Oukitel launched the U23 series mid-range phone in late 2018 for $230 in several global markets. On paper, it comes with game-changing features for a mid-range mobile phone.
Oukitel U23 sports visually appealing design, MediaTek Helio octa-core processor, 6GB RAM, 64GB storage and 3,500mAh battery with wireless charging capability. But, does it deliver the goods, as claimed by the company. Let's check it out.
Build quality, design and display:
Oukitel U23 comes with iPhone X-inspired design language. It has a wide uni-brow notch on top, which houses front camera along with sensors and a speaker. It features 6.18-inch full HD+ resolution screen with 18:9 aspect ratio. I had no issues with the display, as it is bright and offered good viewing experience even under direct sunlight.
On the right side, Oukitel U13 successor features a power button and volume rockers placed one above the other. On top, it has a smooth surface with no physical buttons except for the grey antenna lines, which blends into the surface without any protrusions. On the left, it features a SIM tray slot.
At the base, it houses a mic, Type C USB port and a single grille speaker. By now, you would be wondering where is the 3.5mm audio jack? Well, you won't find one in this Oukitel phone, which seems to have embraced the Apple iPhone X design concept, quite literally.
On the bright side, it comes with eye-catching gradient finish on the back, with a mix of blue, purple and Indigo colours reflecting when looked from different angles. It features vertically aligned dual-camera in the top left corner and a fingerprint sensor to the right, at the centre of the shell.
As far as build quality is concerned, Oukitel U23 is a solid phone and I felt when held in hand. Though the back cover is smooth, it offers good grip for the fingers to hang on to it. I appreciate the company for offering a cover case with retail box, which certainly increases the longevity of the phone usage.
Oukitel U23 is powered by Android 8.1 Oreo with 2.0GHz MediaTek P23 octa-core with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage. With such hardware, it should offer lag-free user experience and to an extent, lived up to my expectations. I faced no glitches in terms of loading apps, switching between multiple apps, and other day-to-day chores, we normally do during the day on the phone.
However, when trying to test the gaming experience on the phone, I found that the device doesn't support graphics heavy Asphalt 9 series. Finally, I had to settle for the next best Asphalt 8 series and Oukitel U23 performed well without any lag-ness.
Even the Android interface is clean and has very few proprietary apps. It was pleasantly simple to navigate through phone and also in the Settings, finding a particular function such as activating security of the phone was easy too.
Talking of security, Oukitel U23 boasts both fingerprint sensor and facial recognition-based validation system and both work better with less False Rejection Rate (FRR) on par with rival brands in the same budget class.
Oukitel U23 sports Samsung-made 16MP dual camera with LED flash on the back and an 8MP front snapper. The primary shooter takes decent pictures in normal natural light conditions, but the quality, particularly in terms of colour of the subject fades under direct bright sunlight and also the auto-focus lose speed in the night. You need to have a steady hand to capture a picture in the dark conditions. The pictures seem good for the price it commands.
As far as the front 8MP camera is concerned, it takes good selfies. The beauty mode is surprisingly better than rival brands in its price segment, as the phone doesn't make drastic changes to the complexion of the face and skin smoothening is kept moderate unlike other phones, which make the photo completely different from the actual person's face.
But, considering the over-all aspect, the company needs to work on the camera app's interface and Bokeh mode.
Besides the design language, I liked the battery life of the Oukitel U23. It offers more than a day's of battery life under mixed usage which included making/answering call, gaming (few minutes), internet browsing, viewing social media sites, a limited time session on YouTube to watch movie trailers and other day-to-day chores. Even the standby cell life is praiseworthy, as it was able to last for close to a week.
Also, the most interesting thing about the Oukitel U23 is that it is one of the most affordable phone to boast wireless charging capability. But, it will take more time to fully power up the device compared to conventional wired mode.
Oukitel U23 is one of the best-looking device in the mid-range phone market and also the battery life is praiseworthy, but it could have been great if the company's engineers conducted more tests of the camera before releasing into the market.
Though the issues with camera performance are annoying, it can be fixed with a software update. I have seen other branded phone companies release several patches regularly based on user feedback on community websites or on social media. Hopefully, Oukitel too, roll-outs the incremental update to fix those issues in the camera app.
- A visually appealing design language
- Long battery life
- Wireless charging capability- a big deal for a mid-range phone in the mobile industry
- The camera needs some work