It was during a recent family dinner, and I was about to throw in my quip on how yet another phone - the Oppo R9 Plus - has that familiar iPhone 6 look, when a relative changed the tune by asking me if I was using an Oppo phone.
I had to make sure I was hearing it right. The subtle, beautiful curved corners and rose-gold metal body all look very familiar. But it was the oval home button and the different placement of the flash module that made my relative recognise it as an Oppo phone.
The R9 Plus, as its name implies, is an upsized version of the earlier Oppo R9. Sporting a 6-inch screen, it has the same full-HD resolution as its smaller R9 sibling. While that means the bigger phone has a slightly lower pixel-per-inch density, I find no discernible drop in display quality.
On the contrary, the larger display equates to a more comfortable Netflix binge-watching session. The only gripe I have is the need to use both hands to handle it, although that's a double-edged sword that applies to every other phablet. Besides the upsized display, the R9 Plus' rear camera has been improved to a 16MP snapper, which delivers the same good-quality photos as the R9's 13MP camera.
As tempting as it is to go all in with the Beautify mode, you should adjust the intensity of the facial improvement software to make selfies taken with the 13MP front camera look more natural.
Oppo's customised user interface ColorOS 3.0 makes this Android phone stand out from the crowd. It is intelligent enough to leave the most-often-used apps running in the background.
Some might wonder if it will slow down the phone. I noticed that was not the case as not even half of the 4GB memory was used. The competent Snapdragon octa-core processor running the show also delivered a lag-free experience.
I abused the R9 Plus' 4,120mAh battery with a fair amount of Pokemon Go. The phablet, however, took it like a champ. On top of satisfying my Pokemon-catching frenzy, it also fed my social media addiction and let me reply to WhatsApp messages for nearly 11 hours.
The quick-charging VOOC Flash Charge is a life-saver when, in merely 15min, it brought the R9 Plus' totally flat battery back to a healthy range of 80 per cent.
PROCESSOR: Qualcomm MSM8976 Octa-core (1.8GHz quad-core + 1.2GHz quad-core)
DISPLAY: 6-inch FHD Amoled 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, 367 PPI (pixels per inch)
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android 5.1 Lollipop with ColorOS 3.0
MEMORY: 64GB, 4GB RAM
CAMERA: (Rear) 16MP OIS, f2; (front) 13MP, f2
BATTERY: 4,120mAh with fast charging
BATTERY LIFE: 5/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5
•Verdict: The Oppo R9 Plus is a phablet that delivers a great experience and can outrun most smartphones in a battery marathon.
This article was first published on August 31, 2016.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.