Oppo R9 review:

Looks and feels like an iPhone, but this is no iPhone

Oppo R9 (gold)

(Part #: R9-gold)
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CNET Editors' Rating

2 user reviews

The Good The Oppo R9 is light and has a premium look and feel. The rear camera takes good photos and you can expand the phone's storage via its microSD card slot.

The Bad Gaming performance is poor, especially on graphically intensive games. The front camera lacks features such as HDR and its aspect ratio is too narrow.

The Bottom Line The Oppo R9 manages to ape the iPhone 6S' look and feel, but it lacks the performance and capabilities to measure up as a must-get phone.

6.8 Overall
  • Design 6.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 6.0
  • Camera 8.0
  • Battery 7.0

Previous Oppo phones, such as the R7, have avoided blatantly ripping off Apple's iPhone design, but the new R9, known as the F1 Plus in certain countries, leans into it. The R9 unabashedly clones the iPhone 6S, even down to some aspects of the user interface, but fails to fully capture the charm of Apple's premium phones. The result is a $425-ish (£299 or AU$599) phone that, despite the aforementioned resemblance, doesn't stand out in any meaningful way.

While the super thin bezel that gives it an almost edge-to-edge display, Oppo hasn't included a palm-rejection feature, which became apparent every time a Web page scrolled away from me due to parts of my hand inadvertently touching the edge. Also equally irritating is the way too-aggressive light sensor; I couldn't complete a round of racing game Asphalt 8 without the screen auto-dimming each time my hands accidentally covered the sensor while playing. Of course, if you want, you can turn off the auto-brightness in settings to avoid this issue. Generally, though, the phone's comfortable to hold and has a bright AMOLED screen.

How blatantly the R9 rips off the iPhone becomes glaringly evident when you open the camera app. The layout icons are the same, and the camera app also employs the same "slide your finger across the screen to change modes" feature as iOS. And like most Chinese-made phones, there's no app drawer, so all of your apps are stored on the home screen. The ever changing lock-screen wallpapers feature was neat, but it's a minor feature at best.

The rear 13-megapixel shooter does really well even when compared to flagship devices: details were clear, though colors can be a little over saturated. I liked the fast autofocus as well -- it's as quick as flagship phones I've previously reviewed, such as the Xiaomi Mi 5. On the other hand, the front 16-megapixel selfie camera is pretty poor. There's no point to having a larger selfie image when the front camera lacks basic functions, such as high dynamic range (HDR). For Oppo's next phone, using a wide-angle lens for the front camera would make a lot more sense than simply increasing the size of pics, though there's a software panorama feature that acts as a "wide-angle" solution.

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