A ‘mini’ version of a phone is usually a manufacturer’s way of saying “This is the cheaper version”. In most cases that’s true and it is for Oppo’s N1 Mini which is a cheaper (at RM1,398) variant of the Oppo N1 and is also smaller.
There is nothing mini about the N1 Mini, though. Specs and performance-wise, the phone does give a pretty decent bang for buck with specs that aren’t what you would call entry-level. Question is, as Android phones keep offering more value for money, is the N1 Mini enticing enough to fend off the competition?
ON THE OUTSIDE
The N1 Mini looks a lot like N1 but is noticeably smaller than its big brother. But when compared to other phones, it doesn’t look like a ‘mini’ phone. The plastic construction is good for a phone of its price range but its side buttons feel disappointingly flimsy and anywhere where there is a join, you get the feeling there could easily be a break. Not sure why they decided to place the power key on the left and put the volume key on the right next to the SIM tray, instead of just putting all the buttons on one side.
What you would probably notice off the bat is the swiveling camera attachment right on top of the camera. Sadly given the less-than-ideal construction, you could easily imagine the camera snapping right off without care. One annoyance is that if you just touch the camera, the operating system kicks in with a warning.
Apart from the niggling annoyances with the joinings, the good news is the N1 does not look cheap. Quite the opposite in fact. The large screen is pleasantly bright, with good lucidity and colour. And the overall design, a pleasant though bland curved oblong shape, is simple, understated but not tacky. For its size, the phone is pretty slim and fits nicely in a back pocket despite the 5-inch screen.
Another interesting choice: placing the 3.5mm headset jack, speaker grill and micro-USB port along the bottom.