Oppo is a relatively unknown brand in India. In China, the company makes and sells many electronics, including televisions, Blu-ray players, and MP3 players. But if you have heard about the brand, it would be for its smartphones.
Oppo has been selling smartphones for a while now and the company mostly dabbles in the high-end Android space. Their first phone in India was the N1 with a unique rotating camera that could be made to point at the front and back.
I wasn’t particularly excited about that, or the few other phones they released. However, two of their recent phones caught my eye, the Find 7 and the Find 7A. Both were high-end devices with all the bells and whistles you can expect and the Find 7 even had a Quad HD display. On top of that, the pricing in India was quite good, so I had to get my hands on the phone to see how it is.
Oppo phones tend to have simple, straightforward design, so it’s no surprise the Find 7 is also relatively simple. The front is an unassuming sea of black, with the only standout element being the Skyline notification, a strip of arching blue LED that subtly spreads across the bottom edge as it glows. It looks fantastic but it only glows in blue so you can’t assign it different colors for different apps.
Other than that, the phone also has a row of navigation buttons below the display, which are starting to become rare now with on-screen controls, but for some reason are still a favorite among the Chinese Android OEMs. They include the usual back, home, and the now outmoded menu button. I’m not particularly fond of these and they are also hard to see when they aren’t lit.
There is not much else to note on the front. On the sides are the volume control buttons on the right, the power button on the left, headphone jack on the top, and microUSB port on the bottom.
The back of the phone comes in two colors. On the white model I received, the back cover almost has a fabric like texture, which does tend to get dirty easily. The black model has a carbon fiber like texture on the back, which should age better. The back has the camera lens with the dual LED flash up top and the loudspeaker below. The back cover is removable, but you’ll need a screwdriver or something thin and pointy to press and release the button on the right edge, which lets you remove the cover.
Once inside, you will find the 3000mAh battery, microSIM slot, and microSD slot. The loudspeaker is also actually two loudspeakers placed next to each other, although they are wired together as mono instead of in stereo. Then again, it wouldn’t have made much sense to have them in stereo, considering their position. The speakers are insanely loud, by the way.
The Find 7 is unmistakably a big phone. It is quite tall but surprisingly not all that wide. This makes it somewhat easier to hold than most big phones.
In terms of build quality, the phone feels reassuringly solid in hand. However, it would be best to avoid the white model, considering how easy it is to soil it.
One of the main differences between the Find 7 and the Find 7A is that the former is a QHD display whereas the latter a Full HD display. The Find 7 has a 5.5-inch, 2560 x 1440 resolution IPS LCD with a stunning pixel density of 538PPI. In terms of sharpness, we have come to a point where nothing on the screen looks like it is made out of pixels. Text especially looks flawless and the print-quality visuals that Apple has been promising us for a while is now finally a reality (although made true by other manufacturers).
The display is far from perfect, however. Color calibration, an Achilles’ heel of companies not named Apple or LG, is a bit off and the display is far too cold for my liking. Everything has a slight blue tint to it and even though the colors are vibrant they don’t exactly look the way they should. It’s not a bad display as such and unless you are used to better calibrated screens or have one side by side for comparison, you will be reasonably blown away by the display on the Find 7. However, the lack of proper color calibration makes me dock a few points off from what would have otherwise been a perfect display.
Hardware and Software
The Find 7 runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC, with a quad-core 2.5GHz CPU and Adreno 330 GPU. It also has 3GB of RAM (Find 7A has 2GB) and 32GB internal memory with microSD card slot.
In terms of software, the phone now runs on Oppo’s Color OS 2.0 running on top of Android 4.4 KitKat. The UI is attractive and comes with a ton of features, most notably the customization features that lets you install themes that can change the entire look of the UI, including having different lockscreens.
The performance is good, too. Everything on the phone runs well and there are hardly any hiccups. Despite running a Quad HD display on a Snapdragon 801, the phone runs quite well most of the time, which is a far cry from the performance on the LG G3 that had similar specs. Even gaming performance was quite good.
It must be said that Oppo isn’t the best when it comes to software updates. The KitKat update was released shortly after I got the phone, which was much later from when the phone was released and not even remotely close to when Google released KitKat. As it is right now, the software is quite good and usable. But if you’re someone who wants the latest version of Android (and why shouldn’t you?) then Oppo will leave you disappointed.
The Find 7 has a 13 megapixel rear camera and 5 megapixel front facing camera. The rear camera can also record 4K video. The camera quality is actually excellent and the phone takes some terrific photos and videos. The only problem is the obscene amount of purple fringing in some shots around edges of high contrast subjects but other than that the camera performance is very good.
The camera has a trick where it can make a 50 megapixel image by combining multiple images together. As you can imagine, the image is huge but I found it wasn’t as sharp as you’d expect and other than being a big image lacked sufficient detail to make it worth using this mode, other than to just try it out.
The Find 7 has a 3,000mAh battery. The phone seems to last reasonably long on a full charge, and you can get through an entire day easily. One of the best features about the battery and the phone in general is the VOOC charging, which is another name for Qualcomm’s Quick Charge. It can charge the 3,000mAh battery in one hour flat, which is nothing short of astonishing.
The Oppo Find 7 is priced at Rs. 37,990 on Flipkart in India, which isn’t bad for what you’re getting. I liked the design and performance of the phone, and even though the display isn’t perfect it still looks very good. The camera on the phone are also fantastic and the battery life is decent.
Unfortunately, there are other concerns to consider. Oppo is still new here, so sales and service will likely not blow your mind (not in a good way anyway). The software update situation is also bad, and you are likely to get stuck on an older version of Android for months unless you decide to flash a custom ROM on it.
The thing is, though, there is no shortage of good phones on the market, so such shortcomings are harder to excuse. The Oppo Find 7 is a great phone, but with so many alternatives available, it wouldn’t be my first choice to recommend anyone.