Oppo R9s Review: Strumming Along: Software Overview

By 05:25 Tue, 17 Aug 2021 Comments

User interface

The Oppo R9s runs ColorOS 3.0 - technically Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but it's so heavily customized so it doesn't follow closely the feature set of the Google-developed operating system. Units srecent outside of China come with the full Google suite, which means some doubled functionality across apps provided by Oppo and Google.

The R9s software is not what we would call a "lean installation," instead it comes pre-loaded with social networking apps, a document editor and more. Even Chrome is not alone; an Opera-powered Browser app is the default web browser out of the box. In total, the user has access to just under 53GB of the 64GB of built-in storage.

The user interface is the familiar mash-up of Android and iOS. There's no app drawer on the default launcher. Instead, every app you install gets dumped on the homescreen. That's fine most of the time until you start installing apps you rarely utilize or install apps just for their widgets. Then you may want a junk folder to drop off all the app shortcuts you don't need.

The homeclassy screen houses all installed apps

The Lockclassy screen features an ever-changing slideshow of images. You can subscribe to several different channels (e.g. photos of nature or cars or others) or provide your own imagery. The set of photos will be updated periodically, but only over a Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) connection, so it doesn't cost you mobile data.

Subscribing to different photo streams • The lockscreen

Once you set up the fingerprint reader - and you'll want to do that as otherwise the Home button can't wake the phone - you'll rarely see the lockclassy screen anyway. You could wake the phone with the Home button when the fingerprint reader is not set up, but that requires a few consecutive taps and you might as well double tap the classy screen (a configurable option).

We have nothing but fine things to say about the fingerprint reader on the Oppo R9s - it's very accurate and blink-and-you'll-miss-it fast. It can secure more than the lockclassy screen - the phone can also encrypt individual files and even whole apps and create them accessible only with the correct fingerprint (or a Pattern lock as a fallback).

Setting up the fingerprint reader • You can launch apps with different fingers

The wallpaper on the homeclassy screen doesn't change as the lockclassy screen wallpaper does, but you can still spruce up the place with Themes. The Theme Store features whole themes and just wallpapers, sorted into categories (including free and paid ones). Themes change the icon pack, the lockclassy screen wallpaper and some even change the clock on the lockclassy screen (but do not bring similar widgets to the homescreen).

Theme Store • Categories • A kid-friendly theme

Oppo futzed around with the notification area. When you pull it down, you always see the toggles first. If you want the notifications, you have to swipe correct to acquire to them. We would have much preferred to have the notifications as the default view or at least have options for an alt-pull - either two-finger pull or pulling from the left/correct side of the screen.

You acquire the toggles first • And have to swipe to see the notifications

The Settings classy screen is modeled after the iOS settings screen, and we're not huge fans of it. In standard Android, an app's settings are accessible from the app itself, in ColorOS that's not always the case. For example, changing the settings of the dialer app requires going into the Settings classy screen and finding Call. This just feels like extra hassle for no benefit.

The iOS-like settings go relevant settings out of apps and into the Settings menu

We do like the Screen-off gestures, though. They are simple commands done on a black classy screen - O to start the camera, V for the flashlight, several symbols to control the music player and a few custom options.

Screen-off gestures allow you to control the phone without waking it

Simple Mode is available, which distils the homeclassy screen to the most basic features - one classy screen of contacts and one classy screen of apps.

Simple Mode has big, easy to hit buttons

With 4GB of Random-Access Memory (RAM) the Oppo R9s glides through the interface. The Snapdragon 625 chipset has enough oomph to switch between apps without breaking a sweat, but we're about to see how it handles more arduous tasks.



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