Reviewing the Oppo F1S: Can It Take The Perfect Selfie?

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Oppo is a relatively new name in a market dominated by brands such as Samsung, Sony and other brands such as LG, HTC and even Microsoft. Entering the mobile phone market in 2008, they have released a number of smartphones such as the Find 7, N1, R5, and the latest addition to the family, the Oppo F1S. Ever curious to see what new devices are available in the market, we decided to take the F1S for a spin.

With a retail price of Rs. 40,000/=, the Oppo F1S is available in most retail mobile phone shops around Sri Lanka and authorized dealers islandwide.

The Packaging

You’ll find standard packaging here. A Rectangular box that houses the  USB-A to MicroUSB cable, charging dock, earphones and a clear rubber/plastic cover. You also get reading material in the form of a user manual and disposal measures. You also get a SIM tray ejector tool that is sneakily hidden within the cardboard packaging which I though was really cool.

Oppo F1S
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrado

The Oppo F1S

Holding the F1S in my hands, the first thing I thought of was how reminiscent of a number of devices from brands the likes of Samsung, Apple and even OnePlus. Indeed, the device looks like a cross between an Apple iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy S7. Having said that, the device does look rather nice with it being wrapped up in an Aluminum unibody. The Oppo F1S comes in a variety of colors such as Gold, Rose Gold, and Gray of which I got the Gold one because I’m awesome like that. Measuring 6.08 x 2.99 x 0.29 inches, the device weighs around 160g.

Like I said, the device certainly has a touch of class to it that is visible from the moment you set eyes on it. Located at the bottom of the device, you will find the MicroUSB port for charging and data transfer, the microphone, 3.5mm audio connector and also a speaker. Looking over at the right side, you will find the power/lock buttons and the volume rocker and the SIM tray is located on the left. Lastly, the hardware keys consisting of Back, Home, and Recents are located at the bottom with the Home Button doubling as an actual button and also housing the fingerprint sensor.

The back of the Oppo F1S is more or less completely flat carrying forward the metal unibody design with nothing to hinder the flat surface. Even the 13MP camera sits flat against the body so that the phone stays completely flat when placed on any surface.

The Oppo F1S – The Hardware

The Oppo F1S packs a 5.5” 720P IPS display Despite the 720P resolution on a 5.5” display, the F1S’s display is rather clear. If you’re the type that loves to stream content from their phones, well, you need not fear as the Oppo F1S has dual NanoSIM support and full LTE (4G) support. As for storage, you’re looking at 32GB of internal storage and 3GB of RAM which, given today’s demanding apps, is quite sufficient. Running low on space even with 32GB? Never fear, with a dedicated MicroSD card slot with support upto 256GB, you’ll rarely find yourself in need of more storage for your content.

Oppo F1S
Image Credits: Mahesh De Andrado

Underneath all the fancy exterior, the Oppo F1S is powered by a Octa-core processor coupled with a equally powerful GPU to handle all your graphical needs. This means that the CPU is basically powerful enough to handle all your application needs and the GPU can handle pretty much any Android game you throw at it.

As I said earlier, the screen despite having a 720p resolution, is not an eyesore to look at due to its’ sheer size. Rather, it does a good job of keeping things clear even at low brightness  If, however, you move the screen really close to your eyes, then you will indeed see a fair amount of pixelation but then again, you’re not really going to use the phone like that, are you?

Oppo F1S
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrado

The speaker located at the bottom is not stereo despite the deceptive dual grill design. It is however, quite loud and clear. You won’t get a thumping bass out of it but for casual music playback and calls, it will do just right.

As stated earlier, the Home Button doubles as an actual hardware button and also houses the fingerprint sensor. The placement is rather easy to access. Simply press the home button with the finger you set up the lock with, (in my case it was my thumb), and the device gets unlocked. It took a while to realize that you literally have to press the home button to unlock rather than simply keep my finger over the sensor to unlock it. Nonetheless, unlocking the device takes less than a second and it feels like you’re simply waking up the phone rather than actually using the fingerprint sensor to unlock it. I also suffer from a case of sweaty palms, so if you too have that condition, you may have to wipe your fingers before using the scanner. If all else fails, you can simply enter the pin code to unlock the device.

The Oppo F1S – The Software

The F1S ships out by default running Android 6.0 Marshmallow at its base, skinned with Oppo’s own ROM called ColorOS. I’ve used ColorOS on my OnePlus One before and it was a pleasant experience. When it comes down to functionality, it offers pretty much the same features seen by Huawei’s EMUI and Xiaomi’s MIUI.

Oppo F1S

There is no app drawer per se but rather all your apps are on the home screen. From there, you can sort them into folders as you please or just have all the icons on multiple homescreens. You also get a host of inbuilt apps such as a weather app, inbuilt file manager, Kingsoft Office, and a compass. You start to notice a pattern here with Chinese phone manufacturers as all their operating systems tend to look and feel the same. It may be due to the restrictions of Google apps in China or other reasons but nonetheless, there’s no beating around the bush that once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

Oppo F1SAs far as entertainment goes, you can take your pick from an FM Radio or a media player capable of handling almost all audio formats. Speaking of audio, if you have your favorite pair of headphones plugged in, you can tune them with the Dirac audio enhancement which allows customizations to bass, treble and baritone levels which I assume means the mid-range frequency.

Oppo F1S

As stated above, the Oppo F1S ships with Android Marshmallow 6.0 with Oppo’s proprietary ColorOS 3.0 running on top of that. The user interface is fluid and smooth and me switching between homescreens like madman was to no avail. App switching too is quite snappy as the device has 3GB of RAM to handle all your app switching needs.

Oppo F1SJust in case things then to get a little hot and heavy, the F1S also has an inbuilt “Security Center” that takes care of the phone by offering a Cleanup function, Virus scanner and also a privacy controller so that you know which app has access to what information. The app scans and intelligently optimizes your device so that it’s always at peak performance.

The Selfie Expert

Before you ask, yes, the Oppo F1S is marketed as the Selfie Expert. We’re not sure exactly why, but we decided to go along with the flow. The 13-megapixel rear camera has a number of modes such Normal, Time Lapse, Panorama, Beauty and a whole lot more. You can also select “Expert Mode” to have a host of other features such as manual ISO settings, manual shutter speeds and the ability to capture RAW images. It basically gives you access to what a professional photographer would use.

Oppo F1SThe interface is nice and smooth, almost Apple-like, (another feature we’ve noticed in Chinese smartphone manufacturers), everything looks nice and laid out. Large, easy to see buttons and very informative text tell you what exactly you’re doing and how you’re doing it.

Oppo F1S

Given below are a few photos I took using the F1S’s Camera.

Oppo F1S
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrado
Oppo F1S
Yes that is my house
Image Credits: Mahesh de Andrado

Curious to know what the whole “selfie expert” slogan was about, I decided to switch to the front camera. As it turns out, the Oppo F1S has a sixteen-megapixel front camera. Yes, that’s one-six. So now you know why it’s called that. The front camera is actually at times clearer than the 13megapixel rear camera and is perfect for those selfie aficionados who love to snap a pic whether alone or in a group. The front camera too has its own host of unique features such as double exposure which takes two images one-after-the-other and then superimposes them together, various filters and even a GIF mode that takes a 3-5 second burst images which is then converted into a GIF (which you can then use for memes on social media to hilarious effect).

With regard to video, as we stated earlier, you can record Full HD 1080p video at 60fps with stereo sound. Video playback is quite clear but is dependent on the lighting condition so you may want to adjust the lighting of the scene before you shoot any videos. Worst case scenario; you can use the inbuilt flash.

Taking the Oppo F1S For A Spin

Antutu is the name of the game here. It’s tried, tested, repeated and is the benchmark tool of our choice. With its latest version of 6.2.0, the app stresses your phone even further to make it more challenging. A typical test takes around 5-10 minutes depending on the hardware capabilities of your device. Running the full test also means that your device tends to get heated up quite a bit and here we find a slight drawback of all aluminum unibody designs: the heat travels.

Oppo F1S
And the scores are in

Hitting up a score of 41254 puts the Oppo F1S against the likes of the Meizu M3, and Xiaomi MI4S.

Oppo F1SAs far as battery life goes, the Oppo’s F1S clocks in at 3075mAh, which is pretty standard given the price range. The battery also does hold up for pretty much a full day of use given the cut down screen resolution and low pixel density. If you spend most of your time online and on LTE, then you will experience a bit of a battery drain. For best use, switch to WiFi when possible and you’re good to go.

I also noted the lack of quick charge support which means you need to keep the phone plugged in for at least an hour and a half for a full charge. It’s not really a complain per se, but it would be a nice addition. The accompanying charger is pretty standardand gets the job done, but a fast charger would give it that extra oomph as well., With around 3-3½ hours of screen on time, and a multitude of apps running in the background including Facebook, Messenger and Instagram, I did my usual walk home from Bambalapitiya to Dehiwala and still had around 10% battery at the end of a 11-hour work day.

Again, actual usage though depends on factors such as screen on time, network signal quality and how much you actually use the phone and its apps.

Final Thoughts

The Oppo F1S has quite a bit going for it at that price range. It competes against several models from its Chinese competitors such as Huawei and Xiaomi and other giants such as Samsung, HTC, and even Sony.

The 16-megapixel front camera is a first that I’ve seen thus far and it seems that this phone is aimed at those who want to take selfies and remember the good times that they have. I assume the target audience would be teenagers to early youth as well.

It certainly does stand atop with a number of other smartphones for having the biggest front camera to date such as the Sony Xperia C4 and HTC Desire Eye, pushing it to the young age group. If you want to have a go for a phone such as the Oppo F1S, then by all means go ahead and tell us what you think of it as well.

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