Oppo's mid-range phone impresses.
I couldn’t help like this phone with a nice 5.5-inch screen straight away, thanks to its thinness (6.8mm), and light weight (150g). It feels great in the hand, and stays there due to a nice matte back. It packs in a 3000 mAh battery and is powered by a decent Snapdragon 660 octa-core CPU @ 2.2GHz. 64GB of memory is onboard, which can be expanded via microSD. 4GB of RAM is sufficient, and it always feels responsive.
Like the Huawei P10 and Xiaomi Mi 6, the fingerprint scanner is on the front, which I don’t personally prefer, but the thinking is that this makes it more useable when in a car mount, or sitting on a desk.
We’re seeing dual cameras on the back in use more and more, and this one has a 16MP camera paired with a 20MP one. In testing it worked extremely well, with natural colours and extremely good detail all the way through the focal range. Portrait mode adds a natural looking bokeh effect, which is still rare in smartphones. The front camera is a 20MP unit, which tops most smartphones on the market and makes it a serious selfie machine.
The UI (ColorOS 3.1) on top of Android 7.1 is deliberately simple. It limits access and control of some aspects, like grid size, and you can’t put an icon wherever you want, it always snaps icons to the first free slot. Nor can you add widgets by long-pressing the screen, and the Android short cuts screen comes up from the bottom, not the top as is standard, so the experience is a little jarring coming from more open devices. You could always install a launcher like Nova to gain full customizability on top of the lovely hardware. It supports gestures as well as the fingerprint scanner for launching favourite apps, too, so usability can be tailored to your liking.
The R11 is immensely popular overseas, and deservedly so. For the price you do get excellent hardware. It’s a close call between this and the Huawei P10 for best mid-range Chinese phone, either will make you happy.