OPPO is not a well-known brand outside its home country China, and people don’t tend to experiment a lot if they already have solid choices in front of them. Though, things changes, and it has been a good change for the company since they have improved their design choices with last year’s line-up. Now this time around, we are talking about the OPPO R5, which had the crown of world’s slimmest smartphone until Vivo steered from it. But that’s not what this device is all about. It’s what we felt after using this device for a couple of weeks.
Talking about the design, it has a unibody built and what we would call a metal body. It feels very solid for 4.85mm thickness, and that might be its actual USP rather than the slimness. There are two Black bands present on the bottom and top edges of the device. The Unibody design means non-removable back panel, and that means you can’t remove the battery either. So, the SIM card slot for single SIM is placed on the bottom of the left edge. Unfortunately, with a single body design and slimness, there is no room left for the microSD card.
The OPPO R5 has an extremely minimal and flat design, it is comfortable to hold the device thanks to overall thinness. While with most of the thin device it feels like the quality has been compromised over the design, but with R5 the feeling is different. It is a most solid slim smartphone we have used so far.
You can find the metal finished volume rocker and power buttons on the right edge while there is nothing on the top edge, no 3.5mm jack. Guess that all slimness comes with a cost. Although, company did manage to provide you an extension which you can attach to the microUSB present on the bottom edge and plug a 3.5mm jack. The SIM card slot is placed on the left edge bottom. There is no dedicated speaker for audio; rather the earpiece acts as a speaker. Company obviously had to compromise on the hardware part, due to size constraints, and, therefore, the users too. Some of us are still bind to a wired earphone experience rather than Bluetooth headsets.
The OPPO R5 comes with a 5.2-inch Full HD display with 1920 x 1080 with a pixel density of 425 PPI. And it gives that crisp and clear image that you should expect from a Full HD display. Company uses AMOLED display technology on its panels, which gives vibrant and graphic results, although, sometimes they were inaccurate too. Like when we took the device under sunlight, the color over-saturation was present.
The viewing angles of the device are pretty good, as it shows minimal color shifting. Not going to a QuadHD display is a good choice, as all these high-resolution displays do drain the battery life quicker. For most of the people, the Full HD display is good enough, and we are one of them.
The R5 runs on OPPO’s custom interface, the Color OS 2.0. We noticed that it was slightly different than what we saw on the company’s N3 model. The colors on its launcher are darker than what is found in the N3, and since the dark colors use less power than bright colors, therefore it makes sense to use them on R5, especially because of the low battery rating of the device.
There is not much to like about a launcher developed by Chinese mobile vendor because they are copying Apple’s iOS, that’s what we always hear in the tech community. Well, this is something one should be open-minded, and that’s what we did here. The UI had been a snappier for since when we first started using the device. It may not have the app drawer, well, hell, it even forces you to arrange apps manually. But the customization done by OPPO allows its users to be more practical, like swipe right to the end, you get music player while a double tap on the home button will lock the screen. It has some of the most amazing gesture inputs to offer, and it varies from screen-off functions to screen on functions. Double tap to wake is one of the popular, but most resourceful is the one where you can add more screen-off gestures. It allows you to add up to eight more gestures like upward arrow, downward arrow, slide up, slide down, etc. And then can pair them with any application you would like it to launch. Although, it was unresponsive at some points. We also like the fact that company is committed to providing the bug fixes as soon as possible via OTAs, in our usage of more than a couple of weeks, we saw many small updates, which fixed many issues. Overall, we can say that it was fun using the Colors OS even with few bumps in the road.
Hardware & Performance
There are many slim smartphones right now, as the companies heated up this competition too hard. But R5 is a slim smartphone that packs 64-bit chipset, which is very rare for now, as only Vivo X5Max is the only other smartphone which is powered by a Snapdragon 615 processor. The 600 series of Qualcomm processors lies in the category of upper mid-range class, and we are more than pleased with 615’s performance. The web browsing on the device is snappy, as well as games run pretty smooth. There’s no issue with gameplay even with high graphics setting; the main problem we faced about the device is its 2000mAh battery life, as it drains quickly.
The 2GB of RAM on the device was sufficient for a phone that wanted to take itself seriously, although, it wasn’t hard to make this loose its snappy performance by running too many apps in the background. But we will still recommend that it has showed some amazing response time and multitasking when test under its limits.
The R5 also tend to heat up a lot, considering that it has a unibody design, as well as a Snapdragon 615 has heating issues. We are not saying that because of the facts but have experience with 615 powered devices like HTC Desire 820, Samsung Galaxy A7, and Yu Yureka. It all comes to the size of the smartphone that there is hindrance because of it.
As we have already mentioned, there are some compromises made by the company in order to make a 4.85mm slim device, resulting in to fit only a small 2000mAh battery. We have used many smartphones over the past few years, and there were some devices that didn’t last even for a day. But after using OPPO R5 for a couple of weeks now, this would be the first time that we would describe a battery life to be too terrible. For a price of around INR 30K, if a device can’t give a charge of at least a day, it begs the question if it is even worth having it.
Though, there is some good news here too. The R5 comes with an OPPO’s VOOC rapid technology, which promises a charge of up to 75% within 30 minutes. For that, you would have to carry around a 4.5 A bulky charger with you, and trust us no one wants that.
In terms of the camera, the device comes with a 13MP rear shooter alongside comes a Sony Sensor and a LED flash. Company have kept the camera app clean, intuitive and simple to use. You won’t find much of a manual control except the expert mode. Therefore, snapping photos is pretty straightforward. But the fact that it offers download modes, it is pretty sweet. There are up to 14 modes you can add and select to take photos with. Like there is an Ultra HD, After Focus, Super Macro, etc. all these are pretty handful features if you are a photography enthusiasts.
Though the app can get a little cumbersome to use at times, especially when you are shooting in landscape mode, where not everything on the screen is rotated. It gives you an inconsistent experience. But on the plus side, the camera boasts a pretty fast shutter speed, making it damn easy to fire off shots continuously. The image quality of the normal mode is not that impressive while 13MP should give a plenty of details, although, the over exposure tendency of the camera results in otherwise.
OPPO has included a slow shutter mode on app that allows it to keep its shutter open for a longer interval, allowing it to capture more light and thus more details. A lot less noise on photos with shutter mode than in normal mode. But remember you’ll need steady hands to avoid blurry photos.
The Ultra HD mode that is so popular for taking 50MP shots has been integrated as one of the modes. It provides a perfect software trick to stitch a series of photos taken together. Although, it does take a lot of time to do so. The resulting image is much sharper and offers more detail than you would think. But with only 16GB internal storage and lack of microSD card you get short-handed as space would run out soon.
An elegant phone with a solid body – the R5 is something what casual smartphones users would prefer. They would use it as a tech accessory rather a tool for long surfing and gameplay. The physical appearance if the device is the USP of it, whereas software experience would be more pleasing with little more tweaks.
If you’re looking for a super-slim smartphone, then the R5 is a good option. But if you are not the one who would like to compromise the battery life and other hindrances it comes with, then you shall not look back again.