Following a major transition from Obi Mobiles to Obi Worldphone, the former Apple CEO John Sculley-backed company launched its flagship smartphone, the Worldphone SF1, in India last month. The handset received great response from Indian buyers as it saw more than 75,000 registrations for the first flash sale last week.
Some customers are holding back their orders, apprehensive of whether Obi Worldphone SF1 is worth the hype. To clear the air, we have a complete review of the Worldphone SF1 to help you see the real deal, ranging from handset's design, performance, audio and battery.
Obi Worldphone SF1 has quite an unusual appeal. If you finally manage to overcome the mixed feelings, Worldphone SF1 is thoughtfully designed to be presentable and manhandled. It has a perfectly balanced metal and polycarbonate mixture, thanks to Ammunition Design Studio, which is also responsible for designing the phone's UI.
First off, it has a sealed unibody with metal caps on the top and bottom to handle any wear and tear. The rear has a polycarbonate finish that protects from scratches and fingerprint marks, and offers a solid grip on the phone. On the front there is a scratch-resistant floating glass display for seamless operations.
Obi Worldphone SF1 has a rounded finish on all sides, including the corners at the bottom. The top has a flat metal cap, that houses a 3.5mm headphone jack. At the bottom, we find the micro USB port for charging, placed between two speaker grilles.
On the right side of the device, there is a securely inserted SIM/microSD card tray, which requires a pin to pull out. The volume keys along with power/lock button are placed on the left side. It is an unusual placement but using the handset overtime will let you adjust effortlessly.
Obi Worldphone SF1 features a 5-inch IPS JDI display with Full HD (1080p) resolution and 443ppi. The handset uses Corning's latest Gorilla Glass 4, which is only found on high-end flagship devices at the moment. In addition, there is an oleophobic coating to prevent the device screen from fingerprint smudges, which works great and makes the device look clean at all times.
We tested the display's clarity both indoors and outdoors and the results were not disappointing at all. The reflection in sunlight did not hinder readability when the display was set at full resolution.
Obi Worldphone SF1 has pretty impressive camera specs on paper. The rear-facing camera is powered by a 13MP Sony EXMOR RS sensor with f/2.0 aperture and LED flash. It can record videos in Full HD at 30fps and offers photographic modes such as panorama, HDR and more. The front facing camera has a 5MP sensor that also gets a LED flash for selfies in low-light environment.
The camera has a simple UI. The capture button is placed at the bottom of the UI, where you also find the direct access to gallery and switch to video and panorama. On the top of the UI, there are different settings such as switching modes, changing filters, switching to selfie camera, adjusting flash and accessing camera's core settings. Obi Worldphone offers three new features, ReFocus, Chrome Flash and OptiZoom for users to take great shots.
We took the camera out for a test and here are the results [SLIDESHOW]:
The Worldphone SF1 offers good quality shooting in daylight and well-lit surroundings. But if you are expecting a lot in the low-light areas, the SF1 needs improvement. Macro shots were exceptionally well and there was very little noise with sharp results.
Performance (CPU, RAM, storage)
Obi Worldphone SF1 seems decent inside. It is powered by a 64-bit 1.5Ghz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC, Adreno 405 GPU, 2GB/3GB RAM and 16GB/32GB storage. We are reviewing the 16GB storage/2GB RAM variant, so users can expect a slight bump in the performance in the 32GB storage/ 3GB RAM model.
We ran multiple benchmarking tests on Worldphone SF1 and the results are below:
- AnTuTu (64 bit): 33,330
- Basemark OS II: 879
- Geekbench 3 single core: 675
- Geekbench 3 multi-core: 2456
- Vellamo Metal: 986
- Vellamo Chrome browser: 2308
- Vellamo multi-core: 1592
While using the handset, we did not experience any heating problems, which is usually the case with phones these days. Gaming graphics was decent but when we used the phone with Google Cardboard for virtual reality, we were disappointed.
Software and UI
Obi Worldphone SF1 runs Android 5.0 Lollipop with company's own Lifespeed UI. The company has promised to push out Android 6.0 Marshmallow in the future. At first glance, Lifespeed UI seemed pretty decent and offered a fresh experience. But using it overtime, we found the UI has an unusual stutter and it does not go away. If you have used phones from brands like Samsung and Apple, this is going to be a major turn off.
On the bright side, since the stammering UI is just a software issue, it is well within Obi Worldphone's scope to fix it may in the next software update. With that gone, Lifespeed UI is as good as any other custom UI found in Android smartphones.
The Worldphone SF1 delivers good quality sound with integrated Dolby Audio Surround Sound 5.1 that helps a lot when you plug in your earphones. There are dual microphones for noise cancellation and the speaker placed at the bottom gives a clear audio. The SF1 also has a dedicated Dolby app that lets you toggle between different pre-set audio profiles and even lets you create your own custom sound profile.
Obi Worldphone SF1 battery is one of the most reliable features that we loved. It has a 3,000mAh battery that is equipped with Quick Charge tech. Although Obi claims the SF1 survives 28 hours of talktime, we managed to push through the day on a single charge with mixed usage (calling, messaging, browsing and music).
The SF1 charges really quickly and can keep pace with you on busy days.
On the plus side, Obi Worldphone SF1 is priced at Rs 11,999 for the 16GB model and Rs 13,999 for the 32GB model. Besides efficient pricing, the SF1 has a great battery and display, decent camera, good build quality and reliable audio. Looks are appealing in a unique way but if you are not the one to delicately handle your phones, SF1 is a promising choice.
There are definitely some improvements such as the UI staggering and camera quality in low-light conditions. Oddly, we found some issues with the device's Wi-Fi, which requires you to manually connect to a saved network when Wi-Fi coverage is low. Obi can address these issues in software updates, which users can benefit from if rolled out sooner rather than later.