Over the years, my biggest grouse with Android devices have been their lack of variety. Once you swithc them on all these phones and tablets look, and work, alike. The differentiator is usually in the design and that too is more often subtle. But recently there was a big exception to this rule, the Oppo N1. If you haven’t heard of Oppo, it is a global brand that is quite popular in some parts of the world. Interestingly, the company also chose to enter the market with high-end device that wants to take on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the Nokia Lumia 1520, not the mid-range Galaxy devices or the Micromaxs.
Here are five things that set the Oppo N1 apart.
1. Just one camera, not two: Android device manufacturers have struggled to offer one great camera in their phones, let alone two. So as a rule, the front camera is much lower specced than the rear one and can at the most be used for a Skype call or a dark looking selfie. Oppo has thought around this problem giving the phone a good 13MP camera and giving it the ability to rotate on an axis. So you have a 13MP front and rear camera. It helps that this camera is really good, though it gives an over-saturated feel at time. But the details are amazing and rare of camera phones. That is good enough for me to overlook the noise that comes with it. See photo gallery
And yes, the video quality is really good, with a smooth zoom.
2. The OS is different: There is no doubt that the plain vanilla Android is the best there is. There have been many attempts to give the 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 and I can definitely live with it. It is very intuitive and uses gesture better that most other phones. I also like the homescreen that gives a camera windows inside in case you want to add stuff to remember. The music and video players are much more fun and easier to use.
3. The gestures work: Everyone has been trying to make use use of gesture on Android phones. I think Oppo has pretty much 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. As this is a feature I use a lot, I loved the fact that it had become so easy. And gesture work no just on the screen. You can swipe you 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 ships 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 seconds to pair the two devices and once done, it will beep when there is an incoming call or message. We used it to trigger a shot when the camera window is open. It also alerts you if you move too far away from the phone and call also 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 that needs to be compromised on. You start feeling confident about the device from the time you see the packaging for the first time. Only Apple devices have been able exude such confidence with its packaging. This confidence show up inside the box too, with the phone’s all while body reminding me of the 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.
So should you buy this?
If you are looking for a high-end Android phone and don’t mind spending Rs 39,999 then this is definitely a phone that is worth a look. The only cause for worry is the fact that this is a new company and you might be stuck if something happens to the phone. We expect the company to have a service network in place in the coming months, just take care of your phone till you town gets one.
Price: Rs 39,999