Oppo has been doing a fantastic job in the Kenyan market. The Chinese manufacturer started selling its phones locally a couple of years ago and has grown its presence especially in the mid-range segment that is marked by the F series line of phones. My initial experience with the F lineup was with the OPPO F7 that I loved, but I did not get the chance to use its successor, the OPPO F9. Enter OPPO F11 Pro.
The OPPO F11 Pro, which succeeds the F9, was announced a couple of weeks ago, but sales just started. We have the handheld in our office, and to cut to the chase, this is a lovely phone that will wow any user who gets to see what it packs and experiences its features, some of which are specific to the pocket computer. For instance, its selfie-expert tagline has, for a long time been linked to the F series that has now grown to an all-encompassing midrange lineup. Of course, OPPO is making a statement here by discarding the notch, making the screen completely edge-to-edge thanks to motorized pop-up 16 MP selfie camera and a whopping 48 MP primary main camera at the rear.
So, let’s get right into it.
In the box
The F11 Pro’s unboxing experience is nothing out of the ordinary. In the box is the device itself, a thick micro-USB cable and a noticeably large wall adapter (there is a reason for that), a set of earpods-esque headphones, a case, a user guide, and warranty materials. The inclusion of a case is a nice touch for people who do not want to spend more on accessories, and we are happy OPPO keeps doing this. I hope it never stops.
The charging brick, as mentioned, is huge, which should not be a bother because it has been designed so to juice the large 4000 mAh sealed battery very fast. OPPO calls its VOOC charging, which is basically a 20W charger with a proprietary cable needed to make the technology work as advertised. We will give more details about charging speeds in the review but it is obvious that this is a very speedy system.
Build and design
Our unit has an Aurora Green paint job that is stunning, to say the least. But there is more.
The F11 Pro’s distinguishing feature is the screen, which has grown to 6.53-inches, effectively making it a very large phone. Save for a favourably thin chin, the handheld has no bezels at all, a massive feat for a midrange phone. As highlighted, the selfie cam is carefully tucked into the body in a pop-up mechanism to achieve a full-screen experience. These are features that are reserved for high-end and expensive phones, but we are glad to see them make way to affordable devices.
It is worth noting that the pop-up camera was first seen in Vivo, Oppo’s sister company, and has already expanded to the likes of the OnePlus 7 Pro that went live the other day.
The motorized snapper works as advertised and looks like some feature from the future. If a user chooses to use Face Unlock, it rolls out of the slot to unlock the device, although it is much slower now owing to the mechanics involved. This made me a little sad because OPPO’s face unlock technology is one of the fastest in the business. However, the company makes it up with a wicked fast fingerprint sensor at the rear that is also comfortably positioned considering the F11 Pro is a very large phone.
Another point worth noting is that the display is not truly bezel-less: the earpiece speaker has been fitted at the top, although I could have been happier if it doubled up as a speaker with the bottom firing counterpart for a stereo effect. The bottom edge is also equipped with a headphone socket.
I am glad Oppo positioned the power and volume buttons at the middle because, for a big phone, the buttons just have to be easily reachable for easy ergonomic purposes (I say this because Samsung S10 and S10+ have those buttons high up it is frustrating reaching them).
Lastly, the display has a screen protector (that you can remove if you want to like yours truly). Dressing up the device with the case should secure the device to avoid accidental drops.
While the head-turning feature of the F11 Pro is the motorized selfie cam, let’s turn our attention to the back for a moment. You see, that pop-up system, which is very pretty, takes some space in the phone, so the rear snapper has a slight hump that completely disappears with the case on.
Either way, the dual cam has a 48 MP sensor that takes 12 MP images. It is complemented by a 5 MP depth sensor for those portrait shots. As expected, the cameras take excellent images, and I will report more on this once I spend more time with the handheld.
Software experience and performance
The F11 Pro ships with Android 9 Pie under the ColorOS 6 coat. The skin has grown so much since its debut and now includes an optional app drawer, among other features that I will delve into later on.
The software experience is very good for me: it is fast, packs lots of customization options and is moderately eye-cathing. Apps open fast, and I haven’t made a dent on the 128 GB of onboard storage nor have I bogged down the 6 GB of RAM.
The cell is very large, and charges extremely fast but actual usage patterns will be examined in the full review. For the moment, you have nothing to worry about and trust me on this.
The OPPO F11 Pro is trying to steal the show from the likes of the Nokia 8.1 that is its direct competitor in the upper midrange department in Kenya. It does not lack day to day performance oomph, nor does it sacrifice camera performance for the price. It is also the only phone that has a full-screen experience with a modernish pop-up camera for the price. Its design is equally captivating, and while its size could be smaller, I can’t fault it because its other features eclipse some of these shortcomings.
Stay tuned for the full review.