Oppo R9s smartphone full review
Is this the best mid-range Android phone?
- Looks and feels great
- Ultra-fast fingerprint unlock
- Good value and well featured
- Bit sluggish running powerful apps
- Annoying camera shutter lag
- Mediocre battery life
There's much to like about the R9s: it does so many things and looks great. It's a bit sluggish in terms of performance and camera, though. But at this price it's still great value.
Price$ 598.00 (AUD)
Update: Before you choose a phone, check out the amazing Samsung Galaxy S8 review.
We’ve been seriously impressed with Oppo phones in the past. The Oppo F1s was one of the best-value phones of 2016. Now the R9S hits the market with a spec sheet that almost rivals a Samsung Galaxy S7 but much thinner, with a much lower sticker-price and arguably-better looks? Is it any good?
5.5in, 1080 x 1920, 401ppi AMOLED screen, 64,4GB RAM; 2GHz Octa-core A53 CPU, Adreno 506 GPU; 16/16MP cameras, Android 6 with Color OS 3, 3,010mAh battery, Fingerprint reader, microSD slot/dual-SIM card, 153 x 74 x 7mm, 145g. Full specs here.
Handling and Design
We’re very impressed with the design of the R9s. It’s very thin (under 7mm) and the matte black chassis looks incredibly classy with its silver Oppo-logo inlay. The Gorilla Glass 5 front extends from the top to the bottom of the device and there’s virtually no bezel. A touch-operated 'button' beneath the screen doubles as one of the fastest fingerprint readers we’ve seen (Oppo tells us that it's made from Zirconium and has a hydrophobic coating to work better when wet). So all good in the looks department.
The very-thin bezel at the side did cause some problems, though. While it’s not as annoying as Samsung’s silly curved bezel-less screens there were occasions where the side of our hand would register as screen touching and disrupt our usage. It’s not a deal breaker though.
The 5.5-inch AMOLED screen has a Full HD resolution and while colours didn’t pop quite as much as some competitors it’s still very sharp and vibrant. On the right is the power button and the volume rocker is on the left. At the base is a regular USB slot (not the more-recent USB-C) plus a proper headphones jack. The SIM card slot can take either a second SIM card or a Micro SD card.
It doesn't come with a silicon case (like the F1s did) but we'd recommend buying one - the diminutive dimensions mean that it shouldn't get too bulky after slipping it on.
Oppo has finally started using Android 6 with its heavily-modified Color OS 3 operating system. While this can throw you some annoying warnings we’re actually big fans of it. It runs regular performance tune-ups to flush the memory and keep things ticking along nicely. There's also a file-locking feature which usefully allows you to secure important work files, apps and nudie pics so that you can confidently pass your phone to friends/family/kids knowing that they won’t see things they shouldn’t.
There are multiple gestures that you can use to enhance phone calls, take screenshots and lock the screen with (if you choose – many are off by default). There are some useful tricks here if you care to put in the time and some, like enhanced screenshot which lets you scroll down a chat list or long web-page, are unique and potentially very useful. The built-in instruction manual is well-laid out and interesting to browse. O-Cloud lets you backup Contacts (meh) and SMS messages (potentially very useful). Night-mode (screen-colour warming to prevent eye strain in the dark) is a prominent feature but you have to enable/disable it manually.
Again, so far so good, but we’re not totally convinced by the phone’s performance. While it’s not a top-tier phone, some high-powered apps do feel a bit sluggish (as does the camera - see below). If you play games you may get a bit frustrated – Pokemon Go could lag a bit and would often lose the ability to locate itself without a restart. But for casual day-to-day use, we didn't have too many issues.
The 3,010mAh battery isn’t huge but is sizeable for a phone this thin. Having come from using a Google Pixel XL we’d say that performance is similar – you’ll struggle to get a full day out of it under moderate usage. A fast charger helps but we expected Color OS’s battery management to push performance further: the F1s managed three full days thanks to the same software and a similar-sized battery. It may be that the phone is still working out what our usage profile is before optimizing things, we’ll report back if things change.
We also think that turning off Mobile Data and WiFi, when in Low Power Mode, is misguided.
Next: Camera and conclusion
Join the newsletter!
Apple iMac Pro
Ballistix Sport AT
Ballistix Tactical Tracer RGB 3000
Bang and Olufsen Beoplay A9 Speaker
Samsung QLED 8K TV
Toys for Boys
Little Bits DROID Inventor Kit
Oregon Pro WMR500 Weather Station
Osmo Coding Awbie Game
Nix Pro Colour Sensor
Tivoli PAL BT
ESET Smart Security Premium
ESET Internet Security
ESET Cyber Security Pro for Mac
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker
Ikea RIGGAD work lamp with wireless charging
Naztech Xtra Drive Mini + 256GB microSD Card
SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3
TimeFlip Magnet Simple Time Tracking Device
So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy Watch review: Brilliant but not quite a breakthrough
- 2 HP Omen 15 (2018): Full, in-depth review
- 3 HP Envy x360 13 (Ryzen): Full, in-depth review
- 4 Dell G5 review: Easy to live with
- 5 D-Link Omna 180 Cam HD DSH-C310 review
Latest News Articles
- Oppo tease biometric and camera innovations ahead of MWC 2019
- LG V50 release date, price, specs and news rumours
- The new iPhone XS battery case works with the iPhone X, but don't expect perfection
- Fnatic and OnePlus announce global esports partnership
- Oppo tease a 10x zoom smartphone camera
PCW Evaluation Team
Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications
I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)
It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!
The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
- CES 2019 Round-Up:
- Razer Phone 2 review: One for the fans
- Samsung’s Galaxy S10 will launch on Feb 20
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies