Traveling with the Oppo N1

# The Phone

I received an Oppo N1 from a friend who frequently travels to China. Insert my SIM card and voilà, I have a new phone. The phone is large. It’s easy to underestimate how large the phone really is. I didn’t like the Oppo Color OS, so I grabbed the only Cyanogenmod (CM) port for the N1 and installed it, wiping the native Color OS on the phone. CM is much more responsive on the phone, downright snappy to use. Subjective opinions are that it looks better and is easier to use than either native Android or ColorOS (which is really a re-imaged Android).

# Road Test

In a recent trip abroad, I decided to just bring the phone and a tablet. Both are running Cyanogenmod. The challenges I encountered aren’t so much with the hardware, but solely with Android and how it works. It works ok for email, chatting, and browsing. I found it frustrating to do simple things like copy and paste or write text documents for notes.

## Example 1: Responding to an email

I had to respond to a fairly lengthy email. Using K-9 Mail works pretty well, except when you have to edit inline and remove the unnecessary bits of the original email. Trying to get Android to do multi-line select takes a certain finesse. And then holding multiple sections of text in the clipboard is nearly impossible. Overall, what normally takes me 30 seconds in mutt on a laptop, takes 1-2 minutes on the phone or tablet. The tablet is slightly easier because of the screen size.

## Example 2: Writing this blog post

On wifi, secured with IPsec between the device and a remote host, I loaded up my blog and tried to write this post. It’s easier to write everything into a text editor at first, and then copy and paste. Trying to write within the constrains of the edit window wasn’t so fun. The largest challenges were trying to position the cursor exactly where I wanted it in a sentence, and getting spell check within the editor to work correctly.

# The Verdict

All in all, the N1 works really well. It’s easy to read the screen in all sorts of light conditions, survived a sandstorm pretty well, fits into various pockets and pouches with ease. If I had a bluetooth keyboard and mouse, I bet I could get closer to my productivity with a laptop and terminal. The phone works just fine as a phone. The various connectivity bits work as expected. GPS resolution is fast and accurate. And the spinning camera takes great pictures as well.

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