Oppo has just unveiled the Oppo F9, a stunning budget phone with a teeny-tiny notch that’s similar to the Essential Phone, and an eye-catching gradient pattern on the back. The screen-to-body ratio is an impressive 84 percent, thanks to the notch and the 6.3-inch display, which is squeezed into a tall 19.5:9 aspect ratio that makes it very comfortable to hold with one hand.
The stylish design wouldn’t be out of place in a flagship phone, but the specs and target markets tell a different story. This is a much less ambitious device than the Oppo Find X, with its pop-up camera, but there are some definite high notes here and Oppo is clearly open to different approaches toward an all-screen front.
The Oppo F9 is packing a Mediatek Helio P60 processor inside, backed by 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. There’s also a MicroSD card slot. The 6.3-inch LCD has a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080 pixels and is covered in Gorilla Glass 6 — one of the first phones to boast such protection — which is supposed to help your phones survive 15 drops from a meter without breaking.
That unobtrusive notch contains a 25-megapixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture that’s sure to excite selfie fans. There is also a small speaker above the notch. Sadly, the main camera is less impressive — it’s a dual-lens setup comprising a 16-megapixel lens with an f/1.9 aperture and a secondary 2-megapixel lens for depth.
You’ll also find a recessed fingerprint sensor on the rear and a large, 3,500mAh battery inside that supports Oppo’s lightning-fast VOOC charging technology. Just five minutes of charging will get you two hours of talk time.
Things get decidedly more budget when we move on to the Micro USB charging port and Bluetooth 4.2 support, but thankfully there is a 3.5mm audio jack on the bottom edge. There’s no wireless charging support or water resistance here either.
The Oppo F9 runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, with a fair bit of bloatware and Oppo’s user interface on top.
Our unit is Twilight Blue, but there will also be Sunrise Red and Starry Purple. The finish is a diamond pattern that shimmers in and out in the light and goes from electric blue at the bottom to black at the top. It looks great.
The Oppo F9 is launching in India and selected Southeast Asian markets, including Vietnam, imminently and looks like it will cost somewhere around the $300 mark, though the price isn’t yet confirmed. It should also be bound for the Middle East and North Africa, but there’s no indication it will ever be made available in the U.S. or Europe, so you’ll probably have to import one if you like the look of it.