OPPO F1: The Selfie Expert [Review]

OPPO F1 is a mid-range smartphone with a graceful design and average hardware. Dubbed as the Selfie Expert, it was recently launched in Pakistan to appeal to the selfie addicted masses. It is available in two colors: white, gold and sets you back by almost 27,000/- PKR.

Design & Build QualityPerformance & BatteryUser Interface • Camera Quality • Conclusion

Unboxing

Being a mid-ranger, the packaging and accessories for OPPO F1 are pretty regular. On the front, we have a render of the OPPO F1 with OPPO and “F1 Selfie Expert” logo and they’re replicated on the sides of the packaging. On the back, we have some basic technical specs of the phone.

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Taking off the cardboard and sliding open the box, we have the OPPO F1 presenting itself. Underneath the device — as expected — is some paperwork, a SIM ejector tool,  an OPPO wall charger, a microUSB data cable and of-course a standard hands-free.

Design & Build Quality

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OPPO F1 is a smartphone built upon the design language of last year’s flagship device, OPPO R7. It carries over a lot of the good stuff but this time with a much smaller price tag. Upfront is a nice 2.5D, 5.0″ IPS LCD display panel with Gorilla Glass 4 protection while the back is made up of a metal alloy. In between them is a solid frame which isn’t made out of metal but surely feels that way. Altogether — with a thickness of 7.3 mm and weight of 134 grams — the OPPO F1 definitely feels lightweight but still feels substantial.

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Metallic back of the OPPO F1 has a smooth feel to it which OPPO dubs as “silk metal”. OPPO describes it as, “an exquisite metal alloy, treated with zircon sand surface coating applied in a low-pressure, low-speed spraying process”. It definitely feels silky and is different than what most metallic devices feel like. Exquisite? That part I’m not too sure about.

Performance & Battery

OPPO F1 features an average Octa-core Snapdragon 616 processor with two Cortex-A53 Quad-core CPUs clocked at 1.7 GHz and 1.0 GHz respectively. It also bundles 3GB RAM for seamless multi-tasking experience, which is exactly what I’ve experienced. In my few weeks with the OPPO F1, I’ve seen that the device may sometimes be under-powered running resource hungry games but seldom halts due to lack of free memory space.

Below are the results of AnTuTu benchmarks running on the OPPO F1.

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OPPO F1 comes with a non-removeable 2500 mAh battery, which is just adequate. Unluckily, charging time of the OPPO F1 has been really disappointing as it takes almost 3 hours till 100%. Battery life of the OPPO F1 isn’t exactly extraordinary either but should be good enough for casual users. I have been easily able to get a little over a day out of it on a single charge.

User Interface

OPPO F1 comes bundled with Android v5.1 (Lollipop) and OPPO’s Color OS 2.1 running on top of it. For those who haven’t tried out Color OS yet, it’s a feature rich and fluid Android customization which runs on most of the OPPO devices.

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UI of the Color OS is quite polished and has a chock-full of animations and customization options. Lockscreen has a magazine option which changes the lockscreen wallpaper every time you turn on the device. There also is no app drawer and the app icons are spread across home screens (just like on Huawei or Xiaomi).

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Color OS also provides the ability to customize notification permissions for applications. You can choose which apps are allowed to show notifications and which are not. Furthermore, you can choose if an app is allowed to show a notification on status bar, lockscreen, both or none.

App management on the Color OS is also a bit different. It allows you to encrypt your individual applications, manage their permissions and enable/disable them from auto-running.

oppo-f1-review-12Another interesting feature of the Color OS is it’s array of supported gestures. They can be used to perform tasks such as waking up the screen, starting an application or even taking screenshots. You can also define custom gestures to unlock, call or start applications.

Camera Quality

One of the main focus points of the OPPO F1 is mobile photography, which is why the OPPO F1 features a 13MP primary camera and a 8MP selfie shooter. Both are pretty decent performers but before we get to that, let’s start with the F1’s camera application.

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OPPO F1’s camera application is quite simple and easy to use. You can simply dive into the camera app and start taking pictures. You can also play with exposure, shutter speed or other settings if you’re someone who likes to do that.

What’s really nice about the OPPO’s camera experience is that it has quite a few modes to offer even on its mid-range camera phones. Few of the most interesting modes include: Ultra HD mode which takes 50MP images by using a clever stitching technique, Expert mode which allows you to fiddle with different advanced camera settings, RAW mode which stores images in RAW format for post-processing and the Slow-mo mode which records slow motion videos.

Sample Selfies:

Outdoor Images

Indoor Images

As I had expected, OPPO F1 tries real hard to deliver its best at mobile photography. You’d notice in the sample images above that there is moderate level of detail, color reproduction is good and images are sharp enough. Moreover, if you turn on the HDR mode, you’ll notice a clear enhancement in image colors and reduced blown highlights. Not to forget, Ultra HD mode also produces some nice results (but as you’d notice in the second sample image) it doesn’t reproduce colors that well.

Now, the 8MP front shooter on the OPPO F1 is as important as its primary camera since OPPO has chosen to market the F1 as a “Selfie Expert”. Sadly, I wouldn’t call the OPPO F1 a “Selfie Expert” but you definitely get what you pay for. Our tests showed that the image quality is quite average but features like beautify 3.0, screen flash and the palm shutter are welcome additions.

OPPO F1 Review Wrap-up

Before we give our final verdict, here is the list of our important findings from this review:

  • Similar design language to the OPPO R7 flagship but with a smaller price tag
  • Elegant design with a quite different “silk metal”  feel
  • Certainly not superb but good enough performance for day-to-day usage
  • Pretty average, 1 day battery life with a 2500 mAh battery
  • Decent image quality with a good choice of modes such as HDR, Ultra HD and Slow-mo

I’d conclude that the OPPO F1 is a mid-range all-rounder which has an elegant design, admirable build quality, good enough performance and  a little above average camera quality. If you’re planning on buying a new smartphone within the price range of 25-30,000/- PKR, I’d definitely recommend that you consider the OPPO F1 as a viable option. I don’t see any reason not to.

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