Oppo is taking style quite seriously. The F9 comes in three colors and none of them are subtle. This is a phone not suitable for spies, you cannot blend in with the crowd while calling in an airstrike. Red, blue and purple is your choices. Which is a good thing in an age of dull (or shiny) black rectangular glass blocks? Huawei did start off offering vivid, pattern-filled colors but Oppo here took it up to eleven.
The phone is all about being noticed. Show it off to friends, let them flip and twist it against the light in an effort to catch some light on the diamond-patterned back of the red and blue units. The purple one goes a step further with starry speckles across a pearlescent gradient. It is gorgeous to look at, although the colored chrome frame borders on the gaudy side. Just. This is not for the introvert.
The rather massive 6.3-inch display takes up almost the whole front without wasting much space on the bezel. The very right display is one of the tallest screens around with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The 1080 x 2340 pixels and a 409 PPI density ensure a superbly sharp screen. Colors are vibrant without going overboard. Keeping things contemporary, the 6.3-inch display features what a lot of people want now, for no reason: a notch. Except this is the sleekest, tiniest notch I have come across, a water drop shape housing the front camera.
It has a very fast fingerprint scanner at the back and supports face unlock which opens up the phone the instant you look at it. Impressive! It runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with AI figuring out your usage patterns to create the best combo of power-saving as well as quick launches of most preferred apps. One annoyance though is the absence of an app drawer- all apps get placed on the home screen.
It features a 16 MP, f/1.8 and 2MP f/2.4 dual camera setup for the rear. The small 2MP unit is there just to serve as a depth sensor for your portrait pictures with the fancy blurred background for Instagram. The front has a needlessly huge 25MP f/2.0 camera unit.
Now, megapixels do not always make the best choice when you are out hunting for a good smartphone camera. First, the rear main camera takes good pictures in the sense that colors are accurate and if you hold it still, in good light, there is plenty of detail. But a lot of it is smoothed out as a result of the noise reduction algorithm.
Here’s another winning feature. The display is a low energy consuming unit which allows the 3500mAh battery to last a really long time. And when it does go low, the proprietary VOOC fast charging means you get quick top-ups within minutes. The downside is that will not work with other chargers. You have to carry around your Oppo charger or get regular slow charging when using others.