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Flagship smartphones continue to impress with their incredible specifications, performance, and features across various aspects of the smartphone experience, but there is always going to be a need for devices that aren’t as demanding on the wallet. The increased focus on the mid-range segment has been a boon for consumers, with a budget-friendly price tag no longer indicative of a significant compromise in quality. As the competition in this space heats up, we’ve seen some great devices from numerous OEMs, including OPPO. What does the company’s latest mid-range offering bring to the table? We find out, in this in-depth review of the OPPO R1x!
What does the company’s latest mid-range offering bring to the table? We find out, in this in-depth review of the OPPO R1x!
Oppo’s penchant for great design and build quality, even when it comes to their more budget-friendly offerings, really shines through with the R1x. Maintaining the design language of its predecessor, the R1x features a thin aluminum chassis, and CNC-machines with the now very popular diamond cutting techniques help deliver the mirror smooth chamfers which surround the various buttons and ports.
Speaking of buttons and ports, the volume rocker and SIM card slot are found to the right, with the power button on the opposite side, along with the headphone jack and micro USB port placed at the top and bottom respectively. The micro USB is flanked by what might look like a dual speaker setup, but instead houses a single speaker unit on one side, and a microphone on the other, with the grill design present for the sake of symmetry. Below the display is where you will find the capacitive home, back, and recent apps keys.
The R1x also retains the glass sandwich design of its predecessor, akin to the Sony Xperia Z line of smartphones, this time with a sapphire glass backing that should do a great job at keeping things scratch free, along with a reflection pattern that shines no matter what angle the phone is held. Even with a thickness of just 6.8 mm, OPPO has managed to avoid a camera bump that can be found with even some flagships out there, allowing for a sleek and uniform look throughout.
The OPPO R1x features a 5-inch IPS LCD display with a 720p resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 294 ppi. We’ve certainly seen devices in this segment with higher resolutions, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a valuable visual experience to be had in this case. Helped along by the bright and colorful user interface, everything is still clear and detailed enough, with IPS technology bringing with it the great viewing angles and good brightness it is known for.
Performance & Hardware
Under the hood, the OPPO R1x packs a 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, clocked at 1.7 GHz, backed by the Adreno 405 GPU and 2 GB of RAM. This is the processing package powering quite a few mid-range offerings out there, and continues to prove its capabilities. Moving around the various elements of the user interface, as well as the animations, are all smooth and snappy, with there being no hint of any lag or hiccup. Going in and out of applications and multi-tasking are a breeze, and gaming is also handled very well, save for the most graphic-intensive of situations. The experience may not be as fast as what is possible with the current crop of flagships, but there isn’t much to complain about when it comes to the performance of the R1x.
The R1x comes with 16 GB of onboard storage, with expandable storage up to 128 GB available via microSD. While the device does features dual-SIM support, it has to be mentioned that the R1x comes with a tray setup with two slots, leaving it up to the user to choose between dual-SIM capabilities or microSD expansion with a single SIM in place. The standard suite of sensors and connectivity options are available, along with support for 4G LTE, even though it might be compatible with LTE networks in the US. Call quality is decent, and the single speaker unit at the bottom certainly gets loud enough, even if the sound quality isn’t particularly rich.
On the battery front, the OPPO R1x packs a non-removable 2,420 mAh unit, which comfortably allows for a full day of use with moderate to heavy usage. During a day with usage that involved using Google Maps periodically, texting, sending emails, web browsing, and watching videos on Youtube, the device managed just under 3 hours of screen-on time, with the battery just about making it through the full day. Serviceable is the operative word here, and while it may not be the best performer, the battery life isn’t close to the worst either. The R1x does not come with OPPO’s incredibly fast VOOC fast-charging capabilities though, which is quite a disappointment, being one of the best features of any OPPO device, but unfortunately, it looks like OPPO is saving this feature for its more higher-end offerings.
On a mid-tier smartphone like this, you might feel you’d be completely cheated out of any reasonable camera experience, and while you’re definitely missing out on 4K video capabilities with only 1080p max, you’re still getting a solid 13 MP shooter with at least passable outdoor capabilities. It produces subdued colors, but the images aren’t lacking in detail. Understandably, indoor photography suffers more, even with its f/2.0 aperture. The camera works hard to bring brightness to the image with an ISO increase, but then makes for a grainy unattractive image.
All of the automatic settings are controlled by what OPPO calls Pure Image 2.0+, that changes the settings to create the optimal image. Manual controls are available too, so those with the technical know how are given the opportunity to tweak the settings for a better image, with access to white balance, ISO, exposure, and manual focus. The camera app is packed with features though, with even more choices available for the user to install later such as GIF creator, RAW image capture, and After Focus, to name a few. For what amounts to being an average camera, you do get almost every software feature you could possibly think of.
The device also packs a 5 MP front-facing unit, which certainly packs enough pixels, but also allows for only average shots when outdoors, with a noticeable drop in quality when indoors, with images coming out noisier than expected, with a post-processing on the software side that ends up crushing detail in the image to compensate. Of course, the seemingly standard Beauty Mode is also available, to add a little extra to your selfies.
When it comes to the software, the OPPO R1x runs Color OS 2.0.1 based on Android 4.4.4 Kitkat. As mentioned, the software experience is very smooth, with snappy animations without any hint of lag. As is the case with the software seen with a lot of devices from Chinese OEMs, there is no app drawer available, which could take some getting used to, and leaves you dependent on folders to stay organized, and of course, you do always have the option to utilize a third-party launcher from the Google Play Store to return to a more traditional experience.
But Color OS itself has its own toolbelt of features that does make it a compelling UI option, including a robust theme store to customize the look to better suit your tastes. Other features include the Exclusive Space and Live Weather widgets, with the latter allowing for weather themed animations for your wallpaper, and the former introducing OPPO’s take on widgets for your camera and music player. It may not be a standout feature, but are certainly a fun, fresh take on the widget side of things.
The Color OS on the OPPO R1x works pretty well, but the device does come with the ability to get back to a more stock iteration quite easily. In the Settings menu, that is well laid out into three categories, General, Sound, and Display, you have the option to switch to the Google Now launcher, and set Google Hangouts to be the default messaging up, resulting in a more standard Android experience. That said, Color OS isn’t an uncomfortable experience by any means, and the ability to play around with the look and feel via themes is something that users may prefer.
|Display||5-inch IPS LCD display|
720p, 294 ppi
1.7 GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615
Adreno 405 GPU
13 MP rear camera with LED flash
5 MP front-facing camera
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, USB 2.0
16 GB, expandable up to 128 GB
Color OS 2.0.1 based on Android 4.4.4 Kitkat
140.6 x 70.1 x 6.8 mm
The OPPO R1x is priced at the equivalent of approximately $450 in various markets around the world, with availability in the US, and compatibility with US LTE networks, not confirmed for now.
So there you have it – a closer look at the OPPO R1x! The device arrives at a time when the competition in the mid-range space is as intense as ever, and while it does to prove to be quite capable, with a beautiful, albeit low-resolution display, and more than decent performance, what the R1x lacks is a standout feature to differentiate itself from the competition. With that said, what it does offer is a device that simply looks, feels, and is built like a flagship, but at a much lower price point.