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OPPO F9 review: Embrace the notch

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We review the OPPO F9 and give it a close look. Priced at PHP17,990, the handset features the new watedrop display, a MediaTek Helio P60 processor, and 6GB RAM.

OPPO F9 Review

With the OPPO F9 launching just a few months after the OPPO F7, it’s tempting to think of it as just an update. Despite its similarities though, the new Selfie Expert brings something new to the table.

The OPPO F9 debuted with a new take on the notch called the waterdrop. Resembling a drop of water, they are actually not the first to implement the design (we first saw it on the Essential Phone). They were, however, the ones who took it up a notch (pun intended) and made it sexy.

oppo f9 review philippines

Before we proceed with the review, let’s quickly go over phone’s specifications. The OPPO F9 features a 6.3-inch full HD+ Waterdrop display, an octa-core MediaTek Helio P60 processor, 6GB RAM, 64GB of expandable storage, and GPU acceleration. It has a 16MP + 2MP dual sensor module at the rear, and a 25MP selfie shooter in front. It also has a fingerprint sensor, face unlock, a 3,500 mAh battery with VOOC fast charging, and runs on ColorOS 5.2 based on Android Oreo.

oppo f9 review philippines

OPPO F9 specs:

  • 6.3-inch Full HD+ Waterdrop LTPS TFT Display (2340 x 1080, 409 ppi)
  • Corning Gorilla Glass, 90.8% Screen-to-Body Ratio
  • 2.0GHz Octa-Core MediaTek Helio P60 Processor
  • Mali-G72 MP3 800MHz GPU
  • 6GB RAM
  • 64GB Storage, microSD up to 256GB
  • 16MP + 2MP Dual Rear Camera, f/1.85, LED Flash
  • 25MP Front Camera, f/2.0, AI
  • Dual Nano SIM
  • 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi 802.11
  • Bluetooth v4.2
  • GPS, AGPS, GLONASS, BEIDOU
  • OTG Support
  • Headphone Jack, FM Radio
  • Fingerprint Sensor, Face Unlock
  • ColorOS 5.2, Android 8.1 Oreo
  • Dimensions: 156.7 x 74 x 7.99 mm, 169 g
  • Colors: Sunrise Red, Twilight Blue, Starry Purple
  • 3,500 mAh Battery, VOOC Fast Charging

The handset’s retail package includes a travel adapter, a microUSB cable, a pair of headphones, the usual documentation, a SIM ejector tool, and a case. It also comes with a pre-installed screen protector.

Design and Build

At first glance, the OPPO F9 looks like any other OPPO smartphone — clean, streamlined, curved corners, and a flat back. But if you look closer, you’ll notice the new sexy waterdrop notch. The unobtrusive nub houses the phone’s single front camera. Right above it is the phone’s discrete earpiece.

oppo f9 review philippines

The phone is topped with Corning’s new Gorilla Glass 6 front, a plastic frame, and a glass back. You’ll find the fingerprint sensor there, and the rear camera on the upper left with a slight hump.

The back panel features OPPO’s new petal-shaped, diamond-cut design pattern. It comes in gradient colors that changes as you move the device. Our review unit is draped in Sunrise Red gradient. It looks okay, but I find Starry Purple to be the more attractive option.

oppo f9 review philippines

As with all smartphones with a glass front and back, the F9 is prone to fingerprints and smudges. Thankfully, there’s a case that will help prevent this, as well as protect the phone from from scratches and drops.

oppo f9 review philippines

The F9 measures in at 156.7 x 74 x 7.99 mm. It is compact for a device with a 6.3-inch display, thanks to really thin bezels and, again, the waterdrop notch. It’s also light at 169 g.

Display and UI

The OPPO F9 fronts a 6.3-inch full HD+ LTPS TFT display with a 2340 x 1080 resolution and a 409 ppi pixel density. Thin bezels and the waterdrop notch allowed for a 90.8% screen-to-body ratio. It is also topped with Corning Gorilla Glass 6.

oppo f9 review philippines

The display itself has a warm hue. It has reasonable sharpness with good brightness and color saturation.

By the way, for those who aren’t fans of the waterdrop notch, you can hide it if you find it distracting. It can be activated or deactivated per app.

The F9 runs on ColorOS 5.2 based on Android Oreo. It has come a long way from what it looked like before, but you can still see traces of Touchwiz and iOS. Regardless though, the UI is intuitive and thoughtfully made.

oppo f9 review philippines

OPPO’s default launcher is kind of a mixed bag for me. I’m personally not a fan, but you can change looks of the icons and wallpaper through the theme store app. You can also install a third party launcher if you want further customize how it looks.

Performance and Benchmarks

The OPPO F9 comes with a 2.0GHz octa-core MediaTek Helio P60 processor with 6GB RAM and an ARM Mali-G72 MP3 GPU 800MHz. It is the same SoC found on the OPPO F7.

The 12nm processor uses the big.LITTLE architecture, with four 2.0GHz A73 cores and four 2.0GHz A53 cores.

In basic navigation and launching apps, the F9 is fast, fluid, and responsive. It is butter smooth with lag nowhere to be seen. The fingerprint scanners and face unlock are fast and smooth as well. Call quality is also good.

We ran Geekbench, AnTuTu, and 3D Mark Slingshot Extreme to see how well the phone’s internal components perform in benchmarks. As always, please keep in mind that the scores are not indicative of user experience.

OPPO F9 scores:

  • Geekbench – 1,496 (single), 5,740 (multi)
  • AnTuTu Benchmark – 138,966
  • 3D Mark Slingshot Extreme – 1,082

Gaming

When it came to playing games, the OPPO F9 easily does the job. The MediaTek P60 is powerful enough to play most, if not all games.

oppo f9 review philippines

To test gaming performance, we played Tombraider Go, Monument Valley, Modern Combat 5, Need for Speed Most Wanted, Asphalt 9, and PUBG.

Gameplay on Tombraider Go, Monument Valley, and Modern Combat 5 (full FPS in settings) were smooth with no issues.

On PUBG, gameplay was mostly smooth with minor frame drops. Overall, the game was still very much playable and did not affect the gaming experience.

Related: Specs Comparison: Huawei Nova 3i vs. OPPO F9

On Need for Speed Most Wanted, game play was great. I liked how you can see the lights and reflections on the car’s surface.

On Asphalt 9, the phone performed well under default settings. But when I switched the graphics to maximum, the OPPO F9 had some minor frame drops.

Connectivity, Ports, Sensors

The OPPO F9 ticks off most connectivity support options. It has 4G LTE, dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth v4.2, GPS, ad an FM Radio.

The handset has a microUSB port and an headphone jack.

As for the sensors, you have a fingerprint scanner, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, proximity sensor, and a compass.

Cameras

The OPPO F9 features a 16MP + 2MP dual rear camera, and a 25MP front shooter. Its main camera has an f/1.85 aperture lens. It also has AI support.

oppo f9 review philippines oppo f9 review philippines oppo f9 review philippines

The cameras are quite good. Results show that photos have above average sharpness with good detail, and vivid colors with a slight tendency to boost saturation.

oppo f9 review camera

oppo f9 review camera

oppo f9 review camera

When it came to selfies, the results are good as well. The phone lives up to the Selfie Expert name. Beauty mode and AI Beauty works as advertised.

oppo f9 review philippines

As for the camera features, the OPPO F9 has auto HDR, a portrait mode, color effects, sticker sticker effects, time lapse, slo-mo, panoramic, and an expert mode.

Battery Life

The OPPO F9 packs a 3,500 mAh battery with support for VOOC Flash Charging.

With moderate usage of social media, light gaming, and video and music streaming, we were able to get a day of use. You most likely need to charge at the end of the day though. It takes almost 2 hours to get a full charge from empty.

Conclusion

The OPPO F9 is more than just an upgrade of the F7. Sure, it has the same processor and camera setup, but it brings in a number of features that give it a wide separation from its predecessor. The waterdrop display is a beautiful new take on the notch. It has 6GB RAM for better multitasking. And it comes with a larger 3,500 mAh battery.

The OPPO F9 is available in OPPO stores and kiosks, partner retailers, and online through Lazada and Shopee.

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