Over the years, my biggest grouse with Android devices has been their lack of variety. Once you switch them on, all these phones and tablets look, and work, alike. The difference is usually in the design and that, too, is subtle. But the Oppo N1 is an exception to this rule. It is a global brand that is quite popular in some parts of the world. The company has also chosen to enter the market with a high-end device that aims to take on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Nokia Lumia 1520. Let’s take a look at what sets the Oppo N1 apart from the rest.
1. Just one camera, not two: Android device manufacturers have struggled to offer one good camera in their phones, let alone two. So as a rule, the front camera has lower specifications than the rear one and at most, can be used for a Skype call or a badly-lit selfie. Oppo has given its phone a 13MP camera which can rotate on an axis. So you have a 13MP front and rear camera. This camera is really good, though it gives an over-saturated feel at times. But the details are amazing, good enough for me to overlook the accompanying noise.
2. The OS is different: Without a doubt the plain vanilla Android is the best there is. There have been many attempts to give users something new, and some like the HTC Sense have been quite good. The Oppo N1 tweaks Android and calls it the Color OS. This was my first tryst with this overlay. It is very intuitive and uses gesture better than most other phones. The music and video players are fun and easier to use.
3. The gestures work: Everyone has been trying to make use of gesture on Android phones. Oppo has cracked the best way to do it. You can pull down a screen from the top to use gestures that you have preset for certain apps or functions. For instance, I calibrated it to open the camera every time I scribbled C on this screen. There is more. A simple three- finger scroll up saved a screenshot. And gestures are not limited to the screen. You can swipe your finger behind the body to click pictures. However, we felt this only added to the shake in images.
4. This one has a remote: The phone comes with a small device called the O-click. This small white disk works like a remote that connects to the phone over Bluetooth 4.0. It takes a few seconds to pair the two devices. Once done, it will beep when there is an incoming call or message. It also alerts you if you move too far from the phone and call. In addition, it lets you track the phone when you can’t find it. The remote can be worn as a band around your arm. It is all a bit gimmicky and I doubt if anyone will use it on a daily basis. But this is something that works.
5. It is built like a tank: At a time when we end up writing the word “plasticky” in every Android phone review, Oppo shows us that good design and build quality is not something to be compromised on. You start feeling confident about the device from the time you see the packaging. Only Apple devices have had such smart packaging. This confidence show up inside the box too, with the phone’s all-white body reminding me of HTC One, arguably the best built Android device. This comes close, and maybe goes a step ahead, as it has been able to create a camera that rotates but does not feel like it will fall off.
Should you buy this?
If you are looking for a high-end Android phone and don’t mind spending Rs 39,999, this is definitely a phone that is worth a look. The only cause for worry is that this is a new company and you might be in limbo if something happens to the phone. We expect the company to have a service network in place soon.
What is inside: Android 4.2, 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Quad Core processor with 2 GB RAM and 16/32 GB ROM, 3610 mAh battery, 5.9-inch Full HD IPS display, 13-megapixel rotating camera. n