Oppo are continuing to work very hard to get their name at the forefront of users minds when they’re looking for a solid, reliable and budget friendly phone. They have been releasing a number of phones lately, they are generally a pretty solid offering and widely considered to be punching above their weight. Oppo are playing in a very tough area of the Android space, with dozens of manufacturers putting a claim to being one of the front runners in the mid range of devices.
To give themselves a solid claim to this space Oppo have delivered a consistent experience to users (personally I’m not a fan of Color OS, but the behaviour is easily fixed with a launcher change) with their battery life and VOOC charging speed has been real highlights for me personally on the last couple of review phones I’ve had from them.
So having had such a good experience previously, it really didn’t take much for me to agree to review the Oppo F1s, the “selfie expert” when it became available to us despite my personal lack of experience with selfies.
Oppo F1s Hardware
What I really like about the way Oppo are marketing their phones is they’re not attempting to be high end, they’re not hiding anything with the specs but they are being upfront about their offering; A solid phone, decent performance (plenty for the average user) and they’re doing it at a price that is affordable for outright purchase.
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|Key Specifications:||Oppo F1S|
|Release date||August 2016|
|Resolution||1,280 x 720|
|Core config||8 x 1.5 GHz|
|MicroSD||Yes, up to 128GB|
|Android OS||Android 5.1|
|Vendor skin||ColorOS 3.0|
|Dimensions||154.5 x 76 x 7.4 mm|
I like toys, so there is always a bit of a sparkle when it comes to unboxing review devices. Oppo have stuck with their look and feel when it comes to the Oppo F1s, much like the R7s and the R9 Plus that I have previously reviewed.
It feels solid in hand, but they’ve managed to walk a really fine line with the construction – it feels solid and certainly doesn’t have some of the flex that cheaper phones have, but it doesn’t feel heavy in your hand or perhaps more importantly in your pocket.
The dimensions of the F1s are 154.5 x 76 x 7.4 mm which is almost identical to the Galaxy Note 5 from Samsung, but does have suffer a .2” screen size reduction when compared to the Samsung flagship. There’s a few little points to pick at but as an overall view, Oppo have delivered another good looking device that’s got a nice feel in the hand.
Oppo F1s Camera
The rear facing camera is a 13MP with the usual LED flash and a really nice F/2.2 aperture, the rear facing camera is even more impressive offering a 16 MP 1080p photos through a f/2.0 aperture giving it good capabilities in low light conditions.
The camera’s on the F1s are quite good, impressively so when you take into account the cost of the device. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s indoors or out, low light or good – it is fairly difficult to get a bad photo on this phone. Having not so long ago suffered through some really bad camera experiences, I have to say that the camera software Oppo offers is very good, it responds quickly and the focus is fast.
If you’re expecting results similar to the LG G4/G5 range of devices or the Samsung Flagships then I’ve clearly oversold this heavily. But if you’re going to look for good results and the software to be easy to use, that gives consistent results in photos regardless of light conditions this could be a phone that needs to make an appearance on your shopping list.
Oppo F1s Software
Colour OS is the Oppo take on the Android system and like many users I know who’ve experienced it, I’m not particularly fond of some of the behaviour. Compared to some of the other options that I’ve used; manufacturer based as well as third party options (personal favourites being Nova Launcher and Action Launcher Pro) it’s just a bit of an immature system that needs some time to develop.
Out of the box there was what I believe to be an issue with the software on the F1s, it’s running Android 5.1. For a lot of users this won’t be an issue, but given Android 7 is now “officially” out there it’s 2 generations behind the current iteration of Android before you even turn it on. We’ve reached out to Oppo to confirm what the expectations of users should be with regards to an update to 6.0 and beyond for this budget line device and been told that “Color OS update based on Android 6.0 is in development” which is a promising sign for update in the near-ish future.
Another issue for some users is the fact that out of the box you’re losing nearly 20% of your space with just shy of 25GB space available on first boot for a 32GB device. This is the operating system, base level apps and of course a little bit of bloat that no one I know has or ever will use so its just a chunk more space used needlessly. The MicroSD slot capable of taking a card of up to 256GB is certainly a blessing and in some respects makes good the sins of filling so much space out of the box.
Oppo are no exception to the rule that manufacturers often have their own web browser, Email client, File explorer and Music Player. While each are perfectly functional as stand alone applications, they are not generally speaking anywhere near the calibre of some of the offerings from dedicated developers or in often cases as functional as the Google offerings.
Oppo F1s Performance and Battery
I have personally been of the opinion for some time that benchmarks (while a good guide of theoretical capabilities) aren’t really a particularly good indication of the real world experience a user will have. Particularly when you drop out of the top tier of devices and into the mid-to-low range devices such as the Oppo F1s.
The experience I had with the F1s was way above the expectations that the price point of RRP $349 instills in you. In fact the day to day performance is very good on a standard day undoubtedly helped by the fact it carries 3GB of ram and with only a few times I really noticed any issues and that was more based around the processor capabilities compared to my Note 5. To be perfectly honest, the issues were more a case of showing up where the CPU was lacking vs other phones than a real issue. For the target market, the performance of the F1s is going to be more than satisfactory – they’ll think this thing is an absolute beast
Battery life is the battlefield that manufacturers are starting to wage war on but the problem for manufacturers and users alike is that it is very subjective based on your use case. For me a normal day is lots of email and messages (SMS, Telegram, Hangouts and Viber primarily), up to a dozen phone calls, Toggl and Todoist running to track productivity, Social media, Music and a bit of web surfing. For my daily driver (Galaxy Note 5) most days I’m down to 20% of battery or less when I get home, on a big day I’m seeking power by about 3 pm otherwise I’m not going to make it home with my phone still on.
Oppo have really delivered well on battery life with their previous phones that I have reviewed and the F1s continues that with most days plugging into charge with over 35% left and even on a big day, found I had battery left without needing to seek a power outlet.
The great battery performance doesn’t end there though, after a relatively quiet day I decided not to charge overnight to see how far the battery could be stretched. By about lunch time on the second day the battery was at critical power level requiring power. The VOOC charging Oppo have is fast, really fast!
After plugging in at midday and only charging while I had lunch (a touch under 45 minutes) the battery went from 7% to 78% which is a gain of approximately 1.5% per minute. Even a road warrior could find 10 minutes to boost the battery in desperate times which should be enough to get you through the day.
Oppo F1s Connectivity
There’s good, bad and a bit of ugly going on here. They’ve got full coverage across the carriers bands including LTE so regardless of your preferred carrier, you’re covered. If you’re expecting USB C connectivity, you’re going to be disappointed, there aren’t any of the mid range manufacturers who have adopted this yes so the charging cable is Micro USB.
Bluetooth 4.0 accompanies the 802.11 a/b/g/n Wifi, which could probably have been bumped up to include ac connectivity as well but when you’re making a phone to a target price sometimes sacrifices need to be made.
The only real omission from the suite of connectivity on the F1s given the availability of Android Pay, is NFC, while I’m not an engineer – I can’t imagine the inclusion of NFC in a devices like this could be particularly expensive.
Oppo F1s Conclusion
The Oppo F1s is another nicely delivered device from Oppo, they’ve got a nice (but not mindblowing) 5.5” screen and not only a good quality, rear facing camera but an outstanding selfie camera. Starting with the outright price there’s a lot to like about the F1s, there are unfortunately a couple of deal breakers for higher end users.
The CPU being a bit on the slow side could be a problem for users who play a lot of games or run a lot of multitasking and the missing NFC will be a deal breaker for some users. The need for NFC is generally all or nothing, you need it for a specific function (such as Android Pay) or you don’t.
Would I buy one?
Personally probably not, I’d consider it based on the battery life but ultimately I doubt it. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to some of my friends and family of a slightly older generation who don’t have the same heavy use scenario on their devices that I do. When you take into account the pricing of the F1s, there is a number of use scenarios where it ticks all the boxes. It would almost certainly require a closer look for a reasonably broad range of users.
As a primary phone for you/a family member or a backup device, will the Oppo F1s be getting a closer look when you go shopping?