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Oppo N1 review

Oppo takes on the phablet market, but can it live up to the bigger billing?

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Our Verdict

A solid, thin and powerful phone with a great camera. And most importantly, the Oppo N1 beats the opposition in terms of price.

For

  • Great HDR camera
  • Great battery life
  • Clever gesture-based shortcuts

Against

  • Pointless rear touch panel
  • Poor front touch buttons
  • Busy notifications area
Ratings in depth
Design 3 5

Features 4 5

Performance 4

Usability 3 5

Value 4

Smartphone newcomer Oppo arrived from nowhere to win the hearts of Android enthusiasts last year, with the Oppo Find 5 offering decent performance and selling for an impressive price. It was a good start for the previously unknown firm.

Now Oppo's gunning for the more glamorous, barn-door sized phone end of the market with the Oppo N1, an enormous 5.9-inch model with a full HD 1080p display and relatively high-end Snapdragon 600 series chipset.

It's an audacious, slightly bonkers, Galaxy Note 3 or Sony Xperia Z Ultra competitor, but with an RRP of €449 (around £370, or $615, AU$680) it seriously undercuts both Sony and Samsung's rival phablets.

Plus it has a mad swivelling camera, a touchpad around the back and a lean Android OS heavy on motion and touch gestures. It's innovative and cheaper than its peers. Back of the net, right?

Oppo N1 review

What immediately sets the N1 apart from other phones of its size is the innovative rotating camera mount. This houses a fast and impressive 13MP sensor, one that you can rotate through 180 degrees to capture your own gurning face at a resolution unprecedented for a front-facing camera.

And it's a nicely built, sturdy mount, locking into place when it's facing backwards and automatically flipping the on-screen viewfinder image when you rotate it. It's no novelty, it's a super idea.

Oppo N1 review

Oppo's also blowing the traditional phone-selling model apart by including an extremely nice flip case in the box, which is smart enough to automatically activate and deactivate the phone's display when you open and close it - like the world's most technically advanced fridge light.

It's a smooth, stylish case that you'd expect to pay a fair few quid for, so many big-ups to the Oppo team for bunging it in as a freebie.

Oppo N1 review

This case also has a soft area around the back, where there's no padding, like the delicate soft spot on a baby's head.

This is so you can use the Oppo N1's other unique feature - the rear-mounted trackpad. Oppo calls this the O-Touch panel, an additional input method, albeit one that's not hugely useful in the N1's current software setup.

And there's more. There's also a tiny keyfob-size remote control called the O-Click included with the Oppo N1, letting you take photos using the swivelling lens while a short distance away from the phone. It's the ultimate 'selfie' device, no doubt about that.

Oppo N1 review

It's a bit of a shame to see hardware capacitive buttons beneath the huge display, though, as many of today's newest Android models feature the more versatile on-screen software buttons that can pop themselves into and out of existence when the OS deems it necessary.

And it's not what you'd call thrilling to look at.