​Oppo R9s smartphone full review

Is this the best mid-range Android phone?

Oppo R9s
  • Oppo R9s
  • Oppo R9s
  • Oppo R9s
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • Looks and feels great
  • Ultra-fast fingerprint unlock
  • Good value and well featured
  • Dual-sim

Cons

  • Bit sluggish running powerful apps
  • Annoying camera shutter lag
  • Mediocre battery life

Bottom Line

There's much to like about the R9s: it does so many things and looks great. It's a bit sluggish in terms of performance and camera, though. But at this price it's still great value.

Would you buy this?

  • Best Deals (Selling at 1 store)

Update: Before you choose a phone, check out the amazing Samsung Galaxy S8 review.

We’ve been seriously impressed with Oppo phones in the past. The Oppo F1s was one of the best-value phones of 2016. Now the R9S hits the market with a spec sheet that almost rivals a Samsung Galaxy S7 but much thinner, with a much lower sticker-price and arguably-better looks? Is it any good?

Key specs

5.5in, 1080 x 1920, 401ppi AMOLED screen, 64,4GB RAM; 2GHz Octa-core A53 CPU, Adreno 506 GPU; 16/16MP cameras, Android 6 with Color OS 3, 3,010mAh battery, Fingerprint reader, microSD slot/dual-SIM card, 153 x 74 x 7mm, 145g. Full specs here.

Handling and Design

We’re very impressed with the design of the R9s. It’s very thin (under 7mm) and the matte black chassis looks incredibly classy with its silver Oppo-logo inlay. The Gorilla Glass 5 front extends from the top to the bottom of the device and there’s virtually no bezel. A touch-operated 'button' beneath the screen doubles as one of the fastest fingerprint readers we’ve seen (Oppo tells us that it's made from Zirconium and has a hydrophobic coating to work better when wet). So all good in the looks department.

The R9s is sleek and sophisticated. A great-looking smartphone.
The R9s is sleek and sophisticated. A great-looking smartphone.

The very-thin bezel at the side did cause some problems, though. While it’s not as annoying as Samsung’s silly curved bezel-less screens there were occasions where the side of our hand would register as screen touching and disrupt our usage. It’s not a deal breaker though.

The R9s is also available in white and gold. Note the very thin bezel at the edge of the screen.
The R9s is also available in white and gold. Note the very thin bezel at the edge of the screen.

The 5.5-inch AMOLED screen has a Full HD resolution and while colours didn’t pop quite as much as some competitors it’s still very sharp and vibrant. On the right is the power button and the volume rocker is on the left. At the base is a regular USB slot (not the more-recent USB-C) plus a proper headphones jack. The SIM card slot can take either a second SIM card or a Micro SD card.

It doesn't come with a silicon case (like the F1s did) but we'd recommend buying one - the diminutive dimensions mean that it shouldn't get too bulky after slipping it on.

Color OS

Oppo has finally started using Android 6 with its heavily-modified Color OS 3 operating system. While this can throw you some annoying warnings we’re actually big fans of it. It runs regular performance tune-ups to flush the memory and keep things ticking along nicely. There's also a file-locking feature which usefully allows you to secure important work files, apps and nudie pics so that you can confidently pass your phone to friends/family/kids knowing that they won’t see things they shouldn’t.

There are multiple gestures that you can use to enhance phone calls, take screenshots and lock the screen with (if you choose – many are off by default). There are some useful tricks here if you care to put in the time and some, like enhanced screenshot which lets you scroll down a chat list or long web-page, are unique and potentially very useful. The built-in instruction manual is well-laid out and interesting to browse. O-Cloud lets you backup Contacts (meh) and SMS messages (potentially very useful). Night-mode (screen-colour warming to prevent eye strain in the dark) is a prominent feature but you have to enable/disable it manually.

Again, so far so good, but we’re not totally convinced by the phone’s performance. While it’s not a top-tier phone, some high-powered apps do feel a bit sluggish (as does the camera - see below). If you play games you may get a bit frustrated – Pokemon Go could lag a bit and would often lose the ability to locate itself without a restart. But for casual day-to-day use, we didn't have too many issues.

Battery

The 3,010mAh battery isn’t huge but is sizeable for a phone this thin. Having come from using a Google Pixel XL we’d say that performance is similar – you’ll struggle to get a full day out of it under moderate usage. A fast charger helps but we expected Color OS’s battery management to push performance further: the F1s managed three full days thanks to the same software and a similar-sized battery. It may be that the phone is still working out what our usage profile is before optimizing things, we’ll report back if things change.

We also think that turning off Mobile Data and WiFi, when in Low Power Mode, is misguided.

Next: Camera and conclusion

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Read more on these topics: smartphones, mobile phones, smartphone, mobile phone, Oppo
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?