Monday, 03 August 2015 14:33

OPPO R7 smartphone – review

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OPPO is a major Asian designer and manufacturer of personal audio, Blue-ray players, and some cool accessories for this market. Its Blue-ray players are often cited by audiophiles as ‘reference standard’.

So what is it doing in the highly competitive smartphone market? Simply applying its design and audio pedigrees to trying to make better smartphones.

To demonstrate its commitment it has established offices, support, and service in Australia and initially paired with Dick Smith to make available its range to nearly 400 stores including 9 upmarket Move store and its Dick Smith powered electronics departments in David Jones.

Nick Abboud, CEO of Dick Smith, said, “We’re thrilled to be the exclusive mass retail partner to bring OPPO to the Aussie consumer. As a business, we aim to give our customer increased access to the latest innovations in technology and this partnership is an example of that. We believe the stylish range of OPPO Mobile products will be welcomed by Australians who are after cutting-edge products that provide the latest in mobile technology.”

It is also available via Optus. The Silver version R7, plus 500MB data, unlimited calls and texts to standard national numbers is $40 per month over 24 months.

Regular iTWire readers will have also seen the article ‘Help needed for a new paradigm for reviewing smartphones’ because smartphones are getting faster, cheaper and better - the OPPO offers all of the features expected of a $449 mid-range phone plus nearly all of the features expected of a flagship phone costing twice as much – or more.

I continually found myself comparing it to the Samsung S6/Edge (the later leads the style stakes), the iPhone 6 and my old faithful Lumia 930. I also reviewed the class leader LG G4 last week – must be the time for new models!!!

Being subjective this is a 5 out of 5 for a mid-range handset and an 4.25 out of 5 for a flagship. All it needed to occupy a flagship rating was say a QHD screen and removable battery. OPPO’s Find 7 occupies the flagship and is due for an upgrade shortly.

Therein lies the rub. Spend $449 and get a great, well-made smartphone that won’t disappoint or twice that. Despite not having to worry about money I know that value sells. Even better value may be the 6” Plus version of this phone.

Forgive me readers as I use the new paradigm ‘draft’ mentioned before to rate this smartphone. The greyed out columns are for reference

Flagship

Mid-High

OPPO R7

Rating out of 5

Screen

5”+

Note/Phablet 6”+

5”+

Phablet 6”+

5”

The R7 Plus is a 6” Phablet with similar specifications due in Australia soon

5

Screen type and quality

AMOLED or IPS

IPS

Super AMOLED highly polished

5+

Pixel per Inch

500+

450+

1920x1080p, 445

5

Glass (equiv)

Gorilla 4

Gorilla 3

Gorilla Glass 3 with wet/glove touch support

5

Res

HD to QHD (4K)

HD 1080p

1080p

5

CPU

64-bit, 8 Core, Big/Little e.g.

Qualcomm 8XX or similar

64-bit, 4 core+, Big/ little e.g.

Qualcomm 6XX or similar

Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 Quad core

5

Memory RAM

3GB

2GB

3GB

5+

Storage

32GB

16GB

16GB

5

MicroSD

up to 128GB

Up to 32GB

Up to 128GB (see dual sim)

5

LTE

Global bands. Cat 4+

Sufficient for local market and some global bands

1/3/7/8/TD-40 Cat 4

Sufficient for Australia – limitation of dual SIM

5

Dual SIMM

If available provides 2 x 4G slots

It available provides 1 x 4G and 1 x 3G slot

Supports Micro and Nano SIM but one slot doubles as microSD. LTE on both slots

5

Telstra Blue tick rural

Desirable

No

Not expected on mid-range but reception constantly 4-5 bars in LTE

5

Wi-Fi

AC dual antenna

N dual antenna

N Dual band (MIMO). Wi-Di

5

NFC

Yes

Yes

No

GPS

GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, BeiDou, GAGAN, IRNSS, DORIS

at least GPS, GLONASS

GPS, GLONASS

5

Mapping system

At least one free mapping system – Google or HERE

At least one free mapping system – Google or HERE

Google Maps included

5

Bluetooth

4.1+LE

3.0+

4.1

5+

Sensors

G-shock

Gyroscope

Ambient light

Compass

Proximity

Accelerator

All

heart rate

barometer

 

All

Distance sensor

Light sensor

G-sensor

E-compass

E-Gyro

5

Battery

(Assumes Micro USB or Lightning)

2500mAh+

At least a day

Preferably removable

2000mAh+

At least a day

Removable

2320 mAh non-removable

Micro-USB slot and 4A charger.

After 10 days of typical use phone ranged from 70-90% available battery at 10pm.

Endurance rating 63 hours

5

Fast charge and/or Qi

Yes/Option

Option

74% charge in 30 minutes

No Qi

5+

Camera Rear

16MP+ <f/2.2, OIS, A/F, Twin flash, BSI sensor

13MP+ f/2.2+

Single flash

BSI sensor

13MP, 4128x3096 pixel, f/2.2 with Schneider-Kreunach optics, Samsung 3M2 ISOCELL, BSI, phase detection auto-focus, Single LED flash,

Good software, HDR and good auto settings give above average photo’s

Lots of camera modes: Normal, Ultra HD, Colourful night, Colourful filters, Beautify, Expert mode, HDR, Panorama
Audio photo, GIF, Double exposure, Slow shutter, Super Macro, Raw, Time-lapse, Slow-mo

5+

Camera Front

4MP+ HD

3MP+ HD

8MP f/2.4, with selfie fill light and filters

5+

Screen to body ratio (higher better as it affects dimensions) or keyboard

70%+

65%+

66.7%

143 x 71 x 6.3 mm

5

Thinness

<7mm

8-9mm

6.3mm

5+

Looks – highly subjective

Premium build and finishes

Quality build and finishes

Takes design cues from Apple iPhone with smooth white façade, and choice of rose gold or silver backs. Smooth edges and quality build.

5

Weight

150g or less

175g or less

147g

5+

Operating system

Latest version with upgrades for at least 2 years

Latest version with upgrades for at least one year

Android Lollipop 5.x with commitments to upgrade within 5.x family

5

User Interface (UI) Bloatware

Does the UI add value, ability to customise

Does the UI add value, ability to customise

Colour OS 2.1.01 seems faster and flatter than previous version. It leaves Android largely untouched. I like that its not mandatory to log into Google and all but the Google Play Store icon can be removed from the home screen.

5+

Video, Audio codecs

Full suite

Most

 Most 5

Options

Premium head buds and mic

Bids and mic

Buds and mic

5

Innovations

Curved screens, HDMI out, voice/gesture control, docking, machine learning, payment systems, something different

Standard slab

VOCC fast charge

USB OTG support (on the go)

No MHL or HDMI but can use Casting

FM radio (needs buds as aerial)

5

IP or ruggedized

Option

Option

Standard

5

Warranty

2 years+

1 year

At least 1 year

5

Service in Australia

Yes very important

Yes

Yes

5

Price

A$800+

$500+

$449

5++

The wrap

Sorry if my first use of the new paradigm appears a little clinical – perhaps it is best as an appendix.

My opinion. A damned good phone for the price, certainly punching well above its mid-level weight.

I searched the internet for reviews and all were complimentary of this product.

I have not had a lot of experience reviewing mid-level smartphones – next is Huawei’s P8.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw [email protected]  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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