Orbic may not be the most well-known smartphone OEM on the market. In fact, I hadn’t heard of the company prior to receiving the Orbic Myra 5G for review, so I wasn’t certain what to expect.
On paper, the Orbic Myra 5G comes across as an award worthy flagship-killer. With more than reasonable specs, a great price, and a fantastic design for that segment. Under review, it checks nearly every box a user might have for a budget- to mid-range smartphone. And did exceptionally well, given that Verizon is effectively giving this device away on new lines with its unlimited plan.
So let’s dive right in and take a closer look at how Orbic Myra 5G performed.
Hardware here was incredibly well done, given the price
On the design front, I found Orbic Myra 5G to be a fantastic-looking phone under review. Its rear-panel, for example, has a light-reflecting glossy finish that’s reminiscent of — but isn’t — glass. And it uses a three-camera array with each lens and the flash all separated. Not unlike LG’s Velvet handset.
The branding on the device does stand out quite a bit. As does the matte-finish fingerprint scanner. But the edges are all slightly rounded too, leading to a square-edge design with rounded corners. All of which serves to give this handset a sharp, high-quality appearance.
That same shape follows around the front as well. With the only real exception to the high-end aesthetic being the punch-hole camera, which extends the top-bezel out into the screen a fair distance. And while the phone is slightly thicker-feeling than many modern flagships and mid-rangers, its buttons, ports, and speaker grills follow a similar schema. Lending to a well-put-together look that doesn’t really feel like it belongs on a budget-friendly smartphone.
The buttons and ports, conversely, are also incredibly clicky and snug for a phone in this price bracket. Further adding to the more premium design. While the fingerprint sensor is as snappy as any other smartphone I’ve used in this cost range.
One of the sole areas where the design really seems to fall short of its aesthetic is on the materials used. Namely, the back panel is more prone to fingerprints and smudges than other handsets. And the front glass feels a bit more grippy than I’d have liked. That didn’t disrupt usability, of course. But it did steal away from the rest of the experience to a noticeable degree.
There are also the bezels, which are larger than average but which we’ll discuss in the following segment.
In terms of pack-ins, the smudge-attracting back panel could have used a case but one isn’t included. The company does, however, include a fabric-wrapped charging cable with this phone. Which was a nice touch that does help it to feel like it belongs in a higher-cost bracket.
Finally, Orbic also includes a 3.5mm audio jack. And that’s something that’s increasingly rare, even in the budget end. So it’s appreciated here since many users will still be using wired audio gadgets.
All of that, alongside the 190g weight of this phone, made for a great user experience even in long-term sessions.
The Orbic Myra 5G display may be its biggest weakness
Now, there are two primary caveats to the display in the Orbic Myra 5G that showed up under review. The first was immediate. Namely, the bezels here are much thicker than might be expected for a handset released in late 2021. While that isn’t a major issue, especially for those typically used to budget-friendly handsets, it is somewhat disappointing.
The second caveat is a bit more obnoxious and was also immediately apparent. Or, at the very least, became apparent very quickly. The adaptive brightness feature found in Android was disabled by default. And that seems to come down to just how dim this screen is.
Indoors, using the Orbic Myra 5G to watch movies, play games, and access apps was great. With the exception of when bright and colorful visuals aren’t in use. In darker scenes or apps that use darker colors for their UIs, details became difficult to discern except in low-lit rooms. Outside, the issue was much more prominent. In direct sunlight, the phone wasn’t just difficult to photograph for this review. It was difficult to use.
Conversely, under an overcast sky or in the shade, the screen was bright enough to use for just about any purpose except those that were also difficult to see indoors. So the phone isn’t unusable but it also isn’t the best experience by any stretch of the imagination.
The final caveat to the display is the result of Orbic’s punch-hole camera placment. The front-facing sensor has its own bezel, larger than most smartphones on the market and cutting into the screen. That bezel appears to be part of the primary top bezel as well, giving the arrangement a relatively strange look compared to other handsets.
Of course, none of that is to say that the display on the Myra 5G doesn’t have strong points. Orbic gave this gadget a larger-than-average 6.78-inch 2D panel coated in scratch-resistant material. And with a FullHD resolution, that’s going to be more than serviceable under the right conditions.
Additionally, despite its shortcomings, this screen was incredibly responsive during use. I never experienced any latency in apps or in system-level interactions. And the responses appeared to be at least as accurate as any other affordable or mid-range phone I’ve reviewed. While the placement of the punch-hole camera isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing, it does improve usability since it’s out of the way in most apps.
Specs and performance are more mid-range than budget with Orbic Myra 5G
Digging under the skin of the hardware for my review, Orbic chose to go with a reasonably-priced but performance-focused arrangmeent for the Myra 5G. It started with a 2.2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 750G and 6GB RAM. And it coupled that with 64GB of expandable storage.
The end result of that, in real-world terms, is that this is a phone that you’ll easily be able to play all of the latest games on. The overwhelming majority of those at their highest graphics or game settings without lag.
And it’s also one that you’ll be able to use for just about any other task too. From the simple to the complex. From multitasking, to multitasking with large-scale high-intensity apps such as photo and video editors. Albeit, at a slower processing rate once those are finished and while big edits and effects are being added.
Not only did this phone not slow down even once during my use, aside from the occassional camera hiccup which we’ll discuss momentarily. It didn’t become hot during intensive sessions either. Primarily due to the efficiency of the chipset in use here. And that remained the case even when it was in use during charging, with a few exceptions for more resource-heavy apps and titles.
Summarily, the Snapdragon 750G is a very capable chipset. And Orbic did a great job optimizing this phone to match that when it comes to daily use and performance in apps.
Orbic Myra 5G battery lasts an incredibly long time
The average smartphone that I’ve tested over the past several months packs a battery life that’s closer to five or six hours on a single charge. That’s in terms of screen-on time, for clarity. With a few exceptions going as high as eight or nine. But this is one area where Orbic Myra 5G really — and I do mean really — shined under review.
Of course, battery life is subjective. It varies depending on screen brightness, apps used, network environment, and which wireless radios are in use. For example, I kept the Wi-Fi on for the duration as well as Bluetooth. And I also kept screen brightness maxed out for the obvious reason. As well as using moderately intensive apps. So my test should be representative of users near the extreme end of the spectrum.
Despite that fact, this phone gave me a staggering 10-hours of screen-on time. That equates to around an hour for every 10-percent of battery, without ever turning the screen off.
On the charging front, things remain mostly impressive. Just over 26-minutes of charging equated to almost 40-percent charge. Which is far more than most phones in this cost range can boast. And that’s without consideration for the fact that 40-minutes of charge equates to hours and hours of use. That’s impressive chiefly because this is a larger than average 5,000mAh capacity battery. 80-percent took just under an hour to reach.
A full charge took just short of an hour-and-a-half via the included 18W charger via Quick Charge 3.0.
The best audio here is going to be via Bluetooth or 3.5mm audio jack
As noted already, Orbic has chosen to keep the 3.5mm audio jack for this handset. And that proved to be a fortunate inclusion for Orbic Myra 5G under review. The speakers on this particular handset can only be described as attempting to be balanced but coming across as tinny. There’s almost no bass representation at all — at least not with any punch. And that’s accented by mids that also feel weak at points and highs that are over-the-top and overbearing.
In fact, in just about any media other than television shows, movies, games, or ringtones, the audio here could fairly be described as awful.
That’s not necessarily surprising, of course. Orbic isn’t touting the audio on this device as anything special. And smartphone audio, in general, is awful outside of a few flagships and mid-rangers. But it was a disappointment considering how good the rest of this device generally is.
On the Bluetooth and 3.5mm audio fronts, that doesn’t hold true — thankfully. So you can enjoy music, movies, and games as needed using those listening methods. Even if the speakers themselves aren’t really enjoyable.
Software is bloated but easy to unbloat and buttery smooth
On software, the first point to make is, of course, that Orbic Myra 5G is a carrier device. That meant that during my review of the Orbic Myra 5G, I was inundated with pre-installed third-party applications that ordinarily can’t be uninstalled. But, to my surprise, there weren’t actually as much bloatware as I had expected on turning on the handset for the first time.
Taking that a step further, Orbic didn’t ask me to install a bunch of apps during the set-up process either. Which is another caveat most budget-minded phones ship with when they’re carrier specific. Typically, due to partnerships between both the carrier and the OEM.
This phone ships with no fewer than six mobile games preinstalled. Almost none of which — aside from Candy Crush Saga — are top-ranked. It also comes with no fewer than 12 extra apps. Not including the usual Verizon apps. Such as My Verizon, Smart Family, Message+, Digital Secure, Cloud, and Call Filter. Or utilities such as the sound recorder.
All of those, except a few Verizon apps, can be uninstalled. That includes Facebook, Snapchat, and the included Yahoo apps.
Setting that aside, the software experience with this phone was actually a great one. There weren’t any additional settings or system level apps to add to the learning curve. And no duplication of features or software already offered by Google but made explicitly by Orbic for its own devices. As is so often the case with some smartphones — such as Samsung phones. So I didn’t have to undertake too much cleanup or relearn how to use apps — let alone migrating anything — during setup.
The software across the board, Android 11 out-of-the-box, was responsive and snappy too. With touches registering on the first attempt and load times not dissimilar to any mid-range smartphone.
One area that the software could have been improved, conversely, is in the system level UI for updates. That looked and interacted as though it was drawn up for a 1990’s operating system rather than for a modern smartphone. Although, that’s not something most users will stumble on or look for, necessarily. I was shocked that it was so poorly laid out and retro in appearance. Breaking from the clean modern aesthetic of the rest of the UI and device itself. Albeit still easy enough to use.
Don’t expect any miracles from this camera array unless it gets an update
Now, the camera is the second area of the Orbic Myra 5G that underperformed under review. But not in the ways you might expect. It’s more the case that this is a severely mixed bag with regard to what works and what really doesn’t.
The images snapped on this phone, housed over on Flickr in our sample gallery, generally speak for themselves. And especially with consideration for the price, color capture accuracy, detail, AI adjustments, and even HDR are actually quite good with this camera. At least insofar as backlighting is direct rather than out-of-frame, for the latter feature.
And despite the fact that there’s no macro mode, close ups also turn out fairly well. With plenty of detail and crisp edges. Albeit with bokeh blur in any shot not quite as smooth and clear as I’d have liked. And, with indirect backlighting, there’s plenty of washout from edges where the light originates.
But aside from its use in those modes, and some benefits to the 48-megapixel mode in terms of clarity of the subject, there’s also a lot of simple issues that an update could eventually — and easily — fix. That’s not unexpected, given the price and the fact that this isn’t a big brand device like a Google Pixel a series or a Samsung Galaxy a series handset.
Not least of all, the UI here feels really outdated. Some elements and features require multiple clicks to discover, some of the text and iconography is blurry or feels missized. On-screen interactions, conversely, don’t feel nearly as geared toward fine-tuning as I’d have liked. Especially in Pro mode, which feels absolutely pointles on this phone. And doesn’t quite colorize photos properly. And the HDR mode isn’t automatic. It has to be turned on and off manually.
The settings menu too, feels just a bit too old-school. With the menu and options being very basic and not necessarily great to look at.
Additionally, camera snaps feel slower than I’d have expected, but that doesn’t impact photo quality. And, similarly, autofocus feels a smidge slower than I’d have liked too. In dimmer environments, pixelation is strong, just as it is with zoom beyond 2x with this phone going all the way up to 8x zoom. Conversely, the Wide angle mode has a slight fisheye effect and doesn’t handle lighting variances well at all.
Night mode, on the other hand, WORDS
Orbic Myra 5G gives you every connection you might want in your phone
Now, of course, 5G and 5G UW are part of the bundle with Orbic Myra 5G but I wasn’t actually able to test that end during my review. The device I received showed the bars for 4G LTE and for 5G where appropriate. But I did not have service activated with Verizon to use the networks. Although the bars showed strong for 5G with the exception of when I was in my home. Which is as to be expected.
So 5G should work as advertised with this particular handset.
Setting that aside, 5G also isn’t the only connectivity type available with a smartphone. And neither is Wi-Fi, which also worked as expected. Fast and consistently.
Orbic Myra 5G also ships with Bluetooth 5.1 which more than lived up to the appropriate range and with the above-mentioned 3.5mm audio jack. The latter of which made listening to music with this smartphone more than just bearable. But actually enjoyable. Hotspot tethering, VPN options, and Wi-Fi calling are included in this modern handset as well. As is USB-C 2.0. All of which worked as expected.
The only option that really seemed to be missing is NFC. So there’s no mobile tap-to-pay with Orbic Myra 5G either.
This is worth your money, especially if you’re moving to Verizon
Of course, there’s one more big benefit that we haven’t hit on just yet. Namely, as of this writing, this phone is effectively free for new Verizon customers or for customers adding a new line.
While that’s not necessarily the broadest scope, in terms of qualifiers, that makes this phone an incredible value for those that do qualify. And a big factor in this phone’s rating. And that ultimately feels closer to a 5-star rating than a 4-star rating. But it doesn’t quite make it to the ranks of the best smartphones on the market, even if it is a great value.
With both the low entry cost and Verizon’s offer in mind, Orbic Myra 5G is a great offering for those in the market for next-gen networking. Especially those who don’t want to spend over $1000 for their next smartphone. It offers many of the same perks as flagships, a great design, cameras that are more than just serviceable, all the ports a user could want, and an exceptionally good battery life.
The small caveats that come with that are, summarily, to be expected in just about any budget phone. Or to be traded off in any phone in the category for other, sometimes worse caveats. All of which stacks up to make Orbic Myra 5G well worth a recommendation for Verizon customers shopping in its price bracket. With only a few exceptions such as for those who need NFC, a better than average camera, or who will spend the majority of thier time outdoors in direct sunlight.