Smartphone Smackdown: Oppo R11s v Samsung Galaxy S9+

Introductions

The R11s is Oppo’s refreshed version of last year’s flagship R11. Along with a sharp dual-lens camera and a sub-$700, it’s also brings a bigger FullVision display and facial recognition tech to the table.

[Related: Samsung Galaxy S9+ review]

[Related: Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+ - The Best Tips and Tricks]

[Related: Hands-On - Our First Impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S9]

Then, the Galaxy S9+ is the plus-sized version of Samsung’s 2018 flagship device. It’s got the world’s first dual aperture f/1.5 camera in a smartphone, Dolby Atmos-powered surround sound and the same slick Infinity Display design found in last year’s Samsung Galaxy S8, S8+ and Note 8.

But which is the better buy?

Hardware

Software

In terms of software, both these devices run Google’s Android OS. However, that’s not to say there aren’t a few differences.

The Oppo R11s puts their own spin on Android 7.1.1 (AKA Nougat) via their own ColorOS skin. In terms of the differences between this and stock Android, ColorOS is designed to imitate or at least evoke Apple’s iOS platform. Everything has a friendly look and feel to it - which can be appealing to certain users. However, partially by design, this approach does remove some of the user controls and extra customizability you usually get out of the Android OS.

Meanwhile, Samsung have taken a similar approach. The Galaxy S9 and S9+ both run on Android 8.0 (AKA Oreo) and Samsung’s own TouchWiz skin. In terms of the differences between this and stock Android, TouchWiz emphasizes (but doesn’t force you to use) Samsung’s own app library and more tightly integrates the overall experience with their Bixby voice assistant.

Winner: Galaxy S9+

While Bixby still has a lot of ground to gain on its rivals, TouchWiz offers just a little bit more customizability than ColorOS does - letting you make the experience. It also runs on Android Oreo, which has a natural edge of Nougat.

Performance

While your everyday performance with both of these devices is - inevitably - going to vary based on how many apps, what those apps are, how you configure the brightness on the screen and whether or not you make use of both devices' array of battery-saving settings.

As a result, the most straight-forward way to compare the two smartphones is to use benchmarks.

Winner: Galaxy S9+

This one shouldn’t be a big surprise to anyone. The Samsung Galaxy S9+ is a flagship product by the biggest smartphone brand in the business with a price-tag double that of the R11s - and its Exynos 9810 processor outperforms the competition accordingly.

Camera

In terms of specs, the Samsung S9+ boasts the world’s first dual-aperture, dual-lens camera with a f/1.5-2.4, aperture primary lens and 12-megapixel (f/2.4) telephoto one. This accompanied by a 8-megapixel (f/1.7) front-facing camera.

[Related: Oppo R11s: The iClone you know and love, but not quite the one you deserve]

[Related: How To Create An AR Emoji]

Then, you’ve got the R11s. It’s got a dual 20-and-16-megapixel rear camera with f/1.7 aperture paired up with front-facing one boasting a 20-megapixel sensor and a f/2.0 aperture. This is actually a step down from the R11’s dual 20-megapixel rear-camera kit but otherwise a pretty similar configuration to its most-immediate predecessor.

At A Glance - Samsung Galaxy S9+

At A Glance - Oppo R11s

Close Up - Samsung Galaxy S9+

Close Up - Oppo R11s

Winner: Galaxy S9+

As with performance, it shouldn’t be a huge shocker that images taken on the Samsung Galaxy S9+’s camera look better than images taken on the R11s. Both at a glance and up close, the details and colors come through to a noticeably greater degree.

Battery Life

In PCMark’s Battery Test, the device fared less well. It took 6 hours and 56 minutes to run the R11s down from 100% to 20% battery life with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity disabled - which is not a particularly great result.

Under the same conditions, the S9+ took 9 hours and 9 minutes to go from 100% to 20% battery life.

Winner: Galaxy S9+

Both in perks and battery performance, the Samsung Galaxy S9+ emerged as a clear winner here. It lasted longer, charges faster and also comes with fast wireless charging (which the R11s lacks).

The Bottom Line

Weighing up the specs, features, performance and cameras involved, it should be pretty clear that the better device here is the Samsung Galaxy S9+. Simply put - it's got better hardware and software on its side - and the results reflect that.

However, while this comparison does highlight just how much better of a product the Samsung Galaxy S9+ is compared to the Oppo R11s, something that shouldn’t be discounted is just how close Oppo get with a half the price-tag.They might have come off the loser here but the gap between the mid-tier devices like the R11s and flagships like the Galaxy S9 has never been closer than it is now.



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Tags smartphonesamsungOppoOppo R11SSamsung Galaxy S9Smartphone Comparisons

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Fergus Halliday
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