“Our take on OPPO’s latest pop-up selfie camera smartphone, the F11 Pro”
In the quest to offer the most screen real estate, smartphone manufacturers launched a campaign against bezels in 2018. And, the biggest hurdle to achieve an all-screen utopia was to reposition the selfie camera in such a way that it didn’t take up a huge chunk of space on the front of the device. After some tinkering, smartphone OEMs came up with two clever solutions – to place the selfie camera inside a cutout commonly known as a notch, or to hide it entirely inside a smartphone’s chassis, thereby giving rise (no pun intended) to phones with pop-up selfie cameras.
The OPPO F11 Pro which I’ll be reviewing today, falls under the second category. The smartphone was recently announced in India and is the newest member in the pop-up camera family of devices. I’ve been putting it through its paces for over a week and here’s what I make of it.
Specs at a glance
|Resolution||1080 x 2340 pixels|
|CPU||Quad core, 2.1 GHz + Quad core, 2 GHz, MediaTek|
|Internal memory||64 GB|
|External memory||Up to 256 GB|
|Capacity||4000 mAH, Li-Polymer, Non removable|
|Talktime||Up to 26.7 Hours (3G)|
|Standby Time||Up to 360 Hours (2G)|
|Primary camera||48 MP|
|Secondary camera||16 MP|
|Network support||Dual SIM 4G|
|Other options||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS|
|Operating system||Android 9.0 Pie|
Design and Display
Smartphone manufacturers know how to design a handset inside out and consequently, it’s hard to come across a bad-looking device nowadays. However, to come up with a truly gorgeous design takes an extra something and I reckon OPPO has it. The F11 Pro is quite honestly, THE best looking mid-ranger I’ve laid my eyes on (yet) and everything about the smartphone’s design screams posh. In fact, despite a plastic contstruction, the smartphone still manages to out-dazzle competing all-glass devices.
Reason being, the F11 Pro features an enchanting gradient finish on the back which makes the smartphone an instant head turner. I got my hands on the Thunder Black variant of the device which shimmered different shades of violet and blue along diagonally opposite edges. The colours merged in the middle and every time I pulled the smartphone out of my pocket, I could swear that the pattern had shifted ever so slightly, making me drool over the design all over again. It felt like I was stuck in the movie Fifty first dates, but in a good way.
You can also pick up the smartphone in an Aurora Green colourway which looks just as good, but I personally liked the Thunder Black variant of the device more. What’s more, the smartphone has a good heft to it and it ships with a chamfered trim which does wonders for the in-hand grip. While the device is most definitively not one-hand friendly, I never felt the need to use it with the bundled plastic case as I was confident I wouldn’t drop it. And coming from someone as clumsy as me, this speaks volumes for the device’s ergonomics.
While the back of the smartphone is quite elegant, the headlining feature of the OPPO F11 Pro is the presence of a pop-up selfie camera. Much like Vivo’s Nex (review) and the V15 Pro (review), the OPPO F11 Pro ships with motorised components inside its chassis which push the selfie camera out and tuck it back in. The pop-up camera is quite fluid and quick, and during my time with the device, I didn’t come across any instance where the unit failed to slide out or go back inside the device’s frame.
Now, I know some of you are still skeptical over the shelf life of the motorised components that enable pop-up cameras. If it helps, the company claims that the motor can be used up to 100 times a day for six years. Moreover, of all the phones launched with motorised components thus far, not one has had a mass-scale issue with the moving components inside its chassis.
Unfortunately, the design of the smartphone is not without its flaws. For starters, the phone’s gorgeous gradient-finish back – which I can’t stop rambling about – smudges really easily and therefore, you’ll have to carry a microfibre cloth on you to keep the device in its pristine condition. What’s more, the smartphone lacks a USB Type-C port and instead, ships with a micro-USB port for charging. It’s 2019, OPPO. Wake up.
Thankfully, the smartphone rights some wrongs by including a capacitive fingerprint sensor towards the back, which is blazingly fast. I’m glad the company didn’t cave into the in-display fingerprint sensor fad with this phone, as a capacitive sensor is still much faster and significantly more reliable. Moreover, you’ll also get face unlock with the device, which is just as accurate and dependable as the fingerprint sensor. Lastly, the handset also features a headphone jack towards the bottom which has become somewhat of a rarity nowadays.
Thanks to the pop-up selfie camera, the display on the device is bordered by extremely sleek bezels. So much so, the smartphone claims to offer a staggering 90.3 percent screen-to-body ratio! The panel measures 6.5-inches in size and features FHD+ resolution, making it plenty sharp and plenty big to consume media on the fly. I would’ve liked if the display got a tad bit brighter, as viewing content on a bright sunny day was a bit difficult on the smartphone. Barring that, the panel on the OPPO F11 Pro is among the best in the biz and buyers opting for the device will find little to complain here.
The OPPO F11 Pro is among the handful of phones launched in India to boast a 48MP rear-facing imaging sensor. Much like the Honor View 20, the 48MP unit on the F11 Pro stitches four adjacent pixels to output a 12MP image under lowlight scenarios. The primary shooter is assisted by a 5MP depth sensor and for selfies, the smartphone offers a 16MP unit up front.
With the specs out of the way, allow me to talk about the handset’s camera prowess in the form of bullet points listed below –
- The OPPO F11 Pro’s 48MP shooter is quite capable and it manages to click really detailed shots, provided you’ve sufficient light to play with. That said, I wasn’t a fan of the smartphone’s ISP as the shots I took with the device lacked vibrancy, which is clearly evident from the close-ups of flowers I’ve attached in the gallery below. There’s plenty of information when you zoom into the images but I wouldn’t post them to any social media platform without lifting the saturation up.
2. Barring the smartphone’s questionable colour science, the F11 Pro’s rear-facing cameras do a pretty good job everywhere else. The cameras are quick to focus, expose a shot evenly and boast decent dynamic range too. Consequently, the device manages to conjure up details from the highlight as well as the shadows effectively.
3. For the most part, the smartphone clicks images in 12MP resolution. However, you can manually switch the resolution to 48MP from within the camera settings to get a crisper shot. The caveat here is that you won’t be able to use features like HDR, AI scene recognition and beautification with the resolution set to 48MP. In fact, the smartphone doesn’t even let you zoom into the subject if you’re leveraging the sensor’s full array of pixels. And, to my eyes, there wasn’t a significant uptick in the quality or crispiness of the photo when I was shooting in 48MP. Consequently, most of the shots I took with the device were capped at 12MP resolution.
4. If you’re wandering the streets at night and get the urge to click a photo, then the F11 Pro’s night mode has got you covered. The handset clicks good images at night which capture the essence of the scene without introducing too much noise in the photos.
5. OPPO made a name for itself with its selfie-centric offerings and therefore, it should come as little surprise that the F11 Pro clicks great selfies too. When it’s bright and sunny outdoors, the smartphone’s 16MP front-facing unit will deliver detailed and gram-worthy selfies. Moreover, in lowlight scenarios, you can turn on the screen flash functionality to get a serviceable image. The device also offers a portrait mode for the front-facing shooter which creates a convincing blur effect, but struggles to separate the subject from the background. Therefore, you’ll notice that the edges of the selfies clicked in portrait mode are often blurred.
Performance, Software and Battery life
Here’s where things get interesting. The OPPO F11 Pro is backed by MediaTek’s Helio P70 processor which has been paired with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of built-in, user-expandable storage. While the P70 is a capable chip, it can also be found on devices like the Realme 3, which cost a fraction of the price of the F11 Pro. It goes without saying that the company had to cut corners somewhere to make its latest pop-up camera smartphone affordable, and I believe they’ve done so in the performance department.
That said, while the smartphone doesn’t offer the most bang for your buck, it still performs admirably. During my time with the device, apps opened swiftly, UI animations felt rapid and thanks to a healthy amount of RAM, multitasking was buttery smooth too. As for gaming, the device held its own and managed to play intensive titles like PUBG and Asphalt 9 on medium to high settings. Interestingly, unlike most other devices, the F11 Pro managed thermals exceptionally well and even after gaming on the smartphone for an hour, the back panel didn’t feel too warm to the touch.
The F11 Pro is fuelled by a 4,000mAh battery which comfortably managed to outlast a full day of gaming, watching videos on YouTube, chatting on social media apps and browsing the web. During my time with the F11 Pro, I was getting close to 4.5 hours of screen on time with the device and I always hit the bed with at least 20 percent juice still in the tank. Moreover, thanks to the handset’s 20W VOOC charging, you should be able to get the battery back to the 100 percent level quickly.
As for software, the OPPO F11 Pro boots Android Pie with a custom skin of ColorOS v6 on top. While the custom skin is still a far cry from stock Android, it looks more refined than its previous iterations. The in-app menus appear more minimal, the notifications tray feels simplistic and all in all, the UI feels less cluttered and easy on the eyes. The smartphone still ships with a ton of bloatware but thankfully, most of it can be uninstalled. Moreover, you’ll also get a fair share of utilities with the skin including the ability to clone apps, use split screen as well as enhance the in-game performance by turning on Game Space which clears the system’s resources whilst running intensive titles on the device.
OPPO has also introduced gesture-based navigation on the smartphone which works well for the most part. Buyers opting for the device can swipe left or right from either side to go back a step, and swipe up from the bottom to exit an app entirely. A half-swipe from the bottom brings up the multitasking tray but you’ll have to be extremely precise with the input else you’ll end up exiting the app. In sum, I feel that the gestures could do with a bit more polish and I’m hoping OPPO fixes the issue through a software update soon.
The OPPO F11 Pro retails for Rs 24,990 and for the price, offers a stunning design, a beautiful bezel-less display and a cool pop-up selfie camera which is a great conversation starter. The handset performs reasonably well, offers a solid battery life, and clicks good pictures with its cameras as well. That said, if you don’t care much for the device’s pop-up camera, then you can find much better options elsewhere.
The Realme 3 (review), for instance, offers the same performance for significantly less. The Vivo V15 Pro (review) also rocks a pop-up camera, but offers better performance and adds a triple rear camera setup to the mix. Moreover, in the Rs 25K bracket, there are devices like the Poco F1 (review) and the ASUS Zenfone 5Z (review) that ship with significantly better CPUs and cameras. Consequently, while I’ve enjoyed my time with the F11 Pro, the strong competition in this price segment could make it a bit of a tough sell.
Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5
- Stunning design
- Great battery life
- Pop-out selfie camera
- Image processing could’ve been better
- No USB Type-C port