Oppo N1 Review
Interface and functionality
The N1 sports Oppo's Color OS on top of Android 4.2, which seems to be based on the Go Launcher, with its hundreds of themes and wallpapers that can be easily selected and applied to the N1 as well. There will be a version with CyanogenMod out of the box in December, making it the first phone to ship officially with the renowned custom ROM project, that is now emerging as a separate company.
Oppo's Color interface has received some features unique for the camera-centric N1, such as a dedicated photography homescreen, dubbed Exclusive space. There you will find a camera widget that uses part of the screen as a viewfinder, and you can take pictures as well as toggle the flash directly from there. Beneath it is a scrollable timeline with snapshots of all your photos, along with time and date they were taken.
There are a bunch of other handy helpers peppered thoughtfully in the interface and menus, too. The pull-down notification bar, for instance, houses each and every toggle you might need in three rows, alongside screen brightness adjustments, so you don't have to go into settings or swipe to reach anything. On top of that, it shows a data counter with your plan limit, and the amount you've used so far. Another brainy thing we find in the app drawer, where downloaded 3rd party apps are marked with a little green dot next to them, and a plethora of utility apps are neatly tucked into separate folders.
The default color scheme of Oppo's interface is very pleasant, too, with its green accents, and attention is paid to even minute things, like the presence of a festive wallpapers toggle that automatically displays backgrounds that reflect the current holiday. The amount of thought and options that went to Color OS is akin to HTC's Sense UI, and Oppo's interface design team surprisingly beats much larger companies like Samsung and LG here.
O-Touch rear panel
Besides the rear touch panel, Oppo offers another navigation option. Sliding down your finger from the top right will evoke the typical Android notification bar, but the top left will pull down a gesture drawing area. There you can draw a circle to launch the camera app, a “V” sign to launch the flashlight, and add a number of others. It might sound like an addition for the sake of it, but Oppo had the brilliant idea to also make these drawing gestures work when the screen is off. Thus drawing a circle on the blackened display will launch the camera app directly from a locked screen, and a “V” will turn the LED lamp on, which serves great when there is no light around. You can also control the music player with gestures from there, and muster up your own combinations.
The gesture features are taken even further by Oppo. Pinching in with a few fingers anywhere in the interface will launch the camera, swiping up or down with three fingers will take a screenshot, and doing the same with two controls the volume – pretty helpful options which we found ourselves using on a regular basis, especially the volume control gesture.
Processor and memory
The Oppo N1 is powered by a 1.7 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 600, which is just a step below the best Qualcomm offers at the moment in the form of Snapdragon 800. It is more than enough to power the interface, plus any apps and games thrown at the N1, though its Krait 300 core and Adreno 320 GPU are less powerful than the Krait 400 one and the Adreno 330 in the Snapdragon 800. The difference might be noticeable in some games and benchmarks, but at this stage of mobile processor development the app requirements can barely keep up with even Snapdragon 600, let alone 800.
The memory situation is decent, with 2 GB of RAM for some enhanced multitasking, but no microSD slot for storage expansion, though you can choose from both a basic 16 GB model and a 32 GB one.
Internet and connectivity
Oppo uses mobile Chrome as a default browser, so if you want Adobe Flash support, you'd have to sideload it, and get a 3rd party browser. Chrome's performance is very smooth on the handset while scrolling, zooming or panning around, and text reflow works without a hitch as well.
The handset features 42 Mbps HSPA+ download speeds, if your carrier can hit that, as well as the latest Wi-Fi/ac standard, Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, DLNA and NFC. The microUSB port at the bottom provides USB on-the-go connectivity as well, meaning you can plug in a flash drive with a USB cable and read its contents directly on the phone.