Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Oppo N1

Although the Oppo brand is relatively unknown I certainly tip my hat to them. In my opinion the Oppo Find 7, is one of the best smartphones on the market hands down and the OnePlus One, made in conjunction with the CyanogenMod team, also stands it’s ground in a saturated market. Both are also criminally underrated and unknown. Not only have they earned my respect but they deserve worldwide recognition for their push of fantastic hardware at impressive prices.

One of their most recent offerings, the Oppo N1, was unveiled in October 2013 but despite being on the market for close to a year it’s almost impossible to find. I think when Oppo designed the N1 they didn't really spend any time designating their core audience or thinking about who would use it and for what purpose. Regardless, this is a big and simple mid-range smartphone, packed with a surprising level of value, close in size to the Note 3 and Spen, and definitely not for those with small hands.

It packs an attention grabbing camera, design, and some pretty respectable specs and I was excited to use it… until I finally got my hands on it.

The Oppo N1 comes packed with a modified version of the Android operating system; ColorOS. It’s not fluid, looks like the Touchwiz (Samsung’s proprietary UI) and seems to predominantly excel in making your device slooooooooooow. Gestures don’t always register correct and, to add insult to injury, it doesn’t even look good, with many of the icons looking like they’ve been drawn by a 10 year-old. Sure you can change the skin, by it should be an option, not a necessity to stop you from clawing your eyes out.

As mentioned above the phone itself is huge with a 5.9” screen, matching or even slightly bigger (approx. 0.2 inches) than those seen on the LG G2 or G3 and, for some reason, very large areas around the screen. It is, without a doubt, the biggest smartphone I’ve ever seen, even bigger than the G Flex but with a smaller screen. Despite a decent size the quality is poor, even at a resolution of 1080x1920 the 373 ppi leaves the screen noticeably lacking in quality and lacking any eye catching colours.

Beneath the screen the Oppo N1 sports the Snapdragon 600 chipset, a Quad-core 1.7GHz 300 Krait processor and a very middle-of-the-road 2GB of RAM. Specs that are certainly nothing to write home about, and as software (games, apps, etc) becomes more complex, only promises to become slower and slower than some of it’s rivals. I even experienced slow down, crashes and bugs just using ColorOS, sometimes having to wait between 3 and 5 seconds to unlock the phone from standby.

The only place the Oppo N1 shines is the camera. With a formidable 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, and dual-LED flash, it can even contend with it’s better known rivals. Even the bemoaned ColorOS uses the camera in interesting ways that other smartphones don’t such as long exposure shots, which filters the light to a maximum of 8 seconds and shoots. Combined with a tripod and this feature can lead to some really interesting and artsy shots, if that’s your kind of thing, and excels in lowlight and nighttime conditions. As well as these features the Oppo N1 camera swivels, meaning it acts as both the back facing and front facing camera, meaning you can get 13MP shots for all your selfies as well, currently something not offered by any other smartphone… yay.

Technical Specifications:
  • Size: 82.6 x 170.7 mm x 9 
  • Display: IPS LCD, 16 million colours 
  • Memory: 16/32 GB RAM 
  • Operating System: Android 4.2.2 (Jelly Bean) 
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 
  • CPU: Quad-core 1.7 GHz Krait 300 
  • GPU: Quad-core Adreno 320 
  • Camera: 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels 

All in all, the Oppo N1 is not great. If you want a big phone with a big screen, mid-range specs, an impressive camera but only just an acceptable level of quality, then this is good for you. Otherwise I’d say you can get far better smartphones out there.

Filipe Alves

Oppo N1 at CeX

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