Before the Oppo R9S was released we had managed to learn it will come with a 16MP front camera at aperture of f/1.7. To prove this the manufacturer sent out invitations in a unique way. The phone was expected to launch on October 19 at a special conference. And it happened. You should remember this date, because I believe it will become a historical day for this company. It’s still unknown how many units of this phone will be sold but the beginning is promising. According to official research, the manufacturer has sold up to 3 million units in January, 2017. But this is not the limit, and it’s going to showcase better results. My convenience is based on an anticipated announcement made by the smartphone maker. Those statements made me to come in with an Oppo R9S in-depth review.
If you still don’t get what I am talking about, there were only two color options for the Oppo R9S – gold and rose gold. But as you guess, these are feminine colors. On one hand, it’s quite reasonable. I mean the Oppo R9S is considered as a selfie-focused smartphone. Therefore, it will be acquired by females mostly. But on the other hand, it’s the era of the selfie. Thus everyone takes selfies. This made the company to come in with two more colors. On January 3, Oppo announced the R9S special edition release. It was a glossy red variant of the phone with an astonishing look. A bit later we saw the matte black as well. These two models hint this smartphone is really popular nowadays. So we decided to take a closer look at the Oppo R9S.
Oppo R9S Key Features
- Screen: 5.5 inches at 1920 × 1080 pixels resolution and 400PPI, LCD
- CPU: Snapdragon 625
- GPU: Adreno ™ 506 GPU
- RAM: 4GB
- Internal memory: 64GB
- Rear camera: 16MP at f/1.7 aperture
- Front camera: 16MP
- Battery capacity: 3010mAh with 5V / 4A VOOC fast charge technology
- Connectivity: dual-SIM standby supporting 4G
- System: ColorOS 3.0 (based on Android 6.0.1 custom development)
- Dimensions: 153×74.3×6.58mm
- Weight: 145g
The Oppo R9S specs list may not tell anything about the improvements the company has made in comparison to the original R9. So I think it’s better to introduce an Oppo R9 and R9S comparison table.
Now, looking at the table above we can clearly see the only ‘step back’ is the technology the screen comes at. But there is a list of improvements including a better processor, larger battery, better front camera, higher Android version, thinner body, and myriads of special features. But it is one thing to bring newer hardware and software features to the phone, and quite another to provide good performance. As for the Oppo R9S, we have no doubts. But it’s better to check it out one more time.
Oppo R9S Design Review
5-inch smartphones are considered as gold size devices for single-hand operations. The Oppo R9S sports a 5.5-inch display, but it is still great in terms of ergonomics. Thanks to a metal housing 2 times passed sandblasting processes gives a good feeling of a high-end phone when holding in hand. Moreover, it weighs only 145 grams and its thickness is 6.58 mm. So we are dealing with a very thin model, which not only looks great but also is very comfortable to use.
In comparison to the Oppo R9 this phone comes with more rounded corners for better ergonomics. The all-metal body and the 2.5D arc glass hint the Oppo R9S doesn’t scare any dangers.
The front of the phone carries a 16MP camera with f/2.0 aperture, proximity sensor and the speaker. Below this set we can see the 5.5-inch display. Those who are familiar with Oppo’s R line handsets, know they always come with AMOLED screens. The Oppo R9 was no exception. Recently Oppo has switched to Japanese JDI, that’s why the R9S is packed with a LCD display. As for the borders, they are very narrow. It is only 1.66mm including the screen bezels.
The previous-gen model came with a fingerprint scanner unlocking the phone in 0.2s. The Oppo R9S comes with a solid-state touch fingerprint recognition technology with improved unlocking speed. The advantages of solid-state touch fingerprint recognition design compared to traditional solid key fingerprint identification design are obvious. It is used not only in this phone but in the iPhone 7. Thanks to the new hydrophobic membrane technology the fingerprint recognition rat is enhanced.
The back of the phone is identical to the iPhone. The rear camera paired with the LED flash is located on the upper left side. Oppo’s logo is in the middle. And the bottom of the back panel carries some info on where this model has been designed. Apart of this, there are two three-line ribbons. I know many customers don’t like them, but they are not made for better appearance. As the phone is completely made of metal, the antenna signal doesn’t pass well through this material. So those ribbons are made for better antenna signal. At last, this new micro-slot antenna technology give more solid look to the rear panel. I mean you won’t see different colors in different lightning conditions. So that the proportion of body metal increased to 98.8%. Thus the whole panel is made of one piece of metal. Oppo has granted this patent. Besides these changes that mainly affect the appearance, Oppo has made a few optimizations inside the antenna as well as WiFi amplifier.
As for sides, the Oppo R9S comes with a speaker, microUSB port, microphone hold and 3.5mm audio jack on the bottom.
Other than that, the dual-SIM card slot and unlock button are on the right.
And the volume rocker is on the right.
The top side carries only a microphone hole.
As you see, one card slot is made for nano SIM cards, but the second one can be used either for micro SIM cards or for SD card expansion supporting up to 128GB. The first of them supports full 4G network, but the second one is 2G-enabled only. The Oppo R9S supports LTE Cat.7 standard that means you can theoretically reach a download speed of 300mbps. Finally, it also comes with built-in VoLTE modem to improve call delay as well as using internet for making calls.
Oppo R9S Rose Gold Gallery
Oppo R9S Matte Black Gallery
Oppo R9S Red Gallery
Oppo R9S Camera Review
The camera is Oppo R9S’ selling point, undoubtedly. For the first time, the manufacturer packed its product with an IMX398 sensor jointly made with Sony. It uses a new dual-core focusing technology, which means each pixel area is increased by 100% as well as there is an improved average focus speed. The rear camera sensor also uses f/1.7 aperture, which means this feature has been improved by 60% in comparison to f/2.2 aperture popular in the market.
As you can see, a pixel is composed of two complete pixels. As for PDAF, a pixel is made of ½ area of two pixels. For more clearance let’s apply the binocular vision – ordinary PDAF focus uses pictures get from left and right eyes to combine in one. Thus each eyes does the half of the job. As for dual-core autofocus technology, it takes full pictures from two eyes and combines them into one. Therefore, the photo quality can be increased by 100%.
The Oppo R9S comes with an f/1.7 large aperture. The larger an aperture is the more light passes through the sensor. That’s why this device captures brighter and more vivid photos.
The camera app has no major changes in comparison to the original R9. Thus you can still find real-time Beauty mode, which will smooth out your skin and remove any blemishes.
Pegasus, the front camera of the Oppo R9S come with a 16MP sensor too. But what’s more amazing it also supports Beauty 4.0 feature with its two ‘front background blur’ and ‘front HDR’ self-timer functions.
Oppo R9S Sample Photos
Oppo R9S Hardware Review
The Oppo R9S sports a Snapdragon 625 octa-core processor clocked at 2.0GHz. It’s paired with an Adreno 506 GPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of ROM. Many users have been disappointed of the Snapdragon 615 processor. So I guess you think this model will give you up as well. Fortunately, it’s not so. Thanks to 4 new Qualcomm chips from 600 series saved the company. The Snapdragon 617, 625, 650 / 652 were announced at the same time. All the devices packed with them showed great performance. The Snapdragon 625 first appeared on the Samsung C7 and Huawei Maimang 5. So we can write down it’s a quite popular chip among mid-range smartphones.
Read: Xiaomi Redmi Note 4X Review: The Cheapest SND625 Phone
The Snapdragon 625 is the first octa-core processor running on 14nm process technology. All 8 cores are clocked at 2.0GHz. It is great in terms of power saving – the power consumption is improved by 35% in comparison to the Snapdragon 617.
However, I guess many of you may not be interested in details – they look for test results. Here they are:
As you can see from the screenshots above, in comparison to the Oppo R9S’ MediaTek P10 this processor has improved the overall performance by 10%-20%, while the graphics performance was improved by 81%.
ColorOS 3.0 Quick Look
No smartphone maker can pretend for higher ranking without its own customized UI. Say, one of the best systems in China is considered to be Xiaomi’s MIUI. But this doesn’t mean other manufacturers sit and do nothing. I can’t say whether ColorOS 3.0 is as popular as MIUI and Emotion UI, but it provides light and fast performance. The system is based on Android 6.0.1.
The unlocking is performed via swiping from down to up.
The notification bar is opened in regular way. But unlike other OS it comes in a semi-transparent background.
The multi-task bar looks like an iOS. But as the RAM is only 4GB you have to close unused apps not to be killed automatically.
Oppo R9S Battery Review
Though 4000mAh battery capacity has become a standard for 2016, Oppo decoded to pack its smartphone with a smaller battery of 3010mAh capacity. However, it’s a bit larger than the original R9. To find out how this upgrade can affect the battery life we tested it. The latter consists of 5 phases: 3D gaming, online video playback, social networking, calling and listening music. Each phase lasts 30 minutes. Thereafter we can see how much each process drains. The difference between the Oppo R9S and R9 is not big but tangible.
As for charging, VOOC technology has an interesting slogan that speaks for itself – ‘charge five minutes to call for hours’. But this is not surprising, as Oppo’s VOOC is a super-fast 15-minute flash charge technology that has become very popular in the globe. Below is the test result showing the Oppo R9S can be fully charged in 60 minutes.
- All-metal design with micro-slot antenna technology
- 16MP cameras on rear and front made jointly with Sony
- VOOV flash charge technology
- Customized OS providing fast and light experience
- 4G LTE connectivity support
- Newer and faster fingerprint identification
- Good color options
- Snapdragon 625 processor
- 3010mAh battery
The final words
Many can’t notice any real improvements on the Oppo R9S in comparison to the original R9. But to understand the evolution of R series handsets we should compare the Oppo R7 with the R9, and R9 with the R9S. On the other hand, the Oppo R9S is an upgraded version of the R9. Therefore, there shouldn’t be many major changes. Other than that, Oppo decided to rescue and launched two new color options that gave a second breath to this phone. So we predicts the number of sold units will be doubled this year.