Follow the leader

Oppo R11.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Oppo R11.

My Reading Room

Oppo’s new R11 smartphone is heavily ‘inspired’ by Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus. The two phones look very similar, with the same button placement, speaker shape, antenna lines and front and rear camera placement. The only notable design differences between the two phones are that the R11 has a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the sides of the R11 taper dramatically. As a result the sides are extremely thin, measuring a mere 6.8mm. In fact, the sides are so thin, they’re actually painful to grip. This is one area where Oppo probably should have just stuck to Apple’s rounded edge design.

The R11 has a 5.5- inch 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401ppi) resolution AMOLED display. The AMOLED display is excellent, with strong contrast, deep blacks and rich colors. Unfortunately, the display’s maximum brightness is a bit dim, which can be problematic when using the phone outdoors, as it makes the display difficult to see. As with most smartphones these days, there’s a night mode (amusingly called “Nightly Shield”) that reduces the amount of blue light on the screen to prevent eye strain.

While the R11 runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat OS, Oppo’s ColorOS 3.1 UI makes dramatic changes to the OS, to the point where it looks and feels much closer to (surprise, surprise) iOS.

The notification panel toggles have been replaced with a control center, the system apps use many design elements from iOS, and many of iOS’ signature features have been blatantly copied over too.

Oppo Share, for example is a shameless clone of AirPlay, right down to the triangle in the logo.

Even aspects of iOS that aren’t as good as Android have been copied for some reason. Take notifications, for example. On pretty much every other Androidbased UI out there, you swipe right on a notification to dismiss it. On iOS, you swipe left, then press Clear, which frustratingly takes two steps. On the R11, Oppo has decided to copy Apple’s approach - you have to swipe left, then press “Delete” to clear notifications. It’s also worth noting that the R11 does not have NFC support, which rules out many mobile payment apps.