In a lot of ways, the Oppo K1 rights some of the wrongs of the Oppo A7. Both the phones have been launched in India at Rs 16,990, but where the A7 delivered underwhelming specifications, the K1 succeeds in offering hardware and software that are more in line with what today’s consumer is looking for. The Oppo K1 is a unique phone in this segment as it is the cheapest to offer an in-display fingerprint.
While an in-display fingerprint sensor is the biggest USP, the K1 has a lot more to offer. It brings an AMOLED display as well along with a powerful mid-range Snapdragon 660 chipset and a 25MP selfie camera, among other things. At this price, the Oppo K1 touts a number of striking features as the phone looks to take on the likes of the Realme 2 Pro and Mi A2 in the online sphere. I spent a little over a week with the Oppo K1 and here’s how I feel about the new mid-range smartphone.
Oppo K1 design
The Oppo K1 looks like a pretty typical new Oppo smartphone. Like the Oppo F9 Pro and A7, the Oppo K1 gets a waterdrop display on the front, and a glossy rear panel. There’s also a horizontal dual camera setup on the top left corner with a gold accent around. While there is some familiarity, the K1 feels a little more premium. This is largely due to a combination of a gorgeous AMOLED display on the front and a glass-like 3D curved back panel. That’s right, the K1 brings an AMOLED display at a price of Rs 16,990, which is always to see in this segment.
So, the rear panel is not glass, but it does feel good to touch thanks to a 3D injection molding process that makes the panel feel smooth, while it glistens and shines as light hits the surface. My review unit was in Astral Blue, which offers hues of blue that takes up the top half, gradually shifting towards purple on the bottom. The phone is also offered in a solid colour Piano Black. The plastic panel does attract smudges and I noticed a few scratches after about a week of usage, so you will definitely want to use the transparent silicone cover that comes with the box for as long as you can.
The Oppo K1’s USP is that it brings an optical in-display fingerprint sensor at an affordable price. This is currently the only phone under Rs 20,000 to offer an in-display fingerprint sensor, which makes it pretty unique. But at the same time, I feel it’s not really a feature to crave. The under display fingerprint sensor is pretty standard to what some of the other phones have to offer. Registering your fingerprint takes a good bit of time, and unlocking is slower than a physical fingerprint sensor. The speed is comparable to what the OnePlus 6T offers, not faster or slower. The sensor is fairly accurate at registering the fingerprint, but there have been occasions when the sensor would not register the touch at all.
Oppo K1 display
The Oppo K1 sports a 6.4-inch FHD+ (1080×2340) Super AMOLED display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, over 90 per cent screen-to-body ratio and Gorilla Glass 5 on top. Getting an AMOLED display in this price bracket is a rarity. Some Samsung phones have offered this, but the numbers are few, and this is honestly more exciting than having an in-display fingerprint sensor.
The AMOLED display looks great with punchy and saturated colours and good viewing angles. You are still greeted with a typical ColorOS UI with chunky app icons that makes the UI look a little dated, but the display manages to bring some life into the UI and the general user experience. The waterdrop notch is pretty non-intrusive while watching videos or playing games, so you can expect an immersive viewing experience. Brightness levels are pretty good, with no problem during outdoor visibility.
Oppo K1 performance and software
Powering the Oppo K1 is a capable octa-core Snapdragon 660 chipset coupled with 4GB of RAM. Oppo did not bring the 6GB RAM variant to India, which is kind of a bummer. But the base model with 4GB of RAM still offers a pretty solid configuration for power users, In my brief interaction with the device, I found the K1 to work effortlessly while browsing through apps and generally working with the UI.
The Snapdragon 660 chipset is a known powerhouse performer that typically delivers a consistently smooth and lag free experience. It runs games like PUBG and Ashphalt 9 like a breeze on medium graphics settings. Even if you tweak the settings to high graphics, the processor manages to work pretty smoothly. It is also pretty power efficient and you won’t find the phone heat up too much even after a 30 minute session of PUBG. It’s quite nice to see Oppo go with a SD660 chip after launching the Oppo A7 for the same price with a Snapdragon 450 processor.
A real bummer here is that the Oppo K1 runs on Android Oreo with ColorOS 5.2 on top. There’s no Pie, and the company has not provided a clear timeline for when the K1 will be updated to the latest ColorOS 6.0. We have seen ColorOS 5.2 run on phones like the Realme U1 in the recent past. While the general UI still offers the typical chunky app icons, but the number of pre-loaded apps are minimal, which is good to see. The Oppo skin is fairly lightweight and offers some notable features like Game Space with Hyper Boost that helps load heavy gaming apps faster and also helps in adding a smooth consistency to the performance. There is also a Smart Bar, which is a floating dock that lets you easily switch between your favorite apps.
The few downsides to ColorOS 5.2 is the constant barrage of irrelevant notifications from Oppo’s custom apps. During the review period, I received tons of notifications from the Oppo App Store to check out videos on Vigo, an app that I did not download or use. ColorOS 5.2 also does not offer an App Drawer, but that is said to come with ColorOS 6.0. In fact, the next major ColorOS update will bring a cleaner, minimalistic UI that is optimised for bezel-less phones, and we hope to see the next bunch of Oppo phones to launch with ColorOS 6.0 out-of-the-box.
The Oppo K1 does offer the option to hide the notch, if you find it interfering some of the content on screen, but I have not found the need to use the option because the teardrop notch barely comes in the way of anything.
Oppo K1 camera
Like most Oppo phones, the Oppo K1 is also a selfie-centric smartphone with a 25MP AI camera housed inside the droplet notch. The sensor is offered with a f/2.0 aperture and typical beautifying modes to make selfies look smooth and bright. Selfies captured in daylight offered good brightness levels and a lot of detail. Facial textures can be smoothened if you enable the AI Beautification feature, or you can disable the Beauty mode if you want more natural-looking selfies. There is some smoothing that happens even with the Beauty mode turned off, but that’s a pretty common trait in Oppo phones.
The selfie camera lets you take bokehs by tapping on the waterdrop logo on the top to enable depth effect. The bokeh shots captured doesn’t do a great job at separating the subject from the background, but it is passable when done in broad daylight. The selfie camera also offers modes like Stickers and Pano. The panoramic selfie is essentially a group selfie feature that lets you capture more area by tilting the device to the left and right.
The dual camera system on the back includes a 16MP primary camera with a wide f/1.7 aperture and a 2MP secondary camera for depth sensing. As you would expect, there’s a lot of AI backing for the primary camera as well. Thanks to an AI-powered chipset, the camera is able to detect a number of scenes and will automatically adjust the setting according. Photos captured via the primary camera look really good in daylight as you get a lot of detail and nice colour reproduction. Thanks to the AMOLED display, colours will look rich and punchy, and will are you want to share the pictures on social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook.