Oppo has been releasing phones on a regular basis in the Indian market. After the launch of its R7 Plus and R7 Lite series phones, Oppo announced the F1 which is geared towards the younger generation. The Oppo F1 calls itself the ‘Selfie Expert’ thanks to the 8MP camera that graces the front. It even launched the ICC T20 special edition Oppo F1 for Rs 17,990.
Build and Design: 7.5/10
Oppo borrows a lot of design elements from the higher end siblings such as the R7/R7 Lite for the F1 with the only difference being use of plastic on the back with the F1. The Oppo F1 comes with a 5-inch display with 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection. The phone has a metal alloy frame which has nice chamfering around the edges. There are no sharp edges around the phone.
The volume rocker buttons are placed on the left hand side and on the right hand edge, just under the SIM card slot you get the power/standby button. On the top edge, you have the 3.5mm audio jack and at the base there is the microUSB charging and data transfer port. The front has thin bezels on the side as compared to the top and bottom. the soft buttons present on the bottom bezel are not backlit.
The rear side houses the 13MP camera at the top left hand corner with the LED flash unit below it. The placement is similar to the R7 Lite. There is a speaker section on the bottom left hand side. The Oppo branding covers the top half region. The phone comes in three colours - we got the golden variant for review.
The in hand feel of the phone is good. It measures around 7.25mm thick and weighs around 134 grams. Thankfully it is not much slippery, but the protective coating atop the display is a fingerprint magnet - so that is the first thing that needs taken care.
Oppo F1 calls itself the Selfie Expert, so naturally it focusses a lot on the front-facing 8MP camera which comes with an f/2.0 aperture and a pixel size of 1.4 micrometers. It also features a Screen Flash feature which just like the iPhone brightens the display when taking low light selfies.
Under the hood on this 5-inch display sporting device you have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 chipset which has one quad-core Cortex A53 cluster clocked at 1.7GHz and the other quad-core Cortex A53 cluster clocked at 1.0GHz. This is paired with Adreno 405GPU and 3GB of RAM. But we checked with two to three apps as well as in the ‘About Phone’ section and it mentioned the chipset as Qualcomm MSM8939 which is Snapdragon 615 (the MSM 8939v2 is Snapdragon 616). So that portion needs some sort of updating.
On the storage front, you get around 16GB of storage of which around 5.59GB is occupied for system storage. Thankfully you can add in microSD card to expand the storage. It runs on Android 5.1 with Oppo’s proprietary ColorOS 2.1 skinning.
It is a single SIM card sporting phone and can take in a 4G SIM card. It supports Wi-fi 802.11b/g/n along with Bluetooth 4.0, GPS with A-GPS. There is a non-removable 2500mAh Li-Po battery.
The Oppo F1 comes with a 5-inch HD display with a Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection. This IPS LCD display gives a pixel density of 294ppi. While this may not seem much in our present day era of full HD smartphones at these price points, we feel the display looks quite decent. Colours appear natural with a hint of bluish tinge to it. Pixellation is noticeable only when observing the display from very close quarters. At an arms length it is a non issue. The display is capable of providing good black levels as we observed during our video tests. Overall there are no complaints with the display, but nothing exceptional either.
Just like its other siblings, the Oppo F1 also comes with the ColorOS 2.1 skin on top of the Android 5.1 OS. This OS does not have an app drawer and comes with its own set of proprietary apps such as O-Cloud, Lock Now, Security Center, Theme Store and so on. The File Explorer app is neatly divided into categories such as Music, Videos, Pictures, Documents, APK and ZIP.
It has a folder called Tools which houses apps such as Sound Recorder, Flashlight, Compass, Download Manager, Kingsoft Office, System Update and Clear Memory. Opening up a folder makes the apps within it appear on a translucent background which blurs the screen behind it. The left most home screen is the music player. Security Center takes care of memory cleanup, data monitoring, privacy permissions and so on.
The Settings app has three tabs at the top: General, Sound and Display; with each tab highlighting the settings pertinent to these sections. It also supports gestures to quickly open apps, to prevent misoperations, to interact with incoming calls, air gestures and so on. Pulling down the notification drawer shows around 15 quick settings on the top followed by the Notifications section below.
The ColorOS 2.1 is a good custom user interface atop the Android OS which provides value addition in the overall user experience.
Oppo F1 houses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 chipset which is paired with 3GB of RAM. This is more than enough to ensure that most operations run smooth on the phone. There is a mild stutter when you switch between apps, but nothing that affects the overall user experience.
Call quality was good with loud earpiece speakers. The audio speaker isn’t particularly loud and despite cupping the region around the backward firing speakers, we didn’t get much clarity. You will be better off using earphones for all music listening and video watching purposes.
In terms of benchmarks, the Snapdragon 616 performs slightly better than the 615. We could play heavy games such as Asphalt 8: Airborne and Modern Combat 5 on medium settings, without any major stuttering. The phone does get warm during gaming sessions, but not very hot. So the heat management is pretty decent. On the whole we did not face any issues with it came to performance with the Oppo F1.
Oppo F1 comes with a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera. Let us start off with the front-camera which is the USP of the device. In well lit conditions, the f/2.0 aperture sporting front-camera gives out good selfies and after the photo has been clicked you can further post process it thanks to the beautify mode. The Oppo F1 has incorporated a screen flash which lets you take selfies in low lit conditions. What screen flash does is convert the entire display into a camera flash, increasing the brightness in a way which gives a natural looking image. It works for all practical purposes, but of course there is noise in these selfies.
The rear camera managed to click good photos outdoors, but would be confused when faced with tricky lighting situations and HDR mode. Most of the time we noticed that instead of getting a balanced image, we got images which tended to be more biased towards blowing up the highlights. The noise control in daylight images is good, although one is bound to see sharpness take a dip around the edges specially so if there are fine objects such as (leaves or repititive patterns) involved. Low light images from the rear camera is very noise heavy and on 100 per cent viewing show a lot of patchy areas.
The camera does have interesting modes such as GIF, UltraHD, double exposure and many more which you can separately download. Video quality is strictly alright for casual sharing only.
Battery Life: 7.5/10
The Oppo F1 comes with a 2500mAh non-removable Li-ion battery which easily lasts around a day’s worth of usage. We could easily get through a work day of sending emails, calling, messaging, clicking photographs, streaming audio and video and have some percentage left after work. Gaming does tend to reduce the battery quicker. But thanks to the HD display, it is able to give you more juice. On the PC Mark for Android test, we got around 8 hours 25 mins, which is quite impressive.
Verdict and Price in India
Oppo F1 is a good phone and Oppo has provided some improvements on the front-facing camera which makes it appealing for selfie-enthusiasts among you. Sure, this isn’t the first phone to do so and Asus Zenfone Selfie, HTC Desire Eye have done that before it. But we liked the fact that Oppo F1 maintains a slim profile for the phone despite packing in a good front-facing camera.
Now the F1 is priced at Rs 15,900, which is where the problem lies. Now unless you are a selfie enthusiast and are looking for phone with good battery life, there is nothing else setting this phone apart from competition - which by the way is quite fierce in this price bracket. Lenovo Vibe S1, OnePlus X, Moto X Play, Huawei Honor 5X, Redmi Note 3 - all offer better overall performance than the Oppo F1.
We had said this with the Oppo R7 Lite and we will say the same for the Oppo F1 - a good device with good implementation of the user interface atop the Android OS and a good battery life - but is marred by the high price point. Wait till the price drops, if you really want to go for this. If you want a metal build, then the Oppo R7 Lite is a better option.
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