back to article Obi Worldphone MV1: It's striking, it's solid. Aaaand... we've run out of nice things to say

Oh, Obi. With your striking Nordic vibe, and Cyanogen OS, we did so want to like you. San Francisco newcomer Obi has released its first Western phone into the UK, and it’s is an expression of what the startup is all about: making budget Androids that don’t look budget at all. Designed by Beats headphone and Apple industrial …

  1. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Ah well.

    Obi do a low-mid-range phone too, but without the swappable battery (cheaper phones seem more likely to have swappable batteries these days... ).

    Strangely, the 'Obi Origin Story' posted on their website contains an Ali G reference "Big-up to the Slough massive though!" (both in as well as ). Odd, because when I think of Ali G and mobile phones, it because he passes a Nokia to lady and says "Set to vibrate and finish yourself off"


    I had written the following, but I have removed it from the above post because it upon re-reading the website, it appears I imagined it:

    "Beyond the styling, nothing really jumps out at me, except for the 'floating display', which means that the screen isn't taking the full mass of the phone if it is dropped. This simple concept appeals to the mechanical engineer in me - though of course a Mech Eng would want to do a lot of destructive testing, naturally, before retiring a verdict."

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. jason 7


    ...aint all that.

    Overrated IMO.

    They need to cut back on the customisation options and concentrate on stability and performance.

  3. Martin an gof Silver badge

    I've just installed Cyanogenmod 12

    on my original Moto G, which is by modern standards a pretty low-spec phone, to replace 4.4.4. This is (very nearly) the same version of CM as that shown in the screenshots. I've never run CM before, and getting it on the phone in the first place was a little fraught. However, a couple of observations:

    Starting up was difficult as Trebuchet (Android launcher?) kept crashing. I managed to disable it, and then the phone worked. Trebuchet seems to have re-enabled itself but hasn't caused problems yet.

    The Google App toolbar / search / voice thing can be removed. I think I just "disabled" the Google App.

    I have found the standard Android keyboard to be sluggish (often typing two or three characters ahead of the display), even though I also used the stock keyboard previously and had no problems (other than a general dislike for onscreen keyboards). I think I've solved that one by turning off suggestions, which always got in the way anyway. Otherwise speed seems fine.

    I have been unable to recreate the battery life I was getting before. By dint of turning most of the radios off and disabling a swathe of data-slurping apps, I was previously able to get between 7 and 10 days of use out of the phone on a charge. Since installing CM and doing the same things, the best I have managed is four days, which even if I might have been "playing" with the settings a bit more than I used to, is pretty awful.


    1. DainB Bronze badge

      Re: I've just installed Cyanogenmod 12

      I gave up a few years ago.

      If you consider how much time you waste installing ROMs and dealing with all crashes, bugs and artistic developers who do not seem able to finish anything it'd be cheaper to just buy new phone.

      1. Thomas Whipp

        Re: I've just installed Cyanogenmod 12

        I'm not sure if its a Cyanogen OS thing or a WileyFox thing, but when I took my Swift up to Marshmallow (6.0.1) the device started crashing during audio playback and needed a factory reset (still on 6.0.1) to resolve. Its fine again now but there does hint at some quality control issues there.

        Other than that really happy with the handset - albeit that the GPS isn't great and really struggles if there isn't a mobile signal to assist the location services.

        1. Pete Smith 2

          Re: I've just installed Cyanogenmod 12

          I believe that you can remove the battery cover on the swift, locate the area on the phone that houses the GPS antenna and compass ID, and remove the ferrous shielding from the inside of the back of the case.

          When you do this, I've heard the GPS/Compass performance will improve.

          I've got a Storm, and the GPS is fine, but the compass is pants. Probably for the same reason.

  4. Jim84

    This is what Blackberry should be doing

    BB should make a phone like this, except with a more powerful chip inside, and their own customizations to Cyanogen/AOSP. Try to make it more secure.

    Plus bring out a mid range slider with a keyboard, and that excellent nub that they used to replace the trackwheels on the Bolds a few (five?) years back doubling as the home button (so that you can actually move the cursor/chicklet to the correct place in text without poking the screen for a minute). Put the fingerprint scanner under a button on the side like Sony.

    I don't see the point in Blackberry being just another budget or mid range android manufacturer. If you have the same software as everyone else, and only slightly better hardware, why should anyone buy your product?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is what Blackberry should be doing

      "BB should make a phone like this, except with a more powerful chip inside"

      BB is reported as going to rebadge the Alcatel Idol 4 which seems to be the reference design for more than one good midranger, and uses the 617 (which is lacking in the graphics department with only 48 alus, but is competent everywhere else that matters.) The 212 is A7-based, it's basically way out of date already.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: This is what Blackberry should be doing

        How does the Alcatel fare with keeping data secure? Doesn't inspire me with much confidence.

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Unremovable Google Bar?

    Long tap on the wallpaper, swipe down to settings, there should be something there to remove it I think.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Unremovable Google Bar?

      Similarly for the apps being displayed one line per letter in the app drawer: long tap on the wallpaper, tap the three dots to get to the home screen settings, set drawer layout to paged and sorting mode to title, and you're back to the more familiar Android app listing.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Unremovable Google Bar?

      Nope. The unremovable Google Bar is called that because you can't remove it. It's a "feature" of the app launcher. There's no setting for it. I changed to Apex Launcher, which doesn't have that.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Unremovable Google Bar?

        Long tap on wallpaper.

        Swipe the bottom-third part the screen that just appeared up.

        Home Screen Settings > Search bar OFF.

        At least on Trebuchet/CM 12.1.

  6. Jan 0 Silver badge

    As usual, you've forgotten that it's a phone!

    I assume it's not got dual SIMs, but what's the call quality/reception/microphone/AGC like?

  7. Crisp

    Mr Hoppy!

    But where's Ivan?

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Mr Hoppy!

      Anyone checked the meat safe?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nagging works

    On every review of Windows 10 I came across, I pointed out that it still did not support the long file paths of NTFS

    In the Anniversary Update, Windows 10 will have long file path support.

    I conclude that nagging works.

    So now, in the comments of every review of a stupid-large phone ( 4.5" screen or bigger ) I will demand that manufacturers stop throwing generic phablets at us, start offering a variety of form factors and make the SMALL, POWERFUL PHONES PEOPLE WANT.

    Reckon it'll work ? :-/

    1. BebopWeBop

      Re: Nagging works

      Well at the risk of being giggled at, the iPhone 5se fits my requirements.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nagging works

        Apple is a disgusting, immoral megacorp.

        I prefer the phones of a different disgusting, immoral megacorp.

        1. jason 7

          Re: Nagging works

          Damn right!

          Like I don't want some megacorp slurping and spying on all my data so I decided to use a different megacorp that just doesn't tell me straight out that it slurps and spies on all my data!

          Yeah that showed them!

    2. Martin an gof Silver badge

      Re: Nagging works

      A keyboard would be a deal-maker for me. I have been looking at the BB Classic, but at that price and with the prospect of the thing not actually being around for much longer, perhaps not.

      What about a dual-sided phone with a proper keyboard and screen good enough for calls and texts on one side, and a larger (but not too large) touchscreen on the other for browsing etc?

      Or a flipper or a slider or any one of a huge number of phone formats that seem to have disappeared off the face of the planet?

      I don't care if it is a mm or two (or five) thicker than the current iPhone, and I don't care if it's a few grams (or tens of grams) heavier (it'll be easier to hold and less likely to be dropped). I don't even care if it doesn't have a dodecacore many-GHz processor, 3D graphics, so many screen pixels you can't see them even with a magnifying glass, or a couple of dozen megapixels in the camera, so long as it works. Throw in a decent battery and sell it for a sensible amount of money...

      Perhaps take a low-end smartphone as a starting point and add the keyboard? How hard can it be?


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Nagging works

        Something, anything, different FFS !

  9. Flywheel

    Batteries, huh?

    removable back cover allows you to replace the large 2500mAh battery

    I'm a bit sceptical of this feature. I bought a very cool and capable Wileyfox Swift earlier this year and this too had a replaceable battery. Only problem is, no-one actually sells these replaceable batteries so presumably at the end of its life I can remove the battery and continue to look at my phone lovingly.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Batteries, huh?

      Wileyfox shop has them, although they took their sweet time.

      Now what I need is a cover for the Storm and I'm reduced to cutting holes out a Galaxy S 4 cover.

  10. mahasamatman

    This is not the droid you're looking for.

    That is all.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: This is not the droid you're looking for.

      It'll be a Nokia, released early next year the day before a worldwide economic collapse.

  11. cd

    I'm going to start nagging also. :^{)

    I am also waiting for a smaller tech-friendly (battery and SD slot and rooted) phone with no GAPPs, this comes closer but misses several points. GAPPs are hard to remove once installed because they are interlocked, no doubt on purpose.

    Meanwhile I'll keep my original Incredible, which runs up to 4.4 depending on what I want to do on a given day.

  12. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Obi Oldphone

    Why would anyone buy a new Obi when there are plenty of old phones lying around that can be upgraded from KitKat to CM12 or CM13? The Obi isn't even a high-end old phone. It's a midrange old phone.

  13. Michael Habel

    Did I miss the bit about...

    How much RAM this thing comes with? And, no RAM =/= Storage!

    1. Danny 14

      Re: Did I miss the bit about...

      1Gb RAM. It seems similar specs (slightly better screen) than an old Galaxy S2/S3

      1. Michael Habel

        Re: Did I miss the bit about...

        1Gb RAM. It seems similar specs (slightly better screen) than an old Galaxy S2/S3

        Not a wonder why this thing runs like a dog then! IMHO the minimum ammount of RAM for either a KitKat to Marshmallow Device shouldn't be any lower then 2GB's. No doubt Nougat will likely want at least another Gig on top of that, just to have it run at something near usable.

  14. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Confused by the name at first. Thought it was from the other OBI.

    1. Lotaresco

      Confused by the name at first.

      Thought it was from the other OBI.

      Me too, slightly expensive but the only game in town for me now that Castorama have shut down operations in my part of the world.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    Good value for money

    For £119. That's like what? 3 dollars at the current exchange rate?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good value for money

      Or around €18.

  16. Lotaresco


    It has rounded corners. They will now experience The Doom That Came to Sarnath.

  17. G R Goslin

    A hint?

    Is this a hint that Amazon, at last, are going to have some of these to sell?

  18. MrWibble

    CyanogenOS not CyanogenMod.

    Surprised I'm not the first to mention it, to be honest.

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