You may not have heard of OPPO, but the name will probably become more familiar over the next few years. It’s a relatively new Chinese smartphone manufacturer that has begun expanding its base to a more global market.
This is good news. OPPO makes some great devices, most of which will cost you a pretty penny less than a comparable phone from another maker. The Oppo Find 7 is no exception. It’s the flagship phone for OPPO, ahead of the almost-identical but slightly-cheaper Find 7a, and is one of the only phones on the market to sport a quad-HD display.
- Great screen with unbeaten resolution
- Customizable UI appearance
- More affordable than other high-end phones
- Fast charge
- Taller than it needs to be
- Icon layout is inefficient
Design and UI
OPPO has landed on a great design style with the Find 7. The side bezels are thin, as is the profile, and the rear cover is a textured polymer that manages to feel pretty good in the hand while maintaining a surprisingly classy look considering the plastic construction.
Thanks to the capacitive buttons, it’s a bit taller than it needs to be -- on the scale of 5.5 inch phones is closer to the iPhone 6 Plus than the LG G3. It is a bit smaller than Apple’s behemoth, however, and subsequently fits a little better in the pocket.
Overall it’s a good-looking phone that’s fairly comfortable to hold, although folks with smaller hands may struggle.
The screen itself is divine. The 5.5 inch 2k (2560 x 1440) resolution means a good 75% more pixels than on a 1080p panel, and over 100 more pixels per inch (ppi) than the iPhone 6 Plus. That’s a lot.
OPPO’s proprietary user interface (UI) is well-designed from both visual and functional standpoints. This was unexpected. Many bigger manufacturers that have been in the game for years have only just started blending aesthetics with efficient functionality. Sony is still working it out and LG only finally joined the modern-looking UI crowd this year with the LG G3. For OPPO to do so well so quickly is impressive.
An added bonus is hidden behind the Theme icon. There is a whole store of free themes that you can use to customize your icons. The selection is huge and easy to access and apply.
There are some drawbacks. The Icons are quite spaced out -- you only get four rows instead of the five you’d normally get on a screen this big. There are also only four columns instead of five. Subsequently you can fit nine fewer icons per screen on the Find 7 than on the G3. This feels like a waste, especially when you consider that a two-row Widget will restrict you to only eight icons on a home screen.
Secondly, OPPO has designed a confounding camera widget that, for the life of us, we could not figure out how to remove. Using this widget gives you quick access to the camera, which sounds great, except that the images it takes are of significantly worse quality than using the regular camera app. Why exactly you’d ever use it is a complete mystery.
The last little quirk was actually pretty fun. The Find 7 can be unlocked from standby mode using various gestures. These gestures can be programmed by the user and set to launch specific apps. So you can write an A and open Angry Birds, for instance. This took a bit of getting used to, but is definitely a feature we’d like to see return in the future.
The Find 7’s camera is a mixed bag. It takes fantastic photos during the day, but once the sun goes down things get a little blurry.
There’s a special HD photo option that takes several photos and merges them in to one, ultra-sharp mega-photo. This was fun to play with at first, but the difference in quality isn’t noticeable on the phone itself or a Facebook feed and is next to useless in low-light situations. It also takes quite a bit longer to take a photo in this mode. We quickly found ourselves avoiding it.
Ultimately this is a good camera. A lot of phones suffer in poorly-lit contexts so we can’t hold it against the Find 7 too much. Just make sure you use the actual camera app instead of that dumbfounding widget.
Battery life on the Find 7 was impressive. It lasted almost two days and we never got close to finishing it off from a single day’s use. With a little manual management, like putting it in flight mode at bed time, we made it to two days on more than a few occasions.
Better still, OPPO has designed a fast-charge system for the Find 7. When using the wall charger that comes with the phone, you can charge it to around 50% in half an hour. OPPO will tell you 75%, but we never quite got there. Even so, half your charge in half an hour is super useful, especially when that’s going to be enough to last a whole day if you’re mindful of usage.
This feature won’t work with other wall chargers, or through USB charging, but it’s still great to have.
The OPPO Find 7 felt like a high-end flagship phone every step of the way. Admittedly, there were a couple of niggles, but no more than we’re used to encountering on other top-tier devices.
The most important thing to remember is the price: the Find 7 is often a good 10% or more cheaper than its closest rivals. Even more when you put it against something like an iPhone 6 or Galaxy S5. When you compare the price to the relatively trouble-free user experience, the Find 7 can’t help but come out with a complimentary score.
It has a good camera, fun UI and smooth user experience. Battery life is almost two days and, at the very least, should never leave you searching for an outlet before the end of a single day. On top of all of that you have the beautiful 5.5 inch 2560 x 1440 display, which you’ll have a tough time beating in today’s market.