Hot on the heels of the F1 Plus and the F1 the latest revision of OPPO’s “Selfie Expert” arrives at a slightly more reasonable price than the F1 Plus with some of the features of that device transplanted on to it, but not all of them.
The most striking change to the F1s from the F1 is that the body now resembles the F1 Plus a lot more, although with the reorganisation of the speaker and rear-facing camera it looks more like an iPhone 6.
So much in fact that during my time with the review unit, a number of friends and colleagues mistook our rose gold unit as a 6 Plus, a feeling that is reinforced by the 5.5-inch (HD 720p) screen and the ColorOS 3.0 operating system that OPPO layers on top of Android 5.1. As with the F1, this coat of paint on the operating system removes the app drawer, and gives the phone an iOS vibe. As an iPhone user personally, I didn’t notice this too much, but fans of Android may find it annoying.
Of the improvements made to the F1s over its predecessors, the best is probably the revamp of its SIM tray, with the F1s now supporting the installation of two Nano SIM cards in addition to a Micro SD card, up to 256GB (the F1 & F1 Plus could only support two Nano SIMs or a single Nano SIM and a micro SD card).
On-board memory has also seen an upgrade from the 16GB of the F1 to 32GB, half way to the 64GB of the F1 Plus. The F1s also sports the same blistering fast fingerprint scanner from the F1 Plus, and different fingers can be used to unlock different apps.
The cameras on the F1s are the same as those on the F1 Plus with a 13MP f/2.2 main camera and a 16MP f/2.0 front-facing or “selfie” camera. It also supports OPPO’s “Beautify 4.0” software, which at its most extreme smoothes out wrinkles and blemishes to the point that the subject can photo resemble some sort of plastic skinned android.
The camera also features a number of built-in filters with the comprehensible “Fresh” or “Mono” mixed in with the slightly more puzzling “Elegant”, “British” and “Tokyo”. Fans of selfies will no doubt to tweak these settings to achieve the optimum output but in this day and age shouldn’t a “selfie expert” be handling more for you, automatically?
Otherwise, photo quality mostly acceptable. Neither camera can handle huge variations in light, but for the most part, the results for night time and concert photography was acceptable. After that, however, it’s mostly downhill.
At 3GB RAM, the F1s has one gigabyte less RAM than the F1 Plus and it performs lower than the F1 Plus in benchmarking tests. Running on a Mediatek MT6750 octa-core processor, it still runs relatively smoothly but long loads are to be expected with more demanding games and apps.
Battery life was, for the most part, acceptable, with the F1s having no problem with a full day of heavy usage of social media, photography and acting as a Wi-Fi personal hotspot. However, probably the most missed of the F1 Plus’ features is the VOOC Flash Charger that does 0-100% in just an hour. Without this feature, the F1s took almost 3 hours to recharge its 3,075mAh battery fully.
As Rory mentioned in his review of the F1 Plus: “with a price tag of RM1,898, I think that it[The F1 Plus] is as overpriced as the original F1 when that first came out….. I can’t shake the feeling that OPPO has fallen into the same mental trap that stems from the very human nature their new smartphone promotes — vanity. Sure, they’re confident that they’ve built a pretty good product (because they have), but in their hubris, have overvalued what their device and brand is worth.”
While the F1s partially addresses these concerns by selling at a slightly more reasonable RM1,198, you get a lot less bang for your buck as it still suffers being a defiantly mid-level phone. A bump in the camera specs or the inclusion of VOOC might have sweetened the deal, but without them, the “s” in the F1s is more of a sidestep than an upgrade.