OPPO R7s Review – A Worthy Challenger

Overview

OPPO, has established a solid reputation in Singapore, producing powerhouses such as the R7 and R7 Plus which were awesome and solid smartphones. It has now launched the R7s which strives to bridge the gap between phablets and regular smartphones. This mid-tier smartphone priced at $599, is actually a great device worthy of calling itself a proper rival to the “Big 4”, and even, Apple’s rival.

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Pros:

  • Superb 13MP phase detection autofocus camera excellent for moving shots under any conditions
  • Sleek and light magnesium-aluminum alloy unibody build
  • Powerful internals
  • VOOC Ultra-Fast Charging

Cons:

  • Expensive for what it offers
  • No fingerprint sensor
  • No FM radio

Specifications

Display 5.5″ 1080p AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 401ppi, Gorilla Glass 4
Camera 13MP phase detection autofocus camera, f/2.2 lens, single-LED flash; HDR, Expert, RAW, Panorama, Long exposure (up to 16s), Double exposure, 50MP UltraHD modes
Video Recording 1080p@30fps, 2x-10x speed timelapse

1/4x speed slow motion 720x480px resolution

Processor Octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU
GPU Adreno 405 GPU
RAM 4 GB
Storage 32GB,  expandable external micro SD up to 128GB
Battery 3070 mAh lithium polymer
Dimensions 151.8 x 75.4 x 6.95 mm(155g)

Unboxing, Design and Build Quality

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Beautiful Box

The R7s comes in a fantastic box that is designed beautifully. Within the box contains the manual, the phone, a pin ejector, a set of earphones, a free phone cover and a USB charging set.

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Sleek

The OPPO R7s doesn’t look very different from its predecessors, the R7 and R7 Plus. However, it is known as the bridge between these phones due to its 5.5″ screen size — an ideal phone size in my opinion. A glossy screen in front with thin edges makes it ideal for handling despite the fairly large 5.5″ screen size. I had no issues using it with a single hand.

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The rear has a very iPhone-esque rose gold look that makes it look simply amazing. Imitation or lack of creativity? Whatever the case, I’m not too concerned because it looks superb. It isn’t exactly paper-thin, coming in at 7mm, but it is pretty slender and weighs a mere 155g. For a phone with over 3000mAh capacity and a decent RAM and mid-tier chipset, it is light for its class.

Some of its competitors are slimmer, like the LG G3 (which is 0.8mm narrower), whereas the Galaxy A7 is 0.8mm wider, but really, who’s counting?

Display

The 5.5-inch panel uses AMOLED technology, sporting a resolution of 1,080 x 1,920 pixels, with 401ppi pixel density and Diamond Pentile matrix.

The maximum brightness level is better than average for most AMOLED units (365nits). Colour accuracy is decent too, but could be worked on. Nevertheless, I am more than satisfied with the display on the R7s.

If you want a technical comparison between phones, there’s a solid table for you.

50% brightness 100% brightness
Black, cd/m2 White: cd/m2 Contrast ratio Black: cd/m2 White: cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Oppo R7 0.00 208 0.00 362
Oppo R7s 0.00 185 0.00 365
Oppo R7 Plus 0.00 171 0.00 351
Motorola Moto X Play 0.23 343 1498 0.41 620 1520
Samsung Galaxy A7 0.00 175 0.00 349
OnePlus 2 0.16 180 1139 0.30 399 1334
LG G3 0.14 109 763 0.72 570 789
LG G Flex2 0.00 152 0.00 398
Huawei Mate S 0.00 60 0.00 372
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE551ML 0.13 107 796 0.44 390 879
Sony Xperia C4 Dual 0.30 347 1174 0.53 635 1192
Meizu MX5 0.00 117 0.00 346.00

Sunlight Contrast Ratio

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The contrast ratio is absolutely excellent, thanks to its AMOLED panel which will improve visibility under harsh sunlight and give you deep, true blacks.

Performance & Hardware

This OPPO R7s packs an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, clocked at a decent 1.5 GHz. It is also supported by an Adreno 405 GPU and a solid 4 GB worth of RAM. The only difference between the R7s and the other R7 units is the extra gigabyte of RAM in this variant, which is much welcomed.

A Snapdragon 615 is a great mid-range chipset which delivers solid performance for smartphones. It powers the R7s well and allows it to run fairly smoothly with little to no hiccups. It’s not completely lag-free, but I’m more than happy with its performance.

AnTuTu 5 (Higher is better)

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The comprehensive Antutu 5  synthetic benchmark shows that the R7s scores very similar to the R7 Plus. It is difficult to find a more powerful Snapdragon 615 phone. The 800-series Snapdragons though, dominate the 615, even if they are over a generation old at this point.

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With 32 GB of internal storage supplemented by a microSD card slot which can support up to a 128 GB card, you get the common storage combination seen in most Android smartphones. However, the 2nd SIM slot acts as both a SIM slot and a microSD card slot, so you have to decide between expandable storage or dual SIM usage which is a funny drawback.

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The R7s actually only comes with a single speaker unit — not two as it might actually seem. The speaker actually allows for a great audio experience. However, the speaker is located at the bottom of the phone, which means that you can potentially muffle the audio with your hand when you orientate the phone in a landscape manner.

Battery Life

The OPPO R7s comes with a large 3,070 mAh battery that allowed my device to run for almost an entire day. This came as a surprise to me because I was a heavy phone user. My  screen-on time lasted around 4 to 5 hours, which is no Z5 Compact, but good enough to last you through the day easily.

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Recharging the phone was amazing. The VOOC fast-charging capabilities, or “flash charging”, allows for the batteries to be powered from zero to 90% in just 50 minutes. For a 3,070 mAh battery, that is no doubt impressive.

User Interface

The OPPO phones use a standard Color OS based on the Android 5.0 Lollipop system.

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The Color OS default lockscreen works with an upward swipe like the ZenFones. Like standard Android phones, screen locks are either patterns, PINs or passwords. However, there is no fingerprint sensor for this R7s — fingerprint unlock is reserved for the Plus member of the R7 family.

Unfortunately, there’s no camera shortcut from the lock menu. Nevertheless, to start the camera directly from the home screen, just exit sleep mode, pinch on it with several fingers and begin shooting

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Some things to note — there is no app drawer (similar to iOS devices), so you have to use folders to keep apps organized. Navigation keys are a tad different from the normal  placements. The back button is on the right, and the menu key on the left. The menu key also requires a longer than usual press to launch the task switcher.

Once you get used to it, you realise that the Color OS does have lots of additional features like the “eye protection display”, which can tint the display with a pink hue for usage at night. One-handed mode is of course available too. Furthermore, there are many gestures giving users the ability to draw symbols to launch user-specified apps, such as double tapping the home button to lock your screen.

Overall, I rather like the Color OS, much more than the Redmi’s or Samsung’s native OS, but it could honestly do better by using more stock Android elements.

Camera

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This is where the OPPO truly shines. Like Samsung and Apple phones, it uses Phase Detection as its choice of focus technology. It showcases a 13 MP rear shooter and an 8 MP front-facing cam. This shooter is able to focus in just 0.1 seconds in optimal lighting conditions.

P_20160114_161335_HDRIt’s camera provides many fun modes including Beauty modes, various filters, slow shutter speeds and even GIF modes. As far as video modes are concerned, you get slow motion capture and time lapse too.

What’s great is OPPO’s ability to make photos look good minus the over-saturation you typically see in most Instagram photos. The level of detail is great too. Furthermore, the camera’s exposure selection is accurate most of the time, but when it begins to struggle, whip out HDR and you are good to go.

Here’s some of my #foodporn for you.

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Honestly, there is nothing much to say about the OPPO’s camera other than the fact that it is pretty good at the price you pay. That being said, I’m no camera pro, but it feels superior to the ZenFone Lasers.

Check out some video footage from GSMArena here.

Conclusion

OPPO, despite being a Chinese smartphone, proves its worth by showing off a premium build, and classy metallic finish. It looks and feels like the iPhone, but it’s no cheap imitation. It actually can be seen as a worthy competitor.

The Color OS is not only aesthetically pleasing, but most definitely functional as well. Gestures bring out the “smart” in smartphone. Although menu items aren’t usually where you find them on standard Android devices, it shouldn’t be an issue once you’ve had the device for a while.

The 13MP camera is superior to most casual shooters, also being quite rich in features. If you are an expert, you can modify exposure, focus and white balance, even saving RAW files when needed — something not even the $1100 Xperia Z5 Premium offers. The front camera also provides good quality selfies if you are into it.

The only qualm I have is the price tag. At $599, it is most definitely not a cheap device. Is it a great phone? Most definitely. Whether it is worth that hefty tag, might be a question only you can answer.

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