The OUKITEL C8's battery is one of its best features
Last week we reviewed the OUKITEL U22, perhaps the world’s least expensive device to feature four cameras, which consisted of two camera sensors on the back for bokeh and monochrome effects, and two cameras on the front for better and more enhanced selfies. This past week we’ve been spending some time with the OUKITEL C8, yet another smartphone from the white-box device brand that seems to crank out more phones per year than some of the bigger brands. The OUKITEL C8 is just like many OUKITEL devices and comes in at a lower cost, which also means lower specs and hardware as well as less features. After some time with it we’ve gotten to know the device a little better though it is worth mentioning that it isn’t too terribly different from other devices that are put out by the company, save for the icon pack that was applied to this device compared to the last one. For the most part though things look and feel the same, so let’s dive in and take a closer look at the OUKITEL C8 and see what it has to offer.
As mentioned already the OUKITEL C8 is a low-cost entry-level smartphone, and thus it’s going to have lower-cost entry-level hardware specifications. That said it may be low-cost but it actually has a slightly higher price tag than the OUKITEL U22, as the C8 will retail at $70. When it comes to the specs, the C8 is equipped with a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the smartphone and just like the U22 this is a 3G-only device, meaning it won’t support 4G LTE at all no matter the region. This is a strange move as most phones come with 4G now, but this wouldn’t be the only phone to come with just 3G.
Moving on and the C8 also comes equipped with a 5.5-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 640. This isn’t quite HD and it shows, though not by much so those who aren’t exactly concerned with the screen’s resolution may not notice and think it looks just fine. The OUKITEL C8 is powered by a quad-core MediaTek 6580 processor, it comes with paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage space (with support for expandable storage up to a 32GB microSD card), and it runs on Android 7.0 Nougat out of the box so it has access to things like Google Assistant. The phone also has a 3,000mAh battery to keep it going throughout the day and battery life was unsurprisingly not an issue with this phone as the processor is lower-powered, as is the display thanks to the resolution. For the cameras, the C8 is working with a single 8-megapixel rear camera and a single 2-megapixel front camera, both of which have an LED flash just in case the lighting isn’t that great. The C8 doesn’t have NFC so that means no mobile payments, and it charges via micro USB so that means the charge time maybe a bit slower than if it had USB Type-C instead.
In The Box
You get a couple of extras here with the phone such as a screen protector that’s already applied to the display upon opening the package, as well as a clear silicone case which is already on the phone as well, though you can take both off if you prefer to have a minimalist phone without either of those things on the device. Beyond those two items, you have the phone itself, the wall adapter, and the charge cable and that’s it.
Hardware & Design
The OUKITEL C8 is definitely an entry-level phone and this time around it shows. The phone just feels lower-quality due to the build quality and the materials used don’t feel premium which attributes to the phone being noticeably low-end. While the display is a nice size and the phone overall feels like it would serve just fine as a daily device for the average smartphone user or perhaps for those looking at their first device or a device on a budget to save some money, if you pick it up it feels like a less expensive phone. The back cover which you can take off to get to the removable battery as well as the SIM card and microSD card slots is made from plastic, and while this doesn’t feel premium it does feel good in the hand and it isn’t super slick feeling which means you should have less trouble accidentally dropping it. This is a good thing considering the C8 doesn’t feel rugged or durable at all.
Aside from the plastic back cover, since the SIM card and microSD card slots are accessible under this back cover along with the battery that means the left side of the device is completely bare, while the right side of the device has the power button and the volume up and down buttons. The bottom of the phone is also bare save for the mic that picks up your voice during phone calls, while the top of the phone has the micro USB charging port and a 3.5mm audio port for plugging in a standard pair of headphones. This is one thing that has been nice with some of these less expensive devices is that even though they tend to come with lower specs, they usually have 3.5mm audio ports still which is great for anyone who prefers to use headphones with this type of plug. The one and only speaker on the device can be found on the back and will be located in the bottom left corner, while the camera, LED flash, and fingerprint sensor on the back are located towards the middle top.
The screen doesn’t feel like it’s HD and technically it’s not based on the resolution, which is 1280 x 640, but it looks HD and to be quite honest the screen isn’t too bad at all. It isn’t the clearest or the sharpest display out there but some of the more important things are worth paying attention to. Like the fact that the display gets pretty darn bright making it easy to see in direct sunlight should you end up encountering some glare from time to time. This might not happen often but it is nice to know that any time I had issues with glare in much brighter situations, the display could easily shine through it by adjusting the brightness, whereas some phones still struggle to be seen in sunlight even with the brightness at max.
Brightness aside the phone’s display has some decent viewing angles and it didn’t give me any issues whatsoever with recognizing presses, meaning it had no problems with the touch response so the digitizer is decent enough to do the job without having any hiccups. The colors on the display are mostly accurate and the contrast is good, but if you feel like the colors are a little off or if you feel like you would just appreciate them more if you could tweak them a little bit, you’re in luck as under the display settings menu you can find the MiraVision option, which lets you adjust the color temperature of the display. It’s set to the default setting, but you can change to a vivid option or you can make it custom by dragging slider bars to adjust each element of the display’s color temperature on your own and to exactly your liking. Overall the display is ok. Nothing fancy but not too shabby for a phone under $100.
Lots of budget or entry-level devices will have lower-powered processors and less RAM, and this is going to affect the performance of the device some, but the RAM and the CPUs in the entry-level segment have gotten better over the last few years so the performance isn’t going to see as much of a hit compared to similar devices from a few years ago. That said, the performance on the OUKITEL C8 could have been better as we did notice some stuttering or lag during a couple of different situations. When using the normal for everyday things like web browsing, scrolling through your social media feeds, emailing, or reading, then the phone seemed to do ok, but once you put it under more of a heavy load things buckled a little bit. High-end gaming, meaning games with some really nice graphics, isn’t going to be the most enjoyable on the C8 as the RAM just isn’t enough to help the frame rates, not to mention graphics aren’t going to be as sharp due to the CPU and GPU combination at work here.
There was also some lag that came into play when the phone was put under more a heavy load for multitasking, for example, having Facebook, Chrome and a few other apps open while you stream music or videos at the same time and having all those other apps running in the background as well. This seemed to make using the device a little jittery but not too much that it made the phone unusable by any means, it simply slowed things up a little.
Without mincing words, the fingerprint sensor here is just not good. It is good that you have one in the first place as it’s nice to have an alternate method for unlocking the phone beyond using a PIN or password, but the fact that it’s so slow almost feels like it defeats the purpose because it’s supposed to be faster to use the fingerprint sensor than to unlock by typing in a PIN, and while it is faster it isn’t faster by much and this is where the issue lies. The sensor did however have a decent accuracy rate, so while it missed my finger once or twice throughout the whole time using it, the rest of the time it had no trouble at all.
Phone Calls & Network
There are a few things with the network compatibility that are a letdown for this device. The first is that it doesn’t support 4G LTE, even in China or the other countries where it would work. The other is that it’s a Chinese device so it can’t be used in the U.S.. If you’re interested in learning what networks it supports, the supported network frequencies are listed below.
As mentioned in the beginning of this review the OUKITEL C8 comes with a 3,000mAh battery and while that isn’t the largest of any smartphone it felt like plenty of capacity for a device that only comes with 2GB of RAM and a low-end quad-core processor. The display may be 5.5-inches, so this is technically a phablet device but it’s not super high resolution so it won’t be draining the battery as much as if it were Full HD or Quad HD.
I was easily able to take the OUKITEL C8 through an entire day on just a single charge and during our testing I was able to get about 6 hours or so of screen on time with it. This could still be higher but this is pretty good and a little better than some higher-end phones these days. Whether you’re a more heavy user or if you sparingly use your smartphone the battery on the OUKITEL C8 shouldn’t give you any problems as it was one of the best features of the phone.
Just like with all smartphones and tablets we ran the C8 through a few different benchmark tests to see how it scored as this should give you an idea of what to expect from the device in terms of performance. That said it’s also important to remember that the benchmarks are merely there to give you a simulated view of what the performance will be like in a day to day situation. Real-life device use will vary from person to person so the performance may feel better or worse to some depending on how they use the device personally. We put the C8 through AnTuTu, Geekbench 4, and then 3DMark for the graphics and you can see the results from those scores in the screenshots from the gallery just below.
This is a budget phone, so you shouldn’t be expecting super high-quality audio from the OUKITEL C8. This isn’t just because the phone costs around $70 and as a result it uses lower-quality parts that are more affordable, it’s also because the phone only has one speaker to begin with. Immediately you’ll notice that the speaker is not of the highest caliber, as it starts to get tinny and sound a little less clear right around the halfway mark to turning the volume up all the way. If you need or want your volume for music or games or videos to be up louder, you’ll want to consider either making use of the 3.5mm audio port, or connecting a Bluetooth headset or speaker to get better audio quality, otherwise you may want to keep the volume lower. The good news, the volume on the device does get pretty loud, so if the absolute best audio clarity isn’t an issue for you and you simply want the louder volume then you can crank the OUKITEL C8 up to a good amount and it will be loud.
If you’ve used or seen any other OUKITEL devices before then you may already know what to expect in the software department. The C8 looks and functions and even feels much like the U22 from last week. The software version is the same, which is Android Nougat, and the design is pretty much the same as it looks and feels mostly like a stock AOSP version of the Android operating system with just a few tweaks.
The first of those tweaks is the icon pack, or simply the icons that OUKITEL has used for this particular device. This is one of the only things that tends to be different from phone to phone from most of the Chinese white-box device brands, the icons. Here with the C8 they really look a lot like the icons you’d find on Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+. Beyond the icons, the phone does come with a few software features that are not generally part of an AOSP build, such as wake gestures for the phone. There are a number of different gestures here and you can toggle them all on if you like but you’re by no means required to use every single one as they all have their own individual toggles. You can also change the order of your on-screen nav keys, and there’s an option in settings called DuraSpeed which restricts background apps when enabled so the apps running in the foreground can perform a little more smoothly. Beyond these things the software experience is as stock and bare bones as it gets. The design looks like a stock AOSP build, the user interface features are pretty much like stock AOSP, and that should be expected with most of the budget phones coming from these smaller brands as they don’t usually do their own UI.
Once again keeping things basic the camera software on the OUKITEL C8 is evident of a budget device, carrying little in the way of features and having an uninspired design for the camera UI. If you like apps to look pretty, the camera app on the C8 will not be falling into that category. But as they say any camera is better than no camera and if you’re looking to get into a smartphone without spending a whole lot the camera quality may not be your biggest concern.
When it comes to the camera features the software offers up a few different modes and these include your standard photo mode, the panorama mode, and the face beauty mode if the subject in your pictures is another person and you want to focus on the features of their face a little more than anything else. There is also an HDR button which is always nice to have, and you do get some color effects options that are located in the camera settings, which you can access by tapping on the little gear button. Beyond the camera software the phone’s camera quality in terms of images is not the best either, but you have to remember that this is a $70 phone with an 8-megapixel camera sensor so there will be some loss in quality for the photos that you get. The camera doesn’t do the best in low-light situations as it loses a ton of detail and because you don’t have a manual mode it’s impossible to change the exposure compensation or the shutter speed, both of which would help the image look brighter and bring some of that detail back. In the end don’t look to the OUKITEL C8 for its camera prowess, but it can take photos and in the best of the best lighting conditions the photos do look ok. Overall the camera is nothing to write home about but there is nothing really too wrong with it even if it does fall short in some areas, and this is mostly because this is a phone which doesn’t cost a lot so when you compare it to other devices in the same price range the camera is about equal and on par with those phones.
Front and back LED flash for cameras
Decent battery life
Android Nougat with Google Assistant
3.5mm audio port
Camera quality is ok
No 4G compatibility
Doesn’t work in the U.S.
Screen could be better
Performance was a bit laggy at times
Speaker quality is not that great
Fingerprint sensor was slow to unlock
Camera doesn’t have a lot of features
Another week and another device from OUKITEL as this is the second device in two weeks we'e reviewed from the company. The C8 is not too different from last week's device as it is a budget phone and it’s more or less the same except for some of the hardware specs. That said it does look a little bit different and it does have some different features, and for the most part is an ok device for the price.
Should you buy the OUKITEL C8?
It’s really hard to recommend this device to anyone that lives in the U.S. as it doesn’t support U.S. networks. That said if you do live in the U.S. and you need a super cheap phone that you can use in China or elsewhere, this isn’t a bad option as you really aren’t having to spend a lot to pick up this phone. It’s not the most technologically advanced or the most stylish, but you can’t argue much with a $70 price tag.