Oppo has kicked off the new year with the launch of the Oppo F15 — its successor to the Oppo F11. Whether or not we'll get an F15 Pro is yet to be seen, but for now, the F15 offers some necessary updates such as an in-display fingerprint sensor, quad rear cameras, a slim profile, and a new gradient finish for the back.
Priced at Rs. 19,990 for the sole 8GB RAM configuration, the Oppo F15 goes up against phones such as the Realme X2 (Review) and Redmi K20 (Review), both of which are power-packed devices and very good all-rounders for what they cost. Does the Oppo F15 pack enough features to be worth considering at this price? Let's have a look.
The new packaging for the Oppo F15 looks nice, and in the box you'll find a silicone case, SIM eject tool, Type-C cable, 20W power adapter and a headset. We have the ‘Unicorn White' colour trim of the F15, which looks eye-catching. The gradient finish at the back transitions from white at the top to hints of aqua blue and lilac towards the bottom. This is a still a laminated back panel though, not glass, but this colour should help hide fingerprints much better than the ‘Lightning Black' trim. What immediately grabbed our attention when we picked up this phone was how slim and light it is. At 7.9mm in thickness and weighing 172g, it's quite comfortable to carry around.
The Oppo F15 is a tall phone though, due to the 20:9 aspect ratio of the 6.4-inch display. You get an AMOLED panel with a full-HD+ (2400x1080) resolution and Corning's Gorilla Glass 5. The display gets adequately bright and is legible even under sunlight. The colours are good and so is the sharpness of icons and text. There's a prominent notch on the top for the selfie camera, and a visible chin at the bottom.
The glossy sides make the Oppo F15 a little slippery. The power and volume buttons are placed conveniently on the sides. At the bottom, there is a headphone socket, a USB Type-C port, and a speaker grille. This phone has a triple card slot for two Nano-SIMs and a microSD card. The back panel curves a bit on the sides for better ergonomics. The quad camera module on the rear protrudes slightly but not as much as on other phones such as the Realme X2. We also have the Oppo logo, placed vertically in the bottom left corner.
Overall, the Oppo F15 manages to look premium, at least in this colour. We would have liked more premium materials at this price though, such as a glass back. It's also fairly slim and light for a phone with such a large display, which is something we don't see too often.
Oppo's choice of the SoC in the F15 is a bit of a letdown. The MediaTek Helio P70 SoC was also used in the F11 series last year. While the chip itself offers decent performance, it's at the level we would now typically expect of phones closer to the Rs. 10,000 mark (such as the Realme 3). The Oppo F15 definitely feels underpowered, considering that the Realme X2 and Redmi K20 offer Qualcomm's superior Snapdragon 730 series SoCs at the same price.
The Oppo F15 is only available in one configuration, which is 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The latter uses the UFS 2.1 standard, which is good. Other features include dual 4G with VoLTE, dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, Widevine L1 certification, GPS, and the usual suite of sensors. There's no FM radio in this phone. You also get a 4,000mAh battery with Oppo's VOOC 3.0 Flash Charge technology.
Oppo only recently began trial runs of ColorOS 7 for some of its phones, so for now, we have to make do with ColorOS 6.1.2 on the Oppo F15, which is still based on Android 9 Pie. The look and feel of the interface is similar to what we've seen on recent Realme offerings, since they share the same OS. There are some minor differences, such as the absence of a system-wide dark mode.
Our unit had the January 2020 security patch, along with features such as Google's Digital Wellbeing, plenty of shortcuts and gestures, and several preinstalled apps. Most of the third-party apps can be uninstalled if you like. There's not a lot that's new to talk about here, and you can read all about ColorOS in our recent reviews of the Oppo A9 (2020) (Review) or the Realme 5i (Review).
We used the Oppo F15 as our primary device for a few days, and the experience was pretty good. It's not the easiest phone to fit into a pants pocket, but apart from that, we liked its lightness which made it effortless to use. You can enable one-handed mode through a toggle switch in the notification shade, but sadly, there's no gesture to trigger it. The phone didn't overheat when using the cameras extensively or even playing games, which is good.
Games ran fairly well too. PUBG Mobile defaulted to the ‘Medium' graphics preset and gameplay was smooth. There's also Oppo's Game Assistant, which can be accessed within a game and offers options to block notifications, etc. Other stressful titles such as Asphalt 9: Legends also ran well, albeit at slightly reduced graphics quality.
The Oppo F15 put on a good show in benchmarks too. AnTuTu returned 194,983 points, while GFXbench's T-Rex test gave us 36fps. While these numbers are decent, this phone is well behind more powerful models powered by the Snapdragon 730 or 730G, such as the Redmi K20 and Realme X2 respectively.
The Oppo F15's fingerprint and face recognition systems work very well too. Authentication is quick and face unlock even works well in dimly lit places. The phone holds up well for media playback as well. Full-HD videos look sharp, with punchy colours, and the viewing angles are quite wide. The mono speaker gets fairly loud but is lacking in bass.
Battery life is pretty solid. The Oppo F15 ran for 14 hours and 48 minutes in our HD video battery loop test, which is a good time. With regular use, we always managed to use this phone for over a full day, even with lots of gaming and camera usage. The F15 charges pretty quickly too. We were able to get the battery up to 47 percent in half an hour, and about 88 percent in an hour. It took about 20 minutes more after that to fully charge it.
Compared to the Oppo F11, the F15 gets a much-needed camera upgrade. There's a 48-megapixel primary sensor with an f/1.7 aperture; an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera that doubles up as the macro camera; a 2-megapixel depth sensor; and finally a 2-megapixel monochrome sensor. In the front, we have a 16-megapixel selfie camera with an f/2.0 aperture.
The camera app is similar to what we've seen on recent Oppo and Realme devices, albeit with a few missing features. The primary camera shoots oversampled 12-megapixel stills by default but there's no option to shoot at the full 48-megapixel resolution. Other features such as super-steady video and the ability to use Night mode for the selfie camera are also absent.
In daylight, the main sensor captures fairly detailed landscape shots. Colours are vivid, detail is good, and there's little to no noise in darker areas. The HDR effect could have been better in some instances but overall, it's not bad. The wide-angle camera has autofocus, so stills taken with this sensor have good detail — just not as good as what's possible with the main sensor. Close-ups are sharp and detailed too, and if you get really close to your subject with the wide-angle camera, you'll be able to get good macros. We like this implementation better than having a dedicated camera for macro photos.
Portrait mode worked decently well with human subjects and you can adjust the level of blur before taking the shot. Edge detection was decent and image quality was good, when shooting under good light.
In low light, we found image quality in landscape shots to be a little lacking. Details were weaker and there was visible noise in the darker regions. The ‘Night' mode helps brighten up scenes but the details didn't improve much. Shooting with the wide-angle camera at night, we got comparatively darker images with poorer details and colours. Close-ups fared a bit better, with decent detail and not too much visible noise.
The selfie camera manages some pretty good-looking stills in daylight. Skin textures are smoothened a bit but HDR works well and colours are well represented. With good amounts of artificial light around, we managed to get pleasing enough selfies even at night. Portrait mode doesn't work too well with the front camera, unfortunately, whether it's day or night.
The Oppo F15 can only shoot at up to 1080p resolution and not 4K, which most of its competitors support. Video quality is slightly above average and there is stabilisation when shooting using the primary camera. With the wide-angle camera, videos aren't stabilised. In low-light, video quality was noticeably worse with poor details and a persistent shimmer in the footage even with slight movement. You can shoot at up to 1080p using the selfie camera too, but without any stabilisation.
The camera app feels familiar, and in the viewfinder, you'll find shortcuts for 2x and 5x digital zoom. The app also has Oppo's ‘Dazzle Color' toggle which boosts the saturation level of photos. Other shooting modes include Timelapse, Panorama, Slow-motion, AR stickers, and Expert. There's a shortcut to activate Google Lens too.
The new Oppo F15 is a good-looking smartphone, and a fairly decent upgrade over the Oppo F11. However, the sub-Rs. 20,000 segment has changed quite a bit compared to a year ago, which is why the F15 feels underpowered compared to its main rivals — the Realme X2 (Review) and the Redmi K20 (Review). The new camera setup is a nice upgrade, but overall image and video quality are not quite up to the mark.
What this phone does have going for it are its slimness, low weight, and good display. However, priced at Rs. 19,990, we think you'd be better off with either the Realme X2 or the Redmi K20 —both of which offer much better performance, more premium build quality, and more modern designs.