Oukitel U15S Review: Fast And Thin
It looks like Oukitel have postponed the development of their much favoured K series of smartphones and have invested their efforts in developing the U series. Yes, the Oukitel K7000 has been only recently released, but it is not a typical representative of the series. Whether this is a successful market strategy, only time will tell, meanwhile, let’s have a look at one of the latest smartphones from the U series – the Oukteil U15S. Compared to the other models from the line, it has more advanced specifications and features, so it is worth putting it to the test.
Oukitel K7000 has slightly below mid-range specifications. Let’s start with the display. The model has a 5.5-inch screen from Sharp with an IPS panel and a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. It is covered with a 2.5D curved glass, but no special protective glass is specified. It graces a CNC crafted metal body made of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy. Under its hood ticks a MediaTek MT6750T chipset. The 64-bit SoC is manufactured after the 28 nm process and includes a 1.5GHz octa-core CPU along with a dual-core ARM Mali-T860 MP2 clocked at 650MHz. Their work is aided by 4GB of single-channel, LPDDR3 RAM clocked at 833MHz (Samsung). The internal memory (Samsung) measures 32GB and can be expanded with up to 128GB. The smartphone is equipped with a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor from Microarray and a 13-megapixel primary camera with a Panasonic MN34153 sensor. It is interpolated to 16MP. The front-facing snapper packs a 5-megapixel GalaxyCore GC5005 sensor, software interpolated to 8MP. Power is supplied by a 2700 mAh battery from SCUD. The model runs dido OS 7.0 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and supports 2G GSM, 3G WCDMA, and 4G FDD-LTE Cat. 6 networks along with Wi-FI 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Hotspot. There’s a micro-USB 2.0 port on board. The device works with the GPS and Glonass satellite systems as well. The A complete list of the specifications of Oukitel U15S can be found here.
What’s in the box
Oukitel U15S is placed in a simple rectangular box with a bright orange lid – a signature Oukitel packaging. On it the company’s logo is imprinted with letters in gold color. At the rear of the box there is information about the model itself – basic specifications and certifications.
Under the smartphone, inside the box are placed a warranty card and user manual, a pin for the SIM tray, a standard 5V/1A charger, a USB cable, and a silicone case. The latter is transparent, but has a matte rhomboid design pattern.
Design and build
Oukitel U15S is a well-made and stylish smartphone that is comfortable to hold. Its body is made of aircraft-grade aluminum alloy that has been CNC crafted. All rear edges of the device are gently curved. Besides looking good, these also provide a comfortable grip. The antenna bands are very thin, silvery glossy and delved into the back plate and frames. The front edges of the body are chamfered and tightly surround what seems to be the plastic casing of the display. The latter has a 2.5D curved glass for improved touch experience, when the fingers reach the edges of the screen. The smartphone looks very thin and with a depth of 7.6 mm it is, indeed one of the thinnest smartphones in this display and battery size class. The width of 76.2 mm is quite typical, however, and most smartphones with a 5.5-inch display gravitate around such a width. Being 150.9 mm high, Oukteil U15S is, again, one of the most compact mobile devices of its size class. The weight of 169.6 grams is average, though. The overall look and feel are that of a slim and lightweight smartphone. The model is available in two colors: grey with a black front and gold with a white front. We are reviewing a grey unit with a black front.
Oukitel U15S has a traditional controls layout. On the left frame you’ll find the dual-SIM card tray. Its form is tweaked a bit to follow seamlessly the side curve of the back plate. The tray opens and closes flawlessly. It can house either two nano-SIM cards, or a nano-SIM card and a microSD card in case you need more storage. On the right frame a single up/down volume button and a power button are positioned. They protrude only very slightly, but do their job as expected. The only thing we’ve noticed that they are very slightly wobbly, which does not interfere with their work. On the top frame a 3.5 mm jack sits, while on the bottom a mini-USB 2.0 port is surrounded by speaker grilles to its left and right. Only the right one houses a speaker. The left serves no other purposes, but to create a symmetrical design as there is a separate hole for a microphone right next to it that is not symmetrical at all. On the back, you will see the main camera and the LED flash right next to it positioned in the top left corner right above the antenna band. Below it, centrally positioned along the vertical there’s a square fingerprint sensor with rounded corners. The Oukitel logo is imprinted right above the lower antenna band. On the front, above the display, from left to right the front-facing camera and earpiece are located. Below the display, the area is empty as the navigation is on-screen only. You can choose for the navigation bar to be able to hide and change the buttons’ configuration. The empty area below the display is not large. Some might find it useful, if they like to hold their smartphones in a certain way and want to avoid activating any navigation. Our personal view is that despite being minimal, this is a waste of space and on-screen navigation (when present) should always be an option to a hardware one.
Oukitel U15S is equipped with a 5.5-inch IPS display made by Sharp. From all the smartphones, we’ve tested so far, it looks like that the majority of smartphone manufacturers from China opt for Sharp display panels at least for those in the 5.5-inch class. The screen has a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. Its top glass layer has 2.5D curved edges, which seamlessly blend with the plastic housing of the whole display unit and the metal frame. Oukitel say nothing about the presence of a special protective glass, so do have this in mind and get yourself a screen protector or a cover to be on the safe side.
Our test unit of Oukitel U15S has a very good peak white value of 415 cd/sq.m., which means you will not struggle seeing what’s on the screen in broad daylight. The black values are not bad either. More importantly, they proportionally decrease with the white ones, resulting in a relatively consistent static contrast ratio of around 1000:1 at all brightness levels. Usually, Oukitel smartphones have high temperature of the white point. The U15S screen not only confirms this rule, but shows temperatures higher than 12000 K at all brightness levels. This makes on-screen colors look rather cold. You can warm them up by switching on the Reading Mode as part of the MiraVision settings and selecting a level that best suites your needs. The MiraVision settings also allow you to switch on/off dynamic contrast and choose from three pre-set color modes.
|Brightness||White luminance||Black luminance||Contrast||Color temperature|
|100 %||415.441 cd/m2||0.410 cd/m2||1013 : 1||>12000 K|
|75 %||396.197 cd/m2||0.393 cd/m2||1008 : 1||>12000 K|
|50 %||278.179 cd/m2||0.277 cd/m2||1004 : 1||>12000 K|
|25 %||153.903 cd/m2||0.154 cd/m2||999 : 1||>12000 K|
|0 %||22.278 cd/m2||0.024 cd/m2||928 : 1||>12000 K|
As long as it concerns color coverage, the CIE diagram of our test unit shows almost 100% coverage of the sRGB color space. “Almost” because it is slightly less than this percentage. There are deviations in all three color components, but obviously the green and red will never be real green and red, while the blue shifts towards the purple. The sub-pixel geometry is striped as expected. The viewing angles are good with expected loss in brightness. What’s more interesting is that the viewing angles photo clearly reveals the “coldness” of colors, i.e. the high temperature of the white point.
OS, UI and software
Oukitel U15S is the first smartphone by the manufacturer, which runs the in-house developed dido OS 7.0 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The customized UI is not complicated in any way, even most of the things are made as simple as possible. But there are some glitches. For example, if the screen rotates to landscape view it either cannot rotate back to portrait, or needs a lot of time to do so. Consistency in fonts is another thing that lacks the OS and there are many minor errors such as lack of proper capitalization of letters, when needed. The icons are familiar from other Oukitel smartphones. The lock screen has an option to rotate wallpapers, which you can switch off from the Settings. It contains a shortcut to the Voice Search and Camera app. Once you unlock it, you land on the home screen with a row of docked apps at the bottom – Dialer, Contacts, Messenger, and Browser. The rest of the apps appear on the home screen and successive ones. You can access them by swiping to the left or right – the screen sequence loops. The Notifications shade is standard and can be accessed by swiping from the top of the screen downwards. A second swipe in the same direction brings up the Quick Settings. Despite all standard toggles, they contain a toggle for the SuperScreenShot function. It allows you to make a long screenshot of a really long article, for example, and you can save up to 10 pages within one screenshot. You can also make rectangle, lasso and scrawl screenshots along with a record of your work with the screen.
A tap on the menu button opens the Task Manager, which besides the Clear All option does not offer any other functionality. Accessing the Widgets menu is possible only by zooming in with two fingers on the home screen – very much like in Xiaomi’s MIUI. It contains a choice of widgets, a choice of screen transition effects, and a choice of themes – six to be exact. The Volume shade is standard, but the Power Off one is not. It is white, with a font that is different from the other system fonts and contains five options with corresponding icons in color: power off, reboot, super saver, airplane mode, silent mode.
The Settings menu is not the typical Android 6.0 Marshmallow one. The main options take up only two screens. As usual, they start with the Wireless & networks settings with most of the options being brought a level up for quicker and easier access. They include a Turbo Download function and Wi-Fi Direct. The Tips and notice group of settings comes second and contains the Sound, Notifications and DND options. The Sound and Vibration ones are quite simple, with four pre-set modes, vibrations toggle, and Beh’s sound enhancement menu. The Notifications and Status Bar group offers toggles for the battery percentage and drop-down notification shade along with the notifications manager for each app installed on the device. System is the third major group of options and it starts with Display. The latter contains the standard brightness level, adaptive brightness toggle, font size, and MiraVision settings – dynamic contrast, color mode and reading mode. Wallpaper and lock screen comes second and besides an offline list of wallpapers provides a toggle for a wallpaper carousel on the lock screen.
Security and Fingerprint are third and fourth sub-groups, respectively. The first has all the standard options for screen lock, passwords, location, encryption, etc. and the Smart Lock. This is a feature, which allows your mobile to remain unlocked when it is near an authorized place, device, voice or your body. The Fingerprint options contain a manager, sensor calibration, and toggles for functions, which you might want to be accessible via your fingerprint ID(s). The Smart Accessibility allows you to adjust the on-screen navigation bar and activate smart wake toggles for quicker and easier access to apps of your choice. The “Other Settings” contain everything standard you’d expect – date and time, accessibility, language and input, app management, printing and reset. The last group of settings is called Device and consists only of System Update and About phone. Actually from the About phone menu there’s a shortcut to the System update and there’s a separate app for this function as well. When we got the device, it immediately received an OTA update for optimizing the system and providing minor bug fixes.
The first impression is that there are many apps pre-installed on the device, but when you take a closer look, this is not the case. All apps are installed directly on successive screens and removing them from the screen to the recycle bin icon uninstalls them, but only after a confirmation dialogue, of course. The first most important apps according to Oukitel are the Camera, Music, Play Store and Settings, which are placed on the home screen. On the second one appear Google Services apps, such as Calendar, Chrome, Drive, Google, Gmail, Keep, Maps, Voice Search, YouTube. The rest are pretty standard and exist in every Android smartphone – Gallery, Calculator (capable of remembering calculations history), Downloads, File Manager, Clock, Backup & reset, Email.
U15S also arrives with a special app for the Bagan keyboard, a flashlight, which may also be switched on/off from the Quick Settings, FM Radio and Fingerprint management app, which duplicates the corresponding settings. The Dialer, Contacts, Messenger, and Browser, which are docked and appear at the bottom of every screen with apps, are the standard Android 6.0 ones. The only thing we’ve noticed as being a bit different is the design of the Radio and Sound Recorder apps, which have many common traits and we’d expected that the Music app will have them, but currently it is the default Android M one. Finally, there’s a nice Notes app, which will be quite handy to those who have the habit of taking notes on their phones.
Networks, calls and connectivity
Oukitel U15S is equipped with a dual-SIM card tray. It is made for two nano-SIM cards, working in a dual standby mode. In case you need more storage, you must sacrifice one of the slots, which can also house a microSD card. The model works with all standard 2G, 3G and 4G bands. More specifically, it supports quad-band 2G GSM (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), dual-band 3G WCDMA (900, 2100 MHz), penta-band 4G LTE-FDD (800, 900, 1800, 2100, 2600 MHz) networks. The down- and uplink speeds in 4G LTE are Cat. 6 ones. MTK Engineering Mode confirms the bands listed above. Call quality and reception have been very good at all times. As long as it concerns Wi-Fi connections, the device did find it difficult to maintain a stable connection in areas with a weaker Wi-Fi signal. It disconnected entirely at times and having in mind it changed its MAC address every time, this became a bit of nuisance at some point. U15S supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, and Bluetooth 4.0. The smartphone has a micro-USB 2.0 port and supports GPS/A-GPS and Glonass. It managed to detect a good amount of satellites from both systems for a short time and with excellent accuracy.
The hardware of Oukitel U15S is based on a MediaTek MT6750T chipset. This is a sub-mid-range system-on-chip and the T suffix designates its top variant. The chipset is built after the 28nm process and has a 64-bit, octa-core CPU that consists of four 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 cores and another four of the same, but clocked at 1GHz. The dual-core Mali-T860 MP2 GPU is also overclocked at 650MHz. This SoC is relatively new as it has been launched this year, but only a few models use the MT6750T for their hardware heart. Our review unit scored 44328 points in AnTuTu, which is not an impressive result, but is actually on par with the result of some smartphones that are based on the more powerful Helio P10 MT6755 chipset. This score also indicates that the MediaTek MT6750T is more productive than the MT6753 SoC, which has all eight cores clocked at 1.3GHz. The Geekbench tests show comparable results in the same context.
The results from the 3DMark and PCMark tests are not surprising and are typical for a sub-mid-range smartphone. Oukitel U15S arrives with 4GB of single-channel, LPDDR3 RAM, which in the MT6750T variant of the chipset is clocked at the higher 833MHz rate. It is made by Samsung as well as the internal memory, which measures 32GB and can be expanded with up to 128GB via a microSD card. Of 32GB total storage, only 25GB are available to the user. The PCMark Storage and Androbench results reveal reading and writing speeds from/to the memory that are typical for an eMMC-type storage. As long as it concerns features and sensors, the model is closer to an entry-level device. Though CPU-X says that NFC is supported, this is not the case. The device does not even support HotKnot. The on-board sensors include a proximity, light and accelerometer ones only. Of course, fingerprint sensors have become the norm lately, and there is one placed on the back of the device. It is a square module with rounded corners and is made by Microarray. It can store up to 5 IDs and can be adjusted to provide quick launch of several apps, besides simply unlocking the device. Storing up a fingerprint ID is quick and easy, and unlocking works swiftly.
The new Oukitel developed UI – dido OS 7.0 has a revamped Camera app. Its home screen contains a circular shutter button with four modes above it – video, photo, beauty and panorama. To its left and right are the shortcuts to the list with photos and list of filter modes, respectively. The latter allows you to keep your photo “normal” or add a watermark to it, or a certain effect (sepia, negative, aqua, etc.). At the top of the home screen of the Camera app are the flash and HDR options as well as the icon to the camera settings. Of course, once you take a photo you will be able to edit it with the standard tools by adding filters, borders, watermarks, by cutting and/or enhancing it.
Oukitel U15S is equipped with a 13-megapixel primary camera that packs a Panasonic MN34153 sensor, interpolated to 16 megapixels. Currently we don’t know of other smartphones that have exactly the same sensor model, but it is quite obvious that there are some issues with the photos. The main one is the greenish-yellowish tint all photos and videos get. This most certainly can be fixed with a software update, so it would be quite welcome. Another thing is the interpolation. It always does harm to the photos and never has a positive effect. You can also check the video below, which demonstrates a high level of blur. It is worth mentioning that the FHD videos shot with this camera are at 15 fps. The official specifications mention the existence of “OIS, rakish AF, and dynamic de-noise”, but we don’t think such extras are present.
The front-facing camera of Oukitel U15S is specified as being an OmniVision one, but it is actually a GalaxyCore one. The sensor is a 5-megapixel GalaxyCore GC5005 one and is interpolated to 8MP. The same sensor powers the front cameras of the following smartphones: UMi Super, UMi Max, UMi Plus, and iNew U9 Plus.
Despite featuring a customized UI, Oukitel U15S does not have a proprietary Music app and uses the standard Android 6.0 Marshmallow one, instead. It offers various kinds of grouping your audio files – according to the name of artists, albums and files, for example. You can also create playlists for convenience. The Sound and vibration settings contain the standard Beh sound enhancement features, but actually the sound is better without switching them on. The Music app itself also contains a standard equalizer feature, which by default offers no audio effects. You can choose from several audio effects depending on the music style and various reverb effects, too.
We do our audio test by using the TASCAM US-2×2 audio interface and the RightMark Audio Analyzer software. According to the results Oukitel U15S offers average audio quality. It excels only in frequency response, which is diminished by the average THD + Noise. All the other parameters score as Very good, hence the same overall result. As long as it concerns the bottom speaker, our subjective view is that is just like any other speaker placed in a low-end smartphone.
|Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB||+0.13, -0.00||Excellent|
|Noise level, dB (A)||-94.3||Very Good|
|Dynamic range, dB (A)||93.5||Very Good|
|THD, %||0.0083||Very good|
|THD + Noise, dB (A)||-78.8||Average|
|IMD + Noise, %||0.012||Very good|
|Stereo crosstalk, dB||-76.3||Very good|
|IMD at 10 kHz, %||0.020||Very good|
|General performance||Very good|
Oukitel U15S features a 2700 mAh battery from SCUD with a standard 5V/1A charger. SCUD is a reputable Chinese brand, known for making high-quality and safe batteries, and Oukitel regularly sources the batteries for their smartphones from it. According to the manufacturer, dido OS 7.0 is created to optimize battery life, but actually the UI itself does not provide you with tools to monitor and manage the battery. You get the standard Standby intelligent power saving mode, which is switched on by default, a list of hardware components, showing which one consumes the most power, battery optimization for apps, and schedule power on and off.
The graph below demonstrates how long the battery of our test unit needed to charge in full from 0% to 100% – the yellow line. It is obvious, that the charging speed has been steady at every point of the process and 50% of the charge were reached in 1 hour and 35 minutes. Another hour and 30 minutes were needed to reach 100% and the total charging time was 3 hours and 5 minutes. The red line depicts the battery temperature during charging. In this case the graph is flat because the device did not provide temperature information. We can only say that during charging the device did become quite hot in the upper right hand side area.
The result from the PCMark Work 2.0 battery test showed 5 hours and 31 minutes, which is a very good result for battery with a capacity of 2700 mAh.
Currently, Oukitel U15S retails for 150$ and under. For these bucks you get a good looking, slim and well-built device. It provides a reasonable battery life and a good display. The model is not a performance wonder, but does handle day-to-day tasks very well and if you’re not a fan of games with heavy graphics, you’ll not make the difference with more powerful devices. The customized UI has some minor glitches, but is relatively quick and clean. Probably the only real drawback of the model is the camera department. So yes, the U15S is yet another contender for the hearts of buyers in this price segment and only time will tell whether such a combination of features and specifications is a winning one.