Oppo F7 Review

Oppo F7

Oppo F7

Oppo

March, 2018
6.23" LTPS IPS LCD display, MT6771 Helio P60 chipset, 16 MP primary camera, 25 MP front camera, 3400 mAh battery, 128 GB storage, 6 GB RAM, Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
EUR:€270 | USD:$306 | PKR:33,000 | INR:21,600

Rate It:User Rating: (Excellent)


Oppo F7 Review

Oppo F7 Review


Introduction

Oppo has gained a lot of popularity in South East Asian markets in recent times due to their novelty in being the "Selfie Expert" which is also their marketing tagline. Their F-series line of smartphones are ones which come with some great front cameras and take really good selfies. For the year 2018, Oppo has introduced their brand-new Selfie Expert, Oppo F7. This is a relatively different looking phone with a new design, notched display, some impressive specs, and an all new sensor for front camera. On paper, this phone looks to boast some really good specs, but is this phone worth an upgrade from the previous Oppo F5? Let's find out.

Design

Oppo F7's design fall somewhere between a premium smartphone and a midrange smartphone. It is not as premium looking as Apple iPhone X but it certainly has a fresh look with a notched display and shimmering back. Oppo is using an all-plastic body which on one hand makes it feel very light at just 158g but on the other, it does not feel very premium.

On front, there is a 6.23-inch notched display that doesn't curve at sides, and there's still a bit of a chin at bottom. Within the notch, Oppo has made room for earpiece, front camera, and a couple of sensors, but notification LED has been dropped. This phone ships with a screen guard preinstalled, which is quite annoying as edges aren't aligned with edges of display, so it rubs against your fingertips every time you try to pull down notifications shade or swipe from sides.

On back, you get a design which seems like a glass back design, carrying an O-shaped fingerprint scanner, rear-facing camera and Oppo branding. There's a single camera placed on top left, which is surprising as most manufacturers have shifted towards dual cameras. Back looks like glass but is actually made out of a shiny plastic, which tricks people into believing that it is glass. It doesn't scratch too easily despite being thrown in with keys and other metal objects. Apparently, keys aren't tough enough but crumbs on table scratch the screen if you pull it off table rather than pick it up. This applies to screen as well as back of the phone. As far as I'm concerned, they're both equally vulnerable.

Power button is placed on right side with volume keys and sim tray placed on left side of phone. On bottom of device, you'll find a MicroUSB port and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Though lack of a Type-C port is a little disappointing, retaining headphone jack is a win in my books.

Overall design is a mix between Apple iPhone X and Oppo F5 and most Oppo fans will be pleased having an edge to edge display while others might be disappointed with notched display and a plastic back instead of metal or glass.

Display

Oppo F7 embraces notch and that is a very prominent feature about its display. It comes with a 6.23-inch Full HD+ LTPS IPS LCD display with an aspect ratio of 19:9 and pixel density of 405 ppi. Notch on display is smaller than on Apple iPhone X and edge to edge design makes is look beautiful.

Display on Oppo's latest F-series flagship tends to show slightly cooler colors overall but you can tweak that up to a certain point in settings menu. Colors are vibrant and more true to life, unlike saturated AMOLED displays which would be a plus for those who prefer more accurate colors. Display looks sharp, making it convenient for reading text as well, viewing experience is great as it has accurate colors and good viewing angles, feels immersive and is vibrant enough for outdoor use.

Notch, however, can be distracting when watching movies or playing games as it covers a portion of it. Good news is you can turn off notch area inside settings to get a clean straight border. As for other display features, users can adjust color temperature and activate Night Shield to reduce blue light from screen to prevent eye strain.

Oppo does throw in Gorilla Glass 5 protection on top but where it does miss out is an oleophobic coating on top which again makes it very prone to fingerprints or even dust for that matter. Whatever drawbacks this display comes with, at the end of day it looks beautiful due to its edge to edge nature and will be a plus point for most Oppo fans.

Hardware

Oppo F7 comes packing some nice specs for a midrange device. For processor, it uses MediaTek Helio P60 octa-core SOC which is same one used on Oppo's flagship device, Oppo R15. It comes with two memory options: 4 GB RAM with 64 GB onboard storage or 6 GB RAM with 128 GB onboard storage. Processor is based on ARM's big.LITTLE architecture, combining four high-performance ARM Cortex-A73 cores with four power-efficient Cortex-A53 cores and has an integrated Mali-G72 MP3 GPU. It also has a dedicated AI processing logic which promises more secure facial recognition and real-time HDR, two new features that Oppo has implemented in this device.

Helio's P60 chipset is actually more powerful than even Qualcomm's competing Snapdragon 626 and 636 SoCs. During my performance test, phone handled every app and task I threw at its way with ease and there was almost zero lag while switching between different apps. For most users, this phone has enough computing power to handle everything they will put this device. Due to fast and snappy processor, fingerprint scanner and Face Unlock feature are very responsive and can unlock device instantaneously. Gaming is not an issue as it can run PUBG Mobile in High HD settings, as well as Tekken, Mobile Legends, and Sky Dancer. Phone gets warm at the rear, but not too much as to cause discomfort.

For audio, there is a single bottom firing speaker which is loud but being a mono setup, it can easily be blocked off while watching a video or playing games. Call reception and call quality on a VoLTE network were excellent and so was audio from 3.5 mm headphone jack of Oppo F7.

A major downer with this device is lack of USB Type-C port. It uses a microUSB for charging and data transfer which makes this phone a bit outdated. This also means that there's no fast charging support with this device. Unlike Vivo V9, you won't find a physical LED notification light on this phone so you'll have to wake up screen to check if there are any unread notifications.

Overall, Oppo F7 carries some good hardware, especially processor and that enables this device to fulfill needs of about every Oppo smartphone user without giving them any reason to regret getting this device.

Battery

Oppo's latest F-series flagship comes with an impressive 3400 mAh battery which gives it ability to go through an entire day on a single charge easily. When compared to its competitor, Vivo V9, it performed clearly better especially while heavy usage. During battery charging test, Oppo F7 took 2 hours and 37 minutes to charge from 0-100 percent. That's not the fastest charging time on a device, even in mid-range segment and the fact that this device doesn't support fast charging is a let down.

To make up for lack of fast charging, Oppo F7 gives you a boost with its impressive 7 hours and 25 minutes of screen-on time. There are a few things about its battery that I did not personally like. Phone doesn't support Oppo's VOOC flash charging standard and ColorOS doesn't have a battery usage graph, which is typically found in Settings app. There's no option for battery management in Phone Manager app either. You get a simple Power Saving toggle switch, but there's no way to customize that mode.

For a midrange device, battery performance is impressive overall. Although not best, it still satisfies needs of most users.

Camera

Oppo F7 is equipped with a 16 MP rear camera with an f/1.8 aperture and a front 25 MP camera with an f/2.0 aperture. Being the selfie expert, Oppo has focused mainly on front selfie camera and this time it comes with some AI features. It also boasts AI Beauty and Sensor HDR capabilities. AI Beauty only works with front camera, and lets algorithms do work of judging how much beautification is needed. Most of the time, I found that it worked quite well, but there were instances when it went a bit wrong. You can manually choose level of beautification, along with various filters. It also now works with other part of your body like your neck. Sensor HDR gives you a preview of final shot before it's actually taken and in practice, it works well with barely any shutter lag. There are some AR stickers too, which are fun to play around with.

Image quality is very good in daytime shots, and camera manages to retain good detail and color even indoors. Screen flash is fairly effective, and even in low light, I managed to get bright and clear selfies, with little to no noise on my face. There's a depth effect mode, which does a decent job with edge detection, and level of blurring is usually managed well. You can even use a palm gesture to take shots.

Rear camera has a 16-megapixel sensor with an f/1.8 aperture, which manages to capture decent details in still shots, provided there's sufficient light. Focusing is quick during day time, but does dip a bit in low light. Macro shots are also handled well, with nicely saturated colors, and same holds true to an extent even in low light. Landscape shots at night lose a bit of detail, and objects in distance lack good definition if you zoom in.

Camera app on Oppo F7 allows 2x zooming (except in Panorama mode) but I don't recommend this as it is essentially just digital zoom, in which you lose out on clarity. Expert mode lets you play around with ISO settings, shutter speed and you can also switch on Ultra HD, which combines four consecutive shots into a single higher-resolution frame (6212x9216 pixels). Super Vivid toggle switch bumps up contrast, which is useful when shooting close-ups of food, readings, but it can make landscapes look artificial, especially when combined with HDR.

Phone doesn't support 4K video recording, as maximum resolution for videos is 1080p. There's no electronic stabilization either, so it is best not to move around too much when you shoot. Even slight shakes of hand are noticeable in final output, and even with ample light, we noticed a bit of focus hunting when walking. You don't get additional modes for video either, such as slow-motion. Camera app is easy to use and that's because layout is heavily inspired by iOS.

Summing it all up, Oppo F7 gives you a camera experience you would expect from an Oppo smartphone. It's amazing at taking selfies but work needs to be done to improve rear camera.

Software

With Oppo F7, you will get Android 8.1 Oreo straight out of the box but it won't look similar to what you will find on any Google devices as it has Oppo's own ColorOS 5.0 UI on top of it. ColorOS has some familiar gestures and tweaks from past iterations, along with some new ones. It's got plenty of features hidden inside settings like Smart Assistant, which provides quick functions and information, Full-Screen Multitasking, Split-screen, Gesture & Motion commands, Clone Apps, Screen Recording, and Game Acceleration. It also has a Phone Manager and Security suite that cleans your storage of junk, scans for viruses, detects device problems, manages your permissions, and protect personal information.

However, a lot of people didn't like the new theme. Icons are unnecessarily chunky and make User Interface feel outdated. Theme Store app does not offer many choices, and I only found a couple of options that were good enough to use. Another annoyance with UI is the fact that you cannot swipe a notification away. Instead, you have to swipe left and hit 'Delete', which just adds an unnecessary step to the process.

Oppo has focused on security options in ColorOS 5.0. Both fingerprint sensor and face unlock, are quick to open phone. Face unlock feature only works for unlocking phone whereas fingerprints can be used to secure apps and allocate internal storage. Other than Face Unlock you have usual pin, password and pattern options. Another feature that plays a part into security of this phone is keyboard. Oppo F7 offers its own secure keyboard which is layered on top of Gboard, claiming to keep your keystroke information private. Though intention is noble, keyboard doesn't offer premium functionality. It is difficult and feels heavy to use. It is a recent trend to worry about what children access on their phones. Apps have catered to this by creating subsidiaries like YouTube Kids and Facebook Messenger Kids. Oppo F7 has its own feature called 'Kids Space', which lets you disable apps that you don't want children accessing. It even has its own stock apps like its own app store and file manager. Nothing so impressive that it will make you switch over from default apps you already use, but not so horrible that you'd ignore them entirely.

On-screen navigation keys are not for everyone and they can get a little annoying to use consistently, which is why it is nice that Oppo F7 has option to switch over to gestures. Once you enable feature, navigation keys at bottom are replaced with horizontal markers. You also get a widget drawer on swiping left which is a reminder of drawer we see on iOS and also on Xiaomi's MIUI 9. Oppo has also added a game acceleration mode which allows you to run games smoother and with fewer disturbances. Another feature I found myself using was smart drawer while playing games. This allows you to access WhatsApp, Messenger and a couple of shortcuts such as a screen-recording button and a screenshot button. Smart drawer is tucked towards side and does not become annoying while playing games, which I found to be a neat implementation.

Software experience with Oppo F7 comes with its merits and demerits. For users who have been using Oppo's smartphones already, they'll be quite pleased by this brand new device.

Conclusion

Oppo F7 is available in market for around 270 Euros. Phone comes in 3 different colors: Solar Red, Diamond Black, Moonlight Silver (64GB only). It is a good upgrade over Oppo F5 in terms of battery life and performance. Selfie camera is also easily one of the best in this price range, and new additions like Sense HDR mode and AI Beauty work well most of the time. Aesthetics will not please everyone though as plastic body takes away premium feeling that most previous F-series phones prided themselves on. ColorOS does not have a fresh enough design either, and Oppo might have gone a bit overboard with customizations, which I personally don't appreciate.

However, Oppo has used the area around notch well, so it is not simply there for aesthetic value. It does use notch to its full potential, which is something that can't be said for its direct competitor, Vivo V9. Option of running apps in 19:9 full screen adds a layer of satisfaction when gaming or casually browsing through YouTube. Oppo F7 definitely offers more value for money than Vivo V9 since it is better in terms of battery, camera quality, performance and display capabilities. Another competitor, Motorola Moto X4, on the other hand has an IP67 rating while running Stock Android. Being water and dust resistant without a clunky user interface, might be a better bargain for most people at around 300 Euros. Lack of fast charging can also be a deal breaker for people concerned about charging time of this device.

In the end, it depends on user's preferences. Some might opt for Motorola Moto X4 or Vivo V9. But if taking selfies while having a stylish looking device which does not break the bank is what you are looking for, then Oppo F7 is definitely a serious contender.