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Oppo F9 Pro Hands-On and First Impressions: You'll want to look at this

The Oppo F9 Pro is, without a doubt, the most unique looking smartphone we've seen in a while. Here are our first impressions of the phone.

oppo f9 back

Oppo F9 Pro Sunrise Red


Highlights

  • The Oppo F9 Pro is one of two new smartphones launched by Oppo this month, the other one being the Oppo F9.

  • The phone sports VOOC fast charging, and a dual-camera setup at the rear.

  • The key design features of the phone include the 'waterdrop' notch at the front, and the gradient color scheme.

Many smartphones look good, but there are some that stand out. After all, in a sea of standard design, there needs to be something radically different in order to attract the attention of the often bored eye. Sometimes, this difference can be as radical as slapping on a physical keyboard, and at other times, you just have a color that stands out. But what more can you do to make your phone look different?

You can trust Oppo to come up with the answer to that question. The new Oppo F9 Pro is the stylish smartphone that pushes the boundaries of aesthetics in ways that no other smartphone brand has tried before. And as is the case with Oppo’s F-series devices, the F9 Pro is designed to be a selfie shooter with its impressive front camera sitting within what is called the ‘waterdrop’ notch. I’ve had a chance to play with the Rs 23,990 Oppo F9 Pro, and here’s what I think.

What color is it?

The first thing that strikes me about the Oppo F9 Pro is its color, which isn’t just one color. At the top of the phone, it’ll look red to you, but closer to the bottom you’ll see purple. It’s an admitted whacky color scheme that may not necessarily appeal to everyone, but definitely has something in it that makes you want to look again. And while the front of the phone is all black thanks to the screen and borders, the glimmers of red and purple along the sides of the phone are quite attractive.

Apart from the colors themselves, the phone also sports an interesting design at the back using diamond shapes, and the color of each of these diamond shapes is different. It’s quite stunning to look at, and the Oppo logo sits proudly above these patterns, somewhere near the middle of the phone. The top-left corner has the dual-camera setup and LED flash. The bottom of the phone has the micro-USB port, 3.5mm jack and speaker grille, the right has the power button, and the left has the volume buttons and SIM tray.

There are a couple of points worth noting here. The SIM tray isn’t a hybrid design; you get dedicated slots for both SIMs and a microSD card. Also, the fact that this phone has a micro-USB port for charging and data transfers is definitely disappointing, considering that the USB Type-C standard has made its way to phones that cost less than this. The phone was recently launched in Vietnam at VND 7,690,000 (approximately Rs 23,000), and I’d have liked to see a Type-C port at this price.

What does work in the phone’s favor though, is that despite the micro-USB port, the Oppo F9 Pro still offers fast charging through Oppo’s VOOC standard. Charging is fast, though not quite as fast as the OnePlus 6, which sports a similar-sized battery and the identical Dash Charge standard. The difference here is likely the port standard, but fast charging exists nonetheless, so we’ll keep our complaining to a minimum.

Waterdrop notch

The next big design aspect is the unique notch on the Oppo F9 Pro. Right now, the design concepts around the top of the screen of most smartphones center around three ideas: No notch with a top strip, an edge-to-edge screen with a notch, or no notch with an edge-to-edge design. While the Oppo F9 Pro technically slots into the second category, it does the notch differently. Oppo calls this the ‘waterdrop’ design.

What you effectively get is a very small notch; it’s much smaller than the typical notch, with the 25-megapixel front camera sitting in the center and the earpiece right above, with the sensors finding space in the remaining area. It’s actually quite commendable that Oppo has managed to cram all of the necessary components into such a small notch, and this maximises the screen space to the point where it’s almost as good as what you’d see on the more expensive Oppo Find X, but without the complicated mechanical bits.

There’s a slim chin area, but as such you get a fairly high screen-to-body ratio with the 6.3-inch full-HD+ (1080×2340-pixel) screen, along with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. From the front, you can see hints of the colorful sides of the phone, and along with the waterdrop notch, this makes for an impressive look.

Images: Rehan Hooda

What’s under the hood?

We’ll be speaking about this in more detail in our review, but for now I’ll speak briefly on what you can expect from the Oppo F9 Pro. The phone is available in two variants – 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, and a higher 6GB of RAM with 64GB of storage (we have the 6GB RAM variant with us). The phone is powered by the MediaTek MT6771 Helio P60 chipset, which comes with the Mali G72-MP3 GPU. The dedicated microSD slot allows up to 256GB cards, and you get dual-SIM connectivity with 4G supported on both slots.

For biometric security, there’s the fingerprint sensor and face unlock, and powering the device is a 3,500mAh battery. The Oppo F9 Pro runs Android 8.1 Oreo, with Color OS 5.2 on top. Oppo has also launched the F9 in India at Rs 19,990, which comes with 4GB of RAM and a 16-megapixel front camera, as compared to the 6GB of RAM and 25-megapixel front camera on the Oppo F9 Pro.

Selfies galore

The Oppo F-series has always been touted as a selfie-centric range, and the Oppo F9 Pro is no different. You get a 25-megapixel front camera, that serves as the showpiece for this phone, sitting inside its little notch. And keeping with the trends, you also get a dual-camera setup at the back, sporting a 16-megapixel primary sensor, and 2-megapixel secondary sensor that enables depth-effect based settings.

Oppo F9 Pro rear camera portrait mode. Resized for web.

Oppo F9 Pro super-vivid mode. Resized for web.

Oppo F9 Pro front camera sample – resized for web.

There’s also a generous helping of AI-based effects for the camera, including various studio-light effects a super-vivid mode (which changes the colors to something straight out of a comic book). At first glance, portrait mode at the back works alright, although it isn’t quite as accurate at the front. There are a bunch of other modes including sticker, slow-motion video and more, which we’ll try out in detail in our full review.

WATCH: Oppo F9 Pro First Look

Final thoughts

The Oppo F9 Pro is unique in many ways. While we initially weren’t quite sure about how all of its design elements would look, I’m quite impressed with the aesthetics of this phone. Although build quality on the F-series remains an issue thanks to the plastic build, the phone more than makes up for this with its striking colors, textures and waterdrop notch that maximizes screen space without implementing something as radical as a mechanical module.

The phone is expensive, although you do have the option to get the slightly more affordable Oppo F9 at Rs 19,990. We’ll bring you our full review of the Oppo F9 Pro soon, so stay tuned.

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Oppo F9 Pro
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  • Published Date: August 21, 2018 1:49 PM IST
  • Updated Date: August 21, 2018 1:50 PM IST