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OPPO F1s Review: Selfie Game Strong!

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OPPO is really on the roll in the past few months. We’ve seen their face almost anywhere, with massive marketing stunts, to the extravagant stores that sprout in almost every shopping mall in the country.

But all these marketing shenanigans doesn’t stand all by itself. The company is backed by its devices that really has something to brag about, smartphones that are present in almost every price category in the market today. OPPO offers handsets from the low-end territory, mid-range, up to the high-end space. And what we’re looking at now is the OPPO F1s. Priced at Php12,999, this device has been conquering the higher mid-range market. What makes it so special? Let’s figure that out.

Design and Build Quality

Like what we’ve said in our 5 Best Features the OPPO F1s article, it took a lot of design inspiration from its brother, the F1 Plus, which isn’t really surprising since they are coming from the same family. Also, if it wasn’t obvious already, the F1s also looks very identical to Apple’s iPhone 6/6s smartphones. The device has the same aesthetics at the back, the antenna bands, which are all more evident with this Rose Gold variant that we have here.

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Some people might be turned off by the OPPO F1s’ copy-cat looks, but for some, it might be a good thing. We all know how beautiful and effective the iPhone’s design is. It made the OPPO F1s look sleek, elegant, and feel incredibly nice in the hands. Thanks to its curved sides and edges, you can hold this phone for hours despite its large 5.5” profile. The device has a decent weight to it. It’s not the lightest, but also not that heavy.

At the front of the device we have a 5.5-inch IPS display, together with the 16-megapixel front-facing camera, ambient light and proximity sensors, home button/fingerprint scanner, capacitive buttons and the LED notification indicator. The LED beams a white light, making it hard to see since the body of the device is also tinted in white. It would have been better if they used a standard blue or green LED light. Also, the capacitive buttons are so small and they don’t emit much backlighting making it hard to see in broad daylight.

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At the left side of the OPPO F1s, we have the very tactile and protruding volume controls, while at the right side we also have the lock/power switch that shares the same characteristics. We also see here the SIM/microSD card tray. I really did appreciate what OPPO did here. Instead of having the other part of the tray be used to house either a second SIM or a microSD card, they opted to add another slot for the microSD card slot. Now you can sport two SIM cards with still a room for storage expansion.




Looking at the top, we have the noise-cancelling microphone. At the bottom, we see the 3.5mm headphone jack and microSD card port, and the loudspeaker which delivers loud volume and well-balanced sound.

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Display

The OPPO F1s has a large 5.5-inch IPS LCD display, which only has 1280 x 720 pixel resolution and a total of 267 pixels-per-inch.

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I have already said this before, having only a 720p display on a large device isn’t really ideal. For me, I think having a display size that is larger than 5-inches should at least have 1080p resolution. In this case, the F1s has a 5.5” display with only 720p resolution. However, the display performance here is still impressive. The panel is still decently sharp. Not unless you’re pixel peeping, this thing is really acceptable. Details and sharpness are still there; texts, even when zoomed out are still visible.

Colors are also impressive. Blacks are deep, saturation is just ample and not exaggerating, and contrast is decent. Screen brightness is only middling. Great for indoors, but insufficient backlighting on broad daylight. The glass is also quite reflective at times. The enormous 5.5-inch profile also makes this device perfect for media consumption, reading, and productivity because of its large screen estate.

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Performance and Hardware

The F1s model that we have here has a MediaTek MT6755 chipset, which has a 1.5GHz octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, a Mali-T860MP2 GPU, and 32GB of onboard storage. The OPPO F1s is also available in a 4GB RAM/64GB storage variant which is priced Php1,000 more at Php13,990.

The day-to-day operation was pretty seamless on this thing. Making calls and sending texts, browsing the web and any other light applications are running pretty well, with only some minor stutters and lags which are usual in Android devices.

On the other hand, gaming is also quite enjoyable on the OPPO F1s. Gameplay is pretty decent, but I have seen other devices in this price range that perform better. A processor-hungry game called Roller Coaster Tycoon was playable, but a little but jittery. While visually intensive game like UFC and Hitman: Sniper was also playable but with inconsistent frame rates. NBA 2K17 can be played but you need to tone down the settings to low for a smooth gameplay.

The 32GB of internal storage of the OPPO F1s is also spacious enough for me. I was able to install a bunch of applications and take a lot of pictures without the worry of running out of storage. If you think 32GB isn’t sufficient, you can get the 64GB variant, or install a microSD card of up to 258GB.

Fingerprint Scanner

And just like the iPhone, the OPPO F1s also has a home button/fingerprint scanner situated at the chin of the device. And I must say, the scanner here is probably one of the fastest readers that I’ve ever used – and we’ve tried almost all flagships.

The scanner of the OPPO F1s is so fast that I always missed the lock screen; the device would shoot directly to the home screen as the display goes on. During the duration of my test, the scanner garnered a 90% success rate on identifying my finger. It’s very unlikely to miss, especially if you position your finger is clean and positioned correctly.

Software

Well, I have a mixed bag thoughts on this department. The OPPO F1s runs under Android 5.1 Lollipop, with the company’s own ColorOS v3.0.0i skin on top. We all know that Android Nougat was already out for quite some time, but we can’t say if this handset is going to get it. After all, they are very tight-lipped about any software upgrade.




But nevertheless, Android Lollipop is still one of the best from Android. However, OPPO’s ColorOS ruined the user experience for me. The manufacturer’s skin sure looks pretty, which isn’t really surprising since it also borrowed a lot of aesthetic inspiration from Apple’s iOS – the camera app, the Helvetica Neue font style, the native apps icons, and even the emojis, all are reminiscent of Apple’s UI.

But the thing is, the efficiency and utility have been sacrificed. A lot of Android’s features were thrown out just to prioritize the interface’s looks. The app drawer is now gone. Also, you cannot tap and hold the home screen to customize it. Another example is the lack of search button on the setting menu, which is something really surprising since even Apple’s iOS, the main inspiration of this interface, has it.

Also, the battery settings don’t show enough consumption information, which is really frustrating for who want to check out their smartphone’s performance and uptime.

Camera

The OPPO F1s has a 13-megapixel primary camera with a large f/2.2 aperture and LED flash. Meanwhile, the front-facing camera has a 16-megapixel 1/3.1” sensor and has a larger f/2.0 aperture. Yes, the shooter at the front is more beefed-up than the primary one, hence the device’s title ‘Selfie Expert”.

OPPO has been pretty serious about their camera game, and the F1s is an evidence to that. The primary camera delivers good performance, however, this isn’t clearly the best that I have seen in this category.

Colors are pretty accurate but lack a little punch. Details are a bit blurry at times and contrast is middling.

The OPPO F1s selfie camera really lived up to the hype. Photos taken looked sharp, with details really comparable to other phones’ primary camera. The large aperture is also perfect for low-light scenarios; I was even able to take a selfie inside a car with only the tail light from the car in front of us as the light source.

Colors are also undeniably good. However, the camera can take blurry photos at times, but still, this is really a camera for those users who are serious about their selfies.

The OPPO F1s also shoots up to 1080p videos at 30fps. And as expected, the video quality that the front camera took looks so much better than the primary shooter. However, neither of them impressed me. Videos looked a little noisy and the colors looked pale. The videos are packed inside a mp4 format with a 17Mbps bit rate.

For more sample photos, you can check out the images we took in Sinulog Festival 2017.

Connectivity

The OPPO F1s comes well-equipped with all the right antennas. We got 4G LTE support for both of its SIM cards, GPS and A-GPS, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0.  I have tested all these antennas and experienced no issues with it.

It would have been nice to see an NFC treatment on this thing, but considering the diminishing popularity of the technology, especially in this country, it doesn’t really hurt at all.

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The OPPOF1s is being powered by a large 3,075mAh battery. This is not actually the largest battery in the market, but the battery performance that I got on is incredibly impressive.

The device was able to last me for a whole day; 20-hours, more or less, of making calls, exchanging SMS, and browsing through my social media applications via its 4G network.

While screen-on time lasted the F1s at around 5 to 6 hours. That’s a big step up from the standard 3 to 4-hour mark that we got on most devices.

Verdict

The OPPO F1s is a great smartphone for the price, but just like anything in the world, this thing isn’t perfect. OPPO’s attempt to cater those consumers who can’t afford a ridiculously expensive handset is really appreciated. They even marketed it as a “Selfie Expert” smartphone so social media junkies could post impressive selfies wherever they are.

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The OPPO F1s’s beautiful and tough design, despite being borrowed from a famous brand, is still striking and feels so nice in the hands. The blazing fast fingerprint scanner is also a big convenience. The battery performance is also one of the best that I have seen lately. And of course, the best-in-class front-facing camera really lived up to its slogan.

However, like what I’ve said earlier, not everything is likable on the OPPO F1s. And nope, I’m not just nitpicking. For one, despite being a camera phone, the quality of the videos recorded on this one aren’t really impressive. Also, despite its good quality screen, the device only has a 720p display instead of 1080p. Lastly, this may seem subjective, but I felt really annoyed with the ColorOS’s compromised interface. This is probably because we’re a fan of Android’s stock UI. But for those who mind it, ColorOS is pretty easy to use.




But nonetheless, with a price tag of Php12,999 in the Philippines, the OPPO F1s is one of the best devices that you can get for this price range. All of the flaws were overshadowed by its pros. The device is primarily targeted to users who are serious about their selfie game. But for me, I think this smartphone is more than just for taking self-portraits.

OPPO F1s Specs

  • Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • Dual SIM, Dual Standby
  • 5.5-inch HD IPS Display, ~267 ppi
  • 1.5GHz octa-core MT6750 processor
  • Mali-T860MP2
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage, expandable up to 256GB via microSD
  • 4G, LTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS, A-GPS
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • 13-megapixel rear camera, f/2.2, phase detection autofocus, LED flash
  • 16-megapixel front camera, f/2.0
  • Dimensions: 154.5 x 76 x 7.4 mm
  • Weight: 160 g
  • 3075mAh non-removable battery

Pros

  • Elegant design and sturdy build
  • Fast fingerprint reader
  • Best in class front-facing camera
  • Impressive battery longevity

Cons

  • Flawed user-interface
  • Average video quality
  • 1080p display would’ve been better than 720p

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