Many of today's smartphones sport very capable cameras, but unless you add funky lens attachments like the HiLO or a helpful device like the Spinpod, the recorded image is probably going to be either front or back. Chinese manufacturer Oppo revealed a new smartphone at a press conference in Beijing on Monday that kind of combines both ideas on the device itself. The N1 features a hinged camera module capable of rotating 206 degrees for front, back, top or angled photography.

The hinged camera module of the Oppo N1 smartphone has spent over a year on the design bench, and gone through 20 different versions. The production unit is constructed using 67 different components, 50 cables and over 10 modules. It features a 13 megapixel stacked CMOS sensor with a dedicated image signal processor, and a six element lens with an f/2.0 aperture. Users can also choose to keep the shutter open for as long as eight seconds for creative long exposure shots.

The integrated flash has two modes of operation. When pointing to the back of the smartphone, the LED flash works pretty much like any other, but it becomes a light-diffusing flash for front-facing snaps, with brightness that can be adjusted by the user through the N1's camera software. The company says that the camera can be woken up from sleep in 0.6 seconds by rotating the camera module by 120 degrees.

The first of the company's new N-Lens range boasts a 5.9-inch, 1920 x 1080 resolution IPS capacitive touchscreen display with a pixel density of 377 ppi. Oppo has also made it easier for users to keep the Gorilla Glass 2-topped HD display clear of icon-blocking fingers and thumbs by including a 12 sq cm (2 sq in) touch surface called the O-Touch Panel on the back of the phone, for slide and tap menu navigation and command confirmation.

Beating away inside an aluminum alloy frame covered by a "ceramic-like" plastic material designed to help keep greasy finger marks at bay is a 1.7 GHz Snapdragon 600 quad-core processor. The supporting players include an Adreno 320 graphics engine, 2 GB of RAM, and either 16 or 32 GB of solid state storage (though, unusually, there doesn't appear to be a microSD slot).

Elsewhere, the 170.7 x 82.6 x 9 mm (6.72 x 3.25 x 0.35 in), 213 g (7.5 oz) N1 has been given a 3,610 mAh battery, and features 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, and USB OTG.

The smartphone comes pre-installed with an Android 4.2-based operating platform named Color, which boasts over 400 unique features and enhancements over stock Android. Users of international versions of the N1 will be able to choose popular aftermarket Android firmware distribution CyanogenMod rather than Color by flashing the phone. The company also intends to release a limited CyanogenMod edition of the N1.

A keychain-friendly O-Click remote caters for off-device operation and control, for things like remote camera operation or announcing incoming calls. It connects wirelessly to the smartphone via Bluetooth, and can even set off an alarm sound on the phone to help you find a misplaced N1.

The Oppo N1 is set for international availability in December, and will come supplied with in-ear phones, micro-USB cable and SIM ejector tool. Pricing for Chinese consumers has been set at 3,498 CNY (about US$570).

Have a look at the short demonstration video below.

Product page: Oppo N1

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