We already introduced the OPPO F11 Pro in a previous post. The device, which is currently OPPO’s high-end phone in the country besides the Find X from 2018, is geared toward making a statement in the upper midrange segment that is sparsely populated with worthy competitors (save for a handful devices from Nokia and Samsung). It has all the bells and whistles for its asking price, and does more besides excelling in camera performance and hardware presentation. In this post, we will explore a couple of the F11 Pro’s design choices that complement its entire package while remaining appealing to the target audience.
Design and Build Overview
The OPPO F11 Pro is available in a variety of colours (three of them) and our unit spots an Aurora Green rear. The back is made from plastic, but that is not a bad thing. It looks stunningly attractive thanks to the colour gradients that are more visible when you tilt the device in a lit environment, with the OPPO logo vertically drawn in alignment with the fingerprint sensor and the dual rear camera system. A plastic build ensures that the phone remains light (glass and metallic devices are often denser) because its footprint is a massive 6.5”.
The IPS display is perhaps one of the primary design aspects that OPPO is touting for the F11 Pro. Specifically, it measures 6.53 inches. It is not interrupted by a notch, nor does it have an in-screen selfie snapper (it is neatly tuck in the body via a motorized pop-up mechanism). This effectively makes it a special phone, but not particularly unique because a couple of other BBK devices (OPPO’s parent company) such the OnePlus 7 Pro and some Vivo variants employ the same system – but they cost much more. It is worth noting that the non-Pro version, the F11 has a slightly interrupted screen with a tear-drop notch that houses the selfie camera.
Not a lot of people are aware of the pop-up mechanism, and those who have seen it rise from its slot to snap decent selfies have been left impressed. It works as advised, although the speed of retracting could be faster. It even works just fine with Face Unlock, although it is not lightening fast as is the case of other OPPO phones that have traditional secondary cameras. Either way, OPPO says the system is robust to withstand constant day to day usage.
Does this design choice enhance the selfie camera experience? Well, it depends. Groups that love admiring their faces from time to time maybe disappointed by the extra second the 16 MP front snapper takes to rise up. Folks who snap an occasional selfie may not be bothered by the mechanism, which further frees up the screen real estate for a truly immersive experience.
Unlike other manufacturers such as LG and Huawei (with their G8 and P30 Pro phones, respectively) that chose to drop an earpiece for a piezoelectric replacement that vibrates the display to transmit sound in the process of making the front of the device as uninterrupted as possible, OPPO did not adopt the trend because the trusty earpiece is still here, and is nicely hid on the top of the display. Phone calls sound great, and we could have been much happier if it supplemented the bottom-firing speaker for a stereo effect.
Large charging brick, robust USB microUSB cable
We were happy when OPPO integrated VOOC charging in the F series line of phones (F9 onwards). The high-speed charging technology has been a reserve of OPPO’s high-end devices, and simply put, it tops up batteries really fast. However, the manufacturer has not promoted the F series to USB Type-C, and while it will not bother a lot of people, a Type C port is good for future-proofing. Other OEMs such as Nokia have equipped their some of their budget phones with the newer port, and we do not know why the F series is stuck to microUSB for so long.
Speaking of charging, the F11 Pro’s battery is massive at 4000 mAh, and it does not make the phone any thicker, which improves ergonomics. Charging activities are handled by a very large power brick that support VOOC 3.0 that refills the cell up to 40% in 30 minutes, effectively making it one of the fastest charging speeds around. This advantage should eclipse the mentioned shortcomings: that the miscroUSB cable and port are a non-issue for now, and the big charging adapter and thick USB cable have their purpose.
Headphone jack, great earphones
While other manufacturers are shifting towards wireless audio, the F11 Pro has a 3.5 mm headphone socket next to the microUSB port. The included earphones are similar to those shipped by Apple, and sound okay. They do not come with replacement tips by design, so cleaning them should be easier.
Excellent button placement
I love what OPPO has done with the F11 Pro’s buttons: they are centrally placed for ease of access. See, the smartphone is large even for people who have big hands. The volume buttons on the left are easy to reach, so is the power button on the right side. This, according to me, should be standard for any big phone.
There aren’t many missteps with the F11 Pro’s design choices. Besides being a large a phone, the smart pocket computer gets most things right. The screen is expansive and truly immersive save for a thin chin. It is not excessively heavy thanks to its materials (plastic), and packs a very large juicer that charges fast thanks to VOOC 3.0. While we would have loved to see the introduction of USB Type-C, the microUSB port is fine for the time being, although it will be aged two or three years down the line. Lastly, a motorized pop-up selfie camera at this price point is an attractive addition, and will appeal to people who have traditionally hated the notch craze.