Oppo is a well-known Chinese brand that has been known for making premium smartphones and Oppo N1 mini, launched in mid-2014, is one of the flagship devices of the company. At first sight, Oppo N1 is impressive, the 13 Megapixel Swivel Camera is the single most important feature of the phone and rightly so. Oppo N1 Mini has been designed for amazing photos and particularly great selfies but is it a great phone or just an amazing camera with average smartphone features? We decided to find out for ourselves! Read on for an exclusive hands-on review of the Oppo N1 Mini!
What’s in the Box?
Oppo N1 Mini
Charger with MicroUSB Cable
Oppo N1 Mini is ‘mini’ only in the name: the phone which is a smaller variant of the Oppo N1 (a huge 5.9 inches smartphone with 373 ppi resolution) is quite large at 5.0 inches and 150 grams, just like the Google Nexus 5. Oppo has tried to keep the main features almost the same in both devices but given the price cut, Mini does lack in certain areas. The first major thing you will notice is the resolution. Oppo N1 Mini is at 294 ppi (720 x 1280 pixels), a resolution which is quite low by today’s standards. As a result, you will find that while Oppo N1 Mini is great in low light situations, it doesn’t look that amazing in daylight. Another major cut that Oppo had to make with the Mini is the battery. The Oppo N1 Mini packs a 2140 mAH battery while its big brother had a huge 3610 mAH battery. In its defense, the battery does a fairly good job combined with the relatively low-resolution display. The Oppo N1 Mini comes with a different processor: N1 is powered by Snapdragon 600 while Mini uses Snapdragon 400. The Mini clocks at 1.6 GHz and has 2GB RAM. Just to give you an idea, Google’s Nexus 5 clocks at 2.3 GHz and runs a Snapdragon 800 processor.
“Oppo N1 Mini Camera with its multiple modes and the swivel is an impressive feat. The picture quality is truly amazing and definitely the biggest strength of the phone.”
However, N1 Mini comes with the same trademark 13 Megapixel Swivel Camera with LED flash which means you can take stunning pictures. Users can snap crisp images in several modes include low shutter mode, GIF mode and UltraHD mode that takes photography to the next level by allowing you to shoot images at a stunning 24 megapixel resolution! Basically, the phone extrapolates sensor data, uses it in combination with the 13 MP camera and stitches together six individual images in a single HD frame.
Hands On with Color OS 1.4.2, Android 4.3
Oppo N1 Mini comes with Android OS pre-installed. Currently there are different variants of Android that are running on Smartphones and Color OS is one of them. It isn’t heavily customized like Samsung’s TouchWiz or QMobile’s latest Amigo UI but it still takes up a lot of space (around 4 GB of the 16 GB Internal Memory) and is still quite basic. Like other customized OS, it supports different built in themes that can be used to change the layout of the icons. The UI comes with the signature Oppo gesture bar that can be dragged down from the top. Pulling down from the right side brings up the Android quick settings menu for Wi-Fi and notifications.
“Overall, Oppo N1 Mini has the capacity to be a good phone for everyday use but it has entered the Pakistani market a little too late and at a price too high. There are much better alternatives in the market in the same price range and with new phones like Nexus 6 around the corner, the competition is going to get even tougher.”
The Oppo N1 Mini runs smoothly for the most part. We tried playing games like Subway Surfers and the phone hung a little but the overall experience was good. The OS has come cool features integrated. The live weather ‘live themes’ were a cool feature back when the N1 was released and shaking the device to clear the snow on icons in a live wallpaper is still a nice animation. Other than that, you can use three fingers to swipe down and take a screenshot, hold the home button to start Google Now and easily navigate the various options in the Camera mode. However, KitKat 4.4 based Color OS update is still a long way away and uncertain at that and now, Android 4.3 is a thing of the past.
Oppo N1 Mini is a good smartphone, even when compared to some highly popular manufacturers. It is well built if a little heavy, has an okay, now quite standard 5.0 inch HD screen and works well. The Camera is a stunner: there is no doubt about that! However, given its price in Pakistan (somewhere upward of 40,000 PKR) users will be forced to make a choice between a top notch camera that can feed their Snapchat addiction or top end specs. If it’s the former, don’t think, just buy this phone but if you fall into the latter category, you can do better. Even the Nexus 5, Google’s current offering with Stock Android KitKat is priced less than the Oppo N1 currently and a Nexus 6 is around the corner.
Review pictures are featuring Haris Nadeem, Google Developers Group Manager, Lahore, Pakistan!