OPPO released quite a few selfie-focused devices in 2016. We had reviewed the F1 Plus and F1s, which are decent devices with great selfie cameras. Before the R9s was launched, the company stated that 2017 is the year of mobile photography, selfie isn’t the trend anymore. Anyway, today we are going to review the OPPO R9s, which is the successor of the F1 Plus. In case you didn’t know, the F1 Plus is actually the R9 in certain regions.
Same Design with Small Improvements
Just like the iPhone lineup, when there’s an ‘s’ behind the model name, it means that the improvements are minor. The R9s looks pretty much the same as the F1 Plus if you don’t look closely. There’s a 2.5D curved Corning Gorilla Glass 5 covering the 5.5-inch display on the front, with a pretty narrow bezel at just 1.66mm.
The phone features a metal unibody design with redesigned antenna lines, 3 on the top and 3 below. Each antenna line measures at only 0.3mm thin. The camera bump is still there but so far there aren’t any scratches yet.
Conclusion: OPPO hasn’t changed much of the R9s design. The volume rocker is still on the left side, the power button on the right, and the bottom houses the speaker, MicroUSB port, and a 3.5mm audio jack. I have no complaint about its design, but there’s one thing — no USB Type-C port, we will talk about it later.
Same AMOLED Display
The R9s has the same 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display, which indeed is a good choice. Its AMOLED display has pretty deep black and the colors have a nice amount of contrast and saturation.
Conclusion: Overall, I’m pleased that OPPO decided to stick with the AMOLED display as it offers the best viewing experience I can say so far.
A Smart Move to Snapdragon 625 SoC
If you read my review of the F1 Plus, I did mention that I’m a little bit disappointed when I first discovered the device is powered by a MediaTek processor. Thankfully, the OPPO R9s is now powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor, which uses 14nm FinFET technology.
The performance of the R9s is good to handle daily tasks as well as playing some games. The device is good in multitasking thanks to its 4GB RAM, and the 64GB internal storage is more than enough for me.
The home button below the display also doubles up as a fingerprint sensor and it isn’t clickable this time. I would say that its fingerprint sensor is even faster than the F1 Plus because you don’t need to press the button anymore, just touch it and it’ll unlock.
Conclusion: OPPO made a right decision for switching to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor. It’s a good processor and power efficient as well, we’ll talk about its battery life later. The home button isn’t clickable anymore, which needs some time to get used with. It’s one of the fastest ones right now available in the market.
ColorOS Gets Slightly Better
The R9s is still running on ColorOS 3.0 like the F1 Plus, but it is now based on Android Marshmallow. As usual, the software doesn’t have an app drawer and there aren’t many widgets available.
The overall user experience is pretty same as the F1 Plus, which means the settings for all the stock apps can only be found within the main settings menu on the phone.
One thing I really don’t like about ColorOS 3.0 is when you swipe down the notification bar, it will show those quick settings first. Even if you have received notifications, it will still show the page with quick settings first. You have to swipe to the right to see all your notifications, which is something I found not necessary.
Conclusion: The software experience is pretty much the same as the F1 Plus besides adding a few Android Marshmallow features like Google Now on Tap and managing app permissions individually.
An Improved 16MP Rear Camera
As I mentioned in the beginning, 2017 is the year of mobile photography, selfie isn’t the trend anymore. The main selling point of the OPPO R9s is its improved 16MP Sony IMX398 rear shooter with f/1.7 aperture lens and dual PDAF tech. With dual PDAF technology, the R9s camera now has a faster focusing speed compared to its predecessor.
The camera interface remains the same and it still looks like the iPhone one. OPPO did swap the positions of the camera mode button and camera switch button, but it’s still pretty much the same.
In terms of image quality, the OPPO R9s performs quite well especially when you are taking some macro shots. The device is able to capture photos with shallow depth of field, which creates a nice bokeh effect. Images under the broad daylight have a good amount of detail with low noise level. However, the device struggles quite a bit under the low-light conditions, which is quite common for a smartphone without OIS.
Conclusion: The OPPO R9s is able to capture nice photos, especially the macro shots. However, keep in mind that it tends to capture photos with softer details at the edges of the photos. There are nothing much to complain as we all know smartphones nowadays all have a pretty decent camera.
VOOC Flash Charge, the Fastest Charging Solution
The OPPO R9s packs a bigger 3,010mAh battery this time around, which features VOOC Flash Charge technology. The reason why the R9s still not having a USB Type-C port is because OPPO hasn’t launched the new VOOC Flash Charge solution with USB Type-C cable. Well, it’s kinda disappointing but I’ll live with it as VOOC Flash Charge is seriously the fastest charging solution ever. It took me just 68 minutes to charge the battery from 20% to full, that’s really impressive!
Battery life wise, I was able to get through a day easily with around 4 and a half of screen-on-time.
Conclusion: Fast charging and solid battery life, that’s a win-win situation!
Pricing and Availability
Surprisingly, the OPPO R9s is priced slightly lower than when the F1 Plus was launched. The device is now available in Malaysia at the price of
RM1,798 RM1,828, in two colors: Gold and Rose Gold. The device can be purchased at all OPPO Concept Stores and OPPO Official Website. You can also purchase the device at Lazada Malaysia as well.
The OPPO R9s is currently the best phone yet from the company, I know I said it before in the F1 Plus review. Even though it seems pretty much the same as the F1 Plus, the company basically improved everything with the R9s. It has a better design, a faster performance, and an improved camera, which are the important factors for the consumers to buy a phone. If you are a selfie lover, the R9s still has the same awesome selfie camera from the F1 Plus. The fingerprint sensor is still one of the fastest ones I’ve ever used and the VOOC Flash Charge feature is the fastest charging solution ever. However, I really hope OPPO can work hard on improving ColorOS as well. It’s not bad, but I’m hoping for more. Instead of “Now, It’s Clear”, I’d say: “Now, It’s Better”.
- Improved performance
- Improved camera
- Fastest charging speed ever
- Identical old design
- ColorOS needs improvements
- No USB Type-C