Oppo F9 Review: Good performance and cameras, bad software

Oppo F9 is a solid performer with a beautiful design, but it also has its flaws. Read our review to know if you should buy the Oppo F9 or not.

Oppo, Oppo F9
The camera is the main Focus of the Oppo F9

Oppo F9 is supposed to be an affordable mid-segment device with amazing performance. It packs an impressive design along with great specifications. All of this combined with a competitive price makes the Oppo F9 a great device. However in this competitive market is the Oppo F9 worth it? Let’s find out.

Oppo F9 Price: Rs. 17,990

Oppo F9

The Oppo F9 comes with a 1.99 GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6771 coupled with a Mali-G72 GPU and 4GB of RAM. It sports a 6.3-inch (1080 x 2340 pixels) notched IPS LCD display. For the optics, it features a 16-megapixel rear sensor with a f/1.8 aperture combined with 2-megapixel f/2.4 aperture depth sensor and an LED Flash. For the selfies, it packs a 25-megapixel front-facing camera with a f/2.0 aperture. All of this is backed by a 3,500mAh Battery.

Oppo, Oppo F9
The specifications of the Oppo F9 is nothing unusual

The device sports a plastic back panel with a gradient design. The back is extremely shiny due to which the back pattern is a bit difficult to capture under the camera. It runs Google’s Android 8.1.0 Oreo with Oppo’s ColorOS v5.2 on top. The phone sports a dual sim card slots, dedicated microSD card slot, 3.5mm headphone jack and a micro-USB port for charging and data syncing. The device also features a fingerprint sensor at the back.

Design

The Oppo F9 features a pretty common design. The phone with its shiny plastic back and a semi-boxy design which looks good. The pattern at the back of the device does give it a bit of a character, however, it depends on person to person if they like the pattern or not. We personally got the Purple colour variant to review and the pattern was quite an eye-catcher.

Oppo, Oppo F9
The waterdrop notch is much better than other notch implementations.

The device sports a 6.3-inch LCD HD IPS display with a waterdrop notch. Inside of the notch, you have a 25-megapixel front-facing camera. The front sensor array and the earpiece are all placed above the notch in one of the tiniest top bezels I have seen. The display utilises LCD technology so the bezels are also required to sport a backlight. The clever use of the bezels to hide the earpiece and sensor array is appreciated. The device also features a rear mounted fingerprint sensor and a small chin at the bottom.

Oppo, Oppo F9
The back is really good looking and turns a lot of heads.

On the back, there is a dual camera setup aligned in a horizontal orientation on the top left corner of the device with an LED flash beside it. The fingerprint sensor is in the centre of the device and is in an oval shape. The phone bears the Oppo branding just below the fingerprint sensor. As the back is shiny, fingerprints and smudges are easily visible. Thankfully the company includes a case to avoid this.

Oppo, Oppo F9
Top, Bottom, Left, Right In order.

The power button is located on the right edge and the volume rocker is on the left edge along with the dual sim card tray with a dedicated micro-sd card slot. On the top edge, there is a secondary microphone for noise cancellation. And the bottom edge consists of a microUSB port for charging and data transfer along with a primary microphone, speakers and a 3.5-mm headphone jack.

Oppo, Oppo F9
With case (Left) and without the case (Right)

The smartphone looks great, however, it doesn’t feel the same way for the price. The notched display might be a big push away for some people and maybe a liking for some others. Overall the design of the smartphone is great. With the reflective back, the smartphone looks gorgeous. The waterdrop notch kind off makes it more acceptable. The only flaw in the design is its plastic build.

Software

Oppo F9 runs Google’s Android 8.1.0 Oreo with the company’s own ColorOS 5.2 skin on top. ColorOS is Oppo’s own skin, which it adds to all its devices to give them a unique look and feel. It offers a completely modified Android experience with its custom launcher, icon packs and some bloatware apps like Facebook, UC Browser and Amazon. These might be useful for some people but not for all. However, a plus point is that these apps can be uninstalled.

Oppo, Oppo F9, Software
Oppo’s ColorOS demands a lot of compromises.

Not everything in Oppo’s ColorOS is amazing. ColorOS has a very huge learning curve for Android users. There are also some features, which are infuriating. To remove a notification from the notification bar, instead of just swiping it we need to press the smallest possible delete button after swiping it. Additionally, the notifications aren’t grouped and need to be swiped out one at a time. The device has navigational gestures, which are unresponsive at most times. The software closes background services forcefully causing issues for some of the apps that require to be opened in the background to function properly. All of these small issues make using Oppo’s ColorOS software quite a lot frustrating.

Performance

Performance is a major area of concern on any device, the F9 sports a 1.99 GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6771 coupled with a Mali-G72 GPU and 4GB of RAM.

Oppo F9 PC Mark Work 2.0
AnTuTu (Left) Geekbench (Right)

We ran our usual benchmark tests test to evaluate the performance of the phone. On AnTuTu the device yielded a score of 135639, which is great considering the price and competition. On GeekBench it managed to get a single core score of 1470 and a multi-core score of 5487. The performance numbers of the device on paper were great for the value. The phone exhibits no lag during long heavy usage. Additionally, it runs extremely cool.

While playing light games such as Temple Run and Crossy Chicken, the phone runs smoothly. Heavy games like Asphalt 9 Legends and PUBG Mobile were also able to run without any hiccup.

Display

Oppo, Oppo F9
The Display of the Oppo F9 is good enough

Oppo F9 sports a 6.3-inch LCD HD IPS display with a resolution of 2340×1080 pixels. The brightness gets quite low and bright suiting all needs. The colours are okay for the display sported on this phone. The sunlight readability is great.

Camera

Oppo F9 features a 16-megapixel rear sensor with a f/1.8 aperture combined with 2-megapixel f/2.4 aperture depth sensor and an LED Flash. For the selfies, it packs a 25-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture. The camera sensors are good on paper. Although, not everything depends on the camera lens as we have seen in the past.

Colours in the shots by the rear camera are good. The contrast and white balance is also great. Details on the rear camera are also good. Low light shots are good considering the price. The second sensor on the back is an optical zoom sensor instead of the telephoto or a depth sensor.

Oppo F9, Camera Samples
With Beauty Mode(Left) Without Beauty Mode(Right)

The 25-megapixel front-facing camera with f/2.0 aperture has a different story. The white balance of the shots is bad, which makes the photos taken look bad until and unless there was perfect lighting. Rest is the same as the rear sensor.

The rear camera on the F9 is amazing for day to day usage specifically close up shots. However, the front camera is quite bad. If selfies are the most important thing you want, then this should not your top priority.

Battery

Oppo F9 comes packing a 3,000mAh battery, which does not even last for a day on a single charge. After using the phone heavily it will die almost at the end of your work hours, which is close to eight hours meaning you will have to plug it in before the day ends. If you are into heavy gaming you will definitely need to charge it more regularly than you like. The charging time for the smartphone is around nine hours, which seems a bit tedious.

Oppo F9, AnTuTi Benchmark, GeekBench Benchmark
PC Mark Work 2.0 Battery Life (Left) and Battery Settings (Right)

We ran PCMark’s Work 2.0 Battery Life test, which subjects the phone to heavy usage and finds out how the battery performs in those conditions. The device yielded a result of 9 hours and 47 minutes, which seems a bit low in comparison to similar battery capacity smartphones.

Conclusion

Oppo, Oppo F9
The Oppo F9 is not a great all-rounder, but that doesn’t mean its not a good phone.

Oppo F9 is priced at Rs. 17,990, for which the performance and features it offers, it’s a tough call to make for me whether to recommend this device or not. The software is quite infuriating but the performance and back camera module is great. The front camera is not so good, but the design is great. The smartphone is a hit or miss for me, it makes some compromises but delivers quite well on other stuff.

The Oppo F9 is not an overall great phone, but for the things it does well it is one of the best. You shouldn’t purchase the F9 unless you want a top of the line front camera or a great software experience. If you can live without those two things, the Oppo F9 is a great buy.

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