March 2: Oppo launched a new photography-centric “F-series” lineup in January, and the Oppo F1 is its debut offering. All phones that fall under this series will have some sort of unique feature that involves cameras, and what better way to kick off the series than a selfie-centric smartphone?
The F1 boasts of a front camera with a wide aperture and some software tricks to help you capture that perfect selfie. Let’s see how it fares against selfie-focused phones from Asus and others.
Look and feel
In terms of build and design, the Oppo F1 is a class act. The metal chassis looks and feels incredibly premium and we love the fact that, at around 134g, it’s very lightweight. The phone fits very well in your palm, with a comfortable grip and buttons that are ergonomically placed. The volume rocker and power buttons are placed on opposite sides and have good tactile feedback.
In the front, we have a 5-inch HD IPS display which produces vivid colours when used indoors, but tends to appear washed out under sunlight. The display tapers around the edges making it a smooth transition from glass to metal, and we even have Corning Gorilla Glass 4 for added strength. There’s a notification LED in the upper right corner, and capacitive buttons at the bottom for navigation, which sadly aren’t backlit.
The primary camera on the Oppo F1 has a 13-megapixel sensor and an aperture of f/2.2, with a single-LED flash. The speaker grille is placed at the bottom. There’s also a 2500mAh battery which is non-removable. The Oppo F1 is available in Gold and Rose Gold, however the front facia will be white in both cases. The Dual-SIM tray is placed on the right and is a hybrid type, so you’ll have to choose between a second SIM and a microSD card.
We don’t have any complaints when it comes to the physical aspects of the phone, as Oppo has done a splendid job of putting it all together. We wish the brightness level of the display had been a tad higher for better outdoor visibility in daylight, and backlighting for the navigation buttons wouldn’t have hurt either. In the box, you get a standard 5W charger, a silicone case, a headset, and some instruction booklets. The quality of the supplied accessories is good, except for the headset which feels cheap.
Specifications and software
The Oppo F1 is one of the first few phones in the market with a Snapdragon 616 processor. This new octa-core SoC from Qualcomm is virtually identical to the now-common Snapdragon 615 processor, but runs at a slightly higher clock speed. To be precise, it’s the lower-power Cortex-A53 cores that run at 1.2GHz rather than 1GHz on the 615.
In addition to this, there’s 3GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage, support for up to 128GB microSD cards, and 4G VoLTE on band 1, 3 and 40. In terms of connectivity, we have Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, USB OTG, FM radio, and GPS. There’s no NFC.
The Oppo F1 runs an Android Lollipop fork called Color OS (2.1), which is one of the better-looking and functioning custom Android forks out there. It’s a single-layered interface that can be customised with different effects and themes. Oppo throws in some apps such as Security Center for monitoring data usage, freeing up memory etc.; O-Cloud, which lets you back up your contacts and messages; Kingsoft Office for working on documents and spreadsheets; and Theme Store for customising the phone.
General performance of the Oppo F1 is very good; the interface functions smoothly and apps are responsive during multitasking. The phone works well on 4G and it and runs cool for the most part. The only time we found it getting warm was during continuous video playback or when using the camera for video recording. Call quality is also very good as we didn’t face any issues here.
Benchmarks showed a slight bump in scores over the Snapdragon 615, as expected. AnTuTu gave us a score of 35,531 points while GFXbench returned 23fps for the T-Rex test. Real world game performance is pretty solid, and we didn’t notice any issues with heavy or casual games such as Dead Trigger 2 and Alto’s Adventure. On average, there’s about 2GB of free RAM available for apps.
The Oppo F1 handles high-bitrate video files with ease and also supports FLAC audio. The bundled headset feels cheap and doesn’t sit in your ear comfortably, but the audio quality is pretty decent. There’s no audio enhancement software. The rear speaker is decently loud for alerts but since it isn’t stereo, it’s not the best for watching movies.
The rear 13-megapixel camera captures fairly detailed landscapes and macros in daylight. Even indoor shots have good detailing. Pictures taken in low light tend to get a bit noisy and aren’t very clear. The same goes for video recorded in low light. There’s the same suite of shooting modes for the rear camera which we’ve seen before, including Expert mode, slow shutter and HDR, among others.
However, the highlight of the Oppo F1 is its front camera, which is an 8-megapixel shooter with an even wider aperture than the main camera. It manages to capture fairly detailed selfies under natural and artificial light while the quality dips a bit in low light. Oppo has added a couple of new functions to help people take better selfies.
Screen flash uses the backlight of the display to illuminate your face. We prefer this to a front-firing LED flash that can be blinding. It works provided the phone is at arm’s length. There’s also a “Palm shutter” feature which lets you capture a selfie by waving your palm. You also get a “Beautify” filter to take care of those skin blemishes.
The F1 lasted 8 hours and 53 minutes in our video loop test, which is pretty good for a 2500mAh battery. Under regular use with 4G enabled, we found ourselves pushing past a little more than a day before needing a charge. Sadly, there’s no fast charging support on this phone so topping it up completely takes longer than we would have liked.
The Oppo F1 is priced at Rs. 15,990, which is not bad considering its overall performance. It has a lovely design and great build quality. General performance is good, and both the front and rear cameras deliver good quality in most lighting conditions. Battery life is also solid, given the moderate capacity. It would have been nice for Oppo to have added some more creature comforts such as NFC or even backlit navigation keys, which are lacking on the F1.
The Asus Zenfone Selfie (Review) is its closest competitor in this price range, and also happens to have a very good front camera, but it isn’t as compact as Oppo’s offering. You can’t go wrong with either phone to to be honest.