Oppo’s R9s Plus - a familiar experience
By Chong Jinn Xiung April 11, 2017
- Does not alter design but offers rich viewing experience, above average performance
- Packs a killer camera that shoots well in low light and records videos in 4K resolution
NOT too long ago DNA reviewed the value-for-money Oppo R9s, a smartphone that banked heavily on its photo-taking ability and offered decent specs to boot.
Now not more than two months later we are faced with the R9s’ bigger cousin the R9s Plus. Launched in Malaysia during the same week as Mobile World Congress, the R9s Plus is Oppo’s follow up to the successful model.
But apart from being a large form factor smartphone does the R9s Plus have any more substance underneath its aluminium housed body? Let’s take a look and find out.
To put it simply the R9s Plus is very much like the R9s but much bigger.
Apart from the larger 6-inch full HD AMOLED display, the R9s Plus’ design language remains the same as its smaller cousin. It is as if the designers fancied the idea of taking the existing R9s and pointed a ray gun at it to enlarge the phone.
The all-metal body will feel very familiar to anyone who knows Oppo’s design. It feels solid though slippery thanks to its premium satin finish. Even though the glass is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5, it is advisable to slip the phone into a protective casing as soon as you get it.
Due to the larger screen, the R9s Plus can feel pretty large for a small pair of hands as its width stretches to 80.8mm and it is 163.3mm in height. It is thicker at 7.35mm compared to the R9s’ 6.58mm but the difference is so small that it hardly feels different.
Of course, due to its bigger size and dimensions, the R9s Plus is heavier at 185g than the R9S at 147g, but the increase in weight is hardly noticeable.
Looking around the R9s Plus, there are the usual features you would come to expect from a smartphone of this class and standing. The home key below the display doubles as a fingerprint reader and just as before, the reader is accurate and unlocks in almost no time at all.
Below the phone is the micro USB port that is flanked by the R9s Plus’ single speaker and headphone jack.
You don’t get that many colour variations so you will have to settle for either Gold or Rose Gold. Both colours fit the premium profile that R9s Plus is trying to carve for itself.
Taking a peek under the R9s Plus’ hood, the specs ring similar to another 6-inch phablet, the Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro. For example, the handset has 64GB of internal storage and 6GB of RAM.
The bountiful amount of RAM will definitely come in handy for multitasking while the roomy internal storage is great for storing all your favourite songs and movies. If that is not enough, the ability to expand it via microSD to a massive 256GB is a bit of an overkill.
The difference, however, lies in the fact that the R9s Plus uses a different processor, a Qualcomm MSM8976 Pro processor so we expect the performance to differ.
Running through the benchmark scores, the R9s Plus’ Antutu score isn’t going to blow any flagship phones that typically score above 100,000 out of the water but at the same time, it isn’t very far off.
In terms of Geekbench scores, it is quite average both in single and multi-core scores. PCMark Work 2.0 scores are also decent.
Pushing its graphical capabilities to the max in 3D Mark’s Sling Shot Extreme proved a little too much for it as it chugged along to a score of 935.
Just the like R9s before it, the Plus version still runs on Android 6.0 and Oppo’s the ColorOS 3.0 so it feels very similar to anyone who has experienced Oppo’s flavour of Android.
To help power the R9s Plus’ massive display is an equally large 4,000mAh battery that manages to keep the phone going well over a heavy day of usage.
Unplugging the phone from 10am onwards and proceeding to use it heavily for over a day and the R9s Plus still held 46% in the tank at 12am the next day, which is quite impressive.
Even if you should run the battery down, the phone comes with Oppo’s VOOC fast-charging technology that should get the phone back up to speed in no time.
Just like the R9s before it, the R9s Plus carries the same 16-Megapixel front and back cameras so the results would be similar to our previous review on the R9s.
Nevertheless, the R9s Plus is still worth re-exploring as the handling is different from the R9s. While the bigger screen is a big plus (pardon the pun), allowing you to see the subject more clearly, as with all phablets it does feel clumsy to hold due to its size.
Even though both front and back cameras share the same Megapixel they differ slightly with the rear having a brighter f/1.7 aperture while the front has a mildly darker f/2.0 aperture.
Taking the camera out for a spin, the R9s Plus feels and handles as well as its predecessor with remarkably quick yet accurate autofocus that fixes on subjects in an instant. Picture quality remained the same producing nice close-up shots with blurred out ‘bokeh’ and admirable low light performance thanks to the inclusion of optical image stabilisation.
The R9s Plus' video recording capabilities are great if you have a penchant for shooting videos as much as you shoot photos. You get a choice between regular full HD or 4K videos for that extra level of detail.
The reduction in shaky camera footage, thanks to the electronic image stabilisation feature, ensures that your videos look less like the Blair Witch Project and more like a regular home video.
Similar to our experience with the R9s, EIS kicks in during full HD videos but was absent during 4K recordings. Not a total deal breaker but this will likely encourage you to use full HD more often than not.
With that, here are some sample photos that were taken with the R9s Plus.
On the whole, the R9s Plus brings the same sleek and premium level of design quality that we have come to expect from Oppo smartphones.
It manages to pack a lot of features underneath its all metal body from a camera array that matches up with the best flagships have to offer and a massive battery that offers long-lasting battery life.
For the most part, the R9s Plus does not change much of what the R9s has already established, so there aren’t many surprises here.
At US$566 (RM2,498) the R9s Plus is really pushing into the premium territory and the pricing seems a bit much for the extra screen real estate and bigger battery.
Honestly, there is better value to be found in the R9s if you don’t mind the trade-offs for the smaller screen and battery, it still packs a great camera.
Oppo R9s Plus (ranked out of 5)
Design - 3
Value - 3