Obi is a company not many have heard about. So, let’s start with that. Obi is founded by former CEO of Apple and Pepsi, John Sculley and says a lot about the brand itself! Obi is not just another Chinese smartphone maker looking to grab attention of people.Obi has two phones in their lineup at the moment: the Obi SF1 and the Obi SJ1.5. Obi SF1 is their flagship offering and SJ1.5 is their budget offering. So, we really weren’t expecting any bells and whistles from the phone. Below we have listed the key features of the phone as well as the major disadvantages of owning this phone:
1) Priced really competitively
2) Good 5″ 720p IPS Panel
3) Dual SIM Slot
4) Micro-SD Slot
5) Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0
6) Impressive design and build Quality
7) Snappy MediaTek MT6580 Quad-Core CPU clocked @1.3GHz
8) Detailed 5MP Front Shooter
1) No 4G Connectivity support in either of the SIM Slot (4G is coming to Nepal really soon)
2) 1GB of RAM is very limited
3) Rear Facing 8MP Camera is limiting
4) No 1080p Video Recording
5) After sales support poor (at least as of now)
There are a lot of phones to choose from in the sub Rs.15,000 price bracket. As such a smartphone has to be really compelling to win the heart of the budget conscious buyers.
If you look at the front profile of the SJ1.5, you will be impressed by the way it is designed. It sure is engineered to catch your eye. The flat top and rounded bottom surely makes this device stand out. It doesn’t look anything like other generic phones from likes of other Chinese manufacturers.
The phone is really priced well and we know that we are getting a quality product with the Obi SJ1.5. The phone and the brand itself is very new and we are uncertain about the after sales service and the resale value. That, however, doesn’t mean that the phone is not worth getting.
Join us in this in-depth review of the Obi SJ1.5 to find out if the phone is worth your hard-earned cash.
Design and Build Quality
Generic looking phones are all over the market when you look into the price bracket but the Obi SJ1.5 is something different. The phone as far as I can tell resembles no other phone of recent times. And it is quite a good thing. For starters, the phone feels solid and hefty. When you hold the phone, you don’t feel as though it is a really cheap product.
The phone is entirely made from plastic and it is evident just as soon as you pick it up. But Obi doesn’t try to hide it like many of the manufacturers do. The back of the phone as well as the sides have matte finish. Unlike many of the phones with glass and glossy back, the phone is not fingerprint prone. The phone looks good but we wouldn’t call it a premium product.
Here’s a video of the phone:
The front of the phone houses a 5″ 720p HD screen, a speaker grill at the top and also a 5MP Front facing camera. The bottom looks good with a matte black finish. The screen is flush with the body and ever so slightly curved at the edges. The smooth transition from the glass to the matte plastic feels really premium. There’s no physical navigation on the front. Navigation is all done using on-screen navigation controls.
The left side of the Obi SJ1.5 is bare but the right side is busy with the inclusion of volume rocker and the power button. Speaking of buttons, they provide a very good tactile feedback. The con of such button placement is that it sometime becomes difficult to distinguish between the power button and the volume button. We also didn’t like the fact that the buttons somewhat felt flimsy.
The standard 3.5mm headphone jack is located at the top whereas the bottom of the Obi SJ1.5 houses Micro-USB port. All standard affair.
The back of the phone houses an 8MP Camera with single LED flash on top and a small speaker towards the bottom. The entire body of phone is flat and there is no camera bump like we see in so many smartphones now a days.
Pop out the back of the phone and you are welcomed with host of slots and a big 3000mAh battery. Power users will be happy to note that the phone has 2 Micro-SIM slots as well as a Micro-SD card for memory expansion. We were happy to see that it wasn’t an either a Micro-SD or Micro-SIM dual slot combo. One thing to be noted is the fact that the 3000mAh battery is non user replaceable.
Display and Sound
The display of the Obi SJ1.5 is certainly one of those places which shows that the phone is a low-end smartphone. The phone although at 720p HD resolution clearly lacks on quality of the display panel . The IPS panel of the Obi SJ1.5 lacks popping colors and looks very muted. It’s really sad to say that the display isn’t all that great because it is what you will be looking at your smartphone all the time.
The good old Amoled panel from Samsung would have made world of a difference when it comes to display quality. Samsung has gone all Amoled with even their entry-level Android smartphone, the Galaxy J2 (2016). The IPS Panel of the Obi SJ1.5 just doesn’t cut it. However, if you are coming from a relatively low-end Android smartphone, you won’t notice the lack of pixels so much.
The Obi SJ1.5 houses a single speaker located at the back of the device. The mono speaker produces average result when it comes to audio production. It is what we expected from a smartphone at this price. The speaker gets loud but lacks the low-end punch. At higher volumes, the speaker also sounds distorted depending on the songs you play. One thing good about the speaker is that the audio won’t be muted if you completely block the speaker grill.
Battery Life and Connectivity
No matter what people say, I think battery life on a phone is the most important factor to look out for while buying a new smartphone. Luckily, the Obi SJ1.5 doesn’t miss on this one. Obi SJ1.5 has a 3000mAh battery which lasts days and days on a single charge. The phone is powered by a relatively low powered CPU and a screen that doesn’t demand much power. As such, all users no matter if you are a power user or not, can make it through the day. The battery even lasts enough to last you the entire night without recharging.
Our only gripe would be that the battery is not user replaceable. Since the back cover is removable and the battery is accessible, why not make it user replaceable? Apart from that, the battery on the Obi SJ1.5 really shines.
Also Read: OBI Worldphone SF1 Review
Obi SJ1.5 is equipped with Bluetooth 4.0, has dual SIM slot and with comes with GPS. The cell reception of the phone is really good too. In places where flagship phones like the Galaxy S7 struggled to keep up, the Obi SJ1.5 held the coverage really well. There were no dropped call during our period of testing. Both the SIM of the phone is active all at once. The only thing missing in the phone has to be 4G LTE connectivity. In a month or two, we are bound to get 4G connections. The Obi SJ1.5 will sadly then be left out.
There’s very little we can expect when it comes to a performance in such a budget smartphone, right? Wrong! The hardware is powerful enough to run GTA San Andreas lag-free! What more can we really ask for? Back it the days, our massive PC’s had a hard time running those game at playable frame-rate.
The MediaTek MT6580 Quad-Core CPU clocked at 1.3GHz worked really well with the phone. Lag while using basic apps was virtually non-existent. Opening apps like Phone, Calendar, Camera and Web browser was smooth as butter. 1GB of RAM was somehow limiting though. Keeping an app launched in the background for long resulted in refreshing of the app. Apart from that, there were no major issues in the performance department in the Obi SJ1.5.
Camera and Video
The camera performance of the Obi SJ1.5 is as one would expect. The photos that comes out from this phone is average. On the back, the phone gets a 8MP shooter with single LED flash. The phone records video in 720p HD. No 1080p video recording is a disappointment, though.
The photo in properly lit environment is good and resolves quite a lot of detail. As the exposure to the light becomes less, the camera of the Obi SJ1.5 struggles to keep up. We have a couple of sample images which you can view below.
The video quality of the Obi SJ1.5 in on par with what the competition has to offer. In properly lit area, the phone records well enough video. The videos taken by the Obi SJ1.5 comes out in 1280x720p. It is good enough for home-use videos. Getting proper focus of the subject at times was tricky though.
Obi is a relatively new company and even more so in Nepal. It takes time for new companies to reach the customers. Obi with their Obi SJ1.5 has shown that when you have good products in hand, it doesn’t take much time to penetrate into the market. The Obi SJ1.5 is one of the popular budget phone you can buy right now. That itself says how good the phone is for the price.
Obi SJ1.5 is a really good phone for the money you are paying. Though the phone isn’t perfect, the strengths outweighs its drawback. The phone is snappy and the battery endurance is one of the best we have tested in any smartphone. The camera does a decent job too. If you are okay with its 5″ HD display, you will be completely satisfied with the overall package.