Oppo had made a mark in India when it officially entered the country with its flagship devices, especially the N series. But looking at today’s pace in the smartphone market, companies are being more focused about the mid and budget range of smartphones these days. Company announced its mid-ranger, Neo 5 couple of weeks back. It might not be best in its class but has its advantages over other smartphones in the same range. We take a detailed look at their new entrant in this review.
Design, Form Factor
Oppo has always been good with its design language, and looking at the previous Neo series handset, the Neo 5 certainly has seen quite the improvements. The company calls its design on Neo 5, a double layer metallic structure. It sure got few things right including the compactness and toughness. You won’t get a smartphone in this range with more quality built than this. If you appreciated the Nokia phones back in time, then you will definitely value the solid build and sturdiness Neo 5 offers.
Company may have changed the build materials and quality, but the design on the front remains the same, as you can find the capacitive buttons for menu, home and back on the bottom just below display and front facing camera with set of sensors. While talking about the design of the back, which is plastic and glossy, has been changed from the previous iterations of Neo 5. As the rear camera is moved to the corner with LED flash beside it, and you’ll see the Oppo branding in the close to the middle part, while the speaker has been placed at the bottom.
We would say ports placements are correct, except for the fact some users prefer volume buttons on the right edge only. Although, it is equally easy to operate it from the left edge, which is where the volume rocker keys are placed on Neo 5 while the power button is on the right edge only. The top edge houses the 3.5mm audio jack and bottom edge has the microUSB port and primary microphone.
Talking about the display, it doesn’t seem to have a great sunlight visibility, and you can blame the FWVGA resolution for that. For some users, it is the most important factor on smartphones, and it is not recommended for them. But if you’re looking for a decent display, that you can use to watch casual YouTube videos, then one won’t mind owning this device.
The capacitive touch is quite responsive, as you would feel at ease when using the display. But the screen attracts fingerprints, and that’s why you’d want to place a screen guard over it. Even with low resolution, the content visibility on the device is easily readable. The screen is quite reflective though, as in sunlight you’d only able to read at a certain angle and with only bull brightness.
OS, Interface & Apps
The Oppo Neo 5 runs on Android KitKat, i.e. v4.4.2, since company hasn’t yet released the Lollipop 5.0 based Color OS to its flagship devices, we are not sure that it would get updates any time soon. But the Color OS would keep you occupied and invested as it offers a lot of things than most of the Custom UI’s out there in the market. The interface is quite similar to what we found on most of the companies device, may it be N series of R series, and the UX hasn’t really changed a lot, which is a good thing actually, considering all devices get to have the features.
A very neat and clean UI if I say, as it doesn’t have much bloatware on it, except the essential apps like File Manager, Tools folder, Weather, Music, Videos, and Photos app to access the gallery on the device. The most important apps that users would like are the security centre and Backup & Restore app, as both of them offers help in protecting the data.
You won’t find any app drawer since all the apps have been placed on the home screen only. For the personalization, there is theme store, which would allow you to change the themes, as well as lock screen style. There are some of those themes and lock screen styles pre-installed while you can get few more from the online store.
The multitasking operation on a device is not smooth as one would want since it has only 1GB of RAM and out of that less than half is available. We also did the OTG test on the device, and it detected the without hesitation, although, it was tricky, as feature needed to be enabled from Settings app in order to detect the OTG.
The device packs MediaTek MT6582, which is found in the Gionee Pioneer P6 and many other mid-range smartphones. The processor handles most of the apps quite easily since it packs Quad-core. But the issue arises when you start playing games on it. We installed Asphalt 8, which itself takes quite the toll on the system, as there was only around 4GB of internal storage available on device beforehand. After installing few apps and only one game, we were sure that it won’t be playable. But, unfortunately, it was unplayable, because of the resolution of the display. So, we played few other games like Subway Surfer and Temple Run 2 and were quite satisfied with the gameplay, as there were no lags.
The benchmark scores on the device were 12333 for Antutu and 660 for Multicore test on Vellamo, which was around the expected mark. The coupling of 1GB RAM and Quad-core processor won’t produce great numbers, but would suffice for performing many functions. The available RAM, most of the time, was around 450 MB out of the 1GB RAM.
There were no heating issues as far as gaming considered, while if you’re Skype calling someone for more than half an hour, it would definitely get heated a bit more than usual on display, since it uses the front facing camera continuously. But we didn’t experience that much heating while on a voice call.
We did the browsing test on the Neo 5 and were satisfied with the performance, though, we wouldn’t make it our habit to use the device for browsing, since the screen is quite small, for easy operations.
The cameras on this device don’t seem to be great by numbers – an 8MP rear camera and 2MP front facing the camera. But they perform on par with other 8MP cameras in the market, leaving out couple exceptions. The rear camera captures color reproduction perfectly, as well as saturation is quite good. And if you know the basic principles of photography, then you can do a lot of things with it.
The camera app is quite easy to operate as the interface is pretty clean; you have a shutter button, gallery access, and video button. Settings allow you to change various things, but if you’re looking for modes, then you should just swipe from the camera button and will see the various modes available for it. Oppo offers a nice set of modes, as well as you can download and install more from within the app only. Just tap on Add apps and it would lead you to camera apps store, where you can install and turn on the modes.
The assistance of LED flash comes in handy, but sometimes using the fill light option offers much better results than the light thrown during capture. You can check the following captures to judge the output. Just to note, the Neo 5 doesn’t offer Full HD video recording, although, the HD recording looks good enough and satisfactory for most of the times. While talking about the front facing camera, it was not better than any other average joes.
The Neo 5 has battery concerns as it doesn’t last for much longer than a day on average usage. Although, I guess it is not fair to expect extraordinary from a 2000mAh capacity battery. But Color OS does offer some alternative to optimize the battery performance when the battery juice is close to the mark of finish. You can switch on the super power saving mode via battery manager and get more talk time out of it.
Though, the interesting part is that since the display is FWVGA it won’t drain much battery in respect to the display when compared with HD displays. So, you can keep running the device even when it is lower than 20% for at 45 minutes to 1 hour with the display being ON all the time.
The device would be packing only the necessary part of connectivity options, such as 3G, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, and the GPS support. You can easily use the device to make the hotspot and connect other devices to Internet using the one running on your Neo 5. It could easily connect three devices at a time and offer them the internet access, which is quite fascinating and convenient at the same time.
The mid-range smartphone market has already become a very crowded place, and it wouldn’t be easy for a device to compete with other devices if the specifications are not on par with the standards. Fortunately for Oppo, the Neo 5 offers a good set of specifications like Quad-core chipset, 8MP rear camera, 8GB internal storage that can be expanded too. Moreover, a UX that is clean and very simple to use and offer all the essential features on it.
Though, there are some worthy competitors against Neo 5 in the market right now that falls under the same pricing – Xiaomi Redmi Note, Yu Yureka, and Gionee Pioneer P6. While Redmi Note might be a big bulky device for you if you’re looking for a compact device, whereas the Yureka has a heating issue, then Pioneer P6 might be the best contender against it.