If the Oppo N1 wasn’t enough to contend against the Tier 1 smartphone manufacturers last year, the Chinese company has come up with a piece of beauty for this year’s race of high-end smartphones. After being called one of those Chinese brands which could do no more than make decent phones for the Chinese market, the company has emerged to bring out the best in the league. We won’t call the Oppo Find 7, their latest flagship smartphone as the best, but it truly contends to be one of them sporting a QHD display, which not even a handful number of devices in the market have. Again, whether the QHD display holds any real advantage, is another question altogether, but Oppo has managed to put that on the top alongside some brilliant specs and priced it quite lower than what the standard flagship smartphones from the well known brands are priced at.
Before we get into the review, here’s the key features of the Oppo Find 7 smartphone, which renders this a very interesting device when compared to the others.
- 1440p display under 5.5-inch touchscreen, 2560×1440 pixels screen resolution, 534ppi pixel density
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 2.5 GHz Quad-core Krait 400 CPU, Adreno 330 GPU
- 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, MicroSD card slot for storage expansion
- 13-megapixel rear camera, Dual LED flash, 2160p 4K video recording at 30 fps
- 3000 mAh battery, VOOC charging technology
It is clear that the display is what sets this device apart from most in the league, but is that the only factor? isn’t the absence of Android 4.4 KitKat going to bring about any thoughts? Let us see below.
Design, Form Factor
Oppo is a well known brand when we talk about good designs. The Find 5, N1 were the perfect examples earlier to this, and the Find 7 is no different with a very beautiful design. The squared-off corners to start with, the plain looking matte back and the flat sides with the silver lines running all around, make it look no less than a premium phone.
The bezels on the front aren’t really narrow around the 5.5-inch display, but that is not really noticeable because that is on all the four sides, giving it a rectangular look around the display, but that could be unnecessary for a few who feel the bezels make it an even bigger phone than it would have been already. The screen comes with Gorilla Glass 3 protection, which is quite an advantage for those who use the device pretty roughly. Below the display, there are three capacitive touch keys for menu, home and back. These keys have a very dim light when active, and they are kept dim on purpose, because there is no real need for the bright backlight on the keys once the user gets used to them. For the screen size, when compared to similar devices (LG G3 for example), the Fnid 7 is easier to hold and gives some comfort.
The power key is on the left side while the volume rockers stay on the right side, and the slots for MicroUSB and headset are on the bottom and top respectively. This could be something new for many users who have been using phones from Samsung, LG (except for G2, G3) where the power key is on the right side, but this again needs just some practice and you are good to go. The plain large back face has a 13-megapixel camera with the Dual LED flash below it, and the neat Oppo logo is etched right below the flash. The back cover is removable, and it isn’t easy to remove because you might feel it might break off from the side when you put some force, but there is no other way to remove the cover. Upon removing it, there is a removable 3000 mAh battery, under which there is a MicroSD card slot as well as the compartment for the Micro SIM.
One of the interesting parts in the design, is the Skyline Notification, which lazily turns the blue light on at the bottom on the device, when there is any unread notification to check. As we say interesting, it isn’t the best – for the reason that you might struggle to check and see whether there is a light blinking with such low brightness.
On one side, we might say Oppo has managed to use plastic in the best way to make the device look quite premium, with the silverish lines on the sides, and the beautiful back cover, but this is no where near perfect – with the improper placement of speakers and the excess space on the front contributed by the bezel. And while the phone has a matte back, it doesn’t make it non slippery at all.
Display, Brightness and Viewing Angles
As stated in the beginning of the review, what keeps the Oppo Find 7 a step ahead than many other flagships is the QHD display. Forget what the end user needs. Accept the fact that the current market is all about obsession over numbers. Even if you don’t have proper 2K content to view, you would boast having a 2K display on your smartphone screen. No real strength, no real advantage but still, a touch better than the other devices because of the resolution which could do some magic when needed, when you have some brilliant content to view and no large screen to stream it there.
Having said that, if you talk about the actual display quality, it is no different than the one in LG G3 but here comes the utter disappointment – the viewing under sunlight is bad. Quite bad for the reason that it stays even worse than the Find 7a and LG G3. The Find 7 comes with a company installed screen protector, which on removal doesn’t change the way display shows itself under sunlight. This is again the same story, where what you need in real life is not up to the mark, while what is not really necessary, is the talk of the town.
The color calibration is great, and the arrangement is similar to what is in the display of LG G3, while there is the “good” what you expect from a display of this quality, when you talk of viewing angles. The brightness indoors is no where disappointing, and when you have some high-quality pictures and video content to view, there is no better smartphone display to view it in, but not everything is great in the display.
Performance, Speed, Benchmarks
There were two recent instances when I mentioned about the benchmark scores matching the performance, and Samsung’s Galaxy S5 was an example where the scores excelled but the performance wasn’t the best. On the other hand, Xiaomi’s Mi3 performed even better than what it showed with the benchmark scores. The case with Oppo Find 7 is quite an equal one, with the device performing well and staying in the top five in most of the lists. Well worthy of the appreciation, because the smartphone was never laggy and the Color OS it ran on, gave a different experience where everything was snappy.
The Find 7 has a MSM8974AC chipset, Snapdragon 801 which has four cores clocking at 2.5 GHz, and that is well supported by the Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM, giving enough power for high-end graphic output as well as heavy multitasking. While talking about the benchmark scores, the Oppo Find 7 topped the list in AnTuTu’s latest version, while being slightly lesser in score than HTC One M8 and OnePlus One in Quadrant Standard test. Talk of actual performance, the Oppo Find 7 does a great job in browsing, graphics output and the multitasking, but the smartphone cannot be easily called the best when graphics output is in question, because LG G3 gave a better score and the blame for this goes to the higher resolution display, and LG managed to do well in this aspect.
Cameras – capture samples, quality review
Even before the launch, the teasers talked about 50MP still captures from the 13MP camera of the Oppo Find 7. The device has the 13MP Sony Exmor IMX214 BSI 1/3.06″ CMOS sensor, which is similar to the one in OnePlus One, and the capturing is far from best, because there are some shortcomings which Oppo ignored although everything in the camera interface is worthy of an appreciation.
The camera interface presents us with hidden options, giving some good real estate to preview what is going to be captured. The dotted icon on the top right exposes the modes which one can choose from – RAW, GIF, Audio photo, Slow shutter, Panorama, Beautify, Ultra-HD, HDR and Normal. The settings has the options for scene modes, resolution, timer, storage, white balance, tap shutter, video mode and shutter sound. There is nothing really unnecessary and to-the-point options makes it easier to set things up before a capture.
The Dual LED flash that stays below the camera lens, and it is extremely light, making it useful as a flashlight more than a camera flash as the light thrown during a capture gives unnatural colors and overshadowing. But, Oppo has givn the “Fill light” option for the flash, so the flash is turned on always and it is evenly thrown on the object, giving a natural and bright picture with nothing bad. Remember, this is handy because these are two white LED lights, unlike the Dual LED on the iPhone which has one white and one amber light for a better tone.
The slow shutter mode lets you capture photos with long exposure, and this could be to a maximum of 32 seconds. This makes it look good to capture photos at night where the trail of car lights can be beautifully portrayed with the long exposure. While the captures from Oppo Find 7 are beautiful with good color reproduction, contrast and accurate white balance on natural light conditions, there is some noise which Oppo Find 7 doesn’t clear even during the post processing, and this makes the picture quality not the best, although there are some instances where you can compare the camera with the 16MP shooter of Samsung Galaxy S5.
Panoramas were good enough but it needed lesser motions and it cannot handle much shakes and that is clearly shown during stitching of the images, but overall it does a good job. There is a 5MP front facing camera as well for selfies, and the quality is good enough and this should be even more advantageous for those who are regular in making video calls using the front camera.
The Oppo Find 7 is capable of recording 4K videos (2160p at 30 frames per second) and the slow motion videos could be taken at 720p at 120 frames per second. The video recording can be easily called better than the image capturing, because the details are excellent and the color reproduction, contrast are all very good and comparable to the high-end smartphone cameras in the current league of smartphones – especially the Sony Xperia Z2, Samsung Galaxy S5 and LG G3.
Call quality – reception and speaker quality
We couldn’t really test this in the low signal areas, but where the signal was quite abundant, there was no issue at all and no dropping in the levels was seen whatsoever. Similar is the case with the quality of calling and the earpiece. I never like the speakers on the back, and in this case it is the same. This location of speakers limits the volume and while making a call and activating the speakerphone, it isn’t the volume level what you normally expect.
Software – OS, Interface, Ease of use and Apps
It’s not the latest OS (current latest is Android 4.4.4 KitKat), as the Oppo Find 7 runs Android 4.3 but because this isn’t the stock ROM or anywhere near it, you shouldn’t be really disappointed because the Color OS layered over the Android OS is very interesting and colorful. And as I write the review, there is an update pending in the device – at least stating the fact that Oppo has been sending updates regularly and addressing issues, not caring about the OS version which shouldn’t be important when user experience is provided at the best.
The Color OS v1.2 is Oppo’s proprietary interface which has a customized launcher, and just like the custom interfaces on other devices have, there is a dedicated theme section which allows you to change the theme and download from a number of options and apply it with ease. While you are using Color OS on the Oppo Find 7, the pre-installed theme in the device is named Jelly Bean which is placed to give a feel of the actual Jelly Bean UI, though it isn’t that close and matching.
On the lock screen, nothing special. The same ring to hold and drag to unlock the screen, and the notification panel can be accessed right from the lock screen. There is double tap to wake, which works even on the bottom home key. Dragging the lock screen to left opens the camera app, and to the right would open up a screen where you can place widgets. The home screen can be customized with addition of widgets and shortcuts, and pinching in brings all home screens at one place, to easily tweak and change the default home screen. A total of 9 home screens can be placed, unlike seven or five that we see in most of the devices. The bottom dock is customizable with the movable app drawer icon which can be dragged and placed anywhere in the dock.
Apart from the standard home screens, there are two special dedicated home screens for Photo and Music. Both of them look good, and do good. The Photo home screen lets you capture pictures right from there and there is a timeline of latest photos captured, shown in a beautiful way. The Music screen has a beautiful layout with the disc and you can drag the pin over the disc to start playing the music just like on a gramophone.
Swiping up the screen from bottom, or holding the finger on empty area of screen will open a contextual menu where you are welcomed by options to add widgets, change theme and wallpapers as well as effects when scrolling between the home screens. The functionality of Color OS is shown very well in the notification panel area, where dragging it down from the extreme left opens up the Gesture panel, and you can add or change gestures to get particular things done or open particular apps with a simple gesture. Dragging the notification panel down from anywhere else on the status bar, showcases a strip of quick settings above the brightness adjust section, and you drag the quick settings section down to expose all the icons at one place. Just like in most of the Android devices, these quick settings toggles are for connectivity and profiles.
Long pressing the home key takes you to Google Now, and the task switcher is deep embedded in the Menu key on the left, which has to be pressed and held for a second before all the latest apps are shown in a vertical list of thumbnails. The app drawer has 20 app icons on a single app list page, and at least this is where you feel that the large screen is properly used, unlike the home screen where everything seems large, and the display resolution doesn’t really play any role, even if it could.
The other noticeable features and options in the interface of the device, include the Guest Mode, a few good pre-installed apps such as Notes, O-Cloud, Security apps such as App Encryption, Block, Permission Monitor, Quiet Time, Tools such as compass, flashlight, download manager, sound recorder, theme, lock now, backup and restore, and files (file manager app which is beautifully made).
Overall, the Oppo Find 7’s Color OS layered over Android’s 4.3 Jelly Bean OS is quite intuitive, colorful and comes with a lot of customization options. It doesn’t show itself as a boring one, and there were no issues seen while using the device over a period of couple of weeks.
Ports, Speakers location and quality
Except for the speakers, everything is placed aptly and at places where it makes the most sense. Having a MicroUSB slot in the bottom is the best, because you could be owning one of those smartphone docks for charging the device and that is where the bottom port makes the device stand straight in portrait. The headphone jack is on the top, and the speaker is on the back bottom area.
The speakers on the back are never something I would like, for the reason that I cannot enjoy the maximum volume that’s coming out of the grill when the phone is placed on a flat surface with the display facing up. The quality of music output is brilliant, though. The Oppo MaxxAudio sound enhancement might be there taking the claim for that, but the music output is crystal clear and the speaker doesn’t produce any unnecessary buzz when high beats are being played.
Battery life (both on heavy and light usage)
Oppo has packed in, a 3000 mAh heavypower battery on the back of the Oppo Find 7. But is that enough to give some long usage time? for us, it really isn’t when the screen is turned on. This makes a clear indication that the QHD display is the power drainer in the Oppo Find 7, just like is the case with LG G3. It won’t last for an entire day if you have the screen turned on very frequently, but hey, you will be one of those who doesn’t worry about the battery because of the VOOC charging technology, where the bulky charger provided along with the device lets you charge the Find 7 from zero to 75% in about half an hour. That’s not a publicity stunt, at least in this case. We could charge the phone to 75% in about 35 minutes, and there are a few considerations though – during the charge, data network was turned off and there was no activity on the phone.
On a very light usage, I could take it to the second day before it gave up with a zero percent battery left during mid-day. That won’t be possible when you are traveling because that is when the signal power keeps fluctuating and battery gets a hit.
Connectivity – Data network, Wi-Fi
No questions asked here, everything is well set and works to the best in the connectivity aspect. There’s NFC, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Display to name apart from all the standard connectivity options. The data reception is good on 3G networks (we could test only on 3G networks here with Airtel) and the Wi-Fi reception is even better. Compared to the OnePlus One, the Wi-Fi signals at the same distance from a Wi-Fi router were higher on the Oppo Find 7.
The System Update app in the Oppo Find 7 would help download and install updates over-the-air, as well as locally by selecting the file package. Also, for those who might want to know, the device supports USB OTG (on-the-go) with the MicroUSB 2.0 port.
Value for Money?
Rs. 37990 ($599) is the price Oppo is asking for the Find 7, and that is not really a low price (especially when the OnePlus One is just above half of this price) but does it provide the value for what you are paying for it? for me, the deal makers are the QHD display (especially when I have some good content to view), Color OS and the neat design, while the possible deal breakers could be the not-the-best 13MP camera, battery drain and the speaker location. Overall for the price being asked, the Oppo Find 7 is quite worth it. That doesn’t mean this is a standalone device which doesn’t face any competition. Pay a little higher and you are getting flagship smartphones from the well known International brands, but it is all about the choice and the raising of the budget which is already not really low.
Brand value would be the first thing that comes to my mind when Oppo Find 7’s selection is asked against the other players such as LG, Samsung, Sony and HTC. But does that mean we keep ignoring the Tier 2 brands although they are doing more-than-decent job in making smartphones? the Oppo Find 7 falls short in a few aspects, but where it matters, the phone excels well and stands tall to claim that this isn’t a product from a mere Chinese brand which one might blindly ignored.
Keeping in mind the pricing, brand and the key features, the major competitors that the Oppo Find 7 faces – LG G3, OnePlus One, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z2. Display wise, it is G3 and Find 7 ahead of others, and performance in OnePlus One is snappy enough to challenge the Find 7. The camera could be better and thus, Galaxy S5 and Xperia Z2 can emerge a better device for captures but the options given for capturing in the Camera app are the best in the Find 7. For the coming time until the next lineup of flagship devices are out in the market, Oppo can establish itself very well and make the device talk against the larger players.
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