Meet the OBi MV1 Worldphone
Good question. They are a Silicon Valley smartphone manufacturer founded in 2014 by former Apple Inc and Pepsi CEO John Sculley. Obi Worldphone manufactures smartphones aimed at the emerging markets, rather than very competitive developed markets.
Obi Worldphone launched two of their pioneering low cost smartphones on August 27, 2015. Both models use Android as the operating system. This, their third phone, was announced in February 2016 and was released to Asian, African, Latin American and European markets in March 2016.
What I did for this review was to lock my beloved OnePlus 3 in a drawer for a week, and only use the Obi phone as my main device while camping for a week in Cornwall.
Here is the disclaimer. I am by no means a smartphone power user to be honest I really don’t know why I buy the latest smartphone flagship.
(but I can’t help myself its a weakness!) I use my smartphone for communication, texts messaging, checking emails maps and navigation and social media, so one of the mid-range smartphones is more than enough for my needs.
- Well packaged.
- Design (may not appeal to everyone).
- Cyanogen OS and all its extras.
- Dual SIM good support.
- SD card support (with out losing one of the SIM slots), up to 64GB
- FM radio.
- Good size and feels nice in the hand.
- 4G-ready with some decent download speeds, where I could only get “H” on the OnePlus 3.
- Despite a low-res screen it’s really bright and more than reasonable.
- Soft grip feel.
- Some lag with multiple applications and task switching.
- Only a Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 212 processor
- Fingerprint magnet.
- Micro SIM cards not Nano.
- Only 16GB internal memory.
- Running Android 5.1.1
|Network||Technology||GSM / WCDMA / HSPA+ / LTE|
|Bands||GSM: 850/900/1800/1900 MHz|
|WCDMA: 850/900/1900/2100 MHz|
|4G LTE: FDD B1/3/5/7/20|
|Weight||149g (with battery)|
|Finish||UV coating, smudge-free matte finish|
|Display||Type||Fully laminated IPS|
|Resolution||HD (720 x 1280 pixels)|
|Pixel Density||294 ppi|
|Protection||Corning® Gorilla® Glass 3, Oleophobic Coating|
|Special Feature||Sunlight Display|
|Platform||OS||Cyanogen OS 12.1.1 based on Android Lollipop|
|Chipset||Qualcomm® MSM8909 Snapdragon™ 212|
|CPU||1.3 GHz Quad-Core|
|Memory||Internal||16 GB + 2 GB RAM|
|External||Expandable up to 64 GB through MicroSD™ card|
|Camera||Primary||8 MP AF rear camera with LED flash, aperture f/2.2, autofocus, OV8865 sensor|
|Secondary||2 MP front camera|
|Features||Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR, continuous shot, Beauty face, still image during video recording|
|Sound||Mic||Dual Mic for noise cancellation|
|Communication||SIM||Dual Micro SIM|
|WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi® Direct|
|Sensors||Sensors||Accelerometer, Proximity, ALS|
|Battery||Capacity||2500 mAh Li-ion battery|
|Stand-by||Up to 13 days (2G)|
|Talk time||Up to 16 hours (2G)|
|Web Browser||5.5/6 hours (3G/Wi-Fi)|
|Music Play||Up to 28 hours (speakers)|
|Video Play||Up to 8 hours (speakers)|
|Packaging Inclusions||Accessories||Includes one battery, one USB cable 2.0 & one power adapter (1 ampere)|
What’s in the Box:
Remember a while back, when packaging was just the boring box that your device came? Apple changed the stance on this and the box your product came in became part of the experience. First impressions and all that. Well Obi have stepped up to the mark, and upon opening the outer box the phone itself is housed in a clear and white plastic display case. This is the fist time I’ve ever come across a phone in the this price range (or even higher priced ) to be packaged in this way.
Also included is the usual power block and micro USB cable, and quick start guide, although no headset was included.
Upon taking the MV1 out of its case I was immediately struck by its unusual design. The bottom two corners of the device are rounded, with the top two being more square in shape. The screen appears to be placed on top of the chassis rather than in it, so the screen sits about half a millimetre proud of the body of the device. The device is made of a soft touch material, which feels nice in the hand, but I found it attracted fingerprints like no business.
Removing the rear cover of the device reveals the removable battery, access to the two Micro SIM card slots and the SD card slot. A nice feature is that both SIM cards can be used along with the SD Card slot all at the same time. A lot of the smartphones coming to market today have dual SIM functionality, but the second SIM slot doubles as the SD card housing as well, thus if you expand you lose the dual SIM abilities. On the dual SIM front the MV1 handles this really well you can select which SIM to use for calls and texts and which for data etc.
The volume and power button are located on the right hand side of the device, and are easily in reach of your thumb for one handed use. The launcher is the stock Cyanogen Trebuchet launcher, with the app drawer being a alphabetical vertical scroll. As always with Cyanogen the on-screen buttons can be swapped round (the wrong way ! ) or even added to.
Upon booting up the device it was nice to see that the device ran Cyanogen OS. This is an OS I’m a real fan of, and it means that the MV1 comes with all the tweaks and settings associated with this OS, unfortunately it was only running Cayanogen OS 12..1.1 meaning it was Android Version 5.1.1, but surprisingly it had the May 2016 security patch level.
Once booted I put in both my Google and Cyanogen OS credentials, and in typical Android fashion – once I updated some of the installed apps and installed my regularly used apps – I was up and running. A nice added feature is the inclusion of the Truecaller app to stop those pesky spam calls that are becoming more and more common nowadays.
Storage wise out of the box the device has 11.5 GB left of its 16 GB storage left for use. Once I finished my installations I was left with just over 8GB left (remember, I’m not a power user).
Right that’s it, away with the OnePlus 3, and the first hurdle, my SIM card was a nano one so I had to use a micro SIM adaptor I had lying around. Due to the SIM slots being the “slide in” type I didn’t face any issues with the adaptor sticking or the SIM contacts not aligning. The MV1 was able to get some cracking download speeds on the Three network, if fact it was able to get better download speeds than my OnePlus 3 in my other hand, in the same location.
The MV1 is, as the saying goes, a phone sized phone and fits easily in the hand. The lip that can be felt around the screen but didn’t really detract from the user experience. The phone was OK to use but I did notice some lag and stutter plus screen re-draws when a number of applications were open and switching between.
So off we went on our camping trip to St Ives in Cornwall and the MV1 was used for navigation, (using Google Maps ) media (streaming Tunein radio) and as a WiFi hot-spot for the full 6 hours drive each way with no issues at all. I did however notice that there was a little bit of heat generated to the rear when the MV1 was working hard. Battery life was reasonable on the MV1 and lasted about a day needing a charge in the late evening.
The MV1 is fitted with an 8 megapixel rear camera with f/2.2 aperture, and the camera interface is stock Android. The results are reasonable in good lighting conditions.
The front camera is only a 2 megapixel shooter, but its perfectly serviceable for video calls, snapchat etc
The Obi MV1 Worldphone is currently available from Amazon for £99. This puts in direct competition with a number of other smartphones – the Wiley Fox Swift, Moto E and some Vodafone handsets. All of which are respectable low/mid range smartphones. But the MV1’s quirky design does make it stand out from the rest of the black slab crowd, but if your after a smartphone in this price point the Obi MV1 Worldphone is one to look at, while considering your choices.