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OPPO F15 review: a stylish smartphone with a dated processor

On: February 4, 2020

OPPO decided to ring in the new year with the launch of its new F-series offering, the F15. Like the OPPO F11, the OPPO F15 (first impressions) has been placed in the sub-Rs 20,000 segment in India, where it goes up against stalwarts like the Realme X2 and Redmi K20. While the phone has the looks, cameras and other bells-and-whistles to take on the competition, it misses out on a few key aspects. I have been using the latest OPPO offering for a while now, and here’s what I make of it.

Design and display

The OPPO F15 is one seriously good looking smartphone. I received the Unicorn White colour variant, which looks stunning with the pearl white paint job gradually transitioning to light blue and then purple. However, the glossy laminated polycarbonate rear panel is a smudge-fest as expected, and therefore I would suggest getting a case or using the transparent protective case provided in the box.

Speaking of the design, I was impressed by the lighter weight and slim profile of the smartphone. Thanks to the even weight distribution, I have been using the OPPO F15 for hours at a stretch to binge-watch shows and movies without running into any sort of wrist fatigue.

As for the other elements, the OPPO F15 has a quad-camera module in the top left corner of the rear panel, along with a dual-tone LED flash. There’s OPPO branding in the bottom left corner and apart from that, the rear panel is bare. Other elements include the power button on the right side, volume keys with the SIM cardtray on the left, and a single noise-cancelling mic on the top. Props to OPPO for including a dedicated microSD card slot in the dual SIM tray. At the bottom, there’s a 3.5mm audio jack, noise-cancelling mic, USB-C port and speaker grill.

There’s no physical fingerprint scanner, as the F15 makes use of a third-generation in-display fingerprint sensor. The company claims that the module can unlock the phone in just 0.32 seconds and it sure is speedy. However, I found the sensor failed to recognise my digits at times. The face unlock, on the other hand, works brilliantly when the lighting is ideal.

Speaking of the display, the OPPO F15 flaunts a tall 20:9 screen measuring 6.4-inches. You get an AMOLED panel offering a screen resolution of 2,400 x 1,080 pixels. The screen is protected by a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which keeps minor nicks and scratches at bay. Despite having a prominent chin, the F15 offers an impressive screen-to-body ratio of 90.7 percent. Since the smartphone makes use of an AMOLED panel, blacks are deeper and colours are punchy. Additionally, the brightness is optimum, but you will have to crank it up a bit in sunlight.

The F15 also comes with Widevine L1 certification, ensuring that you get to enjoy high-resolution videos on your favourite OTT platforms. Speaking of watching videos, there’s DC Dimming 2.0, which is intended to reduce the screen flicker at lower brightness to protect your eyes, and it works as intended.

Cameras

Coming to the cameras, the OPPO F15 features a 48MP (f/1.7) primary camera accompanied by an 8MP (f/2.25) 119-degree ultra wide-angle macro lens, a 2MP (f/2.4) mono lens and 2MP (f/2.4) portrait lens. As for selfies, there’s a 16MP (f/2.0) camera nestled withing the waterdrop notch on the front. OPPO has equipped the camera app with features like Dazzle Mode, HDR, Portrait, Video and more. For some reason, OPPO has hidden the 48MP mode in the Photo Ratio option in settings, where you will have to tick on the 4:3 (48MP) option if you want to capture full-resolution images.

By default, the camera captures 12MP shots using pixel-bining technology. In daylight, the camera manages to capture great pictures with a lot of detail and accurate colour production. The dynamic range is pretty decent as well, but I did notice details being smudged in shadows. For low light shots, there’s a dedicated night mode, but the camera struggles with clarity. OPPO has added a tripod setting in the night mode, which improves image quality, but you need to make sure that the phone is absolutely still. Interestingly, I prefered the AI-backed night scene settings to the actual night mode because the latter amped up the sharpness and exposure, resulting in visible noise in the background. In fact, the AI-backed scene recognition does a bang up job of identifying the scenario most of the time.

The portrait and macro modes perform well but the wide-angle lens is disappointing. There’s visible fish-eye distortion around the edges and the exposure is all over the place. OPPO has capped the video recording to 1080p at 30fps. The primary camera offers video stabilisation and recorded videos are acceptable.

The 16MP snapper captures detailed selfies with natural skin tones, as long as you turn off the AI-backed beautification mode. The portrait mode however fails to detect the subject accurately, which is evident from the visible soft edges.

Performance, software and battery

For some reason, OPPO decided to use the two-year-old MediaTek Helio P70 chipset for the F15. This is especially surprising considering the smartphone has been positioned in the ultra-competitive mid-range segment in India. Thanks to the presence of 8GB RAM, the phone managed to handle every app I threw at it while multitasking and switching between all of them. The OPPO F15 comes with 128GB of onboard storage, of which around 110GB is available to the user.

Gaming is where the Helio P70’s age shows, as PUBG opened in the medium graphics settings by default and during gameplay, I ran across several instances of frame drops when I switched to the highest graphics settings. The combination of turning on the performance mode and Game Assistant did help with the performance a bit, but I would still suggest sticking to the medium graphics setting. On the other hand, low-intensity games like Call of Duty: Mobile, Alto’s Odyssey and more run smoothly on the OPPO F15.

Software-wise, the OPPO F15 boots ColorOS 6.1.2 based on Android 9 Pie and delivers a typical OPPO experience. You get all the bells and whistles including Digital Wellbeing, gesture navigation, App Cloner and more. There’s a fair amount of bloatware pre-installed but most of these apps can be uninstalled to free up resources.

The 4,000mAh battery lasted me a full day with my regular usage. With more sparing use, it pulled through half of the next day. OPPO has equipped the smartphone with VOOC Flash Charge 3.0 (20W), which charged the F15 from zero to 100 percent in just under an hour and a half.

The competition

OPPO has priced the F15 at Rs 19,990 and as such, the smartphone takes on some serious heavyweights like the Realme X2 (review) and Redmi K20. The Realme X2 is a bit cheaper but offers a much more powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 730G, 64MP quad cameras, 32MP selfie camera and faster 30W VOOC 4.0 charging. The Redmi K20, on the other hand, costs the same and offers a better processor (Snapdragon 730) and a 20MP selfie camera. Moreover, the Redmi K20 is probably the best-looking smartphone south of Rs 20,000 with its unique aura flame design and pop-up selfie camera module.

Bottomline

The OPPO F15 is a great-looking smartphone and delivers decent performance as well. However, the dynamics of the mid-range segment in India have been changed by Xiaomi and Realme over the course of the last year, which means that at its asking price of Rs 19,990, the device doesn’t hold up against the previously mentioned contenders, or even lower priced options like the Redmi Note 8 Pro (first impressions). That said, if you are looking for a competent yet stylish phone in the mid-range segment, the OPPO F15 won’t disappoint.

Pricebaba’s rating: 7.5 / 10

What works:

  • Great design
  • Fast charging
  • Good battery life

What doesn’t:

  • Dated processor
  • Wide-angle camera needs improvement
  • No 4K video recording
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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.