23
Sep
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I'm here in Beijing for Oppo's launch event for the new N1 smartphone, and last night I had a chance to spend some time with the up-and-coming Chinese OEM's super-sized flagship, as well as learn a bit more about it from a couple of Oppo's engineers and PR team.

As far as basic impressions, the N1 does feel like quite a premium phone. It has a similar painted plastic outer shell to the Find 5, while the internal structure of the phone is actually supported by an anodized aluminum frame. This does mean, like the Find 5, the N1 is rather hefty, tipping the scales at around 213g, making it over 40g heavier than the Galaxy Note 3, which does have a slightly smaller 5.7" display. It is also 20mm taller and 3mm wider than the Note 3, which does mean most people will probably have some difficulty one-handing certain tasks on the device. And to discuss briefly that 5.9" display, 1080p LCD panel (manufactured by JDI) was bright, vivid, and had excellent viewing angles.

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Capacitive navigation keys, a rather oddly small and recessed power button / volume rocker, and a microUSB port, speaker, and headphone jack along the bottom of the N1 round out the standard items you'll notice on the chassis. This, of course, leads us to the rather non-standard features adorning the N1: its rotating camera module and rear touchpad.

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The rotating camera seems to have a fairly solid mechanism, and does not at all seem like a cheap or hasty affair. Oppo went on ad nauseam about this part of the N1 during the press conference, though the response from the audience here in China seemed to warrant that - the crowd went absolutely wild for high-quality selfies and discreet 'admirer' (read: creeper-ish) shots that the N1's camera should excel at. The camera rotates as far as it can without causing part of the phone to enter the frame of the photo, and even automatically launches the camera app if you flip the module to a fully front-facing position.

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Is this a gimmick, or a genuinely good idea? I think that depends largely on how good a camera this really is (it is a newer version of Sony's Exmor RS sensor, the Pro level) and if that rotating mechanism holds up to the stresses of time (Oppo promises it can live through 100,000 full rotations). While it does detract from the aesthetics of the N1 a bit, I certainly found myself a bit giddy at the possibilities a rotating camera allows, especially for shooting video on a smartphone, which is always something of an awkward affair. That all said, I also don't think such a feature is a reason to go run out and buy one of these phones immediately.

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You can see the tocuhpad's very faint outlining on the rear of the phone here.

The rear touchpad didn't win many points with me. On a phone of this size and weight, holding the N1 with one hand is awkward enough, and while Oppo has absolutely attempted to make the touchpad as useful as possible, I'd probably just turn it off (which is possible). The thing I noticed immediately is that, given the way I hold such a large phone, my pointer finger would constantly brush up against the touchpad area and cause a small haptic feedback response, which got annoying pretty quickly.

The touchpad can be used for a variety of purposes, though - swiping left to right to move through homescreens, up and down to scroll, and in the camera app, shoot photos by tapping and holding on the center of the touchpad area. All of these features seem to work well enough, and while I did have a bit of an issue getting it to take a photo because I could not feel out the touchpad easily, with time I imagine your finger will develop some muscle memory as to its location. I didn't think to ask if full cursor-based control was possible, unfortunately.

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Oppo has built in a number of gesture control options to the N1 - swipe up or down with three fingers to take a screenshot, pinch with three fingers (awkward!) to launch the camera, or pull down from the top left of the screen to launch the drawing gesture UI (something I've never seen any utility in, personally).

Color UI (now ColorOS) itself has received a visual refresh as compared to the version on the Find 5, but I didn't have time to get particularly in-depth with the N1's software. I did hear that ColorOS will have Google Apps in countries where they are available, and that Oppo is actually hoping (this is not 100% confirmed) to ship all N1 models with a fully flashable CM build already on the device. Just launch the N1 in recovery mode on your first boot and flash the CM build, and you'll be good to go. We did not get a chance to use an N1 with CyanogenMod installed, as apparently it's not ready just yet.

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Next to a Galaxy S4, the N1's size is definitely a bit intimidating.

My overall impression? The N1 is certainly a very interesting phone, though its size and weight definitely puts it in a niche class alongside phones like the Xperia Z Ultra and Galaxy Mega 6.3, phones so large that even big-phone enthusiasts like myself have a hard time pocketing them. We'll have a chance to spend a lot more time with the N1 closer to its release, and a full review is something you can expect at the end of next month.

Oh, one last thing - Oppo also had the O-Click dongle on hand to play with, which is basically an HTC Fetch but much prettier (I definitely wouldn't mind this thing being on my keychain). The O-Click is fully configurable on the host device, so the beeping feature (it will beep loudly if your phone goes more than 5 meters from it, and your phone will do the same) can be disabled and tweaked to your liking. The O-Click can also take photos as a remote shutter, and with the camera app launched, Oppo estimates the latency to be around .15 seconds. It does not appear the O-Click will ship with the N1, but rather will be sold as a separate accessory.

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David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • José A. Medina

    Looks awesome!
    But why 5.9'?

    • Daniel McDermott

      Because China. Chinese girls love big phones, it's the strangest thing, actually. Most girls on the subway or bus pull out a huge phone like a Galaxy Mega, Note or Lenovo out of their purse that is 3 times the size of their hands! Almost everyone talks on their phone using earphones, I've never actually seen anyone put a big phone up to their head. But these huge phones are super popular in China, though I see more women than men with them. Source: I live in Guangzhou and see young women with giant phones every single day on my way to work or class at the University.

      • http://them3blog.wordpress.com/ Abel

        Thanks for that info!

      • pelawaks

        Bigger is better, that's what she said.

        • Daniboy

          Especially in China ;-)

          • JP

            I would actually say it's more important in Africa than it is in Asia. Some women actually complain about "too big".

            Buzzkillington out.

      • tdounnyy

        They say big phone make your face looks smaller. : P

        And men? Men like phone in pocket.

      • ari_free

        Why is it strange? They carry their phones in their purses so they don't have the pocket problem that most guys have.
        Android: the OS of choice of techies everywhere...and their sisters.

      • Lumi

        THIS. And Chinese girls LOVE to take selfies, so the camera feature is zeroed in on this market. (And our hands aren't that small, even saying 2 times is stretching it)

    • mikeym0p

      I'm thinking the same thing, the people who always want a bigger screen will buy it of course. But with every screen size increase more people 'flake off' and settle on the screen size last used. I'm hoping for OEMS to make a 5.0 / 4.8" version of all their huge phones.

  • mance

    the Note 3 has a 5.7" display, not 5.9"

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      You're right - it's been a long couple of days. I'll fix that.

      • remister

        I hope your true reason is enjoying the good food out there :P

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          According to David, the food is fantabulous.

          • Kevin

            I wonder how the General Tso's chicken is! :P

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I hear it's generally good.

          • Kevin

            In China? They actually serve it? Well, shit. That just ruined my joke. (General Tso's originated in American and is hardly a "Chinese" dish)

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I don't know, but now you ruined by "general" joke by not getting it.

          • Kevin

            So we're even. We ruined each other's jokes. :D

            I like General Tso's chicken.. That's my response when someone asks if I like Chinese food.

          • SuperjonCA

            No Kevin, you ruined both jokes. His reply was a callback to your joke. And with you explaining, YOU ruined the jokes. Sorry to be snarky, but people like Kevin need to be told.

          • Kevin

            Well, I was mostly just going on the assumption that the average person has no idea that General Tso's is not an actual Chinese dish.

          • NoUsernamesFree

            The average person has no idea what General Tso's even is, as the majority of people on the planet don't live in North America.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            Average persons are missing out. I love GT chicken doused in Sriracha AND YOU CAN'T MAKE ME FEEL BAD ABOUT IT.

  • remister

    I am not sure what to feel about this phone... Oppo, I personally think you can do better. You're turning this phone into a LG G2....

  • http://googleplus.VoluntaryMan.com/ William Thieme

    I was so incredibly excited and then I found out it has hardware keys :(
    I was so close to calling this my next phone.

    • Dan Wilczynski

      You mean the volume and power buttons? What is wrong with that?

      "Capacitive navigation keys"

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        No, the Home, etc keys. You can see they're capacitive, as they don't show up when the screen is on.

        • Dan Wilczynski

          Ah my apologies, I was thinking physical buttons for some reason. i suppose I do prefer them being on screen myself..

        • http://googleplus.VoluntaryMan.com/ William Thieme

          Oh is it not noticeable? On my Optimus G the keys are almost invisible but just noticeable enough to constantly annoy me.
          Might still consider it then if the Nexus 5 (or whatever they call it) is underwhelming.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            Oh, I don't know how bright the capacitive buttons are, I was just talking about the first photo here where the onscreen buttons aren't showing at all as proof that these are capacitive.

    • mikeym0p

      Completely agree, once I found out how the capacitive keys are implemented in Android I got really excited for on-screen buttons. Now I can never go back, they're awesome.

  • JJ

    Did you mean you "wouldn't" mind the O click on your keychain?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Whoops, yes.

      • eric10234

        Read on GSMArena that the O Click comes in the N1 box, not as a separate purchase. Perhaps it will depend on region?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          It probably is included, I likely misheard. it was late at night and I was beat.

    • Mastermind26

      read my mind.

  • http://iamandroid.co/profile/rocktoonz Rocktoonz

    The real question is if and when this will come to the US?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      It will. Unlocked and sold on Oppo.com, most likely.

      • Mastermind26

        Unlocked meaning ATT/TMob only?

        • mrjayviper

          CDMA is special so I doubt Oppo would cater to special people.

        • Dan Wilczynski

          Meaning you may use a SIM from any GSM network

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii
      • Sim Lash

        Are the volume keys in an odd position to you? They seem so far away from the power button and seem to be near the bottom of the phone. Also, since it's only 2 or 3 mm wider than the Note, does the N1 feel uncomfortable to hold one handed due to width or weight?

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          Yes in answer to both. Re: volume rocker, it's awkwardly positioned and way too small. The weight of the phone is what made it awkward to hold for me, but the size obviously doesn't help.

    • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

      I'm hearing December.

      • Sim Lash

        December for the WCDMA version. The China Mobile version is due in October. The CM version is due around Nov/Dec

        • http://www.youtube.com/kimirPORTALS kimir

          He asked for the US version :)

  • Dan Wilczynski

    This may have been answered in another post or the CM AMA... but i wonder will the CM team continue to support new builds for upcoming android devices. That is their competition now.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Of course they will.

      • Kevin

        It seems to me that the commercial side of things was done to attract hardware partners, but that they'd continue to support CM builds as a non-commercial venture. There's no real reason for them to discontinue builds for non-hardware-partner phones.

  • herbivoor

    Damn, that's one big phone.

  • mrjayviper

    can the camera be lock into place so it doesn't keep on rotating? thanks

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      The action is heavy. it doesn't spin freely.

      • mrjayviper

        Thanks

  • andy_o

    Any word on if the O-click would work with other phones, and if it will use BT Low Energy?

    • Jell0zz

      It uses BLE yeah, not sure if it'll work with other devices. But I would assume so.

      • andy_o

        Would probably need a special app though, for the trigger likely its own camera app.

        • Kevin

          And I'm sure some enterprising developers on XDA will make that happen once a few of them get their hands on one. This is the android community, after all.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      No idea, didn't ask.

  • http://www.andro-build.org/ Prashanth Sadasivan

    Cool phone!

  • Geremy Roque

    i love the camera.
    i mean, not so "sure" about the rotating thing. but it looks unique and solid
    what got my attention about it is that one could finally be able to take self shots, Skype, or make a hangout with actually more than 2.0MP.
    i wonder why didn't anyone bothered to go to 4.0MP at very least.

    anyways, i am fine the size. (just in my case)
    i use a Note 8 as a phone. not many people like me out there, but i like to use my phone as my "everything" meaning that the larger the screen, the better. in terms of using the phone as a normal phone and as a notebook ripoff at the same time.
    i use headphones to make calls, since i don't like to sweat the screen.
    the weight is okay, because that means one can feel it if its not there.
    aaaand with such size, it will be easier to not loose.
    but the truth here is, it should have been no bigger than 5.5', and it should have been a bit lighter as well.
    now, im not so comfortable about the touch pad. i mean, dafuq? its unnecessary. and besides, what about cases? i don't want a case with a large gap on the back just 'cause there's a touchpad i wont even use.
    i think it was a bad move to introduce more than one "outstanding" feature in one device. the came alone was good enough to not need the touch pad.
    the new features are "daring". which makes this more interesting than a Gs4 or an HTC One. won't mention the Moto X 'cause to me its like a Nexus, as plain as it gets. (which is good).

    anyways, this phone, i do like. it could have been better, but its okay the way it is. no phone is perfect. and this one is the closest to my idea of a perfect phone.
    if the price is $600 or less, i'm sold.
    hoping for a good dock like the Galaxy smart dock.
    CyanogenMod makes it better, although i wouldn't have a problem running stock Android.

  • Venkateswaran Ganesan

    Can the swivel camera's angle be controlled by an app ?

    • tdounnyy

      Nop, according to some hands on review.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      No, there is no motor. it is 100% mechanical.

      • PhoenixPath

        "...it is 100% mechanical."

        ...so is a motor. :p

        • blast0id

          pretty sure he meant "manual" not mechanical, hell he might have been autocorrected into that mistake...

  • Stefan Constantinescu

    Android Police paid to fly you all the way to China for an Oppo event?

    Or did Oppo "sponsor" the trip?

    Just thinking if a disclosure is necessary here or not.

    • KCM

      Good question.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Oppo flew out several western media outlets, us included.

      • Thomas Gladdines

        Great, now I hope you get a ticket back too, you might remember the time when samsung flew over a few people from india to barcelona en forced them to wear samsung t-shirts...
        And samsung didn't want to pay the flight back too LOL

      • Matthew Fry

        Ooooh you guys are all fancy important :-)

        • Guest

          I used to work for Engadget. We had clear rules about these sort of things. We were not allowed to accept junkets and gifts, period. As an indie, I obviously no longer follow those guidelines, but I still tell my readers when a company pays for my trips or lends me a phone.

    • Matthew Fry

      What disclosure needs to be made? Do you think AP buys all the devices they review? This is standard journalistic fare. If you're in China and want Western media coverage, you have to fly them out yourself.

      • Stefan Constantinescu

        I used to work for Engadget. We had clear rules about these type of things. We were not allowed to accept junkets and gifts, period. As an indie, I obviously no longer follow those guidelines, but I still tell my readers when a company pays for my trips or lends me a phone.

        • Matthew Fry

          That seems bizarre to me. How does one obtain a pre-release handset any other way? Are review units purchased?

          • Stefan Constantinescu

            This is a can of worms that journalists like to discuss over beer while cursing out their editors in private. For the most part, normal people don't care, they just want pretty photos of pretty things. I just brought this up because I, personally, would've added a sentence to the article above saying: "By the way, Oppo paid our trip to China, all inclusive."

          • Matthew Fry

            Haha. Alright. I may have made some assumptions based on what I assumed AP's financial capabilities to be.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            We do have a review ethics policy, by the way. See the "Got a review unit?" section of http://www.androidpolice.com/abou

  • Guest

    @rdr0b11:disqus Is the speaker audio output any good?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Didn't have a chance to check.

  • sachin goral

    Would love to own this phone !

  • Razorclaw

    price?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      3500 RMB approximately.

  • sirusu

    GSM arena claimed the O-Click will be included in the package and yet Android police claimed it will be sold as separate accessory. Can someone confirm this please?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      I guess it is then. I probably misheard.

  • Pan Szym

    I prefer smaller phones.

  • Allanitomwesh

    It does come with the keychain in the box,might want to correct that.

    http://en.oppo.com/products/n1/specs/

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      My mistake, it was late / I was exhausted and I must have misunderstood.

  • http://virkings.es.tl/ VirKings

    Good phone, extremely huge size is bad.

  • merman1983

    I'd be very interested in a smaller version of this phone as long as it doesn't arrive underpowered. I like the idea of the movable camera - I suppose I'd be more interested in the camera rotating up and down when if landscape filming/shooting - not sure how this would be possible.

  • Hoggles

    The thing is so BIG, that you would pretty much look like a complete idiot talking or taking pics with this tablet.

  • Christopher Vanwinkle

    I wish this was a larger phone.

  • rob3211

    will this device be sold internationally with cyanogen mod? what if any US radio bands does it cover. I've seen conflicting reports one site saying it wouldn't work in the US the other stating just the bands which were similar to tmobiles.

  • John

    Does it have an unlocked version so we can use it in another country

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