OPPO is one of the well known Chinese smartphone makers especially in the premium segment and they recently celebrated two years of operations in India. They have been fairly aggressive in terms of opening exclusive retail stores in most of the major cities in India, and there are instances where they’ve extended this to the tier-2 cities as well, bold steps these. While most of their phones have been on the premium side with loaded specs, design and build, OPPO seems to be diving into the notion of making phones with one primary area that they will focus on. And in doing this they’ve launched the OPPO F1, which will be the first in its series which will be catering to the selfie frenzy folks.

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Handy phones have become a rarity and we cannot tell you how glad we are to hold a phone that fits well and easy into one’s hands, is light and well designed. Coming at 7.3mm thickness and 134 gms in weight, the F1 is certainly not amongst the slimmest, but thanks to the double chamfered edges and slightly curved front & back with a rounded frame that goes all around, the phone is a pleasure to hold. Dull glossy finish on the rounded off frame and shiny chamfering edges give it a nice appeal. The golden color gives the white colored front of the phone a good contrast.

Onto the right is the power button positioned perfectly for the thumb to operate on it during a single handed usage, along with the dual sim (4G LTE) hybrid tray that can take upto 128GB of external memory. On the top is a 3.5mm audio jack. Onto the left is a pair of integrated volume rocker again positioned perfectly for the index finger to operate during single handed usage. The bottom portion holds the micro USB port and a mic. On the back sits a 13MP camera with f/2.2 aperture, PDAF and a single LED flash which is quite powerful in or opinion. The branding comes right below the camera and towards the bottom is the three slotted spear grille – a unique design when it comes to the cut out. On the front is the trio of capacitive buttons that are not backlit but are rather very shiny making it a tad easier to tell of their location. On the top is the 8MP camera with f/2.0 aperture and a proximity sensor.

The display is a 5-inch IPS HD LCD one packing around 294 pixels per inch and has Gorilla Glass 4 protection. Somehow this screen – even at its maximum brightness – is just average. When OPPO is shooting for a phone centred around camera and pictures, the screen should be popping out colors as one views the clicks they’ve taken. It ain’t bad by any means, but don’t expect the F1’s display to blow you mind away. Thankfully it comes with the vibrant Color OS 2.1 built off Android Lollipop 5.1 and it splashes colors all around the screen with its icons and imagery. Though there were no issues with the OS overall, it certainly is not butter smooth. The transitions are a tad slow when compared with other thick skinned UIs like Xiaomi’s MIUI or Gionee’s Amigo UI.

Powering the phone from under the hood is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 616 Octacore processor clocked at 1.7GHZ with Adreno 405 GPU. With 3GB of RAM, the F1 should allow for some good gaming and decent amount of multitasking as well. We had no issues in our usage so far but we will reserve our comments until later, when we get through our detailed testing. 16GB of internal memory is what you get and close to 6-7GB of it is available to the user. This comes as no surprise to us as this is what we’ve seen in most of the OPPO phones, thanks to the big fat Color OS. For those who are very particular of those benchmark numbers, the F1 scored 38K to 40K on the AnTuTu benchmarks, not bad. The phone is powered by a 2500 mAh battery and in our usage so far, the phone lasts for a day but we will bump up the load on the phone to see how it performs on heavy usage. More on this in our detailed review.

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The OPPO F1 is priced at Rs 15,999 and the closest competitors are the OnePlus X. Solid build, stylish and has an awesome front camera that does really well. It’s also a handy phone coming with a very good AMOLED screen and around the same battery capacity. Lenovo Vibe S1 and good old Xiaomi Mi4 will also be the phones to beat for OPPO F1. It will be a good battle between these phones for a stylish, handy phone with a good selfie camera around the 15K INR mark. OPPO claims the F1 to be a selfie expert, just hang in there until few days and we will return with our full review and confirm if that is indeed the case.

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GK aka CosmicPaladin is based out of Bangalore and is a gadget freak right from the day he owned the Nokia 3310 right on the day it was released! He has been using tons of handhelds from then on – witnessing the evolution of phones to smartphones and now wearables. He holds an engineering degree along with MBA and has over a decade of experience in building mobile and web enterprise apps.