The race for the best selfie camera hits a new milestone in Europe today with the launch of Oppo's F1 Plus. This 5.5-inch Android smartphone will already be familiar to Chinese consumers under the title of Oppo R9. It features an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, and a metal unibody design that borrows more than a few ideas from the iPhone. The rear camera has a 13-megapixel sensor, but it's the front-facing 16-megapixel imager that is the F1 Plus' claim to fame.
I've had an F1 Plus for a few days ahead of today's announcement, and I do indeed like the output from the phone's selfie camera. It has a wide f/2.0 aperture, letting in a ton of light and capturing a surprising amount of detail. By selfie camera standards, it's a good one, but it's certainly not amazing enough to justify its outlandish resolution — even at 8 megapixels, this camera's limitations are obviously apparent. Still, it's a nice hook for Oppo to market this phone around, and it builds on the company's lineage of cheap, selfie-centric phones that started with the smaller F1 earlier this year. The Oppo F1 Plus will cost €389 or £299 in Europe, though the company says it has no plans to offer it for sale in the United States.
The thing that really stands out to me with both of the Oppo F series handsets is the quality of their construction. The F1 Plus is every bit as refined as the iPhone 6S Plus that it's imitating, while being noticeably smaller and lighter with the same screen size and 1080p resolution. I don't wish to endorse copycat designs, but Oppo deserves credit for building a premium-feeling device on a limited budget. The F1 Plus also comes with a 2,850mAh battery, which Oppo promises will last for more than 14 hours of "constant heavy use." That battery is aided by the company's VOOC Flash Charge technology, which will take it from empty to 75 percent full in just half an hour. The most notable downside to the F1 Plus is that it's shipping with Android 5.1, so it's starting life already behind the curve on Android updates. I would also have preferred to see a USB-C connector rather than the rapidly deprecating Micro USB, but that's a trifling concern.
The Oppo F1 Plus is available right away in India, in a choice of gold or rose gold, with 64GB of storage for a price 26,990 rupees. Other countries in Southeast Asia and Africa — including Vietnam, Malaysia, Egypt, Kenya, and Morocco — will follow shortly thereafter and the handset will arrive in Europe in May.