Opinion: Oppo N1 Exciting or Disappointing?


Oppo were the last of the big 3 Chinese phone makers to launch their latest Android device. Now after seeing the Oppo N1, its features and specifications how do you feel?

With the Oppo N1 launch over we have pretty much finished the big Chinese phone launches of this year. Sure we still have 8-core and 4G Mediatek phones to look forward too, and there are going to be some great surprise phones from other brands, but for most International readers Xiaomi, Meizu and Oppo are the 3 to keep an eye on.

oppo n1 hero

Oppo’s marketing was a little different than others for the N1. Instead of letting wild rumours run wild, Oppo released teaser videos and images and corrected news articles which announced incorrect details. Oddly though some teased features didn’t make an appearance such as the detachable NFC camera lenses, one of the biggest and most exciting features of the phone!

Oppo N1 strengths

I’m going to try and be as neutral as I can by listing what strengths and weaknesses I think the N1 has. If you think I am wrong or missed something then feel free to leave a comment.

Color ROM

Oppo have a lot of neat features in their Color ROM, and the latest version appears to be the most featured packed and polished to date! And if you decided you don’t like it you can always…

CyanogenMod

oppo n1 cyanogenmod

A CyanogenMod version of the Oppo N1 is a great addition. It will offer a great alternative to users and is a wonderful first step for CyanogenMod as a company. It’s just a shame we didn’t see it in action during the launch.

In fact Oppo’s attitude towards developers and their fan community as a whole is a benefit they have over most other phone makers.

Battery

With a 5.9-inch 1080 display we are going to want a nice size battery to keep the phone going. The Oppo N1 has a 3610mAh battery which isn’t as big as some, but still larger than most.

Innovation

oppo n1 rotating front camera

Innovation isn’t quite the right word here, evolution is better suited to the Oppo N1. Oppo might enjoy claiming the N1 is the world’s first phone with rotating camera, but it isn’t, not by a long shot. Samsung, NEC and others all had the same feature on their phones years ago. The rear touch panel is a nice touch too, but hardly ground breaking.

Weaknesses

Length

Some of you think I am out to get any phone with a large display so I’ll say this one more time. I personally don’t mind a large display, if it is part of a great, fully optimised design. The Oppo N1 has a 5.9-inch display, which isn’t all that huge by today’s standards, but it does measure in at a rather long 170.7mm.

oppo n1

Most of the extra length is due to the rotating camera in the top of the phone, but surely that could have been fixed my having a regular camera set up?

Gimmicks

I’ve not used the rotating camera on the N1 so I don’t know how good it is. I do like to think I have a good imagination though and can’t quite think of myself as being overly amazed at the idea of rotating a camera around to take a photo.

I look at the N1 and feel that it could have looked so much better with a narrow top (like the bottom) and a regular front and rear camera arrangement. At 9mm thick the N1 is more than thick enough to have dual cameras, which would also have helped make it a little less heavy.

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oppo n1

The rear touch, like the rotating camera, seem like great ideas but I’m not sure just how useful it is going to be.

We’ve seen these features before Oppo, and they died off.

Durability

I actually don’t think durability is going to be an issue with the N1 and its rotating camera. Oppo seem to have tested it to a high standard, and their manufacturing has always been very good.

That doesn’t stop others thinking the camera is the weak link though. Ive already seen numerous comments from readers concerned with the rotating camera. So although the durability might be fine, people have already started to think it might not.

Price

Possibly the largest issues here is price. Compared the Xiaomi Mi3 and Meizu MX3 the Oppo N1 is a much more expensive phone.

oppo n1 price hero

Not only is it more expensive but it also has a lower specification processor! The Mi3 has either a Snapdragon 800 or Tegra 4 and the Meizu MX3 has an 8-core Samsung Exynos chip.

Who is the Oppo N1 for?

Oppo have placed the N1 a genre of phone aimed at camera phone enthusiasts. The camera is unique by today’s standards, it offers some great features and with the hardware we can see it is going to perform well.

oppo n1 lens attachment

But, where are those detachable lenses? They were part of the teaser images and they are nowhere to be seen. Was Oppo just saying that the N1 has NFC and so can use a Sony lens? In that case FAEA should do the same with the F1 and Xiaomi with the Mi2A, not to mention all the flagship devices with the same function.

Cyanogenmod chinese phones

So is the N1 for Android enthusiasts and hackers? It comes with the option to run CyanogenMod from the box after all. No, I don’t think so. If you were a modder I believe you would go for the Nexus 4, Nexus 5 or even Oppo’s very own Oppo Find 5.

Oppo have created a very niche product with the N1, I hope they do well with it but I just can’t imagine seeing many N1’s out on the street when it launches especially when there are some many other options for the same price or even less.

Oppo N1 – Exciting or disappointing?

Personally I am more than a little disappointed with the N1. After seeing what Oppo are capable of with the Oppo Find 5 and even the R819 I was hoping for something more exciting.

black oppo find 5

If Oppo had made the N1 with a regular camera set up, shorter body, updated the CPU to the S800 and knocked the price down then I would be much more excited and would even consider buying one! As it is though if I was to buy an Oppo (and I am considering to as a second phone to use with an Mi3) I’ll get a Find 5.

[poll id=”6″]

Do you think the Oppo N1 is an exciting product or are you disappointed too? Take part in the poll above and leave your comments.

Previous Oppo N1 Specifications
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37 Comments

  1. September 23, 2013

    Overpriced for the international market. The price they are looking for, for a bit more, you can have the Note 3, G2 or Z1 or One Max thats a league above it in performance and better customer support.

  2. damo
    September 23, 2013

    I am excited by the specs of the phone.. but I can’t wait till december.
    Nexus 5 or Note 3 for me.

    At a stretch i will consider the MX3.

    Such a shame that I can’t buy one sooner then sometime in december.

    • September 23, 2013

      Excited by the specs? Sorry to rain on your parade, but Oppo is using last gen’s processor – the Snapdragon S600, rather than the S800 which all new flagships are using. If you want a good specs, look at the following:

      1. Xperia Z1 – Has the best Android camera ever made, waterproof, dust proof and shock proof
      2. Xperia Z Ultra – One of the best phabets ever. Waterproof, dust proof, shock proof, comes with the best specs available.
      3. Note 3 – Also a very good phablet.
      4. LG G2 – Very good battery life.
      5. Nexus 5 – Instant updates from Google.

      • damo
        September 24, 2013

        I am not particularly fussed by a phone having the latest and greatest CPU. To me the latest and greatest CPU is an evolutionary step. I am excited by new features and ways to operate and connect with a phone, these are innovations and I feel that the N1 is truly innovative when viewed in this light.

        I am impressed with the option to choose between Colour ROM and Cyanogenmod. And Cyanogenmod will receive nightly updates.

        I am impressed by the battery and having a phone that will last through a full day of heavy use.

        I am impressed by Oppo’s use of quality components (whilst not all top of the line) to create a product that bring and innovative product to the market.

        D.

        • Allanitomwesh
          September 24, 2013

          You sir,are smart Mr.Damo

        • anony
          September 24, 2013

          Currently it’s debatable whether you call those things innovation or gimmicks.

          I consider truly innovative company doesn’t do backward shit like omitting external storage and removable battery option.

  3. hoang vung
    September 23, 2013

    Still wait for detail review. Nowaday, ecosystem is very important. I’m not impressed with previous colour rom, so oppo should built a good time instead!

  4. September 23, 2013

    I’m sort of disappointed with the N1, which is maybe because of my own expectations. I just hope they don’t screw up the software on this one.

  5. C
    September 23, 2013

    They really missed it with that CPU, that instantly makes this a last-generation phone even before it’s released, I can’t understand what they are thinking.

    Also, for a phone they hyped the camera on, it’s disappointing that it uses a tiny sensor.

  6. Qidamin
    September 23, 2013

    Oppo has teased about a quite impressive photographic tool, and the only special feature is this rotative camera, which is not so usefull. They should have put effort on a new sensor or something really innovative. I don’t think it is worth the price.

  7. September 23, 2013

    This is a camera phone which should be judged by its image output and not it’s processor speed.
    First samples at GSMArena look very very promising and that alone makes this camera phone stand out.
    Image output seems on par with Samsung and surpasses Sony – no small feat.
    USB OTG is important for off loading images onto a separate storage device, and the Bluetooth 4 spec makes it compatible with most sports devices: a nice feature few have commented.
    Qualcomm 600 or 800 doesn’t make a difference in image taking terms, it would have made the device only costlier with higher battery consumption.
    Image rendering is done by separate rendering chips anyway.

    Most reviewers look at the N1 as the supposed flagship model for gamers which it isn’t – why does nobody judge its camera output? I mean, who cares about Antutu on a camera centric phone?

    • anony
      September 24, 2013

      Who cares about camera phone which doesn’t even have sd card slot?

      • ChuckDaly
        September 24, 2013

        The premier camera phone out today is the Lumia 1020, its incredibly popular, and has no SD card slot.

        • anony
          September 24, 2013

          Popular enough to save them from oblivion… oh wait.

          • ChuckDaly
            September 24, 2013

            Oh wait!! Nokia’s fiscal issues are irrelevant to your initial point about camera phones. BTW, Oppo will be very happy to sell as many N1s as Lumia 1020s.

            • anony
              September 24, 2013

              Yes it does, it counteract your “incredibly popular” claim.

              Try harder.

            • ChuckDaly
              September 24, 2013

              And how did you counteract my claim for the lumia 1020’s popularity? Sorry, I missed it.

            • anony
              September 25, 2013

              Not interested anymore, let other judge for themselves. And let N1 sales speak for itself.

  8. Petri
    September 23, 2013

    CPU, no sd, too big. Design.

  9. PeterP
    September 24, 2013

    Somewhere between excited ad disappointed.
    The design is pretty OK, I really like the ceramic finish but the top and bottom is too large. Bezels are not so thin.
    The rotating camera is a gimmick, I would have preferred the 21mp unit from the Z1 for sure and cut down the size. I’m sure it would have its uses and annoyances.
    Battery almost excellent. Processor is a ‘little’ weak but really it’s just an underclocked s800, with the benefit I presume of better battery life, so it’s more than adequate. Screen is too large, no thanks to the design, it’s friendly for girls/russians (man bags).
    It’s expensive. I might buy almost just for the finish. if only the Mi3 did international shipping it would be a complete almost no question purchase.

    The spec for the reported Find7 is obvious. Andi nailed it with his comments.
    S800, smaller 5.5 1080, same ideal looking finish, sony 21mp, 2-4gb, 32-64gb, zero bezels/top bottom, nfc, lte, sdhc, cyanogenmod, dual sim 🙂 <= 3000 yuan.

  10. Allanitomwesh
    September 24, 2013

    It is a good phone,nobody is talking about the high end build quality or the fact that moving parts work flawlessly? Or the fact that HTC One and surely One Max costs/will cost more? This specification crying is getting out of hand.I’d rather have a premium built device thank-you. I am especially interested in what the JiaYu S1 will cost,for comparison.

    • PeterP
      September 25, 2013

      Construction and Ceramic (if like that used on metal gold clubs) is perfect and just wont ever get any better.
      Just needs to be smaller with normal 21mp/low light camera and perhaps a few other niceties.

      • September 25, 2013

        Perhaps for the Find 7?

  11. Chrispynutt
    September 24, 2013

    I was ready to be wowed. Really not that exciting. Gimmicky camera, boring body, phablet size without a stylus, baked in battery and storage.
    Not sold at all. Cyanogen to me is about keeping a phone open and with a long usage life. Non replaceable battery and fixed storage put pay to that. Nothing interesting like a companion watch or the like. It’s just a big expensive phone. Sony already does those.

    • anony
      September 24, 2013

      Heck Sony does it better.

  12. September 24, 2013

    Andi, check your title: Opinon

    🙂

  13. wat
    September 24, 2013

    It’s the best looking phone of the big 3 (Xiaomi, Meizu, Oppo) and I wanted a bigger device like 6 inches but I am disappointed by the 600, I would like to see an 8core MediaTek version with series 6 Power VR…. if it can still support USB OTG and UK 4G. Oh, and the price… $400/£250 off contract would be perfect but maybe a little idealistic.

  14. ChuckDaly
    September 24, 2013

    The price is the sticking point for me. Its too close in price with its Sony, HTC, and Samsung counterparts. All of the previously mentioned will offer greater hardware support. What I think many here discount is the Cyanogenmod rom, which should provide a stable android experience, which is far from the experience many chinese android phones offer. I also think Cyanogen can make up for it have a Snapdragon 600 SoC. Also are there any plans for an international verson?

    • Allanitomwesh
      September 24, 2013

      Yeah,it’ll go international in December according to press. Seems rather far,but hopefully the Cyanogenmod Version will be ready then.

      • September 24, 2013

        Pretty sure it will be ready by then. I believe that the CM team would’ve already spent a whole lot of time developing for the N1.

  15. Colossae3.23
    September 24, 2013

    About that camera. So it rotates 120 degrees, and it’s natural “home” is rear facing, is that right? If the camera actually takes photos, throughout it’s full range of motion, then I see this as pretty exciting. In my mind this opens up more freedom to photograph creatively, and that, without much need for a tripod/stand. Better group photos (with yourself included) become available, and even night shots (with 8 seconds of exposure possible). All you need is a flat surface to lay the phone on.
    Seems pretty cool to me. Paying for it might be tough…

  16. Leon
    September 24, 2013

    I am more than disappointed by the N1,a 5,9″ phone with no memory expansion, a SD 600 processor which in my opinion is outdated for a brand new flagship.
    I couldn’t care less about a rotating camera they should have just added a normal camera to make the phone more esthetically appealing, just imagine when it falls on the top might actually damage the camera.
    I will get a note 3 or Htc one max for a slightly higher price.

  17. aldo
    September 24, 2013

    now i nave a find 5… they use customer for test for they bugged software… in month only promise… but time after time only bug… i’m not happy of my phone and above all for The oppo’s way to hipe customer problems whit “fans” act…
    this make The difference…

  18. Ferdi
    September 24, 2013

    I’m excited for it, but also a little disappointed.
    It has some great new features to offer to the user, but the specs are lower than expected and the price is too high for it to be a worthwhile investment.
    I already knew it wasn’t going to be a phone for me, 5″9 inch is too large for me. I also knew it would have a premium price tag. I’d buy a Xiaomi Mi3 over this any time!

  19. waris
    September 24, 2013

    As usual with Oppo the build is very good.
    BUT
    The camera is disappointing really. We were expecting something like optical zoom or multi sampling like in the sony Z1. Afterall, this is supposed to be N-lens a camera series and is supposed to be better than the others.

    NO Snapdragon 800, I don’t know why. If there is a snapdragon 800, it would be enough to satisfy the price. Snapdragon 800 is actually a better chipset not just an over-clocked S4 pro like the 600 is.

    Rotating camera makes sense actually. I can see it working. I am not sure how the rear touch panel will work but i can see it decrease in sensitivity over time.

  20. Shaunuss
    September 25, 2013

    Seriously question, what makes an oppo, meizu, or xiaomi phone any better than the Neo N003? The CPU in these phones may be faster than the MTK6589T, but is that even a thing in day to day use? From what I’ve seen, the MTK cpu is more than fast enough to handle pretty much anything thrown at it.

    The Neo looks to be as good quality and has more features than any of the above. Apart from the aesthetics of the phone body itself, which seems to be a huge thing everyone’s going on about, Can anyone shed light on this for me please?

  21. September 25, 2013

    I am a little bit disappoint with this Oppo N1. I expect better hardware and new especifications that can do the difference with theirs competitors.