OPPO F9 Review
Back in March, OPPO released their premium mid-range smartphone, the OPPO F7. It’s a competitive device for the price and we didn’t expect to see a successor anytime soon. The company, however, didn’t have time to rest on its laurels due to the pressure from the competition and released the OPPO F9 just five months later.
Design and Construction
The OPPO F9 features a different look compared to the F7 which is more evident in the screen. Instead of the usual notch, the F9 features an even smaller notch which resembles a waterdrop. It houses the 25MP camera, while situated above it is the slit for the earpiece.
On the left are the volume buttons and the triple card slot, while on the right is the power/lock button.
Up top is the secondary microphone, while down at the bottom are the loudspeaker, microUSB port, main microphone, and 3.5mm audio jack.
Flip it on its back and you will see the protruding 16MP and 2MP rear cameras with a chrome frame, LED flash, fingerprint scanner and OPPO branding.
In the hands, the F9 exudes the quality that we also experienced on the F7, solid and premium. The glossy curved frame is smooth but easy to grip, while the buttons are easy to reach, clicky, yet firm and quiet. Navigating the interface though would still require both hands.
The backside of this device is prettier than the F7’s. It has this glossy finish with a gradient color treatment. Depending on what angle you’re viewing, you will also notice the petal-shaped pattern that makes it look more elegant. Consumers have the following color options: Sunrise Red and Twilight Blue, which has the petal pattern, and Starry Purple, which has the twinkling star effect.
Display and Multimedia
The OPPO F9 sports a 6.3-inch display with Full HD+ resolution (2340 x 1080) or equal to 409ppi, and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. OPPO calls this the Waterdrop Screen, and because of the tiny notch, it gives the F9 a good 90.8% screen-to-body ratio. For comparison, the Find X has a 93.8% screen-to-body ratio.
Despite the good screen dimensions, the F9 still has visible bezels, but it’s not bad. The viewing experience is still great as the screen has rich colors, good viewing angles, and is vibrant enough for outdoor use. When running some apps, playing games, or watching videos, the content extends towards the notch by default. But you can disable it for each app inside the Settings menu under the Notch Area Display Control.
Speaker quality is actually good as it is loud and crisp. Like with other smartphones, the bass is weak, but we didn’t have problems listening to it when playing games or watching videos on YouTube.
This is also the part where the F9 feels like an upgrade over the F7. Instead of just a single 16MP rear shooter, it now has a secondary 2MP sensor for bokeh effects. The selfie camera though was retained at 25MP.
It comes with your usual camera features like HDR, Time-Lapse, Slow motion, Panorama, and Manual mode. The Portrait mode has the 3D lighting effects found on the Find X as well as AR stickers, Super Vivid mode, and AI Beauty Technology 2.1.
Image quality is good but not at the same level, let’s say, like in the Find X. It has AI scene recognition as well and was able to easily recognize scenes like food, landscape, and pets. The photos produced by the rear and front cameras are sharp with accurate colors and nice contrast. It can handle dim conditions like indoors but not so much in low light as details are smudgy and noise starts to become more evident.
When it comes to video recording, the F9 can shoot at a maximum resolution of 1080p at 30fps. You can activate AI Beauty but it will lower the resolution to 720p. Slow motion video maxes out at 120fps in 720p as well. Quality is good, the audio is clear, and it comes with EIS so shots are more stable, however, autofocus is a bit jittery and can be distracting.
OS, UI, and Apps
Running the software is ColorOS 5.2 which is based on Android 8.1 Oreo. The interface is similar to the one found on the Find X, which is simple to navigate and has colorful icons and attractive wallpapers.
Inside Settings, you will see more of its features like the Assistive Ball, Smart Sidebar where you can quickly access apps and tools, Gesture controls, Smart Driving, Smart Assistant, Clone Apps, Game Space, and App Split Screen. It also has security features like Find My Device, Payment Protection, App Lock, Kids Space, and Private Safe, to name a few.
Pre-installed apps are kept to a minimum which is nice, and only includes the usual Google apps, Facebook, Opera, and Lazada. Storage-wise, you’re getting 49.91GB of usable space out of the 64GB, which you can expand via a microSD card.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the OPPO F9 is a MediaTek Helio P60 octa-core CPU and Mali-G72 GPU. That’s the same configuration as the F7, however, it gets a bump in RAM at 6GB which is great. The performance is good for a mid-ranger as it is smooth and apps launch fast. The fingerprint scanner and face unlock, on the other hand, are fast and responsive.
When it comes to gaming, it can handle apps like PUBG Mobile (HD Graphics, High Frame Rate), Mobile Legends (High), and Asphalt 9 (High Quality). There are some minor frame drops in busy scenarios but still very playable. As for thermals, warming is felt near the cameras but not enough to cause discomfort or be distracting.
• AnTuTu – 138,091
• Geekbench – 1,493 (Single-Core), 5,704 (Multi-Core), 5,429 (RenderScript)
• 3D Mark – 1,072 (SSE – OpenGL ES 3.1), 941 (SSE – Vulkan)
• PC Mark – 7,824 (Work 2.0)
• AndroBench – 298.77 MB/s (Read), 211.52 MB/s (Write)
Connectivity and Battery Life
The OPPO F9 has your usual connectivity features like Dual-SIM with LTE, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2 and GPS. There’s no NFC here but not really a big deal. Mobile data is relatively fast, calls are loud and clear thanks to noise-canceling, while GPS-based apps like Google Maps, Waze, and Grab work well.
The battery got some improvement over the F7 as it now has a 3,500mAh capacity with support for VOOC Flash Charge. Battery life varies depending on how you use it, and so far we’re getting around 11 to 12 hours consisting of heavy social media use, constant WiFi connectivity, moderate photography, and light gaming. PC Mark rated the battery at 10 hours and 19 minutes, while our video loop test got us 14 hours and 32 minutes of playback. These are slightly lower results compared to what we got from the F7 but OPPO said that this can be attributed to the improved screen. Charging from 0-100% takes about 2 hours.
The OPPO F9 feels more like a refinement of the F7 than a successor, but that is not to say that they are negligible. The new waterdrop screen, prettier design, increased RAM, updated OS, dual rear cameras, and a larger battery with VOOC Flash Charge, are very welcome improvements.
OPPO is pricing the F9 at Php17,990 which is the same SRP as the F7 when it launched months ago. This is a bit disheartening especially if you’ve purchased the F7 months ago (which is now down to Php14,990, by the way). Not to mention that there are other attractive offerings in the market in the same price range. But if you have that budget, and yet to pull the trigger for an OPPO mid-ranger, then this is the one for you.
|Display||6.3-inches FHD+ (2340 x 1080) 19.5:9 LTPS TFT , 409ppi|
|CPU||Mediatek MTK P60|
|GPU||ARM Mali-G72 MP3 800MHz|
|Storage||64GB / 128GB|
|SIM Card Type||Dual Nano-SIM Cards|
|microSD card||dedicated slot|
|Rear Camera||16MP+2MP dual rear camera|
|Front Camera||25MP with Screen Flash|
|TD-LTE||Bands 38/40/41 (2535-2655MHz)|
|WiFi||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4/5GHz|
|Bluetooth||4.2, A2DP, LE|
|OS||Color OS 5.2 Android 8.1|
|Battery||3500mAh w/ VOOC Flash Charge|
|Color||Sunrise Red, Twilight Blue, Starry Purple|
What we liked:
• Attractive design
• Waterdrop screen
• 6GB RAM
• Larger battery
• Good performance
• Dedicated microSD card slot
• VOOC Flash Charge
What we didn’t:
• Pricier than competition
• No 4K video recording