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Oppo R11 review: Come for the dual cameras, stay for the battery life

The Oppo R11 has two rear cameras and costs less than the Galaxy S8.

Daniel Van Boom Senior Writer
Daniel Van Boom is an award-winning Senior Writer based in Sydney, Australia. Daniel Van Boom covers cryptocurrency, NFTs, culture and global issues. When not writing, Daniel Van Boom practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, reads as much as he can, and speaks about himself in the third person.
Expertise Cryptocurrency, Culture, International News
Daniel Van Boom
3 min read

Affordable phones are getting better and better, so there's never been a better time not to pony up for a pricey iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S. The latest budget phone to impress me is the Oppo R11, a solid 5.5-inch device with a great camera and impressive battery life. The Oppo R11 is worth your money -- though it lags slightly behind the even-more-worth-your-money OnePlus 5 .


Oppo R11

The Good

The Oppo R11 has terrific rear cameras, long-lasting battery and an affordable price.

The Bad

It lacks the processing power of the similarly priced OnePlus 5. Both its hardware and software are too Apple-esque.

The Bottom Line

It's not the easiest phone to get hold of, but Oppo's R11 is another feasible, affordable alternative to Apple and Samsung.

You may not have heard of Oppo, but it's currently the world's fourth biggest phone manufacturer, thanks mainly to its popularity in China. And it's been making affordable Android phones for years.

The company makes a big deal over the new R11's selfie camera, which clocks in at 20 megapixels. Those extra pixels didn't seem to make that much of a difference in selfie quality, though my colleague Claire Reilly loved the beautifying software. Instead, the real stars of the show are the dual 20- and 16-megapixel cameras at the back.

Oppo R11 sports dashing good looks

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The phone sells in China for 2,999 yuan and the official price in Australia is AU$649. If you're in the US or UK, you can import it for around $440 or £340. That's around $300 (or £300) or so less than you'll pay for the similarly sized iPhone 7 Plus or Samsung Galaxy S8 . Despite the smaller price tag, the camera stands up to the shooters on those high-end phones .

The main appeal of dual-lens cameras such as the ones found on Huawei's P10 , the iPhone 7 Plus and the OnePlus 5 is their ability to take bokeh-style portraits. These pictures have blurred backgrounds, which bring the subject into focus and mimic the depth of field you'd find in a DSLR camera. Some cameras can have trouble with this, blurring the wrong parts of photos and roughly working around fine details such as hair, but the R11 reliably shot great portraits. It's not just good for new Facebook display photos: Pictures of outdoor landscapes pop on the Full HD screen, and the cameras do well in most low-light settings.

That's not where the similarities end though. Like most phones from China, the R11 looks a lot like an iPhone. You're going to have to be OK with the "fake iPhone" jokes from friends. But the phone, with its small bezels and thin design, feels a lot more like a (flat) Galaxy S8. It's a bit light for my liking, as is the S8, but it gains points for its premium feel -- even if it then loses them for lack of originality.

The Oppo R11's cameras in action

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That lack of originality trickles into the software, too. The R11 runs ColorOS3.1, a modified version of Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Most of those modifications work toward making Android more like iOS , with default apps looking Apple-esque. Most galling was the camera software, which has the exact same interface as iOS. This is typical of Chinese phones, including the excellent Xiaomi Mi 6 , and is something you'll either have to accept, or cover with a third-party launcher app.

The phone is a strong choice for those who are uber-concerned about their battery life. It lasted an average of 14 hours 45 minutes in our battery test. That doesn't reach the lofty heights of the OnePlus 5 (17 hours) or the Galaxy S8 (16 hours), but it does beat out the iPhone 7 Plus' 12 hours. I never came close to draining my battery in a single day.

Where the R11 gets aced, though, is processing power. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, and it performs admirably: In our benchmarking tests, the R11 was a touch ahead of Google's Pixel phones, which is impressive. But it trails behind the Snapdragon 835 chips found in Samsung's Galaxy S8 and, more importantly, the affordable OnePlus 5. Still, the phone is smooth. You'll have no troubles doing your day-to-day browsing, including multitasking and watching video. The R11 runs GPU-intensive 3D games well, yet the phone does lag when taking photos.

Oppo R11 spec comparison

Oppo R11Samsung Galaxy S8Google Pixel XLApple iPhone 7 PlusOnePlus 5  
Display size, resolution 5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels5.8-inch; 2,960x1,440 pixels5.5-inch; 2,560x1,440 pixels5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels
Pixel density 401ppi570ppi534ppi401ppi401ppi 
Dimensions (Inches) 6.1x2.9x0.27 in5.9x2.9x0.31 in6.1x3x0.34 in6.2x3.1x0.29 in6.1x2.9x0.29 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 154x74x7.8 mm149x68x8 mm155x76x8.6 mm158x78x7.3 mm154x74x7.3 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.3 oz; 150g5.5 oz; 155g5.92 oz; 168g6.63 oz; 188g5.4 oz; 153g
Mobile software Android 7.1.1 NougatAndroid 7.0 NougatAndroid 7.1 NougatApple iOS 10Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Camera (megapixels) 16MP standard; 20MP telephoto12MP12.3MP12MP standard; 12MP telephoto16MP standard; 20MP telephoto
Front-facing camera (megapixels) 20MP8MP8MP7MP16MP
Video capture resolution 2,160p4K4K4K4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 660Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (2.35GHz + 1.9GHz) or Samsung Exynos 8895 (2.35GHz + 1.7GHz)2.15GHz + 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821Apple A10 chip (64-bit)2.45GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Storage 64GB64GB32GB, 128GB32GB, 128GB, 256GB64GB, 128GB
Expandable storage Up to 256GB Up to 2TBNoneNoneNone
Battery (all nonremovable) 3,000 mAh3,000 mAh3,450 mAh21 hours talk time on 3G, 16 days standby, 13 hours internet use LTE3,300 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Home buttonBack coverBack coverHome buttonHome button
Connector Micro USBUSB-CUSB-CLightningUSB-C
Special features Portrait mode; VOOC flash chargeWater-resistant; wireless charging; Gigabit LTE-readyUnlimited cloud storage; Daydream VR-readyWater-resistant; portrait modePortrait mode; notifications toggle; dual-SIM; Dash Charging
Price off-contract (USD) $440 (64GB)AT&T: $750; Verizon: $720; T-Mobile: $750; Sprint: $750; US Cellular: $675$769 (32GB); $869 (128GB)$769 (32GB); $869 (128GB); $969 (256GB)$479 (64GB); $539 (128GB)
Price (GBP) £340 (64GB)£689£719 (32GB); £819 (128GB)£719 (32GB); £819 (128GB); £919 (256GB) £449(GB); £499 (128GB) 
Price (AUD) AU$649 (64GB)AU$1,199AU$1,269 (32GB); AU$1,419 (128GB)AU$1,269 (32GB); AU$1,419 (128GB); AU$1,569 (256GB) AU$750 (64GB); AU$830 (128GB) converted

Oppo R11

Score Breakdown

Design 7.5Features 7Performance 7.5Camera 9Battery 9