PREMIUM HANDSET WITH FEW CONCESSIONS
THE OPPO R11S MAY HAVE MORE SCREEN REAL ESTATE AVAILABLE THAN ITS PREDECESSOR, BUT ITS RESOLUTION REMAINS IN THE 1080P REALM (2,160 X 1,080). THANKFULLY, IT HAS A GORGEOUS AMOLED SCREEN WITH A PIXEL DENSITY OF 401PPI, OFFERING INKY BLACKS, VIBRANT COLOURS AND EXCEPTIONAL BRIGHTNESS.
EVER COMMITTED TO giving consumers a flagship feel at a reduced cost, Chinese smartphone maker Oppo delivers a premium experience in almost every aspect of its design with its latest 6-inch handset. Those who prefer their handsets even more phablet-sized also have the choice of the Oppo R11s Plus, which has a 6.43-inch display. In both instances, the phones are less than half the price of an iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy Note 8, which is an impressive feat. Sweetening the deal is Oppo's promise that it will fix broken screens for free for the first six months of ownership.
That said, despite sporting some high-end features, the R11s is undeniably a mid-range phone, as it lacks a few of the key aspects we’ve come to expect from flagship handsets, such as NFC and a USB-C port.
A drastically-reduced bezel gives the phone a similarly-modern look to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and the Huawei Mate 10 Pro. Those smaller top and bottom bezels mean the Oppo uses an on-screen navigation bar, and the supremely-fast fingerprint sensor’s now at the rear of the phone. But you might not use it, as face unlock is seemingly perfected here. We can’t say for certain whether it’s more or less secure than Samsung’s own facial recognition tech, though.
A combination dual SIM and microSD slot lives on the right side of its all-metal unibody chassis. When its case is off (Oppo continues its much-appreciated tradition of including a clear gel phone case in the box), it also has a significant camera bump, made all the more noticeable by its wide, dual-camera nature.
Music lovers will be happy to know that a 3.5mm headphone jack has been included, and as is custom with Oppo’s phones, a built-in equaliser offers 10 different presets, with room for you to create custom settings.
The Oppo R11s may have more screen real estate available than its predecessor (the phone’s display now takes up 85% of its front), but runs a 2,160 x 1,080 resolution. Thankfully, it has a gorgeous AMOLED screen with a pixel density of 401ppi, offering inky blacks, vibrant colours and exceptional brightness.
With its large 3,205mAh battery, the Oppo R11s lasted 8 hours and 4 minutes of heavy use in our PCMark battery benchmarks. That’s a great result for a mid-range phone, lasting just as long as the Samsung Galaxy S8 did, and Oppo promises that a 30-minute charge will bring the phone to at least 75% capacity.
A magnificent 20MP front-facing camera implements artificial intelligence and machine learning in its quest to provide users with the most flattering selfies imaginable. On the back of the handset, the R11s packs a 20MP + 16MP dual camera setup that automatically switches between the two lenses to maximise the quality of low-light photography. That dual camera setup can also be used to create impressive depth-of-field effects via a dedicated Portrait mode. For the most part, this feature works well, keeping images in the foreground sharp and clear while blurring the background nicely. Video capture is not one of Oppo’s strengths, as 1080p recording is limited to 30fps. 4K capture is also available, though like on the Oppo R9s Plus, our video at this resolution was always inconsistent, and appeared choppy during movement.
Oppo’s ColorOS interface still provides an iPhone-like user experience — meaning no option to quickly sort them in alphabetical order — despite its operating system being based on Android 7 (aka Nougat). Once you’re over that quirk, in day-to-day use, the phone feels fast, challenging the high-end LG G6.
With the R11s, Oppo has once again produced a surprisingly premium handset, and one that’s an affordable alternative to high-end competitors like the iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8.
OPPO R11S $779 www.oppo.com/au CRITICAL SPECS 6.01-inch, 18:9 AMOLED display; Snapdragon 660 chipset; Adreno 512 GPU; 3,205mAh battery; 4GB RAM; 64GB storage (expandable to 256GB via microSD); 20MP + 16MP rear, 20MP front cams; 2.4/5GHz 802.11 a /b/g/n/ac; face unlock, fingerprint scanner; micro USB; 15.5 x 7.6 x 0.7cm; 153g