Oppo N1 review: Head spin

GSMArena team, 27 November 2013.
Pages: 1234567891011

Tags: Oppo, Android

Introduction

The Oppo N1 knows it will need to fulfill the promises made by the Oppo Find 5. The latter essentially placed the company on the international map but the newcomer does look like a much improved and mature product that will aim even higher. The Find 5 was designed to impress and had an amazing screen - a solid foundation for the N1 to build on, and it doesn't fail. What's more, Oppo takes on from there with courage and creativity.


Oppo N1 official photos

Prior to release, Oppo went over and beyond to promote the upcoming smartphone with regular YouTube teasers and sneak peeks, getting CyanogenMod's top man, Steve Kondik, on board. That collaboration will bear fruit in a limited edition Oppo N1 with a CyanogenMod ROM but the one we're about to have a closer look at runs the company's homebrewed Color OS.

Android manufacturers (Chinese ones nonetheless) are keen to have their own take on Android - we've seen Meizu's Flyme OS on a few occasions, Huawei's got Emotion UI and Xiaomi has the MiUi. This is our second encounter with Oppo's Color OS, and it has improved quite a lot from what we remember on the Find 5.

Let's get into the spec sheet in a little more detail. It's a list that's meant to impress and occasionally wow and it dully delivers on those points.

Key features

    • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support; penta-band 3G with HSPA
    • 5.9" 16M-color 1080p Super IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with 373ppi
    • Android OS v4.2.2 Jelly Bean with Color OS; There is a limited edition with CyanogenMod
    • Quad-core 1.7 GHz Krait 300 CPU, 2 GB RAM, Adreno 320 GPU; Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 chipset
    • 13 MP autofocus camera, 206° module rotation; dual-LED flash; HDR, long exposure (up to 8 seconds), shutter remote
    • 1080p video recording @ 30fps with HDR mode, continuous autofocus and stereo sound
    • Oppo Beauty capture
    • Touchpad on the back
    • Dual-band Wi-Fi ac/a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct and DLNA; Wireless TV-out (Miracast)
    • GPS with A-GPS
    • 16GB/32GB of built-in storage
    • microUSB 2.0 port, USB on the go support
    • Bluetooth v4.0
    • NFC
    • Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
    • 3610 mAh battery
    • Accelerometer and proximity sensor
    • Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
    • Premium aluminum and polycarbonate finish
    • O-Click Bluetooth Remote Control in the package

Main disadvantages

    • Non expandable storage
    • No LTE
    • Non user-replaceable battery
    • Hefty and big device, near impossible to operate single-handedly
    • Snapdragon 600 is no longer flagship-grade

The main focus is undoubtedly on the display and camera but Oppo did well to fill in the details - there's an immense battery, ample 2GB of RAM and a solid connectivity set. It's the Snapdragon 600 chipset that looks a bit out of place. Not that you should worry about general speed and responsiveness, but it just doesn't provide as much in terms of future-proofing as the Snapdragon 800 . And it can't manage 4K video recording, which is a potential eyebrow-raiser in a package that bets so heavily on imaging.

The camera is the most obvious attention-grabber, the lens placed on a 206°-rotating module, which has the earpiece and proximity sensor on one side and the 13MP camera with dual-LED flash on the other. A rotating camera design scores big on exclusivity in the current smartphone game, although we can't discount Nokia's early efforts in the field with the 3250 and N90. Maybe that's what Oppo meant with "Back to innovation".

More importantly though, the N1's camera has hardware you rarely see in a smartphone, and the software backing to make it count in more than just high-resolution selfies.

Oppo N1 Oppo N1
Oppo N1 at HQ

It's obvious Oppo has gone all out with the N1 - the screen, the camera, the OS, the design and the marketing. The company wants to be heard and seen and it sure looks like they have something to show. We're eager to explore and our next stop is hardware. It goes without saying that the only way the N1's going to get its back scratched is by us testing the rear touchpad.

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