Obi MV1, the third smartphone from Obi is the combination of their two previous smartphones, the Obi SF1, and the SJ1.5. It brings the best of both worlds in an attractive and compelling package. Priced at Rs Rs 15,610, is this the right smartphone for you? Well, let us find out in this review.
The most striking element of this smartphone is its design. The phone incorporates the floating display from its cousin the SF1 which gives it a distinct look. This feature is very noticeable and will definitely get heads rolling. The MV1 is built out of good polycarbonate plastic which makes the phone feel very sturdy. The top of the smartphone does incorporate some metal to give it a premium touch. The design is definitely a combination of its two cousins the SF1 and the SJ 1.5 which is not a bad thing. This combination makes for a smartphone with a unique look, comfortable in-hand feeling, and a sturdy grip. The phone, without a doubt, is built like a tank which is essential for its longevity.
One thing I am not a huge fan of in the design department is the thick top and bottom bezel of the phone. Even though the phone is a 5 incher, it has a footprint of a 5.5-inch smartphone. The narrow display of the phone, however, does help wield the smartphone better.
The MV1 has a 5 inch IPS display with HD resolution giving it a pixel density of 294 PPI. The display is also covered by Gorilla Glass 3 giving it protection against drops and scratches. It also incorporates the sunlight display to help it automatically adjust the screen brightness when need be. The display is very good but is not that bright unless you crank it up to the max. It also lacks the vibrancy and punchiness that I am accustomed to on a display. The phone also claims to have an oleophobic coating but I did notice a lot of smudges on the display. Nonetheless, it is a very good display for the price and I enjoyed streaming media on the device.
Under the hood, the Obi MV1 rocks a 1.3Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 212 Quad-core processor coupled with the Adreno 304 GPU. The processor is backed up by 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The internal memory can be further expanded via a Micro-SD card up to 64GB. Performance wise the phone was able to handle day to day task but I did notice some occasional slowdowns while using the phone. There is quite a bit of lag but I don’t think it has anything to do with the hardware but the software. The phone, nonetheless, is very much usable unless you are doing a lot of multitasking or playing high graphic intensive games. You can, however, play games like Subway Surfer, Clash Royale, Temple Run 2 etc with ease.
In the software side of things, the MV1 runs CyanogenMod 12.1 based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. Out of the box, you can choose to use the default CyanogenMod layout or the custom UI from OBI, Lifespeed UI. And thanks to Cyanogen you can customize and theme your phone to your hearts desire from the built-in theme store. And remember the lag I was talking about earlier, yeah that has mostly to do with the software. The stock theme and the Lifespeed theme both have some sort of lag in them. This,however, can be easily fixed by downloading other themes, like the HTC theme that I downloaded from the built-in store.
The theme coupled with a third party launcher will help you get the best out of this smartphone. This, per contra, means that the main software needs some scrutinizing. Until then this method can be applied to use the phone to its maximum potential.
In the camera department, the phone packs an 8MP rear camera with a LED flash.The rear camera takes some decent pictures in good lighting conditions but struggles in low light situations. The rear camera sometimes does produce pictures that have a yellowish tint to it. The phone also has a 2MP front camera which basically is a potato. Again, here the hardware is good but the software needs some scrutinizing. The selfies taken from the stock camera is bad but this problem can be fixed by using third party camera app like Camera 360. Mind that the selfies will not be dramatically improved but only a little better than the selfies from the stock camera. Similar to the rear camera, the selfies come out to be decent in ample lighting condition but suffers a lot in dimly-lit situations. The camera is one area that I wish that Obi had given some thoughts and time into.
Speaker and other extra features:
One thing that I am really impressed with the phone is its audio capabilities. Even though, the phone has a rear mounted speaker, the audio quality from it is very good. This is largely thanks to the built-in DTS sound software.The sound from the speaker is loud and clear. Not only the speakers but the output from the headphones is also very good. I also did connect my Bluetooth headset (Sony XB-950BT) to the phone and there too I was impressed with the audio output. Overall, consuming media and listening to music on this device has been a true delight.
The Obi MV1 also does have some neat tricks up its sleeves. It has useful gestures like double-tapping the notification bar to turn off the screen and long pressing the recent app button to cycle through 2 other open apps. The phone as mentioned earlier is also highly customizable with the built-in theme engine. The MV1 too supports dual sim cards which are very convenient for people wanting to use two phone numbers.
Finally, powering the device all up is a 2500mAh user-removable battery. The battery life on this phone is decent as I was able to get through a full day of moderate usage. This is pretty much needed as the phone takes a long time to charge. I also tried using other chargers than the one that comes with the phone, but the phone still charged very slowly. I wish that Obi had incorporated some sort of fast charging capabilities with the phone. I also wish that they had included a larger battery with the phone of this size.
The Obi MV1 is a great smartphone which ticks all the right boxes. It has a great display, amazing build quality, a customizable OS and one of the better sounding audio output I have seen on a budget smartphone. The camera is one area I wish that Obi had given more thought into. The poor camera is sort of a deal breaker for people looking to take a lot of selfies. But if you are someone who doesn’t take a lot of selfies than you will be more than happy with the MV1. I would highly suggest the phone mostly to elderly people who want a great smartphone at a low price with great media capabilities and a built-in radio.