REVIEW: Oppo R11s – The Affordable ‘iDupe’ For Apple Admirers
Oppo’s latest flagship smartphone, the R11s, has been on the Australian market for several weeks, and following an incredibly trendy launch event in Sydney – think models, artists, Instagram influencers, and DJs – the Chinese company is clearly focused on making a name for itself in the local market.
It’s clear from the onset Oppo’s R11s is heavily ‘inspired’ by one of the market’s most notable devices – Apple’s iPhone.
It’s not a hyperbole to call Oppo’s R11s an ‘iDupe’, and at A$659 the device may possibly be a steal for Apple admirers who crave a similar experience at a cheaper price.
So how well does the Oppo R11s fare, both as a standalone smartphone, and pseudo iPhone?
[Oppo seems committed to following Apple’s footsteps, with its forthcoming R15 smartphone confirmed to feature an iPhone X-esque ‘notch’].
The new R11s is an upgrade to Oppo’s former flagship smartphone, the ‘R11’. With a 6-inch AMOLED FHD+ display screen and 18:9 aspect ratio, the R11s boasts similar specifications to many other high-end flagship devices.
Unfortunately, tested against other similarly positioned smartphones I found the R11s’ display resolution to be comparately less clear and vibrant.
Screen brightness is certainly robust, especially when compared to Oppo’s cheaper A73, it just lacks the crystal clear display you may find in a Samsung device. That being said, there is a considerable price difference.
The R11s also provides other features – such as facial recognition – many similar priced devices do not.
Concerning its external case, the R11s encompasses a sleek metallic matte unibody. Coupled with its 18:9 aspect ratio, the device looks and feels somewhat ‘flagship’. Despite its price point, this is not a ‘cheap’ looking phone.
Complimenting its minimalistic appearance, the device is very lightweight – just 153 grams.
For ‘rough’ users out there, unfortunately this stylish device doesn’t boast many durability/water resistant claims, as seen in many other similarly positioned smartphones.
Further appealing to the price conscious, Oppo’s R11s does arrive with a complimentary screen protector (already put on for you) and a clear plastic case. No added accessory charges, which often add an extra $100+.
Oppo’s R11s comes loaded with Android 7.1, and is overlaid with its iPhone inspired ColorOS skin (Version 3.2).
If you’re a classic Android user, be warned there is some getting used to this.
I’d liken the adjustment process to swapping to an actual iPhone, as truth be told it’s an incredibly similar user interface. There’s a ‘pull up’ menu for accessing key settings (e.g. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi) just like an iPhone.
The R11s also doesn’t display notification icons in the top pane, as you would a classic Android device, which for me is total bummer. No handy ‘new text message’/Whatsapp message icon in the top pane, forcing you to scan your home screen for new notifications.
Apple users, however, will likely not be too phased.
That being said, you have to ask yourself, is the R11s positioned for Apple fans? Given Apple fans’ [passionately] loyalistic nature it’s highly unlikely they’d easily sway, and opt for its Chinese cousin instead. Maybe iPhone admirers will, rather than Apple fans…
However, that remains a matter of brand positioning for Oppo’s management.
Just like the pre-decessing Oppo R11, the R11s is still running Android Nougat, which unfortunately means you can’t truly utilise all the extra space provided by an 18:9 aspect ratio, especially in split-screen mode.
As for the actual device, the R11s is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, with 64GB of on-board storage (expandable with MicroSD) and 4GB of RAM. The 3200mAh battery is charged via a MicroUSB, which does feel somewhat dated for a flagship phone.
Dual SIM functionality is supported – which is a notable plus – as is Wi-Fi [802.11], Bluetooth 4.2 and 4G, however, there is no NFC meaning you can’t use Google Pay for contactless payments.
If its launch event is anything to go by, Oppo’s key demographic is stylish, artistic, contemportary and very active on social media – as such, its clear why the R11s’ camera is promoted as a hero feature.
With a dual 20MP & 16MP rear camera set-up (f/1.7 aperture), and 20MP front camera (f/2.0 aperture) the R11s claims to be perfect for Instagrammers and avid ‘selfie’ takers.
Images captured are relitively clear and crisp. They aren’t as striking as those taken on a Samsung Note 8 and Apple iPhone X – however, you have to bear in mind the extreme difference in price (~$600 vs circa $1000).
For the price the R11s certainly packs a punch. Colours are rich, and there’s excellent sharpness.
As previously mentioned, I did find the clarity and crispness of the R11s’ screen resolution to be somewhat lacking. I found images displayed much better on my laptop, than on the actual smartphone. By consequence, the quality of images is not best judged on the actual phone.
The camera also has an in-built ‘Expert Mode’ – for custom ISO settings etc. – which I found to be particularly robust.
Video quality is also great – not jaw-dropping, but good. Just note, there’s no slow motion functionality.
Concerning ‘selfie’ quality…. It’s a matter of perception. If you’re someone who prefers appearing more tanned, the R11s has a tendency to slightly ‘wash out’ various tones, in lieu of a more polished and ‘lit from within’ appearance. As a Chinese phone, its clear some cultural notions have transferred across.
The device features Oppo’s custom “Portrait Lab” (i.e. in-built ‘beautify’ settings), which only further enhances this.
Oppo claims its ‘selfie camera’ boasts self-learning artifical intelligence, which analyses a person to apply the ‘best suited’ beautify tweaks for your appearance. Again, its a matter of personal preference as to whether AI suggestions suit your taste.
Facial Recognition & Fingerprint Scanner
One thing I particularly enjoyed about the R11s is its fingerprint scanner – its easily accessible on the back, and extremely fast.
Facial recognition, however, was not as robust nor as quick. It works the majority of the time, however, as an alternating glasses and contact lens wearer, there are occasions when it struggles. However, that’s an issue I find in facial ID for many high-end smartphones. All in all, I found myself defaulting to fingerprint recognition.
Interestingly, the R11s does explicitly state its facial recognition can be triggered by “objects shaped like you”, which does raise a few concerns about the legitimacy of security.
Incorporating a 3200mAh battery, the R11s delivers a decent amount of juice. On average, I found I was able to run about a day and a half [with average use] before requiring a charge. The provided charger also charges the device significantly faster than other similarly positioned phones.
Oppo claims just five minutes of charging will provide two hours of talking time – a claim I found to be largely substantiated.
After the initial adjustment period, I found the R11s to be a fairly reliable smartphone. The device handles multi-tasking well, and is fluid and seamless when swapping amongst multiple open apps.
Concerning typing on the keyboard, the device maintains a good re-collection of prior phrases, and is certainly helpful in reducing the time taken to craft texts. [You find you repeat a lot more phrases, than you thought…]
Integration of artifical intelligence within the R11s’ keyboard is also quite intuitive – it automatically suggests emojis to match words you’re typing.
(That’s not particularly helpful when your name is ‘Roma’ and the phone keeps suggesting a tomato emoji… But I don’t think they’re to blame here).
Audio qualiy is good, however, its certainly not at the level you’d find in high-end phones from LG, Samsung or Apple. In this area, its moreso a case of ‘you get what you pay for’. Not bad at all, just not outstanding. Feel free to outsource audio quality to a great pair of headphones.
Booting up the R11s is fast, and overall the device does pack a decent punch for around $600.
Overall, Oppo’s R11s packs plenty of features into a $659 smartphone – from facial recognition, to an 18:9 AMOLED FHD+ display screen, and dual rear camera set-up.
The R11s is reliable and robust in many areas, and is complimented by a sleek and stylish exterior – just like its perceived target market.
However, as mentioned Oppo’s R11s is likely a smartphone for Apple admirers, than Apple fans.
With the constraints of its ColorOS software, the smartphone’s interface looks an iPhone, but certainly doesn’t run with the same level of precision and fine tuning.
Oppo’s R11s provides an entry into the world of the iPhone at a fraction of the price, and in doing so may be great value for money for some consumers.
That being said, it’ll be interesting to see how Oppo builds brand loyalty in the long-run. Will purchasers upgrade from Oppo to Oppo, or Oppo to Apple as their income grows?
Oppo’s R11s is available to purchase from several Australian retailers including JB Hi-Fi and Officeworks. Oppo has also announced it’s offering 6 months of free screen repairs to purchasers of its R11s smartphone.
Design – 7.3
Performance – 7.2
Value – 7.3