Oppo launched the N1 smartphone few months back with an innovative rotating camera that can also be used as a front-facing camera for selfies. It was actually a phablet with a huge 5.9-inch. Earlier this year the company launched the N1 Mini, a smaller version of the N1 with the same rotating camera module used on the N1. How good is the mini variant of the N1? Is it worth the price? Let us find you in the complete review.
We unboxed the N1 Mini few weeks back, check out the unboxing below.
The box contents include,
- Oppo N1 Mini in Mint color
- Micro USB cable
- Oppo headset
- 2-pin charger
- SIM ejector tool
- User guide, warranty and other booklets
Hardware and Design
The Oppo N1 had a stunning 1080p screen and solid build quality. The same continues even for the N1 Mini. Even though it has a 5-inch display with a pixel resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels and a pixel density of around 294 PPI, compared to the 377 PPI on the N1, the display on the N1 mini is pretty good. It is bright, has good viewing angles and the sunlight legibility is good too. It has chamfered edges and an aluminium frame for a premium look and solid feel.
The N1 mini looks slightly smaller next to the N1. Since it is not wide like the N1, it makes it easy to hold for single-handed usage. It has huge bezels around the display, similar to the N1. Bezels below the display and the swivel camera on the N1 Mini makes it 148.4 mm tall, slightly taller than most of the smartphones with a 5-inch screen.
There is an earpiece and the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors next to it.
There are the usual set of capacitive touch buttons below the display. These are backlit and offer haptic feedback when pressed.
On the bottom there is a primary microphone, 3.5mm audio jack, micro USB slot and the loudspeaker grill.
The power button is present on the left side. This might not be comfortable for right hand users, since it requires you to unlock the phone using other fingers and not the thumb like usually do if it’s present on the right side. You can see the small chrome rims running on the sides of the smartphone.
The micro SIM slot and the volume rockers are present on the right side.
The phone has single micro SIM slot, unlike to the Oppo R1 that has dual SIM slots.
You need to open the slot using the bundled Oppo SIM removable tool. The slot is made of metal.
On the back there is a 13-megapixel camera that can rotate 206 degrees, just like the N1. There is also a secondary microphone on the back, just above the Oppo branding, but it doesn’t have the O-Touch area that was present on the Oppo N1.
The ceramic back is just like the N1, which offers a premium feel to the smartphone. It is smooth and doesn’t attract fingerprints, but it is prone to scratches easily, if you place the smartphone on a rough surface.
The O-Click is a small tool exactly same as the one that came with the Oppo N1. It connects to the smartphone over Bluetooth and lets you perform several operations. It can light up phone’s notifications, when paired, can be used as a remote shutter for the camera and also make your device ring so that you can find it in case you misplace it. It comes with a button cell that needs to be replaced once in a while, depending on your usage.
Coming to the camera, the main part of the smartphone. It has the same 13 Megapixel camera with 1/3.06″ Sony EXMOR RS sensor, six-element lens and an aperture of f2.0 that we had seen on the Oppo N1. The only difference is that it has single LED flash, compared to dual LEDs on the Oppo N1.
There are several camera modes (Landscape, Sunset, Portrait, Night, Auto and Sports) and shooting modes (Audio photo, slow shutter, Panorama, HDR, Beautify, Colorful night, Ultra-HD and Normal).
The camera UI is similar to the N1, but there is a new Ultra HD mode that lets you capture images at 24-megapixel resolution and the slow shutter mode lets you adjust long exposure time up to 32 seconds, similar to the Oppo Find 7.
The selfie mode has mirrored selfie feature that mirrors the image you capture.
Images were good in ideal lighting conditions, but some images look washed out and under exposed if it’s a cloudy day. But the images have great details, just like the Oppo N1. The Ultra HD mode increases the resolution of the image by stitching more images together, similar to the Super Zoom mode in the Find 7. This offers more details since it has more resolution. HDR shots are good and are brighter than the normal shots since the saturation is more. Macro shots are pretty good with great details, thanks to the f/2.0 sensor. These shots have less noise, but some images in low lighting conditions are not bright and look washed out. Low light shots are good too, but it can’t handle completely dark conditions, but there is flash for that. It even has night mode. Singled LED flash offers ample amount of light to brighten the environment in dark. Even if you are shooting an object that is close to the camera, it doesn’t look washed out. The slow shutter mode takes advantage of the custom hardware and software to capture which lets you take pictures with up to 32 seconds of shutter speed.
Check out some camera samples (click the image to view the full resolution picture) below.
Check out the complete set of Oppo N1 Mini camera samples here.
It can record videos at 1080p full HD resolution. The stereo microphones help in recording clear audio. It can also record slow motion videos at 120 fps in 480p resolution. Check out the full HD video sample.
The Oppo N1 Mini runs on Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean) with highly customized color 1.4 ROM on top. You can long press the homescreen to add widgets, effects, change wallpapers and themes. When you swipe down from the top left corner of the status bar, it opens the Gesture Panel that lets you draw a gesture to open respective application quickly. You can also set custom gestures from the settings and also change the task you need to open such as call screen, camera, flashlight or a custom app.
It has several on-screen gestures including option to take a screenshot, activate camera and adjust volume. Motion features include, Flip to mute, easy dial, easy answer and Hands-free switch. It has double tap to wake up, option to open the camera, flash light or control music by a gesture, when the screen is off. The notification panel has quick settings with several features. My personal favorite is the quiet time that mutes the sound during a particular time frame you set. Other useful feature is the data monitor that shows the data used and the remaining data, which you can configure manually.
Out of 2GB RAM, you get 1.88GB of usable RAM, out of which about 880MB of RAM is free when some apps are running in the background. Out of 16GB of internal storage, you get around 11.58 GB for storage out of the box.
Coming to apps, the smartphone has a range of pre-loaded apps and the usual set of Google Apps. It also has O-Cloud, Oppo’s own cloud storage. Other apps include, File Manager, Notes, Kingsoft Office, Flashlight, App encryption, Sound Recorder and more.
The Music player is simple and can play a range of audio formats. It has Dirac HD support that uses a special audio processing for enhanced audio output. The bundled earphones are pretty good, which offers crystal clear audio even in low frequencies. The loudspeaker output is also good. Since it is place on the bottom, audio doesn’t get muffled when the smartphone is placed on a flat surface. Sadly the smartphone lacks FM Radio support, just like the N1 and the Find 5.
The connectivity features include, 3GHSPA+, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 and GPS. It also has NFC and USB OTG support.
Performance and Benchmarks
The N1 Mini is powered by a quad-core Snapdragon 400 (MSM8928) processor clocked at 1.59 GHz per core and has Adreno 305 GPU. 2GB of RAM is more than enough to runs apps in the background. The Oppo N1 needed a powerful processor since it had a 5.9-inch 1080p screen, since this has a 5-inch 720p screen, the Snapdragon 400 processor works well without any lags. Check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.
It tops the Quadrant benchmark by score 11391 points.
AnTuTu Benchmark 4
It managed to score 21750 points in the AnTuTu Benchmark 4.
Vellamo 2.0 HTML5
It managed to score 2158 points in the Vellamo 2 HTML5 browser benchmark. Check out the complete set of Oppo N1 Mini Benchmarks here.
Coming to the gaming performance, the Adreno 305 GPU is just average, some games like Asphalt 8 did lag if it’s set to high, but it worked just fine in the medium settings. Graphics were also average in most games. Wish it had a better chip with a better GPU, since the Oppo N1 with Adreno 320 GPU offered fluid and smooth gaming performance and scored 4.5/5 stars, compared to 3.5 stars for the N1 Mini. Check out the gaming review below.
Coming to the battery life, the 2410 mAh battery is decent, but not the best when compared to the huge 3610mAh battery on the N1. With heavy use it lasts for less than a day, but with average use it’ll last for the whole day. It has power saving mode that reduces the screen’s brightness, disables haptic touch feedback and turns off connectivity features to save power. The battery reminder option will remind you when the power is less than 40% at night so that you can charge the phone before it runs out juice when you wake up in the morning.
With the Oppo N1 Mini, Oppo has tried to offer a smaller package with the same swivel camera technology for those who don’t like a huge N1 phablet. The difference in the screen size is just 0.9 inches, but the internals matter too. Oppo has carried forward the display, build quality and the camera from the N1, and the phone is also in the right size, but at a price tag of Rs. 26,990, it is slightly costly, if you compare it with smartphones with similar specifications in the range. But, there are very few options in the Indian market if you are looking for a smartphone that uses rotating camera. If you want a smartphone with a swivel camera, the N1 Mini is definitely a good choice, if you can compromise with some drawbacks. Otherwise there are several smartphones in the range.
- Good display
- Good Rotating Camera
- Solid build quality
- Only 16GB of storage without expansion slot
- Priced a bit on the higher side
- Gaming performance could be better