Oppo N1 hands-on and first impressions (video and image gallery)

by: Bogdan PetrovanSeptember 26, 2013

Oppo N1 camera aa 6

The up and coming Chinese manufacturer Oppo has made a name for itself with the Find 5, a sleek piece of technology combining high-end specifications with a fresh take on Android.

With the newly launched N1, Oppo builds and extends on the foundation it laid with the Find 5. The device features great hardware, a unique swiveling camera, and a rear mounted touchpad. And, while the 5.9-inch device is impressive on its own, it has a special claim to fame: it’s the first smartphone to ship with CyanogenMod on board, the Android-based operating system developed by Cyanogen Inc.

Is the N1 worthy of your attention? These are our first impressions of the Oppo N1.

Design and build quality

There’s no way around it – the Oppo N1 is a massive smartphone that dwarfs all but a few of its competitors. We’re talking 213 grams in weight and 171 millimeters in length, close to the Mega 6.3 and even the Xperia Z Ultra. This really is a large device, and even people that love big phones may find it a bit unwieldy, though the inclusion of the rear mounted touchpad may facilitate, to an extent, one hand usage.

Oppo N1 aa 14

There aren’t many unnecessary touches on the Oppo N1, which looks and feels like a high-end device, thanks to its heft, solid build, and mate paint job. The slightly tapered back makes the phone feel a bit slimmer in hand than it actually is at 9 millimeters.

There’s an almost invisible touchpad on the back of the N1, located where your index finger would normally rest. More about it in the software section.

Specs and hardware features

The Oppo N1 is powered by a tried and true Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor clocked at 1.7GHz with an Adreno 320 GPU and paired with 2GB of RAM. While some may find the absence of a Snapdragon 800 chip disappointing, the 600 should be more than adequate for most, if not the entire lifetime of the device.

Oppo N1 aa 43

At 377ppi, the Full HD 5.9-inch IPS LCD display is bright and crisp.

Oppo N1 aa 23 Oppo N1 aa 35

There’s the usual assortment of features under the hood of the N1, with highlights including a massive, almost tablet-like 3610 mAh battery and Wi-Fi 802.11 ac. Due to its unibody design, the battery is not user replaceable on the N1, and the phone lacks a microSD slot.

Oppo N1 aa 24

Another missing feature is LTE connectivity. It’s hard to understand why Oppo decided to forgo LTE, when the standard is already widespread in North America, parts of Europe, and even in China. Still, depending on your location, carrier, and expectations, HSPA may just be good enough.

An interesting addition to the feature set of the Oppo N1 is the O-Click Bluetooth remote control, which acts pretty much like the HTC Fetch. You can attach O-Click to your keys or keep it the wallet to make sure you never misplace them again or use it as remote control for the phone’s camera.

Oppo N1 o-click aa 4


The marquee feature of the phone is the swiveling camera module on top, which rotates 206 degrees to adapt to whatever imaging taking needs you may have, including selfies and surreptitious video recording. When it rotates, the module feels solid, without creeks and wobbles. Oppo says it’s rated for 100,000 rotations.

Oppo N1 camera aa 4

The camera has a 13MP Sony Exmor RS sensor at its heart and features a dual-mode LED flash, an f/2.0 lens, and a dedicated image signal processor. In theory, it should be a capable shooter, but we’ll have to wait for more samples to make an accurate idea of its quality.


The Oppo N1 ships with Color OS, a revamped version of the overlay present on the Find 5. Oppo claims it added 410 “design improvements” to Color OS, compared to stock Android 4.2.2. Among the most interesting is the possibility to launch applications by drawing gestures on the screen. For instance, drawing a circle will open the camera and drawing a V shape will open the flashlight app, and you can assign your own gestures to specific actions. The best part about it is that the gestures work even when the screen is off.

The touch panel on the back of the N1 should, in theory, let you control the user interface with just one hand. You can swipe through galleries, scroll lists, and even take pics by tapping and holding your finger on the touch pad.

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Oppo says it wants to ship all N1 units with CyanogenMod onboard, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get to dual-boot between Color OS and the custom ROM. Instead, you’ll be able to flash CyanogenMod by booting into recovering mode the first time you turn on the phone.

Hands-on video

Wrap up

The Oppo N1 is an extremely interesting device that stands out in the Android crowd. The swiveling camera, the gesture control, CyanogenMod as an option, they are all unique propositions adding value to an already good Android flagship. But there are some potential problems as well, and the size of the Oppo N1 is probably its biggest weakness.

Once Oppo provides us with a review unit, we will be able to offer you an in-depth look at the hardware and software of the N1. Until then, let’s just say it’s on our watchlist.

  • not a spark

    According to the antutu benchmarks it performs worse than the oppo find 5

  • Groud Frank

    They better drop the price on this or I’ll go for the Nexus 5. If I am going to spend $570 on 2012 specs, at the end of 2013 then I’m better of saving that money and adding on 30 dollars on it and buying a Nexus 5. I am pretty sure it won’t be over 600 USD.

    • Lisandro O Oocks

      I dunno. The swiveling camera and touchpad may get extra cudos for functionality. And, it’s actually early 2013 specs. Snapdragon 800 didn’t come out till Q3.
      My question is, who will have better speakers?

      • Nick DiLello

        @lisandroooocks:disqus Hahaha…or a 100 megapixel camera! :P

    • MasterMuffin

      2012 specs? HTC One SGS4 are 2012 phones?

    • Airyl

      Yup, cause Snapdragon 600 just turned so unbearably slow all of a sudden.

    • Matevz

      You really think there is a huge difference between sd 800 and sd 600? I would’t say so. I cant be sure but i think it would be cool to test 2 variants of GS4 ome with sd600 and one with sd800… I say you couldn’t tell wich one is wich.. i think both cpu’s handle android with ease.. matbe if you play top noch games with high graphics but… I dont do that. For my daily use it’s ok like that. I am even cool with my HOX with a bit old Tegra 3 cpu inside.. i want bigger screen amd better battery, thats why i look for OppoN1 to come to europe..

  • beboo

    how this phone score 17301 ?!! weird

    • Most likely it was an unfinished model. Oppo said performance may be poorer than in the commercial model.

      • Xavier_NYC

        The G2 said the same thing and even that was still over 25000

        • dfq

          but in gsmarena the g2 has the highest antutu score. maybe just some unfortunate testing time. z1 scored 36+k according to doomlord on xda

  • Lee

    Oppo screwed it UP

  • Luka Mlinar

    OPPO <3

  • Rooney-

    SD 600 inside and still antutu below 18k??

  • yahoo

    that is one UGLY phone

  • pancho

    no SD slot? Cant change the battery?? No LTE??? Cmon…I’m tired of all the half awesome phones coming out. I think ill keep waiting my g2x is working fine LOL.

    • Nick DiLello

      I agree with you Poncho! I am sick of all of the half featured phones, these are some of the reasons the new iphones are passed over…

  • oppomart

    maybe it will get higer score on CM software – oppomart

  • Nick DiLello

    The no SD card part sucks, the battery not being able to be replaced is not a great feature either…why are they all seeming to go by this method. There must be others like myself that like to change out SD cards and batteries…I would not own a phone without both…AND it lacks LTE??? WTF! That may work in China, if they don’t want to sell to the countries that have adopted LTE and are moving towards that being the standard.
    That said, the rest looks really cool, the size is great for someone in my age group and others with eyes that have a hard time seeing small writing….

    • Piterson Massenat Desir

      they will release it internationally in december. that should be enough time to maybe thing about including LTE maybe

      • Nick DiLello

        That would be more attractive, but still, to SD slot and not removable battery… I like the concepts they have, but they are going backward in technology when you have to carry an external battery pack around when in the field for hours and not having an SD card that you can move from phone to phone if, or more to the point, when it dies. I understand there is the cloud, but that is an imperfect and slow way to store big files. Good thinking though Piterson :)

        • Matevz

          Well many phones have that unibody design (no sd and battery replacement). Like htc one, htc one x, lg nexus 4 and 5 lg g2 etc etc…
          I hate not having removable battery on my hox coz it is veery poor, but with that 3600mHA giat.
          . I think i am good :)

          • Nick DiLello

            Easy Matevz…Piterson stated MAYBE they will have LTE by then…without LTE you will be stuck on a 3g network. Have you tried that lately? HTC one, one x, LG, etc all have LTE. The battery problem will pale in comparison the lack of network connectivity and poor download speeds (unless you live in a country that is only 3g and plans to stay that way). Here in the US 3g sucks and all of the carriers here are planning to abandon it, once they do that phone will just be a fancy mint tablet ;)

          • Matevz

            No offense bro, i am not here to argue :) i agree with you that sd and rem battery would be great it just that it seems like it’s standart phone concept these days :) guess i’ll have to accept that. And as far as LTE, my carrier ( in Slovenia-EU) does not support LTE.. maybe once i try LTE i will understand your frustration…Non the less its a phone i am looking forward too. It siutes my needs. Well to each its own. Cheers :)

          • Nick DiLello

            @matevz:disqus Sorry if I came on too strong, I agree with you and was not arguing :) Yeah, here in the US that phone would be seriously slow in every way, but in your country it would most likely be a real nice phone. It is affordable and would work strong in a 3g network. When you experience LTE and 4g, you would never want to go back…and a lot of people here in the US think this phone is an affordable phone (which it is), but it does not compare to what we have available here and cannot come close to competing with the name brand phones. I also agree with you “to each it’s own” Cheers bro! :)

  • nebsif

    monstrous bottom bezel, no way, as much as I like Oppo for being XDA friendly, i’d neva consider this.

  • Bennyonng

    On oppomart blog, the Antutu score is 24895.