The F1 Plus is the latest attempt by Chinese manufacturer Oppo to break into mainstream Western smartphone markets.Its launch is already a rather confusing affair though, as the Oppo F1 Plus is coming to the UK, but not the US, while it’s already out in Australia under the name Oppo R9.
The reasoning behind the different names isn’t clear, but the F1 Plus seems to be an impressive setup for not much money – something Oppo specializes in. The Oppo F1 Plus sports a similar design to the Oppo F1, which launched January, but features a larger 5.5-inch 1080p display. Once again it feels premium in the hand, with high-quality metal used on the back of the phone.
Considering this phone costs £299 (AU$599, about US$425) I was especially impressed with how premium the F1 Plus feels when you first pick it up. It’s a similar price to the OnePlus 2, and it has a much more attractive design than that phone.
It’s hard not to pick up the Oppo F1 Plus and compare it to an iPhone.
The speaker grille at the bottom of the phone in particular looks like the one on the iPhone 6S Plus, while the rose gold colour and bands around the phone only hammer home the resemblance.
But the Oppo F1 Plus looks better than your average iPhone clone. The design is slim, and the metal on the back of the phone feels especially smooth on your palm when you pick it up.
Some 5.5-inch display phones also feel too big to hold – I’m talking to you, iPhone 6S Plus – but here the body ensures it isn’t too large to handle.
You’ll likely have to use two hands while typing on the Oppo F1 Plus, but that’s to be expected when buying a larger screen phone.
There’s a fingerprint scanner at the bottom of the phone that acts as a manual button to wake the F1 Plus. It’s a little odd, then, to find a button on the right edge of the phone that does exactly the same thing. It may not be a major issue, but it makes Oppo look a little sloppy.
The fingerprint scanner seems fast though, and I haven’t had any issues with it in my limited time with the handset.
Oppo is proud of the camera technology employed in the F1 Plus, and the company is really pushing the 16MP front-facing camera as the highlight. Even the box in which the phone arrives claims it’s a ‘selfie expert’.
To be fair, it does have a front-facing snapper with more megapixels than are on the back of some flagship phones right now.
In 2016, the Galaxy S7 has fewer megapixels on its main camera than the Oppo F1 Plus has on its front. That’s quite something.
But megapixels aren’t everything, and although the quality of the images seemed good in my tests, images don’t really jump out at me when looking at them later.
The rear-facing ‘main’ camera is a 13MP sensor – the focus is very much on the front of the device when in comes to the cameras.
Software-wise the Oppo F1 Plus is disappointingly stuck on Android 5.1 Lollipop, and there’s no word on when Marshmallow will find its way to the phone. It also has Oppo’s Color OS over the top of Android, making it look quite different to the Android you’re used to.
Color OS isn’t particularly to my tastes – I find the design looks quite childish and would rather have stock software – but some people really enjoy the extra control and customisation features that it offers, such as the Security Center, gesture controls and low-power mode.
Specs-wise the Oppo F1 Plus boasts an impressive setup. There’s a MediaTek MT6755 processor that’s clocked at 2GHz, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory. You can also add to that with microSD up to 128GB.
The battery is a 2850mAh cell, which may not sound like much, but Oppo has included its VOOC flash-charging technology to ensure the phone won’t need to be hooked up to the wall for long. Look out for a full assessment of battery performance in our full review, coming soon.
The Oppo F1 Plus isn’t going to make headlines, but it offers a good-looking and solidly-specced phone for not much more money than some mid-range Android phones right now.
My only concern is that this has to compete in the space of a slightly higher spec, but still for low amounts of money. With the OnePlus 2 and the Huawei P8 for company it’s certainly been an issue for Oppo to stand out against the Chinese competition, and I’m not convinced this is the phone to do it.
But if you’re a selfie lover, then it may be that the highlight feature of the Oppo F1 Plus is the one that jumps out at you when you’re looking for your next phone.