Oppo R5 Review

Price
Euro400

Oppo R5 Review

Oppo R5 Review


Introduction

The Oppo team came out with the Oppo R5 to snatch the thinnest smartphone award from the Qmobile Z6 and Gionee Elife S5.5 recently, though the same happened to them some days later too by Gionee Elife S5.1. Still, with the slim and classy smartphone that the Oppo R5 is, it definitely deserves further exploration and detailed look over.

The Oppo R5 comes in a hand-polished aluminum alloy, which has special elements inside for liquid-metal phase-shifting for keeping the processors temperature under control. The Oppo R5 has Snapdragon 615 chipset, with four chipsets running at 1.5GHz and four at 1GHz, so it does require the cooling mech – it has the Adreno 405 graphics accelerator to boot.

The 5.2 inch display is Super AMOLED at 1080p and has a 13MP main snapper consisting of fast focus, an option for Ultra HD recording at 50MP, refocus mode, low-light slow-shutter, dedicated mic for recording, which is assisted by the 5MP front facer. The Oppo R5 has LTE too, and the rapid charging is a welcome sight, as is the reduced size of the charger.

Such a slim body will always have some side effects, and we can see the omission of the 3.5mm audio jack as one of those, which alternately, has been accommodated using the microUSB port – at least some consolation lies in the fact that since the adapter is available, any headset can be used. The absence of memory expansion and the less than desired battery size are the difficult parts, though we will be taking an overall look too, so that only these factors are not the highlighted ones. The charging also is sometimes an issue, since we found the Oppo R5 to charge with only the original charger provided. The 1080p videos are not present at 60fps at this time, as Oppo has stated these will be provided with a software update, so let’s hope for the best.

Unboxing the Oppo R5

While unboxing the classy packaging of the Oppo R5, you will get everything inside the retail box that you need to get started with the Oppo R5.

  • Oppo R5 handset
  • A VOOC rapid charger
  • MicroUSB cable
  • High-quality earplugs
  • MicroUSB to 3.5mm adapter
  • Ejector tool
  • Window flip case, very similar to the Samsung S-View accessories

Display

A 5.2 inch Super AMOLED screen with 1080 x 1920 display with 423 ppi 1080p, with a pleasant display. The brightness is good, with the backlight and contrast being pretty great.

The punchy colors showcase the great colors, and the brightness is also great for an AMOLED display, coming close to some of the IPS displays, which is pretty awesome. Since it is an AMOLED, the contrast is bound to be pretty good, and the legibility is pretty good, improved due to the non-reflective display.

Design

The design that the Oppo team has come up with for the Oppo R5 is pretty premium – something that is bound to turn a few heads if not more, with its classy metal frame, the front covered with the Gorilla Glass 3 – we found the back to be the best ones designed in the recent past – the slight hump in the back for the camera is surrounded by a stylish metal ring present in the plastic material, while the large mid-section of the back is metallic and additionally accommodates the radio antennae.

Just above the 5.2 inch Super AMOLED display lies the earpiece also working as a speaker, with the 5MP front snapper and the sensors accompanying it. The capacitive buttons are below the display, in standard order, with backlight present for visibility. The right side has the power / lock key, alongside the volume rocker, while on the left side, lies the SIM card slot, which can be ejected via the tool provided.

The top of the Oppo R5 is bare, while the bottom contains the standard microphone and the microUSB port – the Oppo R5 does not have a 3.5 mm audio jack. At the back is the 13 MP snapper surrounded by a metal ring in the top left corner, accompanied by an LED flash, and another noise cancellation microphone at the back next to the camera.

User Interface & Operating System

The Oppo R5 has Android 4.4 KitKat, layered with heavily skinning, and named it Colos OS v 2.0 – the customizations are pretty deep into the original KitKat OS, with all the Google services intact, while some more being introduced with the themes, new lock screen, home screen and settings menu being some of them. The stock Android look and feel is converted into the default theme, and can be restored by those who are fixated with the default Android look and feel.

The default lock screen uses swiping to unlock, with available shortcuts for messaging and phone apps – double tapping wakes up the phone, but double tap is disabled on capacitive buttons for waking up the phone – the torch can be used directly by a long press on the home button from the lock screen – though, for this, the screen needs to be awake.

The home screen keeps all the apps, as the Color OS does not have any app drawer – the widgets are available too, as are folders. The contextual menu on the home screen acts as settings selector, and allows for management of widgets, effects, themes and wallpapers. The list of supported themes is a big one, with even more available for download from the Oppo Theme Store. The notification area provides the row of toggles, brightness slider, and list of notifications, along with the settings shortcut – in addition, if you drag the toggles, you see two more rows of toggles, with a Kill All Apps button. The toggle settings can be accessed the standard way. The notification area can be accessed by a drag down gesture from any vacant area on the home screen, and not just the top – we found this helpful for single-handed use.

Task switcher is almost identical to the standard Android version, with accessing apps, closing apps and closing all apps together being possible. The Gesture Panel can be opened via swipe up from the bottom while on home screen – different gestures can be assigned to apps, and users can open apps by going to the gesture panel and drawing the relevant gesture.

Another noteworthy addition is the Gesture and Motion menu, managing all the related tricks for a better user experience. Different gestures can be set for different activities, as can motion options be defined – for example, flipping the R5 will mute the ringer, raising the R5 to your ear will answer the call, and others. Oppo has set up the single hand use for R5, as the display size is slightly on the larger side – the single hand use will be a regular feature for many users.

The overall experience on the Color OS is that of an advanced KitKat smartphone, with additional features to make life easier – these additions are made so that the basics of Android remain in place making it easy to navigate by legacy users.

The phonebook, and dialer are standard Android issue, with the basic features all in place to cater to different requirements. The contact sync is always helpful, and the caller blocking feature is a big plus, which can block calls and messages both. The blocking can be done via the contacts app only, which is strange.

Google Chrome is the default browser for Oppo R5, refined to a decent level by Google to have a minimalist UI. All the standard options are available. The recent version of Chrome allows for a lot of settings to manage the browsing experience in a better manner. Tab and pages sync are both present as a generic feature.

The Oppo R5 comes with some pre-installed apps, with the noticeable of them being the Security Center, allowing control over a wide range of features, from call and message privacy, Quiet Time settings, to app permissions, app encryption, network and battery use, among others. The Guest Mode can also be activated via this app. The Kingsoft Office app is available out of the box, with ability to view and edit documents, presentations and spreadsheets and the link to cloud making it easier for file sync. The Torch app is standard, using the LED as a flashlight. A Calculator app and Voice Recorder apps are here, as is the Clock, and the Calendar app – a new addition is the compass app, which may be useless for some but quite a lot of help for others. The notes app is labeled Keep for Oppo R5, and allows, in addition to note taking and addition of images and hand drawn notes, to set passwords on notes.

A solid file manager is present on board, with two tabs – one categorized, and the other folder wise – all the standard operations, including batch functions can be done – encryption and password protection can be done too. DLNA and FTP support further empowers the app.

Google Now is available with its standard set of features, like informing about traffic situation on regular routes, relevant sports and weather information, among other things. It also has voice integration which can assist with multiple tasks like call launch, message taking, directions, or opening up a website being some of the many features. Google Maps is utilized for navigation related tasks, as well as navigation with audio support.

Media

As far as the call quality is concerned, the audio levels put out by the Oppo R5 is pretty decent, and receives a Good rating – there will be no issues of missed call alerts due to noisy surroundings.

The Messenger app is the default app for messaging, though Hangouts is present as a backup. The conversations layout is threaded. Creating MMS is simple – add multimedia content to an SMS.

The standard Email app from Oppo is available in parallel with the Gmail app, and both are almost the same feature wise. For messaging, emails and any other keyboard related activities, the Oppo R5 also has Swype available to support quick typing. Keyboard can be configured to set up the key height in portrait and landscape modes, and can be used to cater to better key captures – this is exceptionally useful for many users, and a unique but helpful tweak.

The gallery with the Oppo R5 is a custom Oppo app, which has functionality reduced from the standard gallery app, which we found surprising – so far, the tweaks from Oppo have only increased the functionalities. The default view is the folder view, and there is no option to filter apps. Individual images can be viewed, as can all the images, in a slideshow manner. Sharing and deleting options are present as standard, becoming visible when one or more images (or folders) are selected. Image editing provides basics like shadows or highlights, effects, red eye correction, color styles, straightening, face glow, sharpening etc. Most of these come with sliders to adjust to perfection.

The video player is pretty simplistic, with ability to play almost all standard formats, up to 1080p with ease – the interface is standard, with basic subtitle support which automatically selects the subtitle file and fails to display foreign language characters correctly in some instances. The player window can be popped up too, which is interesting to see.

The music player has a basic layout, and is pretty easy to move around. The Dirac HD support is provided, though enhancement options are absent. The player can play FLAC files too, so we don’t feel there will be any issues.

The audio levels for the Oppo R5 were difficult to visualize as great performers, since there is no dedicated 3.5mm audio port – additionally, the slim form factor means the components assisting audio will be cramped up in the body too. Still, with our perspective on the audio performance, we were slightly relieved to hear that the performance is not as poor as we had feared it would be. The external amplifier provided decently loud audio, with the only glitch being the distortion, which was slightly on the higher side. With headphones plugged in, the crosstalk increased reasonably, while the volume levels dropped to average, but overall, the performance is pretty ok for a smartphone of this form factor.

Processing Power

Oppo R5 comes out with the latest Snapdragon mid-range offering, the Snapdragon 615 – the Cortex-A53 octa-core release, with 4 1.7GHz and 4 1 GHz cores. This is ably assisted by the Adreno 405 and 2 GB of RAM. A 1080p display is on the Oppo R5, and the Adreno 405 has not had any issues in the past dealing with such large screens, so we find no reason to doubt it this time around either.

The initial testing, checking out the processor performance was, in our mind, a surprise, as, the Snapdragon 615 chipset targeting the mid-range would have been in the mid-area of the testing results – surprisingly, it exceeded expectations beating some of the Snapdragon 801 powered smartphones in the process. For GPU performance though, it stayed in the middle ranks, which is still an accomplishment, as it posted scores that were above our expectations here too. The processor, graphic, OS, web and memory performance tests came back with pretty decent scores, while the core testing was slightly on the lower side, coming down below the Cortex-A7 cores for single cores and close to the 801 for multi-cores. Of course, the graphics performance is great, with the Adreno 405 powering at full steam. The browsing and web experience was pretty good, though there are better smartphones out there.

The Snapdragon 615 chipset is a decent update to the previous gen of mid-range chipsets, with its octa-core performance outshining many.

Camera

The snapper on the Oppo R5 is 13 MP, assisted with the Sony Exmor sensor, and has an LED flash suited for low-light imaging, and is sufficient of producing 25MP interpolated shots, panoramas, HDRs and RAW images. The front facer is a 5MP piece, well suited for selfies. The snapper can go up to a maximum of 4128 x 3096, with autofocus present, as is touch focus, geo-tagging and face detection.

The UI has two sidebars, one on each side – the left one keeping with it the settings, flash and switching between front and back snappers, while the right one storing the record / snap buttons and shortcut to gallery – this can be expended to see shortcuts to different shooting modes. The generic modes include Panorama, HDR, HD Picture, RAW, Macro, Expert, Beauty, Normal and Slow Shutter. The Expert mode allows control over factors like exposure, shutter speed, white balance, ISO and manual focus. RAW and HDR modes were present in the Add apps area, and not pre-installed.

The Slow Shutter is the same standard snapper used for low-lighting snaps, benefiting from the slower shutter speed to capture as much detail as possible. The HD Picture is new, and captures multiple 13MP images in one flash, and mergers these together to provide the best possible output of the image after upscaling the snap to 25MP.

The images captured are of pretty great quality, with mature processing which reduces noise levels without leaving out too much detail as sacrifice. The detail is very good, white balance is near-perfect, colors are very precise, and the contrast is very nice, though the dynamic range could have been improved for a near-perfect overall result. Still, we are very happy with the results. The 25MP HD shots, though, left us a bit unsatisfied with the level of detail, though the colors, reduced noise and contrast, all were great.

The recording capabilities of the camera are pretty good, though the 4K and 1080p recording at 60fps, both seem to be missing – Oppo claims they both will be released as part of an OS upgrade. At present, the R5 comes with the standard 1080p recording at 30fps, and the 720p recording at 120fps slow shutter speed – the videos though, in normal mode, were not too much appealing, with reduced detail and dynamic range hurting it more than in the snaps. The colors and white balance do manage to do some face saving though. The audio recording is done at 96Kbps bitrate coupled with 48KHz sampling, and 10Mbps bitrate for video.

Connectivity

The Oppo R5 has multiple connectivity options, quad-band GSM, 3G and 4G LTE being the foremost. The Oppo R5 is also equipped with Wi-Fi, DLNA, hotspot and Wi-Fi Direct, additionally Bluetooth 4.0 and microUSB port can be used, though USB-on-the-go is disabled – the NFC too, is absent. GPS and GLONASS are on board for positioning and related services.

The System app is something of a revelation for us, as it allows update over the air as well as, get this – from a local file, which can be a zip file present in the internal memory too – this is a new feature and we were impressed.

Battery Life

A meager, by comparison, battery of only 2,000mAh assists the Oppo R5 and this is a bit of a surprise, since the large screen property has to be powered. The performance, as was feared, does suffer a hit due to this. The performance of the Oppo R5 is decent in terms of 3G talktime, almost, with a time close to 10 hours posted in our tests, though that is the best news that comes out – the web browsing and video come at 4 and 5 hours respectively, and we haven’t seen this kind of score in forever, which is stating a lot in itself.

The endurance comes in at only 38 hours, and with the competition posting scores above 60 hours consistently, we are befuddled as to how Oppo came out with such a battery size.

Disadvantages

As is visible from the above review, the Oppo R5 does have a good list of positives, though, below are some of the very few shortcomings that the Oppo R5 possesses:

  • Battery capacity is relatively on the lower side
  • Memory cannot be expanded
  • 4K video is not available
  • FM radio is absent
  • Dedicated 3.5mm audio jack is absent, though a microUSB to audio converter is provided
  • NFC unavailability
  • 60fps videos are not present at normal speed

Should I Have to Buy the Oppo R5?

Oppo has come out with the R5 to make a big splash in the steady stream of competition – and well, with the classy design, the slim body, and classy looks, they sure have succeeded in achieving their target. The look is flawless, and the smartphone has a very sturdy build, especially the metal frame.

The chipset powering the Oppo R5 is no joke either – the Snapdragon 615 chipset inside is quite capable, and the camera samples are very good taking the overall camera performance to a pretty decent level. In addition, the display is a perfect performer.

The Oppo R5, like others, though, comes with its own set of issues – battery comes to the forefront in this list, as it hit rock bottom of our test results in recent market comparison – in addition, the audio quality is not worth mentioning as it actually disappointed us – another drawback is that charging and audio play cannot go hand in hand, as the same slot is used for both operations.

The Oppo is quite capably aware of the limitations the R5 has, and has used the cover of design and built to try to hide them as much as it could. Still, a smartphone in the flagship price range, but with a set of limitations towards performance, meaning it is a very attractive offering, but we would have to admire it from a distance – though undoubtedly, it will be very difficult to do so.