Oppo N1 review: Real camera innovation in a swivel

Aloysius Low/CNET

The O-Touch panel at the rear is also useful. Besides using it to scroll, you can also quickly double-tap it to launch and exit the camera app. You can also set this to work with other apps. You can also quickly take pictures of yourself by just flipping the camera around (you'll need to turn this on in the Settings menu).

The one thing that I disliked about Color OS is the keyboard. While Color OS has a wide range of supported languages, if you only need to type in English, you may get annoyed with the language switcher button located at the bottom-left corner where the number key usually is. If you have multiple keyboard languages, hitting this key will swap over to a different language, but if you have only English selected, it will just switch back to English (and there's no option to hide the key). Thankfully, you can install Google's default keyboard, which is far better.

This keyboard was not my favorite. Aloysius Low/CNET

Unlike other handsets on the market, there will be a limited edition version of the Oppo N1 that will ship with CyanogenMod installed . You can also install CyanogenMod on the handsets that come loaded with Color OS if you wish.

Connectivity-wise, the handset offers the usual: 3G, Bluetooth, NFC, and Wi-Fi, but it lacks LTE. It comes either in a 16GB or 32GB model, but has no microSD card slot for expandability. Bundled with the handset is a O-Click Bluetooth remote control keychain, which serves two purposes. When connected to the N1, it acts as a remote shutter button for the camera, and secondly, it beeps loudly if your smartphone goes out of range

You won't forget your phone with the O-Click accessory. Aloysius Low/CNET

The rotatable F2.0 13-megapixel camera is fantastic. As mentioned previously, it swivels around to let you take self-portraits and also features a built-in image signal processor Oppo calls Pure Image. Oppo also claims that the N1 is the first Android handset to feature six lenses, similar to the Nokia Lumia 1020, though lacking a built-in optical image stabilizer.

Low-light shots were well taken, however, and flash shots weren't overexposed. Colors tended to be bit warmer, but it does make the images pop. Refer to our test shots below for a closer look.

Performance

Loaded with a 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, the N1 doesn't have the latest chip, but it's not like it really needs it. Performance of the handset was smooth, and I didn't encounter any lag during the review period.

The large 3,610mAh battery easily lasted us a day and a half of moderate to heavy use, and you can probably get more out of it if you're a light user.

Voice quality was fine; I had no issues with it. However, the size of the phone does mean you may need to find the right position to get the speaker lined up with your ear. I found myself holding it a little too high at times when making calls.

Conclusion

Aloysius Low/CNET

Set for a release in early December, the Oppo N1 will cost 3,498 Chinese yuan (US $574). You'll be able to order it from Oppo's online store when it launches. That's not terribly cheap, but you'll be getting a beautiful innovative Android smartphone that's pretty unique. Given how practical and sensible the rotating camera is, I wouldn't be surprised if more manufacturers feature something similar in the future. The limited-edition version shipping with CyanogenMod will retail in December and at the same price.

Outdoor test shot. Aloysius Low/CNET
Macro test shot. Aloysius Low/CNET
Indoor test shot. Aloysius Low/CNET
Low light test shot. Aloysius Low/CNET
Indoor test shot with flash. Aloysius Low/CNET

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Weight 7.51 oz
  • Diagonal Size 5.9 in