Oppo R9s review

Apple face with an Android booty

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Boasting an exceptionally bright and vibrant 1080p AMOLED display, the Oppo’s R9s is no slouch when it comes to delivering striking images. Admittedly, the screen’s colours err on the side of over-saturation, and aside from settings that turn down brightness or reduce blue light for the sake of your eyes, there’s not much that can be done about this. That said, I’d personally take over-saturated colours over drab, undersaturated ones. 

At 5.5 inches, the handset’s display puts the Oppo R9s directly in line with the iPhone 7 Plus, and while Apple’s phablet feels quite large in the hand, the R9s does not. This is due to the R9s’ thinner frame, as well as its almost non-existent side bezels and slightly smaller top and bottom bezels.


Based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Oppo’s ColorOS 3.0 is something of a mixed bag. Though it’ll certainly please people making the transition from iOS, those looking for a pure Android experience might find themselves running for the hills. 

Like iOS 10, Oppo’s interface spreads every installed app across multiple home screens in four vertical rows. Unlike the Google Pixel or Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, the R9s’ default OS doesn’t come with an app drawer, meaning you’ll have to install a separate launcher to hold all of your apps on one screen.

A downward swipe from the top will provide you with quick access to the handset’s various functions, though annoyingly, this takes up the whole screen – you’ll have to perform a second swipe from left to right in order to reach your notifications. Needless to say, having to perform multiple swipes in different directions to view and clear your notifications list is far from intuitive, and unlike the app drawer problem, this issue can’t be circumvented with the use of a different launcher. 

Elsewhere, ColorOS 3.0 has some standout features that offer a pleasing take on the Android experience. The R9s includes a suite of gestures which can be used to launch a number of functions or control certain aspects with the screen switched off. For instance, drawing a circle on the screen will immediately launch the camera app, while drawing a V will turn on the flashlight. Aside from these pre-loaded gestures, you can create your own gesture commands using letters of the alphabet.

In the Oppo R9s’ settings, you’ll find that the phone’s interface is quite customisable. One of my favourite features lets you replace the carrier name in your status bar with real-time network speed information – an option that’s also available in Huawei’s Mate 9 handset. 

There are also a number of theme customisation options, such as Lockscreen magazine, a returning feature from the previous version of ColorOS. This lets you set up a constantly rotating set of lockscreen wallpapers, either from your own images or from Oppo-provided channels which you can subscribe to, such as Art, Fashion, Automobiles and Beautiful women (!).

Also appreciated is a fully-featured Oppo Security Centre, which lets you monitor your phone’s memory usage and clear your RAM, set privacy permissions and perform virus scans powered by Avast. Even if you don’t go into the section regularly, the R9s will notify you when certain apps are hogging your memory or if junk files need to be cleared.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.