Price (RRP): $348
It was only six months ago that we featured a review of the mid-priced Oppo F1 smart phone. Now there’s a new version, the Oppo F1s. Looks like it’s taking a leaf from Apple’s book of naming conventions. There are a number of quite significant changes that come with the addition of that little “s”.
The first change is the price increase: up from $299 to $348 for outright purchase. Does that make it poor value for money? I don’t think so. There was a fair bit of eye-widening going on when I held it up to iPhone-toting friends and relatives and announced the price.
Another change is the processor. Gone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 CPU, replaced by the MediaTek MT6750, an eight x 1.5GHz processor that on paper should offer about 25% greater speed. There is 3GB of RAM installed. Also improved: 32GB of storage built in, up from 16GB. Add to that the microSD card slot with support for up to 128GB cards, and you’ve got a lot of space for photos, video and music.
In Australia we are getting the variant with support for a single Nano SIM, not dual SIMs.
The screen remains the same resolution: 720 by 1280 pixels for its 5.5 inches. That comes to 267dpi, which is more than adequate under most circumstances, but a long way short of the eye dazzling 500-ish dpis of premium phones. The screen is made of Corning Gorilla Glass 4 with the 2.5D rating, which means that the edges are rounded off. Youtube videos feature people scraping away at this phone’s surface with assorted tools and tapping quite firmly with small hammers without leaving any marks.
The phone comes with a transparent plastic, or perhaps silicon, case so the non-glass sides can be protected without extra cost.
And here’s a premium feature: a fingerprint scanner in the home button so you don’t need to enter a pin to unlock.
For a long time I’ve been ambivalent about fingerprint scanners. The one on my Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge up and died a few of weeks after purchase. The one in my Samsung Galaxy S6 works first time about two thirds of the time. This phone might make me a convert: it worked instantly (Oppo says two tenths of a second) at least 98% of the time by my estimation. Fast and reliable.
The sides and rear of the phone are really quite attractively finished in soft, gold-tinted anodised aluminium. It’s only 7.4mm thick and weighs 160 grams. The Oppo F1s looks very much like an expensive phone.
Of course it runs a form of Android, Oppo’s ColorOS now up to version 3.0. This is based on Android 5.1 Lollipop, but with its own slight variations.
It can be confusing because of those differences, and because there isn’t the wealth of “how do I do it” material on the Web, at least by comparison with the big name phone brands. Nor is the manual of much use. It says on one of its two English-language pages: “This guide will show you how to use the phone and its important functions”, but only shows a diagram of the phone and some specification information. There was no manual I could find on the Web.
So when I wanted to install a widget on the main screen to show my data usage, I was lost. The usual press-and-hold on a blank area didn’t work. None of the information on Youtube videos and help websites worked. I even asked on a mailing list of experienced tech journos to no avail. And then I discovered in the “Settings” an “Instructions” section which had fifteen slides showing how to do various things, including adding widgets. Hah! (For the record, you pinch on the home screen with thumb and forefinger to bring up the widget editor.)