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Hands on: Oppo R9s Plus

February 23rd, 2017 | by Wilson Wong
Hands on: Oppo R9s Plus
Cellphones
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Oppo R9s Plus launch in Singapore. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

I’ll always remember Oppo in its early days as a mobile phone brand that could think out of the box – its N1 rotating camera was one such innovation. Thus when I saw the Chinese phone maker’s latest R9s Plus on Wednesday, I was quite intrigued of its progress. 

It certainly ticks all the right boxes when it comes to specifications. It has got Qualcomm’s Snapdragron 653 as its engine, coupled with a whopping 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage space with the option to increase it to 256GB using a microSD card.

Like its competitors, the R9s Plus lets offers the choice of utilising two USIM cards or a single USIM with a microSD card.

Screen-wise, it comes with a Full HD 6-inch AMOLED screen with 16 million colours. I am also happy to say that the phone has retained a 3.5mm audio jack for those who are still not keen users of Bluetooth headsets.

The Oppo R9s Plus next to an Apple iPhone. The camera placement is very similar. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

The Oppo R9s Plus is basically a selfie addict’s tool of choice. Both the front and rear facing cameras spot 16-megapixel sensors that would have enough pixels to render your pimples easily. Of course, that can be removed via the phone’s own “beautification” app.

I am also happy that the phone comes with a handy 4,000mAh battery. My past experience with the Huawei Mate 9’s big-capacity battery, also offering 4,000mAh, tells me this is a good addition to the hardware.

After all, the Huawei phone lasted me entire days with no issue at all, and is a welcome change from lugging a power bank around.

Oppo R9s Plus launch in Singapore. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

From my brief hands-on test today, I can say the Oppo phone works nicely out of the box. No, it is not using a top-of-the-line Snapdragon chip but this is mitigated by the use of a hefty 6GB RAM to ensure things zips around pretty smoothly.

As an avid snapper I can only say the pictures taken with the phone are good but not really outstanding. I find that camera tends to have a more pinkish hue.

It reminds me of some Canon cameras that create a more pleasing skin tone especially for fair skinned subjects. Yet for subjects with darker skin tones, it will not be as suitable. Do test the phone out at a shop to see if it suits you.

At the same time, those who want a bit more control of the camera might find the R9s Plus not offering much in that department.

For example, I would love direct control over the white balance, shutter speed and exposure value compensation settings that photographers appreciate.

If I am a user who just wants to point and shoot, the new Oppo phone might do well enough. However, even then, there may be times I wish I can do a bit more with my photos.

Image taken on an Oppo R9s Plus. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

Image taken on an Oppo R9s Plus. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

Image taken on an Oppo R9s Plus. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

Image taken on an Oppo R9s Plus. PHOTO: Wilson Wong

In an indoor environment, such as a restaurant, the auto white balance will often render the yellow cast from a halogen lamp into white and lose the romantic atmosphere. I wish I can do a quick custom white balance to correct the image.

And for a phone that supposed to be designed for selfies, the lack of a front-firing dual tone LED flash is conspicuously missing.

The Oppo R9s Plus is unremarkable in the aesthetics as well. I might mistake the Oppo phone for an Apple iPhone if it is facing upwards on the table.

To be fair, a slate-based phone is not going to allow designers to do much in the looks department but at Oppo should at least make more effort to be different from the iPhone

Would I pay S$779 for the R9s Plus? It’s an easy phone to use and the design is agreeable though it may not stand out easily in a crowded shopfront. I’m still searching for a blockbuster feature that makes a buyer pick this phone up over the next.

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