“Slimness comes at its own cost and in this case, it means a below-average battery backup for a device with a near-flagship price tag”
With mobile makers going crazy after making wafer-thin smartphones, Chinese smartphone maker OPPO stepped up its game and offered a slim, yet sturdy Android smartphone in form of the R5 featuring a unique slimness of 4.85mm. However, Vivo’s X5 Max soon stole the spot of world’s slimmest by a marginally slimmer 4.75mm thickness. Nevertheless, despite not being the slimmest smartphone in the world, the R5 promises great looks and sturdiness at the same time. However, is it worthy of the price tag it comes for? Let us find out in our detailed review.
Gionee’s S5.5 started the slimness war with the launch of an Android smartphone featuring a 5.5mm slim body and following with an even slimmer device featuring a 5.1mm thick body. Seeing the demand of slim and sleek looking smartphones OPPO offered the R5, featuring 4.85mm slim body, shattering Gionee’s records. However, the R5 is not just built for the sake of making a slim device, as the build quality that the brand has tried to offer even at this slimness is great and inspires a lot of confidence among users for buying such slim devices, especially after the whole iPhone 6 Plus bending fiasco.
The all-metal construction of the R5 is the reason for the sturdiness this device offers to the users. The phone looks great,and is difficult to bend even under special circumstances. But the downside of this sturdiness is that the device is definitely heavier than most others in the same league. With close to 150 grams of overall weight, this slim handset loses some of its sheen as you get to hold this in your hand. In addition, the lack of a dedicated 3.5mm audio socket is a point of concern, especially with the Vivo X5 Max offering a full sized 3.5mm port at 4.7mm slimness.
The device features Gorilla Glass 3 protection on the front, while at the back it’s close to 70 percent metal and 30 percent plastic. The power key and the volume rocker keys have been placed on the right side, and the USB port takes its place on the bottom of the device. The audio socket is not competently missing as it has been provided as an extension of the USB port functionality. For that, a USB to 3.5mm audio adapter is supplied in the box along with the standard headset. Despite that, interference in functionality should be expected as while using the headset, the USB port would be unavailable and vice-versa.
The display on the R5 is based on a 5.2-inch AMOLED unit, which bears a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. In terms of colour reproduction, the display, as with all AMOLED displays, is lovely and offers ample amounts of contrast and brightness levels. However, the colour reproduction is a little too saturated resulting in overwhelming colours, which are good for gaming and multimedia but not so much for everyday use and web browsing. The screen size, the resolution and the production process are all similar to the display featured on the Samsung Galaxy S5 and by far the display on the R5 has managed to be the closest competitor till date.
One more issue with an oversaturated display is for photography as well, as users get a false sense of colours while capturing images while in reality they turn out to be paler than what the display shows. However, overall the screen is quite a delight and has ample brightness to make sure that everything is legible even in brightly-lit conditions.
In addition, the R5 features a very responsive touch surface as well. All the gestures and movements are nicely interpretated by the touch surface offering appropriate action as well. However, unlike many devices, the R5 misses out on a glove mode and with its metallic back panel especially during cold weather this is one feature that is missed.
The software on the R5 is based on Google Android KitKat 4.4, on which the company has layered its custom Color OS version 2.0 UI. The first thing to be noticed is the direct approach followed by the user interface to access to all the important things right from the home screen itself. By default, there are three home screens offered by OPPO but more screens are automatically added as and when more apps are installed on the device. Out of the many innovations the brand has done, the widgets offer maximum functionality to the users. For instance, the music widget makes tunes always available at a press of a button while the camera widget shows a live preview and allows users to capture images without bringing up the whole camera UI.
Talking about gesture support, some of these can work directly from standby mode and are definitely quite useful. For instance, users can simply draw the letter ‘O’ and it will open the camera or can also alter the gesture to perform a custom action associated with the gesture. The device can wake up simply by tapping on the screen twice and saves the users from reaching out to the power key every time. In terms of customisability, the Color OS 2.0 bring a host of gestures and a ton of functionality with it.
In addition, the device also supports air gestures. For instance, users can simply hover their hands over the device to shuffle through images or scroll through the desktop, but all this has to be manually enabled through the settings, and nothing has been made available by default.
Nevertheless, OPPO has really worked a lot with the UI. The UI now looks powerful and a lot more intriguing as compared to what it used to be in version 1.0.
The R5 is powered using the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 chipset clocked at 1.5GHz, which is similar to the processor that has been used on Yu’s Yureka smartphone available at one-third of the cost of this smartphone. Nevertheless, the Snapdragon 615 is a 64-bit computing capable processor, and as and when a compatible operating system will be made available for the device, the full potential of this chip would be unlocked. For now, this chip works with a 32-bit operating system, Android KitKat 4.4 and offers decent overall performance.
Alongside 64-bit computing, the Snapdragon 615 is an octa-core processor with four ARM Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.5GHz for performance and four cores clocked at 1GHz for battery savings and low-end computing requirements. With this processor, the device is also ready for 4G cellular networks and supports Indian cellular frequencies, putting this among a handful of other smartphones available as of now that can support the 4G networks.
With this processor, the handset comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB internal storage, and if in case you are thinking that the storage is not enough, then you are about to be disappointed as there is no provision for expanding it.
The hardware offers ample computing muscle for flawless performance for HD games and smooth multitasking capabilities as well. We tried to open a number of applications to check its multitasking capabilities, but the phone did not crash or give up at any point. Therefore, if you are thinking of a smartphone that is fast enough for present times and will last without getting outdated, this is the one you should consider.
In addition, the handset comes with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but misses out on NFC as standard connectivity options while for cellular connectivity, it comes in a single-SIM variant only.
OPPO has tried to offer a neat and flawless solutions for ultra-fast charging without having any adverse effect on the battery’s life with the use of VOOC or Voltage Open Loop Multi-Step Constant-Current Charging technology, which charges different cells in the battery individually, thereby facing less resistance and offering faster charge.
The supplied charger literally sprints, making the battery attain a 75 percent charge and then gradually reduces the charging current when the charge level increases in order to protect the battery. As compared to the earlier charger that we saw with the Find 7, which used to be gigantic in size and weighed a few pounds, the company has reduced the size by half while offering the same tech. This becomes all the more important as the battery life of the device is not up to mark and the phone would barely make it through the day without recharging the battery. In our battery drain test, the battery on the device lasted for 5 hours and 15 minutes while playing a 720p video at 50 percent brightness and volume levels.
As one of its highlight features, the 13-megapixel camera of the device is among one of the most commonly used mobile phone cameras available today. The company has used a Sony Exmor sensor on the device that offers good image capture quality. Coupled with a fast autofocus mechanism, the device takes images super fast while keeping the focus in check for overall quality.
Additionally, OPPO has offered an advanced camera control application on the device. With this, users can fine-tune the settings for the best possible picture as per need. The app allows users to select the scene, white balance and even the focus of the shots being taken. In addition, the whole app has been laid out very neatly making it more useful.
On the front, R5 features a 5-megapixel camera with a wide-angle lens offering decent selfies.
Overall, the camera offers good image captures in varied scenarios while offering some better low light performance because of the BSI sensor. However, for a detailed look at the images captured using the OPPO R5’s snapper, take a look at the camera review.
Well, all what it boils down to is whether the OPPO R5 worthy of the price it is being offered at? There are two ways to look at it. Firstly, the device offers a nice set of features offering great functionality, and above all the build quality offered is amazing. There are barely any flaws with the design except the missing 3.5mm audio socket, which takes away some part of the functionality. However if you compare the hardware offered by the device, the closest competition would be the HTC Desire 820, which carries similar hardware specifications while the R5 certainly beats it with its superior design and styling. However if you are looking for a cheaper option with similar hardware minus the fancy looks then the Micromax Yu Yureka is yet another option. So ultimately, if you are looking for a well built device which you can flaunt the R5 is there for you, but be advised that the you would be paying heavily for looks.
Photos by Raj Rout
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