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.
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.
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.
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.