Obi MV1 review

Obi one for the UK

Obi MV1

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As you can probably tell, I'm not a fan of the Obi MV1. A few years ago the MV1 would have really impressed me in this price bracket, but the fact is that the budget phone world has moved on.

With cheaper Chinese manufacturers making inroads into western markets, and companies like Wileyfox and Motorola making strong cheap phones, it's a tough environment – and the MV1 isn't quite up to the challenge.

The number one selling point of the Obi MV1 is the price. It's cheaper than some of the alternatives in this market, but the problem is the competition it's surrounded by.

Paying £119 for a smartphone certainly makes it easy to just lay down all the money on day one – but there are phones like the Wileyfox Swift and the Motorola Moto E to compete with – and those phones manage to more than the Obi MV1, and do it with a little more grace.

I do think the MV1 is correctly priced though, I just wish Obi had managed to put a bit of extra spec in here for that money.

We liked

The price of the Obi MV1 is certainly my favourite part – getting this much phone for £119 is a good deal, and it's cheaper than some of the competition.

It also comes with some handy features, including 4G connectivity, which is not every phone in this price bracket can offer.

Dual-SIM support may be useful for some people as well. Then there's the removable battery, a feature that big phone brands seem to be increasingly ditching.

On top of that I enjoy the camera on the MV1. It certainly has its issues, and this isn't the best camera phone you can get right now, but it's a decent option in this price bracket.

We disliked

I respect Obi for attempting something brave with the MV1. They've changed the design from the traditional black block, but I just don't think it's worked out well.

When I first picked up the phone I wasn't impressed. No one I've shown it to has got excited about it, and my opinion hasn't really changed from day one.

Obi MV1 review

It's just not a good-looking smartphone, and that's a big turn-off when handsets like the Motorola Moto E and OnePlus X look so great.

Battery life on the Obi MV1 isn't acceptable either. Cheap phones are all well and good, but they shouldn't have a free pass to die halfway through the day.

If anything, there's not all that much to power, so this phone should easily be able to survive to the end of the day, rather than dying after a few hours.

Software on the Obi MV1 doesn't add much to the experience. I don't see why Obi would go with Cyanogen over traditional Android software – and a new phone these days should really boast Android 6 Marshmallow.


There's a lot of choice out there in the cheap-but-powerful-phone market, and I don't feel the Obi MV1 is up to scratch. It may look like an interesting proposition for the price, but there are lots of other better options out there.

Many of the features on the MV1 aren't quite there, and although I'd like to see a Silicon Valley company do well in the cheap phone business the MV1 isn't the handset to make that happen.

Whether the Sculley-led company produces another handset in the future which blows the opposition of the water remains to be seen.

For now though, Obi Worldphone is probably one to watch, but the MV1 isn't the one to buy.

First reviewed: June 2016

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.