Dubai: Oppo has been focusing more on the design of the smartphones lately with its Find X to match its rivals in the premium segment.
But its F9 is also a premium look smartphone at a mid-range price bracket with very fast charging technology.
Even though it is not quite strong, with its spec sheet and resemblance to iPhone X design, it has some interesting gradient colour schemes to attract the eyes. Oppo wants to be known as the selfie expert and more of its siblings have done it with a strong front camera spec; F9 also boasts the same feature.
Even though the body looks like a glass and metal, the back is made of plastic with a diamond-cut design. However, the back is strong and sturdy.
The 6.3-inch Full HD LCD display device, which has a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 pixels and with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio screen, is powered by 2.0GHz octa-core Mediatek Helio P60 and coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage capacity. The microSD card supports up to 256GB. It has 409 pixels per inch density with 90.8 per cent screen-to-body ratio. It weighs 169 grams.
One interesting thing is the notch. Even though the F9 has a notch, it is not similar to iPhone; it is much smaller; and attractive. It is known as waterdrop notch in a shape of “V” to give more screen real estate. The waterdrop notch appeared first in the Essential phone. The notch houses the front camera but not the speaker. The speaker is integrated into the top bezel of the phone.
Oppo F9 is the first device in the industry to ship with Gorilla Glass 6, which is capable of surviving about 15 drops from one-metre height.
The fingerprint is at the back of the device and the front camera supports facial recognition. The fingerprint scanner and face unlock are fast and responsive.
The volume buttons and the triple card slot (two nano-SIMs and microSD card) are on the left while the power/lock button is on the right. The micro USB port, microphone and 3.5mm headphone jack is at the bottom.
It runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with Oppo’s ColorOS 5.2 skin on top. The appearance of icons looks similar to iOS but some features take more than one step when compared to stock Android.
For example in Android, notifications can be deleted easily by swiping them away but in ColorOS, when you need to swipe it to the right, a trash can icon appears and you need to tap that icon to delete it.
Surfing the internet and navigating the interface is smooth with the chip but gaming struggles. MediaTek Mali-G72 MP3 GPU is not a gaming powerhouse. Oppo has a gaming mode to improve better gaming performance but I could not notice a big difference while playing. You can experience some minor frames drops but still playable.
Coming to the cameras, the rear has a 16MP with f/1.8 aperture and a 2MP sensor with a f/2.4 aperture for capturing depth information and portrait mode effects. The AI-powered cameras offer a variety of features such as HDR, Time-Lapse, AR stickers, Super Vivid mode, Slow motion, Panorama, and Manual mode, and with the integration of Google Lens. The Portrait mode has 3D lighting effects such as film light, natural light, mono-tone light, bi-colour light, and rim light and AI Beauty Technology 2.1.
The photos are very good in well-lit conditions with good colours and dynamic range.
The AI scene recognition works well and recognises scenes such as food, landscape and pets but the shots turn out to be oversaturated with colours, it does not look natural.
In lowlight, the quality of the photos deteriorates and they lack sharpness amid lack of optical image stabilisation.
The F9 can record videos in 1080p at 30 frames per second but when you activate the AI beauty mode, the resolution drops to 720p. It can record slow-motion videos at 120 and 240 frames per seconds but only at 720p and not 1080p.
The 25MP selfie (f/2.0 aperture) is where the camera excels. The results are good with nice detail and natural skin tones and with AI beauty mode.
Oppo’s proprietary VOOC Flash Charge technology is excellent and charges the device from zero to full in more than an hour, which is very fast when compared to its rivals charging time of close to two hours. You can charge the 3,500mAh battery to 9 per cent in five minutes and more than 50 per cent in 30 minutes. But you have to use the proprietary seven-pin microUSB cable. In the video playback test, it survived for more than 12 hours and more than 10 hours of heavy use.
The drawback is, you need to carry always the proprietary cable with you wherever you go.
With a normal cable, you get eight per cent charge in 10 minutes. For fast charging, you
Regarding connectivity, it has LTE, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.2 and GPS but no NFC. It is priced at Dh1,249.
• Very small notch
• Unique colour schemes
• VOOC fast charging technology
• Good and elegant design
• Gorilla Glass 6
• Good battery life
• Good overall cameras
• Good AI features
• No USB Type-C port
• Black is plastic
• No 4K recording
• No NFC
• Not a gaming powerhouse
• Camera struggles in low light
• AI produces oversaturated colours
• Proprietary cable needed to get fast charging tech