Until recently, we swore that the OnePlus X was the device to buy if you had ₹15K or so in your kitty.

Now along comes the Obi Worldphone SF1 and it’s set us thinking otherwise. It costs a whole ₹3,000 less and it does get a lot of elements right. But is that good enough to trounce the current budget king?

It's a worldphone, so will I be able to take it to Mars?

No. The Obi Worldphone SF1 is built to be used only on our planet. The device is a rock-solid push forward into budget territory and unlike most budget smartphones, it feels premium to the core, at this rock-bottom price tag.

The SF1 will be offered in two variants: 16GB at ₹11,999 and 32GB at ₹13,999. What’s impressive is that even at this competitive pricing, Obi has managed to keep the packaging, design and build quality top-notch.

It looks kinda sexy

The designers at Obi have truly created a device that you will love picking up for no reason at all. The rectangular frame (reminiscent of Microsoft’s Lumia devices) encases a layer of glass and it all comes together really well. The floating-glass design is great to look at from any angle and adds to the oomph factor of the phone. At 74mm, the phone feels a bit wider in your palm, but the weight (147 grams) feels just about right.

Obi has opted to place the power button and the volume rockers on the left of the device, which is great if you are left-handed. However, right-handed users will find it a bit cumbersome reaching for them with their index finger. The holes drilled at the bottom for the stereo yet again remind you of the iPhone, but we will let that pass. Too many phones have been inspired and we are sure there will be many more to come.


and that display is really crisp

Next comes the display. At 5in, it packs a Full HD 443ppi screen which, for a phone costing under ₹12K, is insane. HD video playback is top-notch, with the display offering natural colour tones and good grip on blacks.

The high pixel-density makes reading web pages a highly involving experience.

By the power of ...

Powering the SF1 on the inside is an Octa-core, 1.5GHz Snapdragon 615 processor, which keeps things running smooth, even when we open a dozen apps and then start a game of Asphalt 8 Airborne. To enable an involving gaming and movie-viewing experience, the phone offers Dolby Audio. Invest in a decent headphone to enjoy the experience to the max.

On the storage front, this phone is offered in two variants. You can either pick the 16GB or the 32GB and both offer support for up to 64 gigs of expandable memory, which further makes the device a lucrative deal at the price it is offered.

Can it shoot?

The 13MP rear camera featuring Sony’s Exmor R sensor with an f/2.0 aperture did not impress us much. Shots taken indoor appeared noisy and exhibited less than accurate colours. Under bright sunlight, shots were over-exposed.

You can shoot 1080p video, but as expected, there is no support for slow-motion videos. However, there is one master feature that we absolutely love in the SF1’s rear camera and it is called Optizoom.

OptiZoom prime!

When you enable this feature in the camera app, it tries to mimic optical zoom by capturing multiple shots and presenting a final shot that is nearly as crisp as ones taken without zooming at all.

Overall, this works really well and the results are far better than shots we have captured using high-end phones.

Initial Verdict

The Obi SF1 smartphone offers a heck of a lot for that price tag. We absolutely love the crisp screen and the fact that it supports Dolby Audio. It does not have the best camera in the business, but if that doesn’t bother you, pick this one without thinking twice. If not, a mere ₹3K more can get you something better on the camera front. Check back soon for a full review.