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The recently announced Oppo F9 Pro is one-of-the-most distinctly looking smartphone I have tested in a long while. , It is not a conventional looking Android smartphone and is full of vibrant color schemes which as per Oppo will please masses in the Indian market. The smartphone is a not only a visual treat but also packs some decent specs and features which make it a worthy mid-tier device. The F9 Pro comes in three color variants
including Sunrise Red, Twilight Blue, and Starry Purple.
Oppo F9 Pro is designed for the consumers who want a crazy looking device which can capture stunning selfies and can also take care of their multitasking needs. The F9 Pro comes with a capable front-facing camera and is also the first smartphone to bring the waterdrop notch display in the market. The smartphone also has a support for company's well-known fast charging technology- VOOC Flash Charge, which promises 2 hours of talk time with just 5 minutes of charge time.
OPPO F9 Pro is priced at Rs. 23,990 and is a direct competitor of recently launched Vivo V11 Pro which also features a massive front-facing camera and sports a waterdrop notch display. I used Oppo F9 Pro for over a week as my daily driver and here's my comprehensive review of the Oppo F9 Pro.
Design: Spectacular glossy-rear panel
As I mentioned, Oppo has designed the F9 Pro to be visually appealing and instantly recognizable. Instead of using the standard single tone colors, Oppo decided to experiment with the looks and had released three gradient color options for the F9 Pro. The device is available in Starry Purple, Twilight Blue, and Sunrise Red color variants. The rear panel of the device is carved out of plastic which can be easily mistaken for glass and shows diamond imprints when light falls on it. This gives the smartphone a striking appearance. The plastic casing used for the rear panel is of good quality and doesn't feel cheap when held in hands. The design is refreshing and with this Oppo has proved that we don't need to stick with the usual single color scheme for the smartphones. We got to use the Blue color variant and one can easily notice the dual shade when light falls on it. The fingerprint scanner is mounted at the rear and is ideally placed where our index finger will rests naturally, making it easy to unlock the device in a jiffy.
Complementing the glossy-rear panel is a 6.3 in Full HD+ display up front which houses the industry's first-of-its-kind water drop notch. The tiny notch consumes only a fraction of the display and houses the massive 25MP front camera. The waterdrop notch helps the device to achieve a 90.8 percent screen-to-body ratio which makes it easy to operate the device with one hand. Just above the notch, you can see the tiny earpiece which is hardly noticeable at the first look. Oppo's ingenuity in design is quite evident with the F9 Pro.
Coming to the placement of keys, thankfully Oppo has not left any side barren. The left panel of the device houses the volume rockers along with the SIM card tray, whereas, the power key is located at the right panel. The 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB port for charging and data transfers along with the speaker grille is placed at the bottom of the device. The F9 Pro is lightweight and as mentioned earlier is comfortable to use with one hand. Overall, the F9 Pro is a sturdy, compact and interesting looking device which will definitely find its audience in the Indian market and the company has done a good job in terms of design.
Display: 6.3-inch FHD+ display with a waterdrop notch
Most of the smartphones are bitten by the infamous ‘Notch' bug. Oppo has followed a different approach towards it to address the issue. The F9 Pro offers a big 6.3-inch display with a waterdrop notch on top of it. Unlike the other notches, it takes up only a fraction of the display. There is no option to turn-off the notch and it is completely acceptable considering the size of it. The notch also doesn't interfere much while binging on movies and shows and also while playing games.
The 6.3-inch tall display offers an FHD+ resolution with an aspect ratio of 19:5:9. The bezels surrounding the display are narrow which adds to the display's positive aspects. The display offers a screen resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and a pixel density of 409PPI. The display is bright, vibrant and produces crisp visuals. The viewing angles and the sunlight visibility are also of decent quality. The display didn't go black under direct sunlight and watching content outdoors is also not a tedious task. The display goes light on the eyes and is apt for immersive video watching experience and media consumption. It would not be wrong to say that F9 Pro sports one of the best displays under 25K price range.
Camera: AI enabled 25MP selfie camera
Without any shadow of doubt, the F9 Pro is a selfie-centric smartphone. The handset boasts a massive 25MP selfie shooter with a wider f/2.0 aperture. The AI-backed selfie camera produces some decent shots in well-lit situations. The selfies look crisp and vibrant. You don't need to edit the selfies before posting them on social networks as Oppo's software does that for you. You also get a pretty intensive AI enabled Beauty mode to customize the selfie output.
As for the image quality in dark-light situations, the F9 Pro's performance is somewhat average. The images captured are a little hazy and grainy and lacks in detail, this is where you start missing the front flash. If the device featured a front flash as well then it would have been a perfect deal. The software-driven bokeh effect created by front camera is also not very impressive. The F9 Pro also supports the Face Unlock feature which is fairly easy to set up and also performs decently. This feature perform well in the good light situations, whereas, the performance in low light situations is not impressive.
Dual-lens rear camera setup
As far as the rear camera is concerned, Oppo F9 Pro uses a dual-lens camera setup which comprises of a 16MP primary sensor with f/1.8 aperture and a 2MP secondary sensor with a f/2.4 aperture to capture the depth effect. The rear camera captures some detailed images and produces natural colors without oversaturating the final image output. We also managed to capture some good quality images even in the challenging light situations. The rear camera; however, struggles to focus on a subject in low-light and results in blurry images. You get the options to capture slow-mo videos and time-lapse, both of which give a nice output and you will not be disappointed. However, the image resolution is set to default and you don't get any options to tweak the settings which can be frustrating sometimes. The camera app is feature-rich and easy to use.
Hardware and Software: MediaTek Helio P20 SoC with Android 8.1 Oreo
In terms of hardware, the F9 Pro is backed by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P60 SoC with an integrated ARM Mali-G72 GPU for graphics. The Helio P60 SoC is paired with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage which is expandable up to 256GB via microSD card. The device performs decently with fewer hiccups. Playing graphics rich heavy games could not be a pleasing experience as you will notice a slight lag in the performance. Even the default music player has a latency of a few seconds which sometimes is quite irritating. The device does get a little warm while binging on shows or videos for a longer duration or playing graphics-rich games; however, it is nothing alarming. The audio quality produced by the device is also decent without it being too loud or distorting at higher levels. The F9 Pro also boasts AI processing and power efficiency enhancements as well. The device can handle multitasking quite well and doesn't go haywire while using multiple applications at a time.
The F9 Pro ships with Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box with Oppo's proprietary ColorOS skin on top. The device uses ColorOS v5.2 and has received the July 2018 security patch recently. As for the further updates, Oppo has not revealed any information on whether it will release any other security patch or Android updates in the near future. I personally am not a fan of the ColorOS, anything which is not stock Android fails to charm me; same is the case with the F9 Pro. The UI functions resemble oddly to the iOS with it being way too animated. A simple swipe down will open up the search bar where you can search the apps. You don't get the option to slide away from the notifications individually rather you will have to pull the notification bar down completely and click on the close button to get rid of the notifications which sometimes seems a tedious task.
Battery and Connectivity: VOOC charger does a good job
The Oppo F9 Pro is powered by a 3,500mAh battery and comes with fast charging support. The device supports the company's VOOC charging which does a pretty good job. Upon testing I found that the device gets charged from 0 percent to 100 percent within an hour and the device lasted for one complete day with moderate usage. With occasional gameplay and media usage, the device can last for more than 15 hours. However, if you are using the device extensively then you will need to plug in your device again. The battery backup as mentioned is good considering the huge size of the phone and the small size of the battery. The battery backup of the device managed to impress me with its performance.
The connectivity aspects of the F9 Pro includes a microUSB 2.0 port for charging and data transfers, 4G VoLTE support, Bluetooth v4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, WLAN Wi-Fi Direct and others.
The Oppo F9 Pro is a beautiful looking smartphone which can surely grab some stares at the first look. The shimmering gradient shades of the device give it a refreshing look which adds to the positive aspect of the device. The handset also has one-of-the best display in its respective price-point. I am not entirely impressed with the camera performance of the handset despite the fact that cameras are considered as highlight features of the handset.
Besides, the F9 Pro also have a dated hardware; however. it performs decently in all aspects. So, if you are looking for a device based on just the looks then this device could be recommended. However, with the other new options in the market such as the Poco F1 and others, this deal might not be the perfect one for power users. It doesn't mean that the F9 Pro is a bad deal; it simply means that you should explore all your options before selecting the right device for yourself. If you are buying a device for looks and good selfies, go for Oppo F9 Pro; however, if you want a device for hardcore gaming and smooth multitasking, you should invest in Poco F1.