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Oppo’s F1 Plus wants to be generation selfie’s dream phone, has a 16-megapixel front cam

Smartphone brand Oppo has launched the R9 and R9 Plus in China, and the F1 Plus internationally. Technically identical, the phones embrace the cult of the selfie even further than existing Oppo devices, by putting a giant 16-megapixel ISOCELL camera, custom made by Samsung, above the screen. The rear camera? That’s only got 13-megapixels. Oppo’s really targeting generation selfie with the R9.

Oppo F1 Plus

While the R9 and R9 Plus are for China, the F1 Plus will be released in Europe, the U.K., India, and other countries around the world. Despite the name, it’s the equivalent of the R9, so it has a 5.5-inch screen, the MediaTek Helio P10 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal storage space. The design, and materials used are all the same, plus the Android operating system has Oppo’s ColorOS 3.0 over the top.

Related: Oppo shows off amazing anti-shake camera and new Super VOOC technology

When the R9 launched, and we were told by Oppo that it would be sold internationally under a different name, we wondered if it would be an F-Series phone. It fits with the brand, as the smaller F1 has an outstanding selfie camera already.

Set for release in May through Amazon in the U.K. and Europe, it’s priced at £300 and 390 euros respectively. No U.S. launch date has been provided.

Amazing camera specs

Oppo calls the camera the Hi-Light, and here are some more specs. It has an f/2.0 aperture for brighter shots, and a 120-degree wide-angle lens, that in conjunction with Oppo’s Selfie Panorama mode will get your friends into the picture as well. The software also has an updated version of Oppo’s effective Beautify mode, which has been worked on for six months, ensuring it makes you look your best. The result of all this tech is pictures with four times less noise, twice the dynamic range, and improved low-light and nighttime photography over those without the special Hi-Light cam.

The phone around the high-spec selfie cam has definitely been inspired by the iPhone 6S Plus. The curved body, defined horizontal antenna breaks, top left-mounted camera lens, and familiar gold hue gives the R9 and F1 Plus an unmistakably iPhone-esque style. It’s very thin at 6.6mm, light at 145 grams, and should feel great in the hand if previous Oppo phones are anything to go by. Around the front is a 5.5-inch AMOLED screen with 1.6mm bezels, and a 1080p resolution. Underneath is Oppo’s first front fingerprint sensor, built into the home button, that will operate with dry and damp fingers.

Fast charging

Oppo’s chosen the MediaTek Helio P10 processor with 4GB of RAM to power the R9 and F1 Plus, and installed Android with its own ColorOS 3.0 interface over the top. The phone has 4G LTE connectivity, a versatile SIM tray that will take a second SIM or a MicroSD card to increase the 64GB of internal storage space. Finally, Oppo’s low-voltage VOOC fast charging is onboard, providing two hours of talk time after five minutes of charging, but the 2850mAh battery sounds a little smaller than we’d hoped.

The R9 Plus is a larger than the R9. It has a 6-inch AMOLED screen, and swaps the processor for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 652, upgrades the rear camera to 16-megapixels, and increases the battery size to 4120mAh. Both the R9 and R9 Plus phones are only sold in China, where prices start at 2799 yuan, or around $430.

We’ll bring you a review of the F1 Plus very soon, so check back in the near future for more on Oppo’s latest phone.

There were plenty of rumors regarding the R9 before Oppo revealed it on March 17, so let’s take a look back at all the gossip. We knew the R9 would take the top spot in the range away from the current R7, and at first it was being associated with the Snapdragon 820 processor, but later evidence indicated wasn’t going to be the case.

Rumors of the R9 emerge

Chinese media started sharing invitations sent out by Oppo a few weeks before March 17. The teaser included the number 9, suggesting the phone to be revealed would be the R9, and a reference to the company’s VOOC fast-charging technology. It was to be held in Beijing, and although Oppo’s phones are often sold internationally, the R9 and the R9 Plus were expected to be for the Chinese market only.

R9 and R9 Plus

News came late on that we should expect two R9 phones: The R9 and R9 Plus, continuing on from the R7 and R7 Plus. Initially, rumors said the R9 will be massive with a 6-inch 1440p screen, and powerful thanks to a Snapdragon 820 processor and either 3GB or 4GB of RAM. However, this changed when the R9 and R9 Plus were spotted on the TENAA website, where smartphones are certified for use in China ahead of announcement or release.

Related: Hands-on with the Oppo F1

Oppo R9 Plus design

Oppo R9 Plus design

The R9 has a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with a 1080p resolution, and an octa-core processor running at 1.9GHz. The R9 Plus is the version with a 6-inch AMOLED screen, while the resolution remains at 1080p, the processor is a 1.8GHz octa-core model. Both phones will be ultra thin — 6.5mm for the R9 and 7.4mm for the R9 Plus — and feature fingerprint sensors in the home button.

Official teasers reveal design hints

Teasers posted to the company’s official Weibo social networking account didn’t give much away about the specs, just a hint about the design.

Oppo R9 Teasers

The R9 is shown in profile with a very slim, curved edge and what could be a more centrally mounted power button, sat below the SIM card tray. The phone is gold in color, and the front panel appears to be white. Beyond this, antenna bands are visible behind the blurred out sections, revealing early on that the R9 owes plenty to the iPhone 6S’s overall design.

More hints were given away elsewhere in the account. Oppo’s VOOC fast-charging technology was repeatedly mentioned, complete with stats on five minutes of charge equating to two hours of call time. While many hoped the R9 would include the amazing new Super VOOC technology that charges a battery to 100-percent in just 15 minutes, the five minute/two hour stat relates to the current VOOC tech. This isn’t a huge surprise. Oppo said both the next generation of VOOC and its new sensor-based OIS system for the camera were still prototypes when revealed at the end of February, so to show up in a phone just a few weeks later was always unlikely.

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Updated on 03-04-2016 by Andy Boxall: Added in details of the R9 and R9 Plus taken from their TENAA certification in China.