Oppo has been known for its phones with excellent selfie cameras and innovative design, even if priced a little higher as compared to the competition. That could change, however, as the company has now come out with a new series of devices — the K series.
And on paper, it offers staggering value for money, coming with features and specifications that you would expect from a much more expensive smartphone. But just how much does it actually deliver in terms of performance?
Here we go with our seven point summary:
Looks snazzy on the back
You might not like it, but you are definitely going to notice the Oppo K1. The phone comes with a very distinct back that is neither glass nor metal (it is plastic, actually) but can be mistaken for either. This is a good or bad thing depending only on how you feel. The back has a gradient finish with blue blending into purple and reflecting different light patterns.
Some will think it reminds them of the wrapping of a Cadbury’s Silk chocolate, which uses similar colours on shiny paper. Either way, it certainly gets attention. It is sleek and at 7.4 mm, on the slimmer side, with curved edges that ensure that it will fit most palms easily.
…and is impressive in front too
If the back is impressive, the front is even more so. The K1 has a 6.41 inch display with a full HD+ resolution of 2340 x 1080. But that’s not all — the display is an AMOLED one, and comes with a water drop notch containing the front facing camera. It is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. And why did we not mention the fingerprint scanner on the back of the device — because it is not there.
The fingerprint scanner is actually in the display. Pretty much a rarity at this price point. Actually almost everything about the front of the K1 is rare at its price tag – AMOLED, drop notch and in-display fingerprint scanner. Quite a package, eh?
The hardware is decent
That impressive design comes with some very good hardware. The phone is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 660 processor and comes paired with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, which can be expanded using a memory card. No, this is not flagship level hardware but it is certainly very very good for the mid-segment.
The phone also comes packed with all the connectivity options you would need, including 4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. Running it all for a while is the job of a 3600 mAh battery. And of course, there is that in-screen fingerprint sensor and AMOLED full HD+ display. The K1 ticks most spec boxes, although the picky would point out the absence of a bigger battery and fast charging.
Although the software is a little on the older side
With all that hardware goodness, we did expect the Oppo K1 to come with the latest version of Android onboard. Unfortunately, it does not — it runs on Android 8.1, not 9 (Pie).
Of course, most users will not notice that, as running over it, is Oppo’s own Color OS UI. Like the design, it will evoke different opinions — some might find it too overwhelming and too feature rich, while some will appreciate the extra features it brings to the table. We think geeks will not like it, but mainstream users will like all the options they get right out of the box.
Very good cameras — typically Oppo
Oppo has been known for putting some very good cameras in their phones. And the K1 is no exception. In best Oppo tradition, all the focus (pun intended) has been on the selfie camera. And with good reason — the 25 megapixel front facing camera is capable of taking some brilliant shots, although we would recommend turning down the beautification options, which tend to be rather aggressive.
Oppo claims that the camera comes with AI, so that while the camera captures 296 feature points on your face, the AI comes into play by bringing out a photograph by taking the best of more than 8 million beauty effects. Sounds great on paper? Well, it can be a little unreal, so we would recommend going a little easy on it. Don’t worry, you will still get awesome selfies.
All this attention on the selfie camera unfortunately has also meant less attention being given to the very able dual cameras on the rear of the phone. The 16 megapixel and 2 megapixel rear cameras combine to take some brilliant snaps in good light conditions. Some might think that the colours are too bright at times, but by and large, the results are very good indeed.
Once again, there is a lot of AI at play here — the camera can identify 16 scenes and 120 scene combinations and accordingly change settings to ensure you get a great shot. It is not as spectacular as the AI we have seen on Huawei and Honor devices and well, performance does falter in low light, but it is a very good performer and at this price point, the cameras are among the best you can get, right up there with the Mi A2 from Xiaomi.
A very good performer as well
The combination of Snapdragon 660 and 4 GB of RAM ensures that the Oppo K1 sails through routine tasks almost effortlessly. It even handles games like PUBG and Asphalt very well, although we would suggest playing PUBG at medium rather than maxed out settings.
But, that apart, the phone will never really be stretched, be it while playing games or switching between multiple applications. The battery will get you through a day of usage. We honestly expected better in terms of sound quality on both loudspeaker and headphones, but on the flip side both face unlock and the fingerprint ID work very well. There are hardly any minus points here.
And a competitive price
At first glance, the Oppo K1 might seem a little on the more expensive side at Rs 16,990, when you consider that devices like the Redmi Note 6 Pro, Nokia 6.1 Plus, the Honor 10 Lite, the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2 and the Realme U1 are in the same price range, with some even costing less.
However, none of those offers the kind of cocktail of features that the Oppo K1 does. The snazzy design, the AMOLED display, the in-display fingerprint scanner, the drop notch, and of course, all that allied with some excellent performance.
Honestly, barring the older version of Android and perhaps a comparatively ordinary battery life (when compared with some of the competition), we could find no major shortcomings in the device. Definitely one of the best you can get at that budget point. Oppo’s new series is clearly one to look out for, for those looking for great mid-segment devices!