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OPPO F1 Plus unboxing and first impressions: a well-rounded smartphone that's biased towards selfies

|April 5, 2016 |Android Phones, First impressions, Oppo, Unboxing

“The OPPO F1 Plus is a selfie-centric smartphone which doesn’t cut corners in other departments… at least on paper”

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Serving the ever-changing needs of the society translates to changing the norms, if need be. While that is a rather generic statement, it explains the smartphone we have in our hands right now. So far, we've been seeing higher megapixel counts on a smartphone's primary camera as compared to their secondary cameras. Sure, there were a couple of exceptions which utilised same shooting sensors on the back and the front. However, now that a majority of users like to capture themselves in a moment instead of just the moment, OPPO thought it was time to roll out a smartphone with a better front camera as compared to its primary camera. That’s the new OPPO F1 Plus for you, which is essentially a rebranded OPPO R9. Just like its lesser sibling, the OPPO F1 (review), the F1 Plus strives to be another ‘Selfie Expert’. Let’s check it out!

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The phone ships in a standard looking beige-hued rectangular box. Taking off the slide-on cover, you get access to a white box with a snake-skin texture, featuring the branding etched in silver on three sides. Inside, sits the smartphone on a thin cardboard tray. Under the tray, you will find a cardboard packaging carrying a transparent silicone cover for the handset, some documentation and a SIM-ejection tool.

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A micro-USB to USB cable, a two-pin wall charger and a pair of in-ear headphones complete the list of accessories the OPPO F1 Plus ships with.

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The first thing you notice when you pick up the smartphone is its iPhone 6s-inspired design. Inspired might be an understatement. Apart from the placement of the antenna bands, camera module and an elliptical home button, everything else about the design of the OPPO F1 Plus is more or less same as the iPhone 6s. The phone is slim, and light weight making quite convenient to handle. The OPPO F1 Plus sports a metal unibody design and the back panel features matte finish. We have the Champagne Gold variant with us and it is definitely eye candy.

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The port placement is pretty standard but since the battery is not removable you get a hybrid dual-SIM tray just above the power button on the right spine, which allows you to use one slot interchangably with a microSD card. The volume rocker is placed on the left edge.

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On the bottom spine you find a micro-USB port in the middle, flanked by a row of precision drilled holes which conceal the loudspeaker on the left, and the primary microphone and audio jack on the right. The top edge only carries a secondary microphone.

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The 5.5-inch full HD display of the phone comes bordered by a home button, which also doubles up as a fingerprint reader, two capacitive navigation keys on the bottom, and the usual assortment of sensors, earpiece and a selfie-camera on the top. Overall, the smartphone definitely looks like something you can flaunt while being extremely handy. To top it all, the build quality of the OPPO F1 Plus is pretty solid too.

The display on the OPPO F1 pleases the eyes. It’s quite sharp and the colours look vivid yet balanced. The viewing angles didn’t disappoint and we were rather happy with the screen brightness, so sunlight legibility shouldn’t be an issue with the phone, either. The screen responds to touch pretty quickly, and it’s probably one of the fastest touchscreens we’ve encountered lately.  

The phone is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor coupled with 4GB of RAM which should ensure smooth usage. We didn't face any stutters during our small session with the phone.

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The device comes with 64GB of built in storage out of which about 52GB can be availed for personal use. There’s USB OTG support as well, and microSD card expansion up to 128GB.

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Software wise the OPPO F1 Plus runs Android v5.1 Lollipop with OPPO's ColorOS v3.0 on top. The UI looks pretty clean and like most Chinese UI, doesn't offer an app drawer. Pre-loaded apps include all apps from Google along with WPS Kingsoft office. There's a theme store to help you customise the look of the phone. A feature called lock screen magazine changes the lock screen wallpapers when every time you unlock the phone, similar to Magazine Unlock on Honor phones.

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The OPPO F1 Plus supports gestures and motion detection too. There are a bunch of predefined screen-off gestures like double tap to wake up the display and drawing the letter O to launch the camera app. Seven additional gestures can be customised to unlock the phone, make a call or launch a certain app.

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The home button also doubles as a fingerprint reader, and the phone can store up to five fingerprints which can be used to either unlock the phone or as passwords for certain apps and files you might want to save from prying eyes. The fingerprint sensor unlocks the phone in the blink of an eye, however, you cannot unlock the phone directly from standby and need to press the power button first, which is a turn off.

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The phone sports a 12MP snapper on the rear while a 16-meg shooter takes care of the selfies. An LED flash module has been provided to assist the primary camera, but we miss the same on the front, which is rather strange since the brand aims for the OPPO F1 Plus to be a selfie-centric smartphone.

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The camera UI has been simplified... at least the company has tried. Instead of providing the users with a myraid of settings that they are probably not going to use, OPPO has laid out all the necessary stuff out in the open which is not necessarily a good move because the UI looks a little jammed. The viewfinder comes flanked on the top by a preview button, virtual shutter key and a toggle to access all the shooting modes, one of which is called the Expert Mode and it gives you control over the ISO, exposure, focus etc., along with giving an option to shoot in RAW. On the bottom you find toggles for flash settings, HDR more, a few camera settings and switching to the front camera. Right above the virtual shutter key, you find toggles to switch from camera mode to video, time lapse, beauty and panorama. Overall the camera specs and UI seem loaded enough for one to create decent imagery, but we'd like to reserve our final comments for later.

The phone offers almost all the necessary connectivity options inclusing 4G LTE, VoLTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and A-GPS. A 2,850mAh battery provides the juice for the OPPO F1 Plus. Low Battery Mode has been provided for times when you face a battery crisis. The phone sports OPPO’s VOOC technology for fast charging.

At Rs 26,990, the smartphone competes directly with the likes of the Xiaomi Mi 5 (first impressions). How it fares against the competition, and as a daily driver, you’ll find out in our full review of the OPPO F1 Plus, which will be out before you can open the front-camera of this selfie-expert and say “cheese”.



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