The OPPO N1 Smartphone is the World’s First to Feature a Rotating Camera


Back in July, Chinese electronics company OPPO confirmed that it was working on an “N-Lens” line of camera-centric devices that would be the “most important flagship series for OPPO going forward.”

Well, the first of these devices has officially arrived, and although it is still more of a smartphone with a camera than a camera that can make calls, the phone packs some interesting features, including (according to OPPO) the world’s first rotating smartphone camera.

Although other specs such as processor speed and an O-Touch back panel that allows you to snap photos and scroll without touching your screen are all mentioned in the promotional materials, the primary focus of the N1 is indeed the camera.

Here’s a closer look at it:


The swivel camera packs 13-megapixels of resolution (no word on sensor size) that will capture the world through a 6-element lens with an f/2.0 aperture. In low light, that sensor will be helped out by a dual LED flash that is “brightness tunable” for ideal lighting, and when it comes time to view your pics, you’ll be doing it on an “immersive” 5.9-inch Full HD display.

The pièce de résistance, however, is the fact that this camera isn’t stationary — it can rotate 206-degrees. Because of this, the phone essentially offers a 13-megapixel front and back camera, and in case you’re worried about durability, OPPO promises that the swivel has passed a 100,000 rotation test… that’s about five and a half years of use if you’re rotating it 50 times per day.

When you pair that new rotating cam with some interesting features like the ability to take up to 8-second exposures, a start time of just 0.6-seconds and a feature that automatically turns the camera app on when the camera is rotated 120-degrees or more, and you have an interesting new player in the smartphone camera market.

Here are a couple of promotional videos OPPO has released to show off the N1:

The new phone will be available in China starting in December, and should cost somewhere in the vicinity of 570 USD (presumably for the 16GB version) according to Engadget. Both the 16GB and 32GB versions will come with an included O-Click Bluetooth pebble that can be used to trigger the camera, among other things.

  • SuperSaggio

    come on Oppo…you call a filp camera an innovation? lol

    it’s certainly a nice touch, but it has flaws: not so good in terms of design and the possibility to break…since it’s a structure apart.

  • Robert_

    One question: why?

    I can only make good photos with my phone when I se the screen to composite the shot. The only usecase for frontfacing cameras are selfies and video chat – unless we can benefit from 12MP video chat I only see a market in the group of quality-aware selfie-enthusiasts…

  • clem

    what about the nokia n90

  • Bad Ass MoFo

    The possibility of taking canded/creep shots is being over looked. It is not about hi resolution selfies, it’s about being able to take pictures with out looking like a tourist.

  • Nour El Refai

    I had an old samsung phone with a rotating camera btw!

  • greenarcher02

    No it’s not.
    Nokia N90. And for it’s time, it was considered a smartphone.

  • Jonathan Maniago

    At least it’ll be a bit more discreet than dedicated cameras with flip screens.

  • Vishwa Karma

    COMPLETELY POSITIVELY B/S. The OPPO is NOT THE FIRST to feature a rotating camera. I still have a “still working” Sony Clie PDA that my uncle had gifted to me ages ago. That was the first device “I SAW” with a rotating camera. I am sure there have/had been many such devices in the past. Get your facts right.

  • Leif Sikorski

    You answered it already, you can just make good shots when you see the screen. This is a limitation on common phones where the lens and the screen are fixed. With this camera you can shoot from many different perspectives…it’s like having a tiltable display or viewfinder on a camera.

  • Morgan Glassco

    Maybe it’s the first “Smartphone” but it’s not the first phone to have a flipping camera. My old Samsung T809 had a camera that flipped.

  • bogorad

    Around six hundred dollars for a chinese brand is quite unreasonable, especially considering Nexus-5 will most probably be out for some $350, and sporting better specs. Rotating camera with a so-so sensor? Meh.

  • kelly hofer

    as a photographer, i would buy this

  • Matt

    No, far from the first. And, from experience on an older windows phone, not that useful.

  • Alex

    Wrong, the samsung a610 had one.

  • Pete

    I’d be more impressed if someone would invent a smart phone that rotates video so when a$$holes hold their phone vertically it still shoots horizontal video. Or, preferably, the phone spontaneously combusts while simultaneously electrocuting the user.

  • moban

    i think they have to add another caveat… maybe first *touchscreen* smartphone??

  • MikeAlgar42

    The Youtube App won’t let you record until you hold the phone the correct way.

  • Pee Jay

    The Motorola A920 had one. Back in good old 2003 it was a wapping 640 x 480 VGA one too. Think I still have it somewhere.

  • Eu

    LG U8180

  • aLdo

    Nope ! Samsung A600 had a rotating screen and rotating camera ! Released in Aug 1, 2003 for sprint. Lol

  • Marc

    Samsung had a smartphone (d900 / d600) that had a flip camera! Brilliant smartphone. That was around ten years ago.

  • Daniel Hine

    Yep, definitely not the first phone with a rotating camera

  • Psycho

    yea i had that phone, and i still have it, but nowadays i can see the advantages of that featuring: the smartphones usually have two cameras, one in the back with high res and the other in the front for videos calls, now with that phone you can use the same camera for both applications

  • Carmen Johnson

    nice post

  • shatner

    How many times can the camera be rotated before it become loose?