Ben WoodsEurope Editor
Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional Ben is a technology journalist with a specialism in mobile devices and a geeky love of mobile spectrum issues. Ben used to be a professional online poker player. You can contact him via Twitter or on Google+.
Chinese handset maker Oppo is throwing its proverbial hat into the ring once again with a new flagship smartphone aimed at wooing buyers away from better-known household brands.
The handset keeps a similar appearance as Oppo’s R7s, but with an important addition – a fingerprint sensor where the ‘Oppo’ logo sits at the bottom of previous models.
Other key hardware specs include a 16-megapixel front-facing (“Hi-Light”) snapper with an f2.0 aperture and a rear-mounted 13-megapixel ‘main’ camera for any of your non-selfie needs.
The company says its reworked the way in which its image processing algorithm works too – through more than 150 iterations – to maximize image quality on each of your selfies. In essence, it’s promising to make you more beautiful, at least in photos.
Powering it all is an Octa-core processor (a pairing of a quad-core 2.0GHz + a 1.2GHz quad-core chip), 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage.
Of course, it takes more than specs on paper to go up against range-leading handsets from the likes of Samsung, Apple, Motorola, HTC, LG and others. And the company doesn’t exactly have an easy run at the mid-market either – with Huawei, OnePlus, Honor, ZTE (and some of those big-name manufacturers) all vying for attention.
The F1 Plus is the first Oppo to ship with the company’ newest version of its Android-based Color OS, which has a tweaked look and faster response, Oppo says. In initial hands-on testing, there was no lag when switching between apps, even with several apps open at once.
A little like Samsung’s fast-charging system, the Oppo F1 Plus optimizes the software performance to eke the longest possible life out of the battery. The end result, the company says, is a battery pack that’s 220mAh smaller than the Oppo R7s, but that will last for an hour longer. Obviously, we’ll have to wait for a full review to see if it lives up to those promises.
Oppo’s VOOC fast-charge is here too, allowing for 75 percent of the battery to be rejuiced in less than 30 minutes – though the SuperVOOC system that can charge in 15 minutes isn’t quite ready for yet.
The F1 Plus isn’t headed to the US, but will be going on sale in the UK and Europe from next month, priced at €389/£299.
It’s an interesting price point – not so cheap to be a no-brainer, and not so expensive to put off prospective purchasers willing to plump for a brand they might not have heard from very much.
First impressions are good. The fingerprint sensor claims to be the fastest on any phone – and it’s definitely the fastest I’ve ever used (including the S7 Edge, which is no slouch), while the camera arrangement puts more emphasis on giving you high quality images of people, rather than sunsets or food as is traditionally the case with the main rear-mounted sensor.
Yes, it’s hard to ignore that it looks a fair bit like an iPhone – but that’s no bad thing; iPhones are popular for a reason, and design is part of that.
Keep an eye out for the full review to see how it fares in the longer term.
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