Review: Oppo F1 Plus, king of selfies
By Ajith Ram May 10, 2016
OPPO has come a long way since its global inception in 2001 and first smartphone launch in 2011. The company now ships a range of consumer and entertainment devices such as headphones, Blu-Ray players and of course, smartphones.
According to IDC, Oppo is now among the top five smartphone manufacturers with a 153.2 percent year-over-year increase and shipments of 18.5 million units in Q1 2016. In the process, the company managed to displace its Chinese rival Lenovo from its fourth place position in the shipment charts.
The Oppo F1 Plus which recently arrived in Malaysia is the company's attempt to rise further in the highly competitive mid-range smartphone segment where devices retail for less than RM2,000.
At just 145gms, the F1 Plus is a thin and light smartphone, For this device at least, Oppo has foregone the brushed metal look favoured by some of its competitors and adopted a plain aluminium look to its rear. In addition to the silvery Oppo logo, two narrow white stripes can be seen at the top and bottom of the rear side.
The rear camera hump is at the top left corner of the device. The volume button is on the left side while the power button is on the other edge. The dual purpose SIM tray is on the right side next to the power button. It can accommodate either two nano SIMs or a SIM and a microSD card which supports up to 128GB for extra storage.
The fingerprint reader is integrated into the oval home button. The micro USB connector, speakers and headphone socket are at the bottom. Overall, with its contoured edges and all metal rear, the F1 Plus feels like a premium device.
The Oppo F1 Plus features a 5.5-inch Full HD display. Although not exactly revolutionary in its resolution, the screen is AMOLED and protected by the latest Gorilla Glass 4.
Like the Samsung Galaxy S7, the AMOLED display gives the F1 Plus a slight edge over its LCD rivals in colour reproduction and contrast. Brightness levels are also excellent. The screen is perfectly readable even in direct sunlight.
In an interesting variation from the usual Qualcomm SoCs that power many mid-range phones, the F1 Plus uses a Mediatek MT6755 Helio P10 chip. Mediatek has been getting a lot of design wins recently and we can expect to see more of their chips in other smartphones soon. The Helio P10 has an eight core Cortex-A53 CPU running at 2GHz.
Built using the older 28 nanometre manufacturing process from TSMC, the Helio P10 also includes an integrated 4G modem with LTE Cat-6 support and a dual core 64-bit Mali-T860 graphics core from ARM. The smartphone also has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
Oppo describes the F1 Plus as the 'selfie expert' by virtue of the impressive 16 megapixel front camera. The device also has a none too shabby 13 megapixel rear camera.
At least in terms of megapixel count, the rear camera in the F1 Plus keeps pace with other devices in the market. The front camera easily exceeds the specifications of even the premium devices like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Google Nexus 6P.
But in terms of image quality, can the front camera in the F1 Plus really match the ones in its much more expensive brethren?
See the selfie below taken with the Galaxy S7 Edge.
And this selfie taken with the Oppo F1 Plus.
At least in terms of the quality of selfies, it looks like the F1 Plus is now the reigning champion and Oppo can rightly claim that it is the ‘selfie expert’.
But what about the quality of the photos taken with the rear camera? Particularly in low light conditions. This is a completely different story.
See photo below taken with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge.
And the photo below of the same location taken with the Oppo F1 Plus.
It is quite apparent that the rear camera in Oppo’s phone is no match for the one in Samsung’s flagship device. Night time images taken with the F1 Plus have a lot more noise and much less detail. Considering the quality of the front camera, that is a bit disappointing.
The camera app in the F1 Plus is very well featured. If you wish to move away from the default auto focus mode, Oppo gives you control over ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. There are also a bevy of preset filters and recording options like panorama and UltraHD.
Overall, Oppo has delivered on its promise of good camera functionality. The front ‘selfie’ camera is the best we have seen in any device so far. While it does not deliver any knockout punches, the rear camera is adequate for most consumers.
Battery and Performance
The F1 Plus has a 2850 mAh battery with the company's VOOC charging feature. At first glance, the battery seems a bit underspecified compared to the 4050 mAh power pack in the F1 Plus's Chinese rival, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.
This shows in our PCMark for Android battery benchmark where the F1 Plus lasted six hours and 35 minutes. This is about an hour behind the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and almost six hours behind the Redmi Note 3. With some careful use, it should still be possible to get a full day's work done on the Oppo phone.
Oppo's VOOC fast charging feature works as advertised. From a battery charge of less than 10 percent, we were able to reach full charge in just under an hour.
While battery life may not be a concern for many users, the phone's performance might certainly be. With a score of just 332 in 3DMark, the Helio P10 SoC inside is really showing its age.
This makes the F1 Plus more than twice as slow as the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and about six times slower than the current industry performance leader, the Galaxy S7 Edge.
In the Antutu Benchmark, the F1 Plus was about 50% slower than the Redmi Note 3 and more than twice as slow as the S7 Edge.
On a more positive note, the actual OS, browsing and app performance does not feel slow. Full HD video playback is also flawless. So as long as you are not planning to play too many graphics intensive games, you should be happy with the performance of the F1 Plus.
The F1 Plus ships with Android 5.1 (Lollipop). The company's Color OS sits on top of this and at least in icon design, it has quite a few similarities to Apple's iOS. You can reshape all the apps as cards that you can slide sideways or move upwards to close. You can also add new widgets and modify the home screen animations.
In terms of other unique apps which set the F1 Plus apart, Oppo has included OCloud for backing up all your data to the cloud. In addition to the full suite of Google apps, there is also Theme Store where you can download free Color OS themes.
The Oppo F1 Plus is an example of a very good mid-range phone. It ticks many of the right boxes including very good design, high quality display, excellent front camera, decent rear camera and a fast charging battery. The only rear blip on the radar is the below par performance for a smartphone in its price range. And if you are really into selfies, there is no better choice than the F1 Plus.
Rating: 4 out of 5