Oppo F1 Review: Picture Perfect!

The paradigm has been flipped. What was once the battle of flagships with high-performance hardware has gone beyond to new and innovative features to come up with an edgier offering for the market. We may be at the cusp of hardware performance, but OEMs are not even close to finished when it comes equipping their offerings with captivating technologies. Now, that may be what Oppo has seen in the market as of late when it unleashed its #SelfieExpert the F1. Find out what we think about it in this Oppo F1 review.
Oppo F1 Review: Picture Perfect!
Here's the Oppo F1

Disclaimer: This seed unit was provided by Oppo Philippines for an honest review

Oppo F1 Specs

Display: 5 Inch HD IPS LCD 1280 x 720 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass and Gorilla Glass 4 protection at 294 ppi
CPU: 1.7 GHz 64 Bit Snapdragon 616 octa core processor
GPU: Adreno 405
RAM: 3 GB
ROM: 16 GB expandable via micro SD card up to 128 GB
Back Camera: 13 MP f/2.2 w/ PDAF and LED flash
Selfie Camera: 8 MP f/2.0 w/ 1/4 inch sensor size
Battery: 2,500 mAh
OS: Android 5.1 Lollipop w/ Color OS 2.1
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth, LTE, GPS, A-GPS, Dual SIM
Dimensions: 143.5 x 71 x 7.25 mm
Weight: 134 g
Price: 11,990 Pesos (PHP 8,990 sale price)

Unboxing / Accessories

The make up like image of the phone in its packaging
The make up like image of the phone in its packaging

Oppo isn't leaving it to minimalist approaches as it starts with a bang right at the packaging. Right on the onset, the company wants you to know that it is, indeed for selfie aficionados – there's a make-up brush set printed upfront the sleeve packaging right below with the company's logo, which should at least give you a basic idea of its demographic from the get-go. It's done in good taste, too. Not too flashy, but presentable enough to warrant an inquiry.
Inclusions inside
Inclusions inside

Prop it up and you'll be met with the F1 itself, and underneath the device are the basic inclusions: there's a set of booklets for information and quick start guide, a wall charger, a micro USB cable, a set of earphones, and a SIM card eject pin. Oppo also bundles a jelly case (a good one), so you're covered when it comes to protecting your device from the daily hazards of wear and tear.

You could see Oppo's efforts in pushing its products for global presentation, and the F1 scores wonderful in presentation if I do say so myself. Props to the company for this one.

Build Quality / Design

A look at the full metal back
A look at the full metal back

We're digging Oppo's design engineering for the F1. The handset features a metal body that feels gosh darn impressive. It adds up a premium flair to the device by much extent, and it's a pleasure to hold so to speak. Furthermore, it's quite thin and light to the touch. At 4.73 oz, it's lighter than the common 5-inch offerings that are plaguing the market to date. There's no tradeoff in durability, if you're already jumping the gun. Its metal structure is already a testament to its sturdiness to begin with.
The F1 on top
The F1 on top
Mic and micro USB port below 
Power button and ejectable SIM slot on the right
The volume rocker is located on the other side

Design-wise, the F1 looks to be a crowd pleasure, and it does so naturally. The back panel is quite classy and minimalist with only the necessary elements present - the camera and an LED flash below it, the company's logo, and its speaker further down south. There are also plastic strips up top and bottom of the back panel, both of which mold nicely into the handset's metallic material.  

On the side of the F1 is what Oppo calls a “micro-arc edge,” the handset's continuous bands accented with chamfer to deliver a more sophisticated feel while also adding more to the handset's handling.  

At the front, you'll be met with the 5.0-inch display, along with the earpiece that sits in between the selfie camera and the ambient light sensor. There's also an LED notification light that pulses at the upper right part. At the bottom are the capacitive keys, which, sadly, aren't backlit.

All of the ports and access are in their right places. The micro USB port sits beside the microphone at the bottom, while the power button and the volume rocker are located at the opposite ends of the side. The headphone jack is up top, too. The company also chose to go with an ejectable SIM card tray, which can house two SIM cards, or just one if you're planning to use the other for the microSD card slot.  

Display

Sleek looking 2.5D curved arc screen

Oppo flairs up the F1 by applying a hint of display trend that we're seeing today. There's a layer of 2.5D Gorilla Glass 4 that prevents scratches and whatnot while also providing the handset with a nice look and feel to it. It doesn't actually make it run seamlessly all around, but it works in harmony with the chamfered, rounded edges and the back of the display. Oppo also bundles quite a thick layer of screen protector here, and that really adds up to even more protection.
Great, 10 points of multitouch!
Great, 10 points of multitouch!

As far as the quality goes, the 5.0-inch display with a 720 x 1280 resolution translates to some sweet 320ppi pixel density. Images definitely appear sharp and colors are on a stellar accuracy. The F1's display provides some sweet viewing angles, too. We're also not complaining about its sunlight legibility, it's perfectly viewable under direct sunlight at maximum brightness. Oppo also took it upon itself to help you take care of your eyes. There's an “Eye protection display” that you can toggle on or off. It switches the handset's display to a warmer color, which should help you sleep better at night. Also, if you're a fan of navigation and multitasking, the F1 features 10 points of multitouch.  

Audio Quality

Audio quality isn't exactly the special of the F1, but it doesn't necessarily mean that the company skimped on it. The volume isn't exactly that loud, and it's not exactly on a HiFi level performance. The sound is flat, but it's accurate enough and it can deliver great on vocals. Plus, its sub-bass is also there when you need it. On the other hand, the highs are rather acceptable, but Oppo is also "trying" to attract the mainstream consumer business with its bass levels.

On a side note, the set of earphones that are bundled in the package are good sounding as well. It's very capable in mids mids and highs, while the lows are somehow evident that the audio lacks a bit of punch, and it's not as prominent and defined as it was. But hey, at least it's free.

The F1 also sports a single microphone setup. It's also capable to say the least - audio recording produces quite the audible quality, but there's no noise cancellation in tow. That's not really a problem, though. Call quality is handled nicely that you won't have any problems hearing what's on the other end.

Battery Life

A little more than 5 hours of straight usage
A little more than 5 hours of straight usage

The F1 features a non-removable 2,500 Li-Po battery, that's above average at best, and that should give you at least a full day and over at best on light to regular usage. On PCMark's battery bench test, the F1 managed to cough up 5 hours and 15 minutes (5.25 hours) – that's a bench test that includes several testing phases that put your phone into work mode i.e. video playback, web browsing, writing, and photo editing.

Our usage consisted of playing graphic intensive games including Injustice, Modern Combat 5, and Wolf Among Us on a pick-up-and-play setup, we also played around with the camera from time to time, and the majority of our time was spent on web browsing. Wi-Fi is on, and 3G/LTE when we're on the move. We averaged 14 hours on a daily basis, so that should at least last you for the day even when you're a power user.

Camera

The great camera at the back
The great camera at the back

Oppo is marketing the F1 as a selfie smartphone. However, we actually beg to differ. The strengths of the F1 stems from its primary snapper - its PDAF-enabled 13 MP f/2.2 sensor is capable of taking images with on-point precision on both details and colors. Oppo may have poured its R&D into the camera's software and hardware, and our tests are a testament to what it can offer.

The F1 is capable of taking quite the nice images with superb sharpness in detail and balanced contrast in colors. On the software front, you can have fun with the different features the handset has to offer. There are many different modes that you can play with such as the Slow Shutter, Audio Photo, a set of filters, a GIF maker, Beautify, Panorama, and Ultra HD. Ultra HD Mode is a neat feature that lets you take a 50 MP image using a camera trick, which is actually quite useful if you're going with landscape shots. On the other hand, you can play with Slow Shutter and be creative by capture light traces. 

For low lighting conditions, the F1 still manages to outrank the competition today. It's not perfect to say the least. There are some signs of image noise on dark objects, but it's kept to a minimum to make fair results. Or hey, you can also improve it to an extent with HDR.

But the real beauty of the F1 can really show if you know your way around a camera. You can fine tune your snapshots by going to Expert Mode and tweaking the settings to your preference. From there' you can adjust the shutter speed, the ISO, and the exposure compensation, you can even use manual focus should you wish. You can even get better and more accurate colors by tweaking the white balance embedded in the mode.

Now, Oppo did brand the F1 as a Selfie Expert, but our experience made us lean on the primary snapper rather than the selfie shooter.  Don't get us wrong, this is still better than most of its competition as it can let more light it with its f/2.0 sensor and has wide angle lens, but we find some shots a little grainier than expected and shoots slower as well. Oppo also did equip the F1 with a "Screen Flash," that, as it's name suggests, uses the display as a flash. Results are kind of mixed, but it can help during low lighting conditions whenever you're taking selfies. 

For photography enthusiast, the F1 also features what the company calls "Super Macro" mode. It shoots close up images with 8x zoom, then focuses on your subjects for full-photography goodness.If you want further joys in photography, you can take two separate photos and then overlap them using Double Exposure.

If you do want to step up your photography skills, though, the F1 can shoot photos in RAW format to help you get the most of the images you take and post process them further.

For the ladies out there, you'll surely love this one as it has lots of color tones and filters that you can play around that will make you look at your best most of the time. Various filters include Bright, Afternoon, Sunrise, Warm, Nostalgic, Tokyo, Sunlight, Gothic Style, Yellowing and Mono. They aren't just random presets, however. Each filter has its own different tone, and each one can set up the mood that you're going for with your photos.

For the price though it's a good effort from Oppo for trying to outfit a decent selfie cam. We expected it to better than this, but it's still better than most of the competition.

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight sample shot
Daylight sample shot
This phone has great attention in details
This phone has great attention in details
In photo: Angel Macaraig
Color accuracy is also on point
Color accuracy is also on point, this coffee really looks like this in person
  It produced nice blur in the background in this macro shot
It produced nice blur in the background in this macro shot
Normal vs HDR
Normal vs HDR
Sample panorama
Sample panorama
Lowlight normal shot
Lowlight normal shot
Night time shot with long exposure
Night time shot with long exposure
Another long exposure (slow shutter) shot
Another long exposure (slow shutter) shot

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie
Indoor dim light selfie
Indoor dim light selfie
Outdoor night selfie
Outdoor night selfie
Lowlight selfie with beautify and screen flash
Lowlight selfie with beautify and screen flash

Video Sample


Performance

Benchmark scores from antutu and geekbench
Benchmark scores from antutu and geekbench

Oppo may tag the F1 as the #SelfieExpert, but that isn't stopping the company from making the F1 a speedster. Inside, there's a Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 with an octa-core processor and an Adreno 405 GPU paired with 3GB of RAM running in its veins. Performance-wise, the handset managed to handle every graphic intensive game we've thrown at it, and it does well without even breaking a sweat. There are no noticeable lags here, all thanks to its sweet hardware setup.

As mentioned, Modern Combat 5, Wolf Among Us, and Injustice were playable in all of their glory. Even multitasking operations were kept butter-smooth. Normal heating issues occur, however, when you're going all out with the F1. Try playing said games and while you're on the move on 3G/LTE connectivity and you may as well expect it to heat up from time to time.
Oppo F1's custom UI
Oppo F1's custom UI

Software - On a personal standpoint, the vanilla Android experience has been a strong preference of mine. However, it seems Oppo has stepped up its game in customizations, with ColorOS appearing to be polished and intuitive.

All of your apps are placed in the homescreen a'la iOS. But of course, since we're on Android's turf, it's a free customization ticket to any way you like. Thankfully, Oppo's homegrown edition of the experience is quite desirable. There's an instant music player access at the right end of the launcher, while the weather and Google's search bar are at the main front. Your daily apps are placed at the bottom, which remain the same as you navigate true the screens.

Oppo's approach in the notifications shade is clean and elegant. You'll also have quick access to your Wi-Fi and Mobile Data connections, as well as the Sound setup, memory cleaner, and the screen orientation. Pull it down and you'll produce more options, which you'll be accessing more as you plow through the day.

As far as bloatware goes, it's relatively kept to a minimum. Oppo bundles a couple of neat apps such as Kingsoft Office and Sound Recorder, there's also the company's O-Cloud and Security Center that backs up your contacts and SMS as well as help maintain the F1 in tip top shape respectively. Furthermore, Google's apps are also bundled, so you don't have to feel lost if you still prefer the stock experience. Oppo does have its own counterparts for such apps, but they don't feel invasive that they want to be the default options. You're given the choice here, and that's a good thing.

If you want to fire up the feel of the F1, you can jump straight into the Theme Store and download from a plethora of readily available themes. Not enough? You can also have a go in making your own theme.  

Pros - Both of its cameras are no no slouch, vamera software is fun and educational to play around with, it's a formidable features such as the ColorOS looks polished, superb performance, affordable considering its price

Cons - The bloatware exists, capacitive keys aren't backlit, audio performance could be better, camera flash could be brighter

Verdict

When all is said and done, it all boils down to the price. The F1 is a strong midrange offering that comes with quite an affordable price of Php11,990. It has the chops of a professional camera if you know what you're doing, and it can even outperform most of the handsets in the competition. However, Oppo's latest handset doesn't actually have to do most of that. It's in a league of its own, and people that are looking for a well-rounded camera phone that can be their daily driver won't even miss to grab such an opportunity. It's a deal that's just too hard to pass up.

GIZ Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
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