Oppo K1 review: Excellent design but camera, software need work

Oppo K1,Oppo K1 Review,Oppo K1 Specifications

Smartphone companies are now bringing premium design to budget and mid-range devices. From Realme to Honor and now Xiaomi and Samsung, most of the companies are working to bring smarter looks to phones under Rs 20,000. Oppo is now joining this race with its new K1.

Oppo K1 aims to deliver a combination of premium design and mid-range-level specifications at a competitive price of Rs 16,990. The smartphone boasts of up to 6GB of RAM, Snapdragon 660 processor, and 25-megapixel front-facing camera. Oppo K1 competes with Xiaomi Mi A2 and the upcoming Redmi Note 7.

As explained in our detailed first impressions, Oppo K1 is indeed a good looking smartphone with gradient colour design with a blend of blue and magenta pink colours and gold camera rims. The glossy and reflective finish brings a premium look and feel. The front is equally impressive with a waterdrop notch and edge-to-edge display. The phone is light and easy to carry around. Necessary buttons such as volume and power are well within the reach.

Oppo K1 may score high on looks but it does not really do well on other critical fronts. Let’s talk about the camera first. The phone has a dual-camera setup of 16-megapixel (f/1.7) and 2-megapixel (f/2.4) AI-based sensors. Oppo K1 takes pretty decent photos in daylight but the quality dips with lowlight. Night photography is disappointing as well. Lowlight photos, despite HDR mode on, have a lot of noise and out of focus.

Photos taken in daylight condition retain details (image resized for web) (HT Photo)

Oppo K1 runs on Android 8.1.0-based ColorOS (v5.2). If you like stock Android or near-stock Android experience, ColorOS’customisation may not be your thing. Apart from over customisation, it lags a lot and isn’t as fast as you would expect it to be. Pesky notifications are also a big turn off. The phone does well with in-app performances like playing games or browsing multimedia.

Poor focus and noise mar the lowlight performance (image resized for web) (HT Photo)

The 6.41-inch full HD+ display is bright and colourful but it’s also quite reflective, making it difficult to use outdoors under direct sunlight.

Oppo K1 is also one of the few phones to have in-screen fingerprint sensor. The technology is itself at nascent stages and unfortunately it’s far from perfection. The in-screen fingerprint is quite inconsistent, but that’s the case with most of the phones with this tech right now.

The on-board 3,600mAh battery will see you a day if you are light user with usage limited to basic browsing and bit of multimedia streaming. If your usage is higher, say play a lot of games, you may want to carry the charger. Interestingly enough, Oppo K1 comes with microUSB instead of Type-C port which could have paved way for faster charging.


Oppo K1 looks better than a lot of under Rs 20,000 smartphones in India. But that’s all the phone has to offer. At this price point, Xiaomi Mi A2 looks a much better proposition with better camera performance. If looks don’t really matter to you, phones like Asus Zenfone Max Pro M2, Xiaomi Poco F1 and Realme 2 Pro are worth considering.