The mobile phone industry is saturated. Between giants like Samsung and Apple, there are others that are slowly rising up to power, with new and improved features to level out the competition field. Almost half a year into 2018, and there are already impressive models on the market, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S9 series, and the Huawei P20 family.

Chinese company OPPO is definitely not missing out on the game. Hot on the heels of the R11, which was released in 2017, is the newly-released R15 and its accompanying sibling, R15 Pro. The duo has seen an international launch, and is now making their way to local shores, although the company’s decision to skip over the R14 name still remains a mystery.

A common comment about phone models is that they, in one way or another, sport identical aesthetics. On first glance, the R15 does take on a design that resembles the iPhone X, similarly armed with one of the slimmest bezels yet. The 7.44mm-thick device is also rightfully sleek, fitting a 6.28-inch OLED display into a body that curves slightly into its glass back.

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But with that comes a common issue faced by owners of glass-adorned phones. Their glossy bodies make them very susceptible to fingerprints, which smear easily on the surface. It’s not necessarily a bad pick, though – the glass is nice to the touch, slip-free, and sits comfortably in one’s grip.

Catching on the current trend, OPPO has added the (totally unnecessary) notch to the top, albeit smaller than Apple’s version. Unlike the P20, there’s no option for users to toggle between it off and on, so some app compatibility issues are to be expected. The much sought-after 3.5mm ear jack has been retained, however, and is positioned at the base for both models. Meanwhile, the fingerprint scanner takes up space at the top half of the rear.

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With AI being the latest buzzword, it’s hardly surprising that many recent models have capitalised on it to bring mobile photography to new heights. The R15 is the newest member to do so, supported by a 20MP front camera, and a 16MP + 5MP dual-camera setup at the rear.

The first smartphone to adopt the Sony IMX519 sensor, it comes equipped with several features, such as 3D Portrait Lighting and Sensor HDR. When taken for a spin, it was observed that the photos took on a softer tone with natural bokeh in the background, although vibrant colours tend to be more saturated.

In low-light settings, the R15 doesn’t fare well where coloured tints are involved.

In the dark, the HDR feature functions well to bring out the subject with just the right amount of lighting. Under dark settings where there are flashing lights, such as in clubs or during a band concert, the phone fails to adjust to the tone accordingly, which means the images taken will have the coloured tint of sorts.

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Notice how the phone managed to capture faces, while blurring out the phones in the foreground.

For all of R15’s AI-enhanced camera capabilities, there are times where it’s slow on detecting and focusing on targets. Sometimes, manual adjustments would have to be made before the right subject from a pool of individuals is picked up, but otherwise, its facial recognition is sophisticated enough to immediately distinguish people from objects. In similar fashion to the S9 series, OPPO’s latest duo also sports a slow-mo feature, alongside the addition of AR stickers.

With a host of borrowed elements from different models, the R15 siblings can be likened to an amalgamation of everything that’s already on the market. Actually, scratch that – “identical twins” is perhaps a more accurate way to describe the two.

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From the front to the back, and everywhere else, the R15 and R15 Pro are visually-identical, which brings up the logical question: Why bother with a second release then? Barring the extra S$15, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 chipset, slightly-improved rear camera, and colour options, any remaining details stay virtually the same.

Slated for a joint May 26, 2018 launch, the R15 will come in Rouge Red, Frost White, and Nebula Purple, with Cosmic Purple and Ruby Red for its twin.

Series OPPO R15 OPPO R15 PRO
Operating System Android 8.1 (Oreo) Android 8.1 (Oreo)
CPU Mediatek MT6771 Helio P60
Octa-core (4 x 2.0 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4 x 2.0 GHz Cortex-A53)
Qualcomm SDM660 Snapdragon 660
Octa-core (4 x 2.2GHz Kryo 260 & 4 x 1.8 GHZ Kryo 260)
Display 6.28″ / 401ppi / 19:9
1080 x 2280p
AMOLED, Super Full Screen
6.28″ / 401ppi / 19:9
1080 x 2280p
AMOLED, Super Full Screen
Memory 128GB Storage / 6GB RAM
Expandable up to 256 GB
128GB Storage / 6GB RAM
Expandable up to 256GB
SIM Card Interface SIM 1: nano SIM card
SIM 2: nano SIM card/microSD
SIM 1: nano SIM card
SIM 2: nano SIM card/microSD
Size 155.1mm (width) / 75.2mm (height) / 7.4 mm (depth) 155.3mm (width) / 75mm (height) / 7.5mm (depth)
Weight 175g 175g
Camera Front: 20MP AF (f/2.0)
Rear: 16MP (f/1.7) + 5MP (f/2.2)
Front: 20MP AF (f/2.0)
Rear: 16MP (f/1.7) + 20MP (f/1.7)
Battery 3,450mAh 3,400mAh
Colour Rouge Red, Frost White, Nebula Purple Cosmic Purple, Ruby Red (3D glass)
Retail Price  S$749 S$899


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Si Jia

Si Jia is a casual geek at heart – or as casual as someone with Sephiroth’s theme on her Spotify playlist can get. A fan of movies, games, and Japanese culture, Si Jia’s greatest weakness is the Steam Summer Sale. Or any Steam sale, really.