Having only been in New Zealand for a year or so, Oppo is a relative newcomer to the local smartphone market. On a global scale though they are actually the 4th largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, largely driven by a massive presence in China. If you haven’t heard of Oppo then it’s getting to the point where you really should give them some attention especially when it comes to their new flagship the Oppo R11s.
Whereas previous Oppo devices have been very Apple-centric from Design through to the ColourOS operating system. The R11s is a complete redesign of the phone so it feels like a bigger upgrade (in design at least) than what you would expect from a phone sporting an “s” on the end of the model number. Oppo have moved the fingerprint scanner to the rear of the R11s which is my personal preference for fingerprint scanners. The benefit of the move means that Oppo has been able to keep the size of the device overall the same but have been able to increase the screen size to just a smidge over 6 inches. The R11s now has a massive amount of screen real estate but feels comfortable in the hand so using it one-handed isn’t going to require giant hands like say, an iPhone 8 Plus. Oppo have gone away from the iPhone clone design and instead come up with a design that is more akin to the Samsung S8 or Huawei Mate 10 Pro and that is a good thing.
Complementing that nice screen size is a Full HD+ display. It’s a nice bright display that shows off content very well. It may not be QHD or 4K but that isn’t holding the R11s back at all. What is on offer here is a vibrant screen that has a small bezel which makes consuming content be it videos, web browsing, mucking around in your apps or playing a few games. It is AMOLED after-all and has a pixel density of 401ppi so that would explain thee sharpness and clarity. Sitting behind that screen is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, a dedicated Adreno 512 GPU, 4GB RAM, 64GB of storage with support for MicroSD up to 256GB and an 3205mAh battery. ALl of that adds up to create a phone that is very speedy indeed. Getting between apps is quick and responsive (for the most part) and the fingerprint scanner is the fastest I’ve seen on a phone. The moment your finger touches that scanner your are in! The only real issue with apps I’ve discovered is with Facebook where for some reason the app will open but not load anything and requires the app to be shutdown and re-opened to work.
For those who don’t wanna use the fingerprint scanner the R11s also have facial recognition which can unlock the phone in a mere 0.08 seconds. It is accurate and easily the fastest facial unlock on the market today. That’s right folks it is FASTER than the iPhone X when it comes to facial recognition and unlocking your phone. The caveat is that Oppo does warn you that someone with similar features could unlock your device so I reckon stick to the fingerprint scanner which is also the fastest on the market and more secure.
Powering the R11s is Oppo’s own ColourOS 3.2 running Android 7.1 which is part of what creates those snappy response times. Android users may not find ColourOS the best Android based OS out there but having just come from using an iPhone I can appreciate that what Oppo is doing is creating a phone that runs as close to an iOS based software as possible. This decision is undoubtedly to make it easier to transition ex-iPhone uses over to the Android way of doing things whilst making the experience as familiar as possible. The design to ColourOS is so close that in some apps the layout is pretty much the same, particularly when it comes to stock standard camera app which is very much the iOS camera app.
Speaking of the camera app, the R11s features a dual-rear camera set-up that has 16MP f/1.7 and 20MP f/1.7 cameras. These work much like other dual-camera set-ups and are fantastic for creating portait photos that add a depth effect to your pictures. The cameras are well put together and create portrait photos that are just about on par with the iPhone’s portrait quality pictures so you aren’t going to be disappointed with the pictures that come out of the R11s. Even with general point and shoot pictures the R11s does a solid job taking pictures with a colour palette that brings the images to life without washing them out. For selfie lovers the front facing camera is 20MP and has a beauty mode so even an old bastard like me can look like a million bucks when taking a selfie and letting the R11s smooth over my wrinkles. Although it didn’t manage to get rid of the grey in my beard so I guess that is the dead giveaway that I’m no spring chicken!
When it comes to battery performance the R11s will get most users through a full day without any issues. If you are a heavy – very heavy user you may need a top-up sometime between mid-evening and going to bed but when you do get low on juice that’s where the R11s shines. The phone uses Oppo’s propriety VOOC charging system and that means you can go from dead to 75% in 30 minutes! You do need to use Oppo’s charger and cable to get such super fast charging but it will charge on any micro-USB charger it’ll just take longer.
The two biggest downsides to the R11s are that it isn’t waterpoof at all and it doesn’t have NFC. I’m a big fan of NFC and often use Android (or Apple) pay depending on which device I’m on so not having that is a real downer for me. I hope that when it comes to the Oppo R12 they finally throw in NFC biggest once you start using it you really miss it when its not there.
All in all the Oppo R11s is a fantastic handset. It may not be waterproof or have NFC but it is blisteringly fast, has a gorgeous screen and battery charging that is second to none. It is also only $799 NZD which makes it the cheapest flagship smartphone in New Zealand. I know here in New Zealand we only associate premium with smartphones that are $1,000 plus but trust me when I say that the Opps R11s is the best value for money flagship on the market today. It’s already gone back to the PR people and I’ve gotta say I miss the bloody thing!