Phones

Oppo R7s has ring of value about it

Oppo announced last week that it sold 50 million handsets last year, marking the first time that it has broken into the top 10 smartphone brands worldwide.
Oppo announced last week that it sold 50 million handsets last year, marking the first time that it has broken into the top 10 smartphone brands worldwide.PHOTO: OPPO

It may not have name recognition, but Chinese handset company gets basics right with its latest phone line-up

Although Oppo is no newcomer, its name may not ring a bell with many consumers.

This is because it is not as well marketed as Xiaomi and Huawei. It is also due to the pricing of its phones, which leans towards the mid-range.

In this price bracket, consumers might be more willing to invest in brand names such as Huawei, LG and Samsung, rather than a relatively unknown brand from a Chinese handset company.

This is unfortunate because the company has got the basics right with its recent line-up.

If the Oppo R7s seems familiar, it is because it is based on the earlier- released R7. In this, Oppo has taken a page from the big boys, by building a product range and using an anchor branding model.

Where it wins is in its slim design. And Oppo has decided to use an all-metal chassis to give its phones a more premium look and feel.

The original R7 was a 5-inch phone released early last year. It was followed by the oversized R7 Plus, a 6-inch phablet, a few months later.

The 5.5-inch R7s came out late last year, and the difference in screen sizes seems to have worked out for Oppo. The company announced last week that it sold 50 million handsets last year, marking the first time that Oppo has broken into the top 10 smartphone brands worldwide. Where it wins is in its slim design. And, like Huawei, Oppo has decided to use an all-metal chassis to give its phones a more premium look and feel.

It is also among the rising number of companies to make use of a 2.5D screen where, instead of a well-defined edge, it has a slight contour that gives the impression that the display is slightly elevated.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $599

    PROCESSOR: Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Octa-core (Quad-core 1.5 GHz & quad-core 1.0 GHz )

    DISPLAY: 5.5-inch, 1,080 x 1,920 pixels (401 ppi pixel density)

    Operating System: Colour OS 2.1 (Android 5.1.1 Lollipop)

    CAMERA: 13 MP, f/2.2, phase detection autofocus, LED flash, (Front) 8MP, f/2.4)

    MEMORY: 32 GB, microSD expandable, up to 128 GB (uses SIM 2 slot), 4 GB RAM

    BATTERY: 3,070 mAh

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

While it uses the slightly less powerful Snapdragon 615 processor, there is nothing about the phone which feels less powerful than it should be.

Oppo's Colour operating system is intuitive. Aside from the fact that it does not have a dedicated apps drawer, the software is easy to use.

One area that has not quite won me over is that of gesture controls. Like LG devices, users can tap the screen to wake the device from stand-by mode, and slide two fingers to adjust the volume. But other gestures, such as drawing a big "O" to turn on the camera, do not feel as intuitive to me.

It is the phone's camera that really impresses. Very often, high-end cameras are used only in flagship devices and, while the details on this camera are not as sharp as on some 13MP cameras, the combination of balanced colours and performance makes this one of the better cameras in mid-range devices.

And while it lacks a fingerprint scanner, the Oppo phone uses a proprietary quick charge feature called VOOC Flash charge. You will need a special charger and cable (included) for this to work, but this charges your phone to up to 75 per cent capacity in just 30 minutes.

  • Verdict: Oppo's decent mid-range devices are worth a second look.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 03, 2016, with the headline 'Oppo R7s has ring of value about it'. Print Edition | Subscribe