The latest addition to Oppo’s flagship R-series of smartphones pushes the mid-tier player ever closer to the flagship efforts of more expensive brands. Better yet, it does so without ditching too much of what’s worked to distinguish the Chinese company in the past.
If we’re talking exclusively about the camera-side of the package, the R11 absolutely holds up as the company’s best yet. If you want to get your hands on the best camera that Oppo have to offer, go right ahead and pick up this one up.
In terms of the base-line specs, the handset features a 5.5-inch HD display, Snapdragon 660 processor and 4GB of RAM. Compared to the R9, Oppo say it offers gains of 20% when it comes to performance. All told, the R11 isn’t the fastest smartphone we’ve ever used but it was definitely fast enough for our everyday needs
Unfortunately, the R11’s display is probably one of the handset’s weaker links. It’s servicable but, capable of only tradional HD resolutions, lacks some of the lustre you’ll find elsewhere. Apps look fine. Video content, less so.
Still, in terms of on-board storage, the R11 comes preloaded with 64GB of ROM. This can be expanded using a MicroSD card. Overall, this isn’t an unwelcome setup nor is it a huge break from the company’s previous efforts. Additional options and avenues for you to take control of the Android experience are always a good thing.
Software-wise, the R11 uses the same ColorOS ‘skin’ found in previous instalments. On the whole, it remains a strain of Android that I’m particularly fond of. Oppo have kept things pretty slick and easy to use, cleaning up a lot of the pain-points you’ll find in other Android setups.
Notably, Oppo have made the jump to Android 7.1 Nougat with the R11 – which does add a few welcome new features to the equation, such as Google Assistant. However, given the company’s track-record, don’t expect it to be upgraded via software update to Android O anytime soon.
Only a few years ago, fast-charging and Apple-esque form-factor were the cornerstones of Oppo’s brand. These days, it’s all about the camera.
At a competitive $649, the R11 doesn’t disappoint. It features a dual-lens camera on the back (featuring a 20-megapixel and 16-megapixel lens) and a 20-megapixel shooter on the front (designed for selfies).
As compared to the R9, the R11 boasts a faster focus speed – courtesy of its IMX398 sensor and an f/1.7 aperture – and an impressive 10x zoom.
The dual camera very much the headline feature for the product and, to Oppo’s credit, it holds up as a capable inclusion.
The two lenses on the back are able to intelligently adjust exposure levels between portrait subjects and the background in order to produce results just striking as the ‘Bokeh’ effect found in flagship smartphones from companies like Huawei and Apple.
In my time with the phone I actually found that the R11’s camera was as fast and easy-to-use as modern smartphones get. There’s minimal fuss but plenty of options. Beyond the usual-HDR and Flash toggles, the R11’s camera app features dedicated settings for traditional photos, portraits, panormas and time lapses.
There’s even an ‘Expert’ mode that really lets you tinker with things like the exposure, white balance, shutter speed and more.
If you’re looking to take video, the R11 is able to shoot in up to 4K. However, there isn’t a great deal of image stabilisation here so you may need steady hands or an accessory to get the most out of it.
What’s more, the detail you could get out of the extra magnification was often surprisingly refined. Even something like the dust particles underneath one of the keys on my keyboard shored up surprisingly well at 10x zoom.
The idea that the R11 is just another Oppo phone might immedietely present itself as derisive. However, the truth is far from it. Even if it’s latest in a long-line of solid devices from the Chinese brand, the R11 doesn’t disappoint.
If you’re looking to get a great phone and don’t mind working within the limitations of ColorOS, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better device in the sub-$700 market.
The Oppo R11 will be available through JB Hi-Fi, Woolworths, The Good Guys, Officeworks, Virgin Mobile and Vodafone from the 31st of July at a recommended retail price of $649.