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OPPO R11 Review

An impressive midranger, Oppo’s new R11 is a premium-looking smartphone that threatens the positions of top-tier Android devices in the market with its state-of-the-art processor and powerful front and rear cameras. With powerful Sony IMX398 and IMX350 sensors and a 20MP front facing camera, the R11 is a force to be reckoned with.

Design

Oppo’s R11 doesn’t really look too different from its predecessors, and we didn’t expect it to considering how little the design has changed over the years.

The R11 still sports the same unibody design as the R9s with a matte metal shell on the rear and a pearly white front. The frames are curved both vertically and horizontally to create a neat and polished look that appeals to both genders.

On the front of the phone, you will find a 5.5″ screen and under it,  a fingerprint sensor that is capacitative instead of physical.

The bottom frame of the smartphone holds your 3.5mm headphone jack, your speakers and a USB-B port, not the new USB-C port most flagships now use. It’s a little disappointing, but perhaps the main reason for this was to utilise the flash-charging technology Oppo phones have always been using.

For a 5.5″ smartphone, the R11 feels pretty light and thin. It weighs a mere 150g and dimensions of 154.5 x 74.8 x 6.8 mm, making it thinner than the iPhone 7.

The one major drawback of the Oppo R11 is the fact that it isn’t waterproof which most smartphones are nowadays, and if Oppo had really hoped to break into the premium market, it might have tried considering waterproofing the device.

Display

The Oppo R11 looks impressive with its AMOLED 5.5″ screen which has impressive contrasts and deep blacks. With a full-HD resolution and a pixel density of 401ppi, there is absolutely nothing to complain about with the R11.

Minimum brightness is also fairly low, which is great since it allows for texting in the dark before bed without that annoying glare. Speaking of which, there is also a feature known as “nightly shield” which schedules when to turn on a blue-light filter that helps you reduce eye strain when using screens.

Performance

The R11 uses a new Snapdragon 660 processor in the market, which is fairly rare. In this octa-core chipset, you will find 4 Kryo 260 cores which are powered at 2.2GHz as well as 4 other cores ticking at around 1.8GHz. This, coupled with a 4GB RAM and an Adreno 512 GPU should give your device the power it needs to run most tasks like a walk in the park.

Antutu benchmarks gave the device a score of 117391.

3Dmark tests gave the R11 a score of 1350.

Based on general daily usage, the lack of lags even during gaming, and the scores presented, it’s safe to say the R11 stands at the top of the midrange tier of smartphones as of today.

User Experience

The R11 runs the ColorOS 3.1 above the Android software, and its definitely nothing near the stock Android experience that phones such as Lenovo’s Moto, the OnePlus series or the Google Pixels offer. Depending on your taste and preferences, that may be a good or bad thing. In my opinion, both the interface and physical body appears a little too similar to the iPhone, which Android users may dislike, things tend to feel a tad more tedious and complicated in my opinion, coming from a stock Android background, but I can’t deny the beauty of the ColorOS either.

The themes are an interesting addition on the Oppo R11, with rotating lockscreens which you can customise and different icon styles.

One notable feature I did enjoy in particular would probably have been the ability of the R11 to do screen-off gestures such as drawing O to open the camera, V to switch on the flashlight, other symbols to control the music player etc.

Camera

Without a doubt, the focus on the R11 would have been the camera, both the 20MP one on the front and the dual camera set-up on the rear.

One of them is a 16MP IMX398 regular sensor that comes with an f/1.7 lensand the other is a 20MP IMX376 sensor with f/2.6 telephoto lens. Combined, the 2 lenses are capable of providing 2x optical zoom capabilities with image processing handled by the Qualcomm Spectra ISP.

The main beef I have with the camera is not the quality or hardware of the camera, but the interface. It’s impossible to control the resolution of the camera, and all you get is control over aspect ratios, whether it’s 4:3, 1:1 or 16:9.

On your “expert” or manual mode, you get some shutter controls that starts from 1s to 16s, amongst standard controls. Manual focus is something I found to be useful to build a bokeh effect on my photos when needed.

Nonetheless, the photos produced by the Oppo R11 were impressive, with amazing detail, contrast, and a very vibrant colour scheme.

Although not really a video recording device, the R11 does well for itself in the video department too. The sensor is capable of capturing 4K, 1080p, and 720p videos at 30 fps and the colour scheme, as well as dynamic range, was more than satisfactory. I definitely did like the optical stabilsiation though.

Battery Life and Charging

The R11 appears to have a very average 3,000mAh non-removable battery under its hood, but this power source seems to be capable of fuelling the device for a fairly long time. With an average usage of 10 hours before running out of juice (with regular texting and web-surfing).

VOOC fast-charging is supported as with the older generation of Oppo devices and the device seemed to fill up to 75% between 1.5 to 2 hours.

Conclusion

The Oppo R11 great by all means and measure and at a price of S$699, it’s definitely a good buy for someone looking for an aesthetically-appealing midranger that tops the department in terms of camera prowess and build. However, the R11 might trip some up with its software and interface that can turn out to be quite an acquired taste.

Zayne Seah
A tech geek going beyond specs.

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