Wednesday, 31 August 2016 18:01

OPPO F1s – a good all-round phablet (review)

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OPPO’s new F1s, the selfie expert, came across my desk for review. This little rose gold number ticked the boxes offering great features for a reasonable price.

OPPO calls it an “all-rounder” and I can’t think of a better word. It is a phone for the people that does a pretty good job all round. It has features like the 16MP front selfie camera, a 5.5” IPS screen, fingerprint reader, and 3GB/32GB/micorSD, eight-core processor, and a huge 3075mAh battery that are well above average for its $348 outright price.

Of course, you can see how it was shoehorned into the price – it lacks OPPO’s now legendary VOOC fast charge, it has a 1280x720 screen and Wi-Fi N dual band, but these are not deal breakers, and do not affect overall performance.

"Aussies are savvy consumers who understand premium doesn't have to mean pricey. The F1s takes the features we know our users love, such as rapid Touch Access and stunning camera technology, and packages them into an affordable device that isn't going to break the bank. Only OPPO can deliver flagship features at this price point, and we know our customers will appreciate the value the F1s has to offer," said Michael Tran, chief marketing officer, OPPO Australia.

I won’t do a full review because in this price bracket a phone is a phone and expectations are not high.

Main specifications include: OPPO F1s

  • Screen: 5.5”, 1280 x 720 (720p), 276ppi, IPS covered in Gorilla Glass 4, 71% screen to body ratio
  • MediaTek MT6750 eight core 1.5GHZ Cortex-A53 processor
  • 3GB RAM, 32GB storage and microSD card up to 128GB
  • Rear Camera: 13MP, f/2.2, 1/3” sensor, single LED flash, HDR, 1080p @ 30fps video (no optical image stabilisation)
  • Front selfie camera: 16MP, f/2.0, 78.1°, ISOCELL 1/3.1” sensor, 1080p @ 30fps video
  • Features: Wi-Fi N, dual band 2.4 and 5GHz, Bluetooth 4.0, G-sensor, E-compass, GPS, FM radio (no NFC), Active noise cancelling mic
  • Dual slot tray for one SIMs and one microSD
  • Micro-USB with OTG support and 3075mAh battery
  • Ultra-fast, .22sec, five-fingerprint reader – each of which can activate different apps
  • 154.5 x 76 x 7.38mm x 160g

Looks and unboxing

OPPO shamelessly copies Apple’s design cues – and judging by global sales reports it is what its market wants. Clean white front, polished metal edges, sandblasted back, a real air of quality. If the fingerprint reader/home button was round, (Apple has patented that) instead of pill shaped it would be the ultimate compliment knock-off.

The box contains OPPO buds/mic and a transparent bumper case. A 5V/2A USB charger and cable are included. Its VOOC charger is missing – a cost issue and the MediaTek processor does not support fast charge. Performance is as expected – good for a smartphone but average for graphcis and games.

Set-up is easy; you can avoid Google completely, and its Colour OS 3.0 sits over Android 5.x. It would have been nice to see Android 6.x, but OPPO put a lot of effort into Colour OS and the apps (to avoid Google) so it can be forgiven. I particularly like the blazing fast start with the fingerprint and the clever removal of animation of the home screen so it is instant on. The ability to link up to five fingerprints with a launch action is innovative. You get a new lock screen every time you switch it on.

ColourOS now offers a second layer of security as you can lock/encrypt apps and folders from prying eyes.

Display

The 5.5” screen is one of the largest in this price bracket and again OPPO listened to users who said the phone was their primary internet access device. It has decent contrast at 933:1; decent black at .45 cd/m2 (AMOLED is 0.0); decent white at 420cd/m2; and reasonable colour accuracy.

It is covered in Gorilla Glass 4, has blue light eye protection, and is reasonably readable in direct sunlight. In all a good screen that does the job.

Battery

It receives a 75-hour theoretical endurance rating. A charge from zero to full takes about 2 hours. In my very limited test use, it’s a two-day phone.

Phone

It is clear, gets good reception. Hands-free was loud and clear.

The Australian model gets LTE band 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 28, 38, 39, 40 and 41 – excellent and covers all Australian and Asian bands.

Camera

In reference shots, the rear camera on full auto produced acceptable shots in all conditions. The caveat is that it gets the maximum it can from a 13MP sensor, phase detect autofocus, and single LED flash – and that is a lot. The camera app provides a lot of extra functionality including RAW files.

The front camera is OPPO’s amazing 16MP selfie camera that performed well in all light conditions and has a screen fill flash as well. I love voice activation and the panorama selfie function that stitches together a 120° panorama. Its Beautify 4.0 reduces blemishes and irregularities – yes it works.

In all the best camera for the price bracket.

Summary

It is an F1 with a bigger screen, bigger battery, more LTE band support, and a little more polish on the interface and apps – Colour OS 3.0.

It is available on a $35/month plan from Woolworths, or outright from JB Hi-Fi on OPPO online.

As usual, OPPO has produced a phone that people want. As a huge bonus, it is a company with local offices and support and one that has grown to become number three in global market share.

It gets four out of five stars in the very crowded mass market range with the caveat that it is worth an even higher rating if Android 5.x is ever upgraded to 6.x.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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