Australian Review: OPPO R9s - Iteration

Australian Review: OPPO R9s - Iteration

OPPO’s latest device in their lineup, the R9s, is no deviation from their formula. It’s a solidly built, well priced phone that sports features normally only found on flagship models from better known manufacturers. Despite the low price, “cheap” is not a great word for the R9s - “great value” fits a bit better.

Externally, there’s very few differences between the R9 and R9s. The most noticeable difference is the home button, which has become capacitive like the button on the iPhone 7. The rear of the phone reveals other differences - there’s more (but thinner) antenna lines which provide a unique pinstriped look. Under the hood, there’s a new processor, a higher capacity battery and a better rear camera, but perhaps the most important difference is that the new phone runs Android 6.0.

As is to be expected from OPPO, the build quality is second to none - the R9s feels extremely well made and solid. The buttons have a positive click to them, except the new fangled capacitive home button. There’s a slightly noticeable edge between the glass front and aluminium back, which is slightly sharp.

The R9s’ 5.5-inch screen is vivid and bright, with excellent viewing angles, although it can be slightly difficult to read in bright sunlight and is prone to glare and reflections.

The fingerprint reader is very fast, unlocking the phone just as soon as you press your finger onto the button. It’s a shame the excellent reader can’t be used for Android Pay, as the R9s does not support NFC.

Battery life on the R9s is excellent, it lasts several days through light usage and should comfortably give even heavy users around 2 days before needing a charge. Thanks to OPPO’s fast charging system, it won’t take long to top it up either - previous phones like the R9 using this system can go from flat to 70% in under 30 minutes.

The new processor provides plenty of power for most applications, but 3D applications can suffer from framerate drops. It depends what you want to run, but for most games I found the performance acceptable.

OPPO's Android overlay, ColorOS, has typically been a sticking point for me on OPPO’s phones, and it’s no different on the new phone. Several app skins and non-removable apps are the name of the game, and most look more than a little like they’re borrowing from Apple. Overall there’s quite a few annoyances; the lack of an app drawer, intrusive notifications from preinstalled apps (I’m looking at you, Security Center) and confusing interfaces that are difficult to navigate at first.

The cameras are an improvement over previous OPPO phones, with the front-facing camera being particularly impressive. The R9s can take detailed photos in good lighting, but at night the camera suffers significantly. Low light photos end up noisy, and the camera has trouble distinguishing lit areas from unlit areas, producing washed out details. The low shutter speed at night also causes significant blur unless your hands are rock steady.

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Selling for AUD$598 with 64GB of storage, the OPPO R9s is a great deal, but it’s slightly difficult to recommend over the significantly cheaper F1s if you don’t need the extra bells and whistles, such as the better camera or the horsepower. Vanilla Android would push this phone over the edge and make it an easily recommendable device over its competitors, but as it stands you’ll have to weigh up whether you can deal with the slightly odd operating system. If the operating system isn’t a problem, then you’re getting one of the best value-for-money phones on the market.

Cybershack Score - rating backgroundrating 4

Great valueColorOS can be annoying
Excellent build qualityNo NFC
Impressive battery lifeLow light camera performance is lacking

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