We had been pretty impressed with the Oppo F1, which the company had called the Selfie Expert. And it does seem to have spawned a few sequels. We first had the T20 World Cup edition of the device, which was similar to the original but had the tournament logo engraved on its back. And now we have its bigger cousin, the rather appropriately named Oppo F1 Plus in the market.
First things first – don’t get intimidated by the ‘plus’ moniker, for while the F1 Plus is a larger and much better specced device than the F1, it still manages to stay relatively compact. Yes, it sports a 5.5-inch display as compared to the 5.0-inch one on the F1, but at 151.8 mm in length, it is well below the 158.1 mm long iPhone 6S Plus and exactly equal to another compact customer, the OnePlus 2. It is also surprisingly thin at a mere 6.6 mm, well below that of the 7.3 mm F1, and while it is wider than the F1 (74.3 mm to 71 mm), its weight of 145 grammes is definitely on the lower side for a device with a 5.5 inch display and metal body.
From a distance, the F1 and F1 Plus seem to be cut from the same design cloth – a front dominated by the display, with three buttons underneath, and the ‘selfie expert’ cameras above and a metal back housing the camera. The sides too seem relatively similar – volume buttons on the right, display/power button and SIM card tray on the left. A closer look, however, reveals significant differences. For one, the ‘feel’ of the F1 Plus is very different from the F1 – it has a more curve-y feeling to it with the back curving out right from the display, compared to the slightly straighter sides of the F1. It might make it a bit more slippery, but it also feels better in the hand. The F1 Plus also has a metal rimmed home button, which also doubles up as a fingerprint scanner. And while the lower part of the F1 had just the micro USB port, the F1 Plus houses a speaker grille, micro USB sport as well as a 3.5 mm audio jack in the same region. The top of the F1 Plus is bare – the F1 had a 3.5 mm audio jack.
When looked at closely, the back also is different – the F1 Plus has white bands on the top and on the lower part, and its camera is circular, while the F1 had a square one. Finally, there is the matter of the speaker grille – right on the base of the F1 Plus, whereas it was on the back of the F1. All said and done, the two bands at the top and the base and the circular camera do give the F1 Plus a very “I saw this in a phone from Cupertino” feel but that is hardly a bad thing, as the F1 Plus is actually more compact than that worthy, and the gold model we got was definitely quite a looker.
The real difference between the F1 and F1 Plus is, however, in terms of innards. While the F1 had a slightly mid-segment feel to it with its 720p HD LCD display and was powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor with 3 GB of RAM, the F1 Plus’ 5.5 inch display is a full HD AMOLED one and powering it is a MediaTek Helio P10 processor, with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of onboard storage. And then there is the little matter of the camera.
The F1 had been touted as a “Selfie Expert” and came with a 8.0-megapixel front facing camera. The F1 Plus ups the ante signficantly – doubling the megapixel count to a massive 16, making it on paper the most megapixel-endowed front facing camera in the market from a leading brand. Oppo claims that the sensor was made specially for the phone and can pick up up to four times the light as compared to other selfie cameras. Also in the mix is a new Beautify 4.0 camera app for those who like to tweak selfies digitally and a number of shooting modes, as well as the option to use the screen as a flash for selfies. In fact, the selfie camera pretty much overshadows the 13.0-megapixel rear facing one, fair enough you would say in a device that claims to be a more powerful version of the original selfie expert.
Top that off with a new version of Oppo’s Color UI – Color OS 3.0 as compared to Color OS 2.1 on the F1 (although both are based on Android 5.1) – and the F1 Plus emerges as a very different beast as compared to the F1, notwithstanding the similarity in design and nomenclature. It is also a more expensive one at Rs 26,990, which puts it right into the range of the likes of the OnePlus 2 and the Moto X Style. Where it trumps those two worthies is in the selfie department, but is that going to be enough to justify that price tag? Stay tuned for a review. As of now, we can tell you that the F1 Plus adds some serious software and hardware muscle to the original selfie expert, and that too in a compact and well designed frame. Now to discover whether those additions are worth the hike in price!