Oppo N1 CyanogenMod Ed Review – If you asked the average Android user to list five Android hardware manufacturers, there is a fair chance that Oppo wouldn’t be there. If you did the same with Android ROMs then it’s more likely that CyanogenMod would come up, but neither are household names. A Chinese company that originally specialised in Blu-ray players, Oppo has started to make a name for itself in recent years with high-quality, high-spec devices at respectable prices.
Oppo N1 CyanogenMod Ed, The love child of two inspirational companies
Generally these devices run on Oppo’s own Android version called ColorOS, and indeed a version of the N1 is available running this OS. CyanogenMod has long been the developer community’s darling project; pure Android with a raft of tweaks on top, maintained by a merry band of enthusiasts bringing support to as many devices as possible. Times have changed though, and with CyanogenMod becoming Cyanogen Inc courtesy of $7m of funding, moves are afoot to get the OS onto more devices out of the box.
The N1 CyanogenMod Edition is the first result. Hardware wise, the N1 is high spec but not bleeding edge. A 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor is paired with 2GB RAM, 16GB ROM (not expandable), a huge 5.9-inch 1920 x 1080 display with Gorilla Glass 3, 3G connectivity (no LTE), a 3610 mAh battery, dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and the device’s party piece – a 13-megapixel camera with dual-mode LED flash that rotates to be used as either a rear or forward-facing camera. Detailed selfies ahoy! There’s no denying the N1 is a huge phone. It’s larger than both the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and the HTC One M8 (neither of which are exactly compact) but, of course, the flip side to the gargantuan dimensions is the large battery and huge screen.
The screen itself is very bright, clear and a joy to use. Much of the extra size comes from the fact that the device uses capacitive buttons below the screen and has that big camera mechanism above the screen, a mechanism that does feel very solid when rotated. On the back of the device is the ‘O-Touch’ touchpad, which provides an alternative way to control your device. In reality it’s a little bit cumbersome. The N1 isn’t just big; it’s well made too.
Construction is very solid, thanks to the aluminium alloy frame. The finish on the device is a white ‘soft touch’ surface, which looks and feels good and is grippy to hold. You wouldn’t want to drop the 213g N1 for fear of damaging the pavement. The CyanogenMod Edition N1 ships with CM 10.2 out of the box, which is based on Android 4.3, but in reality, you’ll probably want to update the device to a CM 11 Milestone or a nightly build based on KitKat.
You could even flash the CM N1 to ColorOS if you wanted but, please, don’t do that. The benefits of CyanogenMod are well documented and, of course, it runs great on the N1 – even the nightlies seem to be ultra stable. What’s great about CM is that it looks like pure Android, but it has lots of little tweaks that make life that little bit easier. Full customisability of the status bar and quick toggles? Handy.
Integrated find-your-phone features via the CyanogenMod account? Great! There’s lots of delightful little tweaks you’ll find as you explore CyanogenMod. In the past, flashing CyanogenMod has meant searching around for Google Apps to install yourself but the N1 is Google certified, which means all its apps come pre-loaded – a significant step that CyanogenMod needed to conquer to bring its OS into the mainstream. So the hardware is up to scratch and the software is everything you’d expect, but what is the N1 like to live with? Provided you can live with the size, it’s a very pleasant experience overall. It might be Snapdragon 600 rather than the very latest 800, but the N1 positively speeds along in use, likely thanks in no small part to the lightness and stock-ness of the CyanogenMod OS.
Wireless performance is good, battery performance, as you’d expect, is exceptional, and as we mentioned before, everything is ultra stable. The unique 13-megapixel rotating camera does indeed make for very detailed selfies, but on the whole the image quality is fairly average. Inclusion of a f/2.0 aperture means low light capability is good, however, there is no optical image stabilisation. A handy ‘O Click’ accessory that comes bundled can be used as a remote shutter button.
Oppo N1 CyanogenMod Ed Specifications
- Operating system CyanogenMod 10.2 (optional CyanogenMod 11, ColorOS)
- Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 600
- Memory 2GB RAM, 16/32GB storage
- Dimensions 170.7 x 82.6 x 9mm
- Weight 213g
- Display size 5.9-inch
- Display resolution 1920 x 1080 pixels
- Expansion slot None
- Price $650
- camera 13 megapixels