If you are someone who seriously follows technology, the name Obi might not be something you are hearing for the first time. Earlier, it was just like most of the brands trying to push out devices in different price ranges, looking different externally but packing almost the same specs as the competition. Then, as the company claims, there is a revamp done and we are now seeing a new “Worldphone” series from Obi, the company founded by Apple’s former CEO John Sculley.
Having its headquarters at San Francisco, and getting the design done along with Ammunition, the design firm, the Obi Worldphone series is not getting introduced in the western market anytime soon, and it is first showing its appearance in the South East Asia and the South Asia as well as in the Middle East.
Out of the first two introduced phones, the Worldphone SF1 has marked its entry into the Indian market, with two variants, one with 16GB internal storage and 2GB RAM, and other with 32GB internal storage and 3GB RAM. To start with the design, it reminds me of Nokia Lumia smartphones, except for that raised display.
If you talk of unique, the design isn’t. We’ve seen such similar polycarbonate bodies only with some differences in the frame, which is here a metal one on the top and bottom, though the same plastic spreads around the entire body, with a curvy design that resembles the Nokia designs. The back is completely flat, and the back plate cannot be removed. Obi’s branding is on the right corner, and towards the top is a 13-megapixel camera with LED flash.
The front very much shows a raised display, that has a gasket around it for protection during accidental falls, though I’d still have a doubt about an impact on it if the phone falls face-down. The display is of 5-inch but the phone looks quite big for that, because it isn’t just that curved frame but also the raised display with bezels which add to the width of the phone, and even when the navigation buttons are part of the screen, there is quite some space wasted below it.
Having those circular speaker grills in the bottom has now become a trend, but something that easily adds to the class. Between them is the MicroUSB port, and in the top is the secondary mic and the headset jack. The 5-megapixel front-facing camera is assisted with a soft flash.
The display is neat and has decent color reproduction, and we are yet to check it out in several light conditions. Obi UI or flavor on Android Lollipop is what we see running in the SF1, and it brings some changes with the app icons, and some settings are added to the stock UI, which is good since you aren’t seeing a complete overhaul of the UI.
The lock screen is really attractive, with a well time and date widget, and a circular widget that allows you to drag it from the center to one of the three options – unlock, phone and camera. If not really beautiful, the UI is refreshing and good.
The camera combination of 13-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras is pretty much a standard nowadays, and these differ with post processing and the software involved in taking pictures. Obi has a basic looking camera UI, but there are some features like IQ camera, sports, and a few other filters included as well. The user can also control the ISO, Exposure, White balancer and the focus mode.
It seems rather exciting to hold the device that keeps itself a bit unique with that raised display and the design that doesn’t match most of the Androids but brings in a taste of those Windows Phone devices from Nokia, and the price also is kept competitive enough to challenge the likes of Xiaomi Mi 4i, OnePlus X, in a few areas if not all, and there are obvious plus points and negatives as well, the conclusion of which will be up very soon in the detailed review of Obi Worldphone SF1.