Launched a mere few days ago in Malaysia, the R9s is OPPO’s most interesting flagship so far as it has the hardware to attempt to be one of the best camera phones in town. Clocking in at just under RM1,800, with a bit of change, the phone’s main claim to fame is its rear 16-MP snappers with the rear boasting an impressive F/1.7 aperture lens while the front has an F/2.0 aperture lens.
Unboxing the phone involves removing an external slide-out protective cardboard wrap that reveals the actual box itself. The R9s itself lies inset in a plastic tray sealed in protective wrap. Just beneath it is a plastic tray that comes with a device specific VOOC fast charger cable, a UK style 3-pin 5V@4A fast USB charger and a pair of headphones with a line-in control.
While all but a few flagship vendors will skimp on issuing a fast charger and a silicone casing with their phone, OPPO has managed to throw both into the package, which is a pleasant bonus. If you look up close, you’ll notice that the fast charger cable is unique with green inset prongs in both ends. The word: don’t lose this. They aren’t that common yet in the open market and the VOOC fast charging tech with the phone needs the charger and cable in tandem to work its magic. On paper, it’s rated to give a 75% charge to the battery in half an hour of charging. In a small box just beneath the R9s is the user manual along with a complimentary soft silicone casing to protect the phone which is a nice touch.
The OPPO R9s draws a few design cues from other flagship phones and has a lozenge shaped non-clicky home button cum fingerprint reader up front, 2.5D glass to accentuate its curves and a machined aluminium casing though it adds OPPO’s own unique touches here and there to the design.
The brushed unibody aluminium casing is available in Malaysia in either a burnished gold finish or a rose gold finish though our test unit was the former. Of particular note in the design is that OPPO has conceived of a unique machining process that allows for better radio reception without having to shave off or inset plastic panels in the casing. The result is a trio of machined grooves akin to a guitar string bisecting the top and bottom of the phone which look rather unique.
Perched at the top of the phone is an LED flash along with the rear 16-MP camera sensor that juts out somewhat from the chassis though the provision of the silicone sleeve solves that conundrum nicely. Of note is that the rear camera has a bright F/1.7 aperture; something only matched by one other flagship device so far in the local market and the ability to capture 2160P video too. This is augmented by a custom issued Sony IMX 398 sensor which has Dual Pixel Autofocus and potentially better performance in low light along with faster speed on the draw with improved autofocus speeds.
The bottom of the phone is somewhat cluttered with machined holes for the mono speaker and phone audio pick-up. In between both is a microUSB port to charge the non-removable 3,010mAh battery and a 3.5mm audio jack. The R9s itself incorporates OPPO’s patented VOOC fast charge tech that gives it a rapid juicing enough to last a day in minutes without heating up the phone.
The front of the phone sports a 5.5-inch 1080P 410ppi AMOLED display, the aforementioned lozenge shaped home button cum fingerprint reader and the 16-MP selfie camera perched up front. The selfie camera itself is capable of capturing 1080p video. In lieu of a built-in flash, the R9s flashes the front display white for more pleasing selfies. To ensure it doesn’t get nicked on day one, the phone actually comes with a pre-applied screen protector, which ensures that you get the whole package out of the box.
When held the phone feels pleasant to wield and has an event heft with gently rounded corners that ensures it won’t snag on clothing or pockets. The 6.6mm thinness and relatively lightweight for a phone this size makes it an appealing proposition in the aesthetics department.
The rest of the hardware under the hood of the R9s consists of a workhorse midrange Snapdragon 625 processor though this is beefed up by a generous 4GB RAM and 64GB of onboard storage to make it rather snappy in the performance stakes. Once we put it to the test in a review we’ll furnish you with more details.