We’ve finally got some alone time with the Oppo’s hot new mid-range F9. Right off the bat, we’ve got to say, what’s considered to be a mid-range smartphone these days is truly impressive.
Let’s get the spec sheet out of the way first:
- SoC: Mediatek Mt6771 Helio P60 (Octa-core 4 Cortex-A73 @2.0 GHz + 4 Cortex A53 @2.0 GHz)
- Memory & Storage: 6 GB RAM & 64 GB internal storage
- OS: Android 8.1 Oreo with ColorOS V5.2
- Display: 6.3-inch 1080×2340 IPS LCD all-screen display (Gorilla Glass 6)
- Body: Plastic material (Colors: Sunrise Red/ Starry Purple/ Twilight Blue)
- Rear: 16 MP f/1.8 main camera + 2 MP f/2.4 depth sensor
- Front: 25 MP f/2.0
- Audio: Single bottom-firing speaker, 3.5mm audio jack
- Battery: 3,500 mAh with VOOC Flash Charge (20W) via microUSB
- Security: rear-mounted fingerprint reader
Oppo has definitely ticked the right boxes, because aside from the decision to go with microUSB instead of a reversible USB Type-C port, the F9 has quite the feature set.
The first thing you’ll notice about the F9 is the eye-catching all-screen display. Even at 6.3 inches at 1080p, it’s still hitting above 400 pixels per inch. As a result, texts and images are sharp and thanks to the all-screen design, movie watching is an immersive experience. Also, kudos to Oppo for making the gap between the Gorilla Glass 6 and the display itself almost non-existent.
While the IPS panel used on the F9 still does a good job with color accuracy, at default settings there’s still a hint of bluish tint. You can play around with the display settings, but you can only move the slider between warm and cold color temperatures.
By the way, for those wondering about the notch, there is an option to ‘crop’ individual apps so that they have a flat top edge, instead of letting the app use the space where the notch is going to intrude.
We ran the AnTuTu benchmarking tool to see how the Mediatek Helio P60 octa-core performs, and the result speaks for itself:
The F9 lands somwhere in the middle of the current range of smartphones, as we’ve come to expect. That’s by no means sluggish, so you no longer have to reach deep into your pockets for a smooth Android experience.
To demonstrate, here’s some in-game footage of our attempt at playing a popular mobile MOBA, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, captured using Oppo’s built-in screen recorder.
Gameplay was very smooth even when the visual settings cranked up. While there were times when the framerate would drop (strangely during menu animations), keep in mind that we also had screen-recording turned on, which might’ve slightly affected performance.
Overall, the Oppo F9 had no trouble delivering an over-all smooth gaming experience.
The Oppo F9’s camera was a joy to use. Oppo’s camera app has a lot of features aside from the normal image and video capture such as slow-motion video, portrait mode, time-lapse, and stickers.
We didn’t have time to examine each mode in great detail, but given the not-so ideal lighting conditions we were in, the Oppo F9 did a decent job with close-up shots of given subjects, although it must be said that images the 16 MP shooter takes are still soft and not as sharp compared to the OnePlus 3 we had on hand, which also has a 16 MP rear camera.
The contrast also needs some tweaking, as you can see the white paper cup blending in with the light brown tissue, which the OnePlus 3 had no problem differentiating. Using the on-board AI does help adjust the color to make it a bit punchier, but we wish it didn’t have to resort to this because it’s often a hit-and-miss experience letting the AI decide.
But the thing that we did note about the rear camera was how stable it was. If we didn’t double check if it had OIS (and it doesn’t, it only has EIS), we would have assumed that it does. Good news for folks with shaky hands like some of us. This resulted in the two, almost blur-free, photos shot below.
The HDR mode also does a good job of leveling out the luminosity of the image, although it did make the overall scene a bit darker.
The selfie camera’s 25 MP captures a lot of detail. Perfect for those who like to take group photos where there’s always those people in the far end who usually end up getting blurred and indistinguishable.
But again, Oppo’s beautification settings might be a tad too much as it tends to unrealistically smooth out people’s skin. It’s best turned off, if we’re honest.
Video capture isn’t bad, but the F9 fails to capture a lot of detail even at 1080p. This results in a somewhat cartoon-ish or water-colored look.
The Oppo F9 currently retails at Php 17,990, and for that you get a silicon case, a USB charger and a pair of earphones. That’s quite a lot of money for a mid-range phone.
Nonetheless, we’re definitely glad to see features, such as dual rear cameras, all-screen displays, and fast charging, previously exclusive to top-tier flagship phones, finally trickle down to a more affordable price.
We’re excited to get our hands on the Oppo F9’s two main rivals: the upcoming Vivo V11, and the Huawei Nova 3i. It will be an interesting battle between these three, so stay tuned for that.