Oukitel C23 Pro review – a bit disappointing

feature image for Oukitel C23 Pro

Oukitel makes some really nice phones, and if you’ve seen my review of the Oukitel C21, you’d agree with me. So naturally, I was excited to get my hands on this, the C23 Pro, Oukitel’s latest release.

With 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage, Oukitel says it’s an upgrade over its predecessor, but how exactly does the C23 Pro hold up in day-to-day usage? What stands out best on this and overall is it a budget Android phone you should be considering. I answer all of that in this review.

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Starting with what’s in the box

Image of what's in the box of the Oukitel C23 Pro
In the box, there’s a generic 10W charging brick, A USB 2.0 cable, a clear TPU case, a phone manual and warranty card, and the C23 Pro itself.

Basic basic basic. With the C23 Pro, it’s the same old basic packaging you normally get on Oukitel phones. In the box, there’s a generic 10W charging brick, A USB 2.0 cable, a clear TPU case, a phone manual and warranty card, and the C23 Pro itself.

Again, as was the case with the C21, you don’t get any in-ear earphones or factory screen protector.

Design and build quality

Image of the design and form factor of the Oukitel C23 Pro
The C23 Pro feels chubby with thick edges and a generally large form factor

Like the Oukitel C21, looks are not a strong point on the C23 Pro. It’s a chubby phone with marked bezels, a noticeable chin, and what I’d describe as a boxy overall appearance.

The build is plastic – glossy plastic, to be precise – but way much smoother than what’s on the C21 and, as such, much less prone to picking up fingerprints.

Image showing tear-drop notch and bezels of the Oukitel C23 Pro
There’s a tear-drop notch with prominent bezels and a chin

Upfront, the C23 Pro’s screen is complemented by a teardrop notch as opposed to the hole-punch display on the C21. To be honest, I prefer the configuration of the C21 to this design on the C23 Pro. It’s a more mature and ‘sexier’ look if you like.

Image showing the back profile of the Oukitel C23 Pro
The Oukitel C23 Pro’s back is plain and simple

The back profile of the C23 Pro is simplistic, very unlike the C21, which had a lot going on on its back courtesy of the huge camera bump. The camera bump, as well as the fingerprint sensor cut out, is smaller here.

So overall, what you get is a large ‘free-flowing’ back, with the only interruption being the Oukitel branding down below. I like it. If you know me, you’d know I’m an advocate of simplicity in any form possible, especially when we’re talking budget tech devices.

Image showing USB 2.0 port and speaker grilles of the Oukitel C23 Pro
You get USB 2.0 and two speaker grilles but one’s fake

At the bottom of the C23 Pro, you’d a USB 2.0 port flanked by two speaker grills. It’s a nice look, and I like that it adds a bit of sophistication to the overall simple look of the C23 Pro. The left grill is fake anyway. Similar to what’s on the Cubot C30, it’s just a bunch of random holes made for purely aesthetic reasons.

All around the edges of the C23 Pro’s screen is what looks like a plastic rim. I’ve found that this is a common feature with most budget Android phones – it’s on the Oukitel C21, the Cubot C30, the Umidigi A7s as well as the Umidigi A9. Nevertheless, it’s one feature I’ve never liked, but thankfully the rim here on the C23 Pro appears to be made out of more durable plastic. Durability – the fact that this rim was prone to picking up scratches was my main complaint on those other phones.

Specs and performance

Like the Oukitel C21, the C23 Pro ships with 4GB of RAM and 64Gb of internal storage. The processor onboard is an octa-core Mediatek Helio P22 processor paired with an ARM Mali-G71 MP2 graphics processor.

This setup packs enough power to do all the basic stuff you’d expect from a budget midranger. In my experience, it was beefy enough to run some performance-intensive games. Aside from doing the performance heavy-lifting, all-round everyday usage on the C23 Pro also felt smooth and seamless.

App launches were fast, navigating through menus was smooth. For a device in the sub $150 range, the C23 Pro does a great job of simulating that fluid and lag-less experience you’d get on pricier Android smartphones.

To talk more about the gaming capabilities of the Oukitel C23 Pro. I’ve been able to run heavy-duty titles like Call of Duty and more routine games like Brawl Stars, with the gameplay being smooth as can be.

The ability of the C23 Pro to handle such performance-intensive games is largely down to the reasonably capable Helio P22 processor onboard. Although this was released way back in 2018, It still packs enough punch to handle the power-hungry games of today.

Camera quality

Image showing camera module of the Oukitel C23 Pro
The camera on the C23 Pro produces some washed out and lacklustre pictures

The camera quality on the C23 Pro is not the best, but that’s something to expect from a budget Android smartphone at this price. The setup is a 13MP primary, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP depth, and 2MP black and white sensor. Nothing spectacular to note here, and that’s well reflected in pictures taken by this phone.

There’s none of that punch or pizzazz you’d find on its predecessor, the Oukitel C21, and for once, I’m starting to think Oukitel actually went down, not up with the camera module on the C23 Pro.

In bright daylight, pictures appear sort of washed out – maybe that’s down to the screen (more on that later), but regardless, they don’t look great.

The average performance of the camera carries on into its portrait mode settings which doesn’t do half the job the C21 does at separating the background from the foreground. There’s separation alright, but you don’t get the full-on portrait effect everyone knows and loves.

The selfie camera on the C23 Pro takes take fairly good photos, but it’s more in the line of average than excellent. Surprisingly, it happens to do well in low light conditions, which is usually a point of failure for these budget Android devices.

Overall, I’d say camera quality is not great, but then again, very few budget Android smartphones in the sub $150 range ever house ‘great’ camera setups.

Display quality

Image showing the screen and display quality of the Oukitel C23 Pro
The display quality of the C23 Pro is poor at best

The display front is one area where I was really let down by the Oukitel C23 Pro. One of the reasons I bought this phone was because I was impressed by the C21, and one of the major impressing features of the Oukitel C21 was its display.

Naturally, I was expecting more of the same or even better because this is the ‘C23 Pro’ after all.

Sadly, it’s not better. Asides from the thick bezels and the teardrop notch, which I don’t like compared to the hole punch on the C21, the C23 Pro’s screen produces some washed-out images with a greyish tinge on it.

But that’s not even the worst thing to consider, hear this; the C23 Pro’s display is officially rated a 700 x 1600 pixel HD screen with a pixel density of 269 ppi, while the C21, its predecessor, came with a 1080 x 2310 pixel HD Plus screen with a pixel density of 398 PPI.

I mean, if you’re going to name a phone Pro, it shouldn’t be a downgrade of the non-Pro variant, right?

Battery capacity

Battery is one place where the C23 Pro offers an upgrade above its predecessors. You get a 5000mAh battery, and get this; it’s removable. A removable battery on a 2021 Android smartphone, who’d have thought.

Anyways, with moderate use, the Oukitel C23 Pro had no problems going the full day. If I kept everything simple and held off on gaming, it stayed on well into the second day.

That’s great for an Android phone at this price but just when you thought that, oh, something exceptionally nice about the C23 Pro, you get hit with the realization that this comes with USB 2.0. I mean, come on, USB 2.0 charging port on a 2021 Android smartphone – that’s not a feature we miss Oukitel, removable battery, yes!  USB 2.0, NO.

Extras

Image showing the fingerprint and back profile of the Oukitel C23 Pro
Fingerprint scanning and facial recognition are standard on the Oukitel C23 Pro

Facial recognition and a fingerprint sensor are both standard on the Oukitel C23 Pro, so you get the full complement of biometric validation here. A 3.5mm jack is also standard (it’s not on the Oukitel C21), so that’s nice.

Both facial recognition and fingerprint sensor work fairly well on the C32 Pro. However, I can’t seem to shrug over the fact that the fingerprint sensor is smaller than what you’d see in most other phones. Certainly makes it a tad bit harder to locate, but when you do locate it, it works very smoothly.

Pricing and availability

Where to buyPrice
Price$239
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If you’re willing to shell out $108, you can snag this up from Amazon or AliExpress right now. But honestly, this is not a phone I’d gladly spend $108 on, and I’ll tell you why.

Should you buy the Oukitel C23 Pro?

What you’ll like on the Oukitel C23 ProWhat’s you’ll hate on the Oukitel C23 Pro
Great battery lifePoor display
Relatively cheap priceBulky and unimpressive design
Removable batteryPoor camera quality
USB 2.0 on a 2021 Android smartphone
No support for fast charging

NO! There are other better, still-in-the-same-price-range Android smartphones you can get in place of the Oukitel C23 Pro. While it does score some points in the performance department, there are just too many shortcomings to make this a worthwhile phone.

I mean, if price is your main concern, the Oukitel C21 is still on sale, and that’s for me, a better phone by all yardsticks. Alternatively, if you wanted something more premium – that, of course, costs more but is still budget-friendly – you could always go for the Umidigi A9 Pro. Anything but the C23 Pro, to be honest. Come on, USB 2.0 in a 2021 Android smartphone? That’s just plain bonkers!

Oukitel C23 ProFull specifications
Display typeLCD IPS display
Display size6.53 inches
Display resolution 1600 x 720 pixels
Pixel density 269 PPI
Refresh rate60Hz
Display protectionRegular glass
Display notch type Tear drop notch
Processor (CPU)Mediatek Helio P22
Octa-core
2.0GHz clock speed
Graphics processor (GPU)PowerVR GE8320
RAM4GB
Storage capacity64GB
Storage typeeMMC
Micro-SD card supportYes | Dedicated slot
Micro-SD card capacity256GB
Form factor Polycarbonate (plastic)
Build material Plastic edges and back
Weight215
Thickness10mm
Available colorsKeppel Green | Classic Black | Maddison Blue
Android versionAndroid 10
Main camera sensor Quad 13MP | 5MP | 5MP | 2MP
Optical image stabilizationNil
Aperture sizeF2.2
Selfie camera sensorSingle 5MP
Aperture sizeF2.0
Battery type Li-polymer
Removable Yes
Battery capacity 5000mAh
Battery charger10W non-fast charger
Fast charging supportNo
Charging portUSB 2.0
Extras No
Notification lightNo
Biometric validationYes
Facial recognition support
back-mounted fingerprint sensor
Price$239
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