TLDR OPPO R9s: Clearly The Camera Phone For You?
OPPO has gone on to make a name for itself in the smartphone industry of late. It’s very recent introduction of the Black edition of their highly successful OPPO R9s ‘Camera Phone’ is a testament of their success. Rightly so with the wildly popular moniker of a smartphone that can work as well as, if not better than a digital camera – a digital SLR if they might. Their launch that introduced the OPPO R9s is also a showing of commitment of the Chinese brand to the Malaysian market. It was their most expensive device yet in the market but sold at a “promotional” price of MYR1,798 at the time of launch. It was also their most advanced device fitted with their first Qualcomm SoC. Fittingly as well it was their top-of-the-line flagship model.
At first glances you or your mates may have mistaken this new “Camera Phone” as a Cupertino based device. That is of course not a sign that you need a new pair of glasses, nor is it your fault. The design, as we may have mistaken it ourselves is in fact similar to the Cupertino based device that is in everyone’s mind. But who can blame them for taking after such a popular device that kick started a whole smartphone revolution? For as they say; if you cannot beat them, copy their designs at way less than half the cost.
The similarities of this OPPO R9s is more than skin deep though with their UI showing similar design language as a Californian giant with a particular fruit logo. The Color OS on this R9s is a renewed version that is based on Android’s latest (at the time) 6.0 Marshmallow. You get the simplified UI design that so many Chinese manufacturers have opted for as well here, as in; there is no app drawer to be found. Instead you get to add as many home screens as you want with the amount of apps you can load on to your 64GB of memory and make more screens by filling all of them up with useless widgets you might find interesting. Similar to other Chinese manufacturers then, you get to scroll to the right or left endlessly while searching for your app. Of course you can keep them as organised as possible by making folders and grouping those apps together (there is no way to group widgets though, if you are wondering).
The R9s’ Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, paired with 4GB of RAM proves to be more than enough for handling your daily activities though. The device feels silky smooth all the time while sustaining a long battery life (up to 2 days in or tests). Its RAM also seems to never run out of space even with 20 or so apps open in the background (including 15 Chrome tabs). The OPPO “Camera Phone” is not just for taking photos though, it will run the most taxing games in the Google Play Store without breaking a sweat; save for Hearthstone.
The most interesting part of the device by far is its camera; or rather cameras. Like any other smartphone you come to know the R9s has two cameras; one facing the back, and the other facing you. Both shooters are equipped with 16-megapixels for the best possible image quality; and boy do they work. Images comes out looking very detailed with highly accurate colours from the back camera. Selfies are a pleasure too with the high-resolution camera. With the R9s, there is nearly no such thing as a bad selfie (unless you put it in my hands). That said though, we could use some autofocus through the front lens instead of a fixed focus. Then again, that is the point of the back camera.
You will be hard pressed to find that this device also comes with an AMOLED display instead of the usual LCDs you find on previous devices. At 1080p Full HD resolution, it also means that any photos you take look amazing with great colour depth. Any images you view from the display comes to live with saturated colours. Videos and movies is also easy on the eyes with 5.5-inch. Of course, there is the slight yellow tint you may find on AMOLED displays especially when your screen brightness is set lower. On higher brightness though the yellow tint is hardly noticeable. If your eyes are that sharp though and is annoyed by the yellow tint, you might want to look away from this device.
Overall the device is a highly compelling. The very familiar design may not be a bad thing to some; though to many it could be a bother. But familiarity is good up to a certain extent. The OPPO R9s does not feel like a cheap copy of a successful product despite its asking price though. In fact the build quality of the device is something we commend. Even the UI feels smooth and good; it never at all felt like a less accomplished copy of the Cupertino device, it feels unique on its own. In that package also you get one of the most advanced camera set up in its class without the high asking price like its competitors. You also get a long-lasting battery, while having a large screen. They even kept it down to a barely believable 6.6mm thickness while retaining a 3.5mm stereo jack.
At the end of the day though the question remains; should you buy the device? Are you are looking into phones that are below the price of MYR2,000 with top-notch camera performance? Are you looking for performer in the mid-range segment? If you can tick those two boxes, this is one smartphone you do not want to miss. Provided you do not mind all the similarities to a certain fruit logo device. Oh, and there is a Black one available now too.
- 4GB RAM and 64GB storage
- Smooth and Clean UI
- Excellent build quality
- Long-lasting battery
- Very slim
- 16-Megapixel front and back cameras
- Expandable storage
- 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED
- Uncreative UI
- Uncreative body design
- Non-removable battery
- Smaller battery size
- No dedicated MicroSD slot
- Most expensive OPPO yet