Oppo’s Nicely Priced Smartphone Steals Flagship Smarts

Renowned for its affordable but high-end universal players, headphone preamps and headphones, Oppo is now determined to make its mark with its own smartphones. Their latest, the R11s, takes the good bits from flagship models and sells them in a well-designed package at a very compelling price.

The R11s hardware has an upmarket look and feels classy. From a sleek thin body to wafer thin bezels that provide a near all-screen experience, there’s a lot to like with the R11s. If there is any discernible difference in previous models it’s in the heft. Where the S8+ packs a bit of weight, the R11s feels lighter.

The rear of my review unit had a silky semi-gloss finish, lending it a pleasant feel in the hand. Comfort is further helped along thanks to a curved rear. Oppo’s attention to detail has won the brand many dedicated followers, and little details are plentiful here: like the near-seamless antenna bands on the top and bottom of the phone.

The display is on trend, being both large (6-inch) but slim thanks to its 18:9 ratio. Near non-existent side bezels also give it an all-screen look. The AMOLED display is Full HD+. That’s an impressive inclusion considering the R11s’s $799 sticker price.

Screen aside, the R11s offers plenty of value for money, including a generous 64GB dollop of storage, expandable to 256GB via a microSD slot. Its dual rear cameras do a solid job but accessing features such as a depth of field effect isn’t always intuitive.

The R11s uses a Qualcomm 660 series Octo-Core CPU. It isn’t the fastest or the latest CPU but in use is plenty fast and isn’t too hard on the R11s’s generous 3,205mAh battery. This saw it delivering a day’s use with medium to heavy use. The real win here is Oppo’s VOOC fast charging technology. It gives two hours talking time from a mere five minutes charging. This has saved my bacon more often than I can count.

Another useful addition is a 3.5mm headphone socket. This was never a big deal until Apple killed theirs off. The Oppo allows you to use all your ear gear, be they wired or Bluetooth.

Speaking of inclusions, there are some notable absences. There’s no NFC and the R11s isn’t water and dust proof. Neither are show stoppers, but their addition would have made the R11s hard to go past.

Oppo’s ColorOS is both a blatant IOS knock-off and a real pleasure to use. It takes the good bits of IOS (intuitive design) and marries it with Android. The upshot of this marriage is real functionality and customisability. I also love that Oppo took the time to include copies of most IOS apps with the R11s. How they’ve not gotten into a legal stouch with Apple’s legal team is curious.

Oppo also win big brownie points by including a screen protector (already applied) and a silicon case (in the box). It gives the phone protection from drops and scratches and saves buyers a few bucks. I wish other phone makers would follow suite.

One feature Oppo has over other flagship phone makers is its fingerprint reader. It is one of the fastest and most accurate I’ve used. The R11s’s all-screen design means Oppo has had to move the fingerprint scanner around to the back. I prefer this arrangement. The sensor sits where my index finger usually is, which makes for a seamless (and quick) unlock.

In a first for Oppo, they’ve also included a facial recognition unlock. Using it with the sun at your back outdoors will flummox it, but when it works, it’s seamless and fast. As cool a feature as it is, the R11s only has a single front camera. There’s no depth scanning so face recognition should in theory be able to be circumvented using a photo.

The R11s delivers a lot and manages to cram it all into a very sophisticated package. From a near bezel free screen to a slim alloy body the R11s has plenty of design chops. Add to this its IOS inspired interface and generous spec and you get a whole lot of phone for not very much money.

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