If you can get past its iPhone-esque looks, there’s much to be said about the F1 Plus. OPPO’s latest smartphone isn’t the most premium in its lineup, nor does it look anything like its little brother, the OPPO F1, but it is a phone that defies expectations in a good way.
If you were to judge based on looks alone, the F1 Plus would be a home run. It’s the prettiest phone we’ve seen from OPPO thus far, and one of the better looking Android phones of 2016. From every angle, there’s no denying where the Chinese manufacturer takes its inspiration.
Indulge me in a game of “spot the difference”: the front-facing camera is to the right of the earpiece (left on the iPhone); the home button is capsule-shaped (round on the iPhone); and the bezel size is thinner. As a result, the entire phone is smaller, too.
In fact, the F1 Plus is smaller than the iPhone 6S Plus even if both phones have 5.5-inch displays. Of the two, the F1 Plus feels lighter and more secure to the grip, which for phones of this size is always a plus (pun intended).
While we’re comparing, its sides are more angular than on the iPhone, the only sore spot on an otherwise improved design. The sharp angles interrupt the fluidity of the aesthetic and make the phone a little less comfortable to grip.
But that’s nitpicking, really. Everything else is an improvement on the iPhone’s design. Its metallic back is cleaner and more refined. The two antenna bands that divide the top and bottom sections and are less in-your-face, and thankfully, there is no unsightly camera hump.
Button and port placements are also similar: the volume rocker is on the left; the power button and the SIM card tray are on the right. As with many Android smartphones these days, the hybrid SIM tray supports either two nano SIMs or one nano SIM plus one microSD card.
While somewhat of a newcomer in the smartphone space, OPPO has a history of pushing mobile photography forward. Launched in 2013, before selfies became ubiquitous, the OPPO N1 was the world’s first smartphone with a swivel camera, meaning if you wanted a good selfie, you could just rotate its camera around for 13-megapixel selfie goodness.
To reaffirm its commitment to the selfie generation, OPPO announced the F series back in January, saying it wanted to address a growing demand for “premium-quality mobile photography experiences.”
The F1 Plus is OPPO’s second attempt at building the ultimate camera phone. Dubbed the “selfie expert,” it boasts a 16-megapixel front camera, with more megapixels than not only the phone’s rear camera but also every other front camera on the market today.
Beyond the megapixel spec, however, OPPO’s pulling out all the stops to ensure you get the best selfie possible. The phone has a reasonably large 1/3.1 inch image sensor and an f/2.0 lens that OPPO says takes in four times the amount of light than the average smartphone camera.
There’s also an improved Beautify mode that can airbrush away blemishes. We think our selfies turned out great, but we’ll let you be the judge.
Its main camera is no slouch either; it shoots decent 13-megapixel photos at f/2.2, particularly when there is sufficient light. Low-light shots were less impressive. But considering this is a sub-$500 smartphone, we really can’t complain.
While its selfie-camera components are most impressive, the rest of the spec sheet isn’t bad either. The F1 Plus is one of the few phones that ships with only a 64GB storage option (the iPhone, for example, still starts at a measly 16GB), while its 4GB of RAM is as much as all the big boys offer.
Its processor, however, is a bit of a letdown. MediaTek’s Helio P10 isn’t the fastest midrange processor on the planet today. But unless you’re into gaming, that shouldn’t matter much. On the bright side, the processor is less power-hungry, so battery life should get a boost.
The home button doubles as a fingerprint sensor; it’s the kind that you have to press down on for any unlocking action to happen. But once you do, the phone unlocks in a snap.
BATTERY & VOOC CHARGING
The F1 Plus is only 6.6mm thin, so it isn’t that much of a surprise that OPPO’s only managed to squeeze in a 2,850 mAh battery. While that’s smaller than what you’d find on most mid- to high-end smartphones today, battery life looks respectable based on the few days we had with the phone.
The phone also gets VOOC flash charge, OPPO’s own quick-charging technology. Previously only seen on its high-end phones, you can get from 0 to 75 percent from a 30-minute charge. The phone should supposedly stay cool even while charging.
COLOR OS 3.0
The F1 Plus runs OPPO’s latest version of ColorOS version 3.0 on top of Android 5.1 Lollipop. Despite the update, this version still isn’t based on the latest version of Android, which is a bit of a bummer. Not that you’d mind necessarily. On a strongly positive note, the F1 Plus generally runs slick, apps respond fluidly to input, and multitasking works with very little lag.
Ultimately, this is a pretty darn good take on Android, albeit a heavily skinned one with icons obviously borrowed from Apple’s iOS. As can be expected from other Chinese smartphone vendors, OPPO’s ColorOS removes the app drawer altogether.
Having said that, if you have a ton of apps installed, and you don’t want to swipe through multiple home screens, you’ll need to spend a bit of time dumping those apps into folders.
PRICING, AVAILABILITY, PREORDER
The OPPO F1 Plus is available in gold and rose-gold variants (availability will depend on region).
To preorder in the Philippines, visit any OPPO Store between April 16 to 29. The phone will be available on April 30th and will retail for P21,990.
To preorder in India, visit any OPPO Store between April 11 to 20. Customers will get a special gift pack and a chance to win an F1 Plus signed by Yuvraj Singh.
To preorder in Malaysia, visit 11street.my until April 20th. Deliveries start April 18th. The phone retails for RM 1,898.
To preorder in Indonesia, visit OPPO’s preorder page between April 9 to 17. The phone retails for Rp 5,499 million and comes with a free selfie stick. Deliveries start on April 18th.