Picture a smartphone and you probably see a dull, black rectangle. While Chinese manufacturer Oppo has wisely chosen not to completely reinvent the wheel, its latest handset – the Oppo F9 – really does make the most of the formula for one of the most striking designs we’ve seen.
Yes, it has a notch – but said notch has been minimised to such a degree that it sticks out as just a small, triangular hump. This tiny notch ensures a screen-to-body ratio of 90.8%.
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On top of that, the phone appears to have taken inspiration from the Twilight model of the Huawei P20 Pro. The back of each handset fades elegantly between two shades. There’s Sunrise Red, which evolves from bright red to lively pink; Twilight Blue, which moves from pitch black to a brilliant blue; and Starry Purple, which fades from a fuchsia to dark blue.
Sadly, the beauty seems to be skin-deep. According to Geekbench ratings, the internals aren’t the most inspiring, with a Mediatek Helio P60 and 6GB of RAM providing a middling single-core score of 1481 and a so-so multi-core figure of 5673. That’s about the level of flagships from 2016.
But raw speed isn’t everything, of course, and Oppo is particularly happy to highlight the F9’s camera specifications. The front-facing camera buried in the tiny notch? That’s a 25-megapixel affair. On the back: a dual-camera array, with a 16-megapixel main snapper assisted by a 2-megapixel support lens.
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Oppo is also keen to highlight the way the phone charges. The company’s VOOC flash charging is supposed to charge the phone four times as fast as existing 5V/1A charging systems. If that sounds like a recipe for a Note 7-style inferno, Oppo claims you have nothing to worry about, with VOOC offering five layers of protection and a low operating temperature.
If you’re interested and want to buy one… well, you probably can’t. Not through your local Carphone Warehouse, anyway. Oppo has only confirmed a release for Vietnam and the Philippines, with pricing to follow.
No UK or US release has been mentioned, so if you fancy getting your hands on one, you’re probably looking at a grey import through Asian online shops like Gearbest.
Does the Oppo F9 look like a good buy? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.