27 September 2016

I have always prided myself on using unique phones.

My first smartphone was a Galaxy Nexus, made – as the name suggests – by Samsung. I wanted pure Android, saw the curved back on the Internet, and nothing could change my mind.

I didn’t have a good experience with my Galaxy Nexus. Performance quickly deteriorated, and the phone had a habit of heating up.

After 2 years, it was no longer in a useable state. (I guess 2 years is the average lifespan of a smartphone, but still – I spent a lot on that baby and expected it to last longer.)

Having started as a Nexus user, naturally I looked to the range for my replacement. And I quickly went for LG’s Nexus 5, which I found to be infinitely more beautiful than my Galaxy Nexus.

And we had a great relationship. It fits right in the palm of my hand. The nonslip material on the back gives me comfort when holding it with one hand. The look and feel of it is just right.

In fact I’m using it to type this post right now.

I’ve had it for about 2 and a half years. Bought it in early 2014. It was getting a bit slow (but nowhere near as slow as the Galaxy Nexus) but after I cleared the memory space (deleted about 6,000 photos), the speed improved.

The battery life was also getting pretty bad, but just last week I got myself a swanky looking power bank. So that’s the battery issue – SORTED! (It’s a tagline from a YouTube cooking channel. Have a look. They cook up all sorts of yumminess.)

Having overcome the speed and battery bumps, I thought we were going to have a long and prosperous relationship.

Then 2 days ago, I dropped it. 

It didn’t seem like a big drop. I was pulling it out of my suit jacket and lost my grip in the process of spinning it around to face me. It fell to the floor, bounced a few times, and came to a rest.

I picked it up. Didn’t really think much of it. Then I realised it didn’t vibrate. Turned it off and on again. Still didn’t vibrate. So I went online to look for a potential replacement… just in case.

I was looking at the Nexus 5x on my now non-vibrating Nexus 5 when I noticed that the phone casing was slightly ajar. Apparently the fall had cracked it open. So I pressed it back in and – TA-DA – the vibration worked again.

“That was lucky,” I thought to myself. Better not drop it again or I might actually have to buy a new phone.

The next morning, though, disaster struck. I switched it on and the phone refused to recognise my SIM card. I turned it off and on (the eternal panacea for electronics) and removed the SIM and put it back in. Nothing worked.

Damn. The phone easily had a few years left. We could have lived and prospered together. But I had gone and ruined it by one careless turn of the hand.

One thing about me: I hate shopping for stuff. I usually know what I want, and I go for it. I knew I wanted pure Android, and I just went for it, oblivious to the myriad other smartphones in the market.

And I was fine with that. I was, and am, perfectly happy with the UI of the Nexus range and the features it offers.

I considered Nexus 5x. It’s cheap. Already a year old. And boy it looks fantastic. It’s also by LG, which is a big plus, because I’m happy with the durability of my LG Nexus 5.

But the reviews, oh the reviews were terrible. I couldn’t possibly buy it after reading the reviews.

So, for the first time in my smartphone buying history, I had to look elsewhere.

Samsung is a no-no. I really wasn’t happy with my Samsung-manufactured Galaxy Nexus and my Samsung netbook – both of which didn’t last me very long.

iPhone, well, I was tempted. The 6s was on sale and it was CHEAP (for an iPhone). The size was just perfect. (I wanted a phone that could fit in the palm of my hand like my precious Nexus 5). The only issue was crossing over to the iOS. My life is pretty much integrated in all aspects with Google. And I simply wasn’t keen to go throught the hassle of switching camps.

I thought of HTC. In my mind HTC has always been a reliable brand. It was one of the brands I considered before I knew about the Nexus range. And I quite liked the design of some of the models I saw online.

Anyways, I went to the shop only to find out that you can’t really buy an HTC in a regular shop, and that it’s going to be a pain to service and what-not.

So I was back at square one.

I walked around and talked to every brand in the shop. “Which model has 3GB RAM?” was my opening question. I looked at all the phones with 3GB RAM, OctaCore, and good battery life. Those were my 3 main criteria. I also wanted a small phone, but after a few rounds of the shop it was clear that wasn’t going to happen if I wanted my 3 criteria to be met.

And I found this oppo phone – oppo F1s.

 This is what it looks like:

Familiar? 

The phone is a bloody mashup between a Samsung and an iPhone. From the front, you’d swear it was a Samsung phone. From the back, an iPhone.

This goes against the one thing I’ve always prided myself on with my smartphones: unique design.

I have always had phones which make people wonder. “What’s that? I’ve never seen that before. Oh it’s a Nexus? Ah that’s what a Nexus looks like.” And I beamed with pride every time someone held my Nexus 5 and admired how unique it looked and felt.

With this one it’s more like, now which brand did you buy that did such a good job of producing a Samsung-iPhone crossover?

Urgh.

Don’t get me wrong. I really like the design. I love how the iPhone looks from the back, and the colour. (The one in the picture is gold, but mine is rose gold – I think you’ve guessed by now that I bought the bloody phone.) I’m less a fan of the Samsung front, but still – everything looks smooth. Nice and curvy. I’ve never been a fan of straight-edged phones.

The oppo F1s was by lightyears the one with the best design out of all the available options (not counting the 6s – *sigh* – if only Apple offered its phones in Android…). And it had the best specs. And the price was below 10k, which is significantly less than what I am used to paying (around 30k for both of my Nexus. I know – bloody expensive).

So I bought it.

And now I am going to live the next 3 years (at least 3 years I hope) being silently judged for buying an iPhone/Samsung ripoff. 

I’m not looking forward to that.

This phone had better be really good. Ive sacrificed my principle to buy it.

Really good.

Love,

Val 

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