I'm starting to like the idea of a swivel camera

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| December 3, 2013

We saw some interesting design choices in 2013, didn't we? It started with LG, which was probably more surprising all by itself than the device they released. Seeing something new and exciting from LG, especially when we'd grown so accustomed to seeing the same old thing for so long, was a breath of fresh air. Of course, it helped that LG's G2 has become one of the most popular Android devices this year, thanks to its powerful guts, and other outstanding specifications.

But it wasn't just LG that managed to steal plenty of attention for unique designs this year. Finding the device that's the best designed this year is a bit of a struggle for sure, simply because there are so many devices to choose from. One of which that has only recently been announced, and isn't even technically available to the masses.

That would be Oppo's N1, of course. The device, which was first introduced back at the end of September, brought along with it plenty of rumors and speculation. Plus, a lot of hype from those who have a love affair with Google's mobile operating system, Android, and CyanogenMod. Now that Cyanogen Inc. is the real deal, the company can choose partnerships where they see real potential, and Oppo's N1 is the first to bear the fruit of that decision.

It helps that the N1 isn't a slouch when it comes to the specs department. With a large 5.9-inch 1080p HD display, a 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor, and 2GB of RAM, the N1 stands out on its own. There are two versions: a 16GB and 32GB variant, both of which come with a 3610mAh battery. It's running Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean out of the box, under Oppo's proprietary Color OS. The camera is a 13-megapixel option, and there's only one to choose from.

And that's the kicker, if you ask me.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that Oppo has teamed up with Cyanogen Inc., and I know a lot of people are chomping at the bit to get their hands on this device for that specific reason alone. But for me, I'm growing more interested in the N1 every day because of that camera.

As I said, it's a 13MP camera, and there's only one of them. Why? Because it can rotate 206 degrees, and it can lock into any position within that range to get the best picture available. It also boasts a dual-LED flash, f/2.0 aperture, and six physical lenses. Basically, it doesn't sound like Oppo skimped out on the camera, and they are certainly proud of the fact that the N1 is the first smartphone with a rotating camera.

And I think they should be. The fact that they've essentially retired the front-facing camera on their N1 is awesome, if you ask me. While the industry has been so focused on making our smartphone's main camera --the one on the back-- better than anyone else's camera, the front-facing shooter has been left to sort of marinate in its own devices. Sure, they've gotten better over time, but just look at the way many companies just gloss over them during their presentations of any new hardware.

There are exceptions, mind you. HTC paid a lot of attention to the front-facing camera on the Windows Phone 8X when it debuted, thanks to its wide-angle shot. But for the most part, the 1.x- or 2.x-megapixel camera on the front of our phones goes unnoticed and rarely talked about.

That's because most of them aren't very good. And for people who want the camera to be one of the best parts of their phones, because it's grown in importance, both cameras are important. That's why I'm gaining interest in Oppo's N1. As long as the 13MP camera isn't terrible, then those moments where taking a "selfie" makes more sense than flipping your phone around will finally pay off.

Are you excited about Oppo's N1 in general, or for any specific reason? Do you think that more phones should have swiveling cameras, or is it just a gimmick that will fade out long before it ever catches on? Do you plan on picking up an N1 later this month? Let me know what you think.

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