Oppo, one of the largest smartphone players in China, has been credited with giving the industry many innovative features. In fact, it was the first to launch a phone with a rotating camera, thus promising similar photo quality for selfies too. In India, the company clearly wants to stay clear of the budget game and sees an opportunity in being a premium Android phone maker. This is why even with its new Oppo F1 the company is selling a premium design and a front camera that is as good as the best. Are these claims true? I took the phone for a spin while covering the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The Oppo F1 is a stylish phone. It is thin, yet functional and will appeal to those who want a phone that will stand out as well as to those who want a device that will get things done. This phone is actually a slightly premium take on a budget phone.
Specs: 5.0-inch HD Display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 | Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor | 3GB RAM | 16GB storage (expandable via microSD to 128GB) | 13 MP rear camera + 8 MP front camera | 2500 mAh battery| Android 5.1 Lollipop
Price: Rs 15,999
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What is good?
The phone is really thin and a welcome relief from the phablets that are becoming too common these days. Despite the 5-inch screen, the phone is very easy to grip and handle. It is also quite light weight.
A 1.3Ghz processor might seem underwhelming on paper, but the F1 is able to handle most tasks without any problem. I did not notice any serious heating in the phone, which is a good thing for any device these days.
The best feature of the phone remains it camera, and it is without doubt, one of the best in this price range. In fact, I shot a lot of videos and product photos using the phone during MWC with this phone as I chose to out the local SIM card on this one. If you look at my coverage of the event, it will be hard to conclude that I did not use a digital camera.
The phone has an 8MP selfie camera which is a big jump on the other front camera in this price range. The camera gives clear, crisp images as you can seen from the piece to the camera I have done on Day 1 of MWC.
Battery life is something this phone excels with, despite the small frame. I used the phone as my primary device during the three days of MWC with a 4G connection. With all the camera use, tweeting and surfing the battery lasted well over 12 hours. That was impressive. However, I have to add that Barcelona has a really stable 4G network and the phone does not have to spend energy looking for towers.
What is not that good?
The 5-inch HD screen is decent, but it has some weird viewing angles. Also, I was not that impressed by its performance in low light.
I was impressed by the camera, however there were issues with using the camera from within an app like Twitter or FB. So of the pictures I used to tweet had clarity issues.
The phone does not have a lot of real estate, especially for those who are used to a larger screen. So typing with high accuracy was a bit of a problem for me. I kept hitting the full stop button along with space before moving to Swype completely.
Should you buy?
Yes, if the camera is one of your priorities while buying a budget phone. But remember you are paying a bit of a premium for this when compared to phones like the LeEco Le 1s or even the Moto G3. Also, there is a face-off here when you look at the overall specs, as there are more affordable phones now with a full HD screen.