It’s been five days since the Oppo N1 arrived in my life and it’s been a really interesting experience. For a long time I’ve been a bit of a Phablet knocker… “I’ve got a tablet for that”, “I don’t want something that big in my pocket” and a recent additon to my reasons not to have a phone larger than 5″ is “It won’t fit in my saddlebag”. For those who don’t know, a saddlebag is the bag that hangs underneath the seat on your pushbike.
Anyway, after the best part of a week with the N1 I’d consider (however unlikely) the option of my Nexus 7 leaving my life and perhaps getting a larger tablet to make room in my electronics library for a larger form factor phone; the Oppo N1 has been a very positive experience for me so far.
Of all the phones I’ve used, the N1’s screen easily rates in the top three or four. To put it in perspective, the others that come to mind as direct competitors to the quality of this screen are the
As you can see, I’m very quickly putting it in some pretty high company, but with a 5.9″ IPS screen running at 1920 x 1080 pixels and 377 ppi it’s easy to see why the screen has impressed me so much. It’s not quite up to the staggering 429 ppi that the M8 has, but it’s not far behind it and leaps ahead of much of the competition not only in specs but the colour reproduction on this device is dazzling, whites are crisp and the colour saturation is very good.
The camera is a very respectable 13MP and is extremely capable in most light conditions, outdoors the image capture is fast, reliable and produces excellent quality results even on fast moving targets. The video is also very impressive with no noticeable distortion or blurring on moving targets. To be blunt, I think some of the big players in the field could learn a bit by looking at the Oppo camera software.
The party piece is the rotating camera at the top of the phone, which means no need to have low-res selfies! You can have your duckface in high-res with LED flash for low light conditions just to make sure that you are capturing that self absorbed moment.
See what I mean?? Beautiful. (The image quality I mean…)
The phone has a 1.7 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Quad Core chipset and 2GB of RAM, so while it’s not the fastest processor available at the moment, it is very close and shouldn’t lack in grunt. Even with my somewhat scatterbrain approach to mobile phone use some days, where I’ll be in five or more apps inside a minute getting distracted by one thing or another, I’m yet to find a performance issue with the phone.
The performance is very snappy — apps load quicker than my Galaxy S4. The already pleasant screen experience is helped to a well rounded excellent user experience by surprising performance. Colour OS is a great experience as well.
Even when running something like the Chrome browser, which has caused some reasonably significant stutter in pretty powerful devices, there’s not been an instance (as yet) where I’ve sat back and gone “Ooooo, a touch slow there”. To me, this speaks volumes for the software optimisation in the OS.
I’ve deliberately left the software till last for one big reason: the N1 comes in two varieties: Colour OS and CyanogenMod. I’m using the Colour OS version, which I will (with the written OK of our supplier for this device) flash to the official CyanogenMod software before completing my review. By doing so, I hope to give a strong rundown of the Colour OS and and also how CM changes that experience in the review. Two for the price of one!
In the first instance, Colour OS is really very nice. In brutal honesty, it lacks a bit of polish over its competitors in the market, but its no where near as intrusive to your user experience as TouchWiz, but it’s also not as snappy as the latest version of Sense on the One (M8). That said, it’s important to remember that Oppo aren’t in the same league as Samsung or HTC, so it’s impressive that their delivery is forcing me to consider them in the same context.
The next steps are for me to spend some more quality time with the phone, get to know it better over the coming couple of weeks and look to get a really thorough breakdown of why this is or is not a good phone.
Does an our of the box CM experience capture your interest, perhaps the N1 or the One Plus One are tickling your fancy at the moment? Share your thoughts with us.