Mid-range Android phones often have a hard time striking a good balance between price and functionality. It’s a struggle to decide what features are able to make the phone stand out while still being affordable, and time and time again we’ve seen phones that aim to offer a premium smartphone experience, but fall ridiculously short on promises.
Thankfully, the Oppo F9 doesn’t mess about with what it’s looking to deliver on. This mid-range phone is affordable, looks good, and is able to handle most of your daily tasks with ease. There are still a few areas where things can be improved, but for its price point the Oppo F9 is a good contender for anyone looking for a stylish smartphone that’s also friendly on your wallet.
Price and Availability
The Oppo F9 is available now, and retails for AED 1,249. That gets you 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, all powered by a MediaTek P60 processor and a 3,500 mAh battery.
That’s certainly a comfortable price point for the under-AED 1,500 category of phones, so you’ll get a decent-looking phone that won’t stretch your budget too far.
- Plastic backing
- Attractive rear finishing
There are a number of design accents on the F9 that make it stand out from other similar phones in the same category. The first is the ‘waterdrop’ notch on the front, that is probably the most stylish notch we’ve seen on an Android phone so far.
Many other handset manufactures opt for wider notches that take up a good portion of the top display, but the F9’s tiny notch is barely big enough to be a distraction. It cleverly houses the front-facing camera as well as the proximity sensor, and hides the speaker grille just above so that it’s hardly visible.
Round the back is where you’ll find another of Oppo’s unique design choices. The F9 comes in three different finishes – our Starry Purple edition featured a speckled gradient purple finish meant to look like a starry night sky. The Sunrise Red and Twilight Blue editions feature a subtle diamond pattern that’s revealed with the light hits it at just the right angle. All three designs make the F9 look much more premium than it actually is, which is always a good thing.
However you’re reminded that this is a mid-range phone when you actually pick it up and begin to notice a couple of design quirks. The glossy back is actually plastic and not glass, which feels a bit cheap. The phone’s display protrudes out a little bit, and while you do get Gorilla Glass 6 to ensure the phone can withstand scratches and drops, the plastic back is bound to pick up a few scratches over time. It’s also a challenge to keep it smudge-free so the phone doesn’t slip out of your hands, but thankfully Oppo includes a transparent phone case should you wish to use it.
The rear of the phone features the dual-camera setup with LED flash as well as the fingerprint sensor. They’re grouped together fairly tightly and form a slight hump, but it doesn’t make the phone unstable when it’s placed on a flat surface.
At the bottom you’ve got the 3.5mm headphone jack, speaker grille, and a microUSB charging port. We’re a bit disappointed that it’s not USB-C instead, but again for a mid-range phone this is one thing we’ll have to just put up with.
You’ve got 64GB of storage to play around with, expandable of course via microSD card. The beauty of the F9 is that not only is it dual-SIM, but it has a separate try for the microSD card, so you don’t have to choose between using a second SIM or a microSD card.
- Average screen quality
- Slight blue tint
While the phone’s design may have a few sticking points, its display is another story. The almost bezel-less front is a great sight to behold, and the tiny notch at the top never gets in the way. You get a FHD+ 6.3” display here, sporting a resolution of 2340x1080 pixels. That’s enough space for comfortably watching videos or playing games on, though you’re only getting an LTPS LCD screen which means that the quality is strictly acceptable when it comes to brightness and color quality.
In fact, the F9 seemed to apply a slight blue tint to videos we watched, but playing around in the screen settings made things slightly better. The phone did well in direct sunlight as well, despite not being as bright as other high-end smartphones we’ve tested.