the processing performance. Despite all of its beauty, the O Plus Ultra can sometimes cause annoyance due to its sluggishness and random interface glitches.
That having all said, I think the O+ Ultra is for people who wants a device that can fulfill their specific needs. This thing isn’t for any casual or day-to-day user. I see this device being appreciated with people who are always out, on-the-go, who always go around places at any given time. These people may want a device that can cope up with them; a device that can stay with them throughout their voyage, without having to always hurdle in looking for power source as the juice runs out. If you think you’re that person, you can get yours at a cost of Php 7,395.
- Large display
- Sturdy build
- Android Lollipop
- Capable camera
- Enormous battery
- Middling performance
- Only HD resolution