Remember the sneers, jeers and scoffing at the ‘notch’ when it first appeared on the iPhone X? Who would have thought that in less than six months, the infamous Apple iPhone X notch would take the world of smartphones by a storm. If the notch could talk – or rather sing – it could very well be crooning “Here I am, rock you like a hurricane” from the Scorpions’ rock classic Rock You Like a Hurricane. This isn’t hyperbole we are indulging in as all major smartphones of 2018 are expected to sport it. While there are few brands such as Nokia and Samsung that have dared to resist it with their flagship smartphones, brand like Vivo and Oppo have not only incorporated it in their designs but also made it one of the highlights.
A handset that has embraced the notch recently is the Oppo F7. With an Oppo smartphone one has become accustomed the idea of it being a selfie-centric device. The Oppo F7 is no different as it boasts of a powerful selfie camera with artificial intelligence-based beauty features, catering to the needs of the narcissistic generation of the country.
Available at a starting price of Rs 21,990, the Oppo F7 seems like a promising device on paper. But how does it fare when we test it out? Read our review to know more…
Be it any phone, if there’s a notch on it then that’s the first thing you’ll notice. It’s no different with the Oppo F7. And it looks like there is no stopping this amorphous display to take over all our handsets in at least this year, if not many to come. You may get irked by it (we did!) for a couple of days but you eventually get over it.
Moving on to other aspects of the Oppo F7 you get an acrylic plastic body with a high gloss finish back panel. We got the Solar Red colour variant as our review device and we can safely say that it is one of the best we have seen on a smartphone. But like every coin, this also has another side to it. The glossy back attracts not only a lot of attention but also a lot of fingerprints, that made us wipe the back of the device more often than a person should need to.
Another thing that we liked about the Oppo F7 is that how light it felt as it weighs just 158g. As far as what is placed where, the Oppo F7 has a power button on the right along with hybrid SIM slot, volume rocker keys on the left and 3.5mm audio jack, speaker grille and microUSB port placed at the bottom. The notch houses the selfie camera and the earpiece. On the back, you get a single rear camera along with an LED flash and centrally placed fingerprint scanner and Oppo branding.
The display is undoubtedly one of the main talking points in the Oppo F7. It features a 6.23-inch full HD+ IPS screen of 2280x1080p resolution. It has a 19:9 aspect ratio that does look super appealing when watching movies. Like most other full screen handsets, the Oppo F7 too has on-screen navigation key that hide while operating a full screen app but appear as soon as you tap on the screen.
The display settings come with the option to adjust the colour temperature of the screen and font size. You can also find the list of apps on your Oppo F7 that are not optimized for full-screen display. Also, users get an option to switch off “Notch Area Display” if they encounter a situation where the app content gets blocked by the notch area. We were facing this issue while using Instagram but once we turned off it was fine as the part of the screen around the notch simply turns off.
We were quite happy with the colour reproduction of the images and videos we viewed on the Oppo F7 even at tilted viewing angles. The real bummer here is the sunlight legibility. Even at full brightness levels, it got hard for us to enjoy watching videos.
The chipset that powers the flagship smartphone Oppo F7 is a MediaTek Helio P60, an octa-core chipset fabricated on a 12nm process. This chipset is specifically designed to support AI processing, which this handset does. On its part, Oppo has used the best processor from MediaTek. However since this chipset brand is associated with low-cost phones, it perhaps might be a turn-off for a few buyers when they consider that competition smartphones — such as Vivo V9 — offer a Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor. Since this is Oppo’s flagship device, using a MediaTek processor did come as a surprise.
The handset has two storage options — 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage and 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. We got the first one as our review device.
The Oppo F7 runs on Android Oreo 8.1 out-of-the-box with Oppo’s ColorOS 5.0 UI, and thanks to this, it comes with a lot of customization options. Turning the phone on will lead you to a too-bright-too-eye-poking Red theme that you want to change as soon as possible. Mercifully, you do get many options to do that. All the themes support the 19:9 aspect ratio, which is something we didn’t see in the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 Pro.
The handset offers a lock screen option that changes the wallpapers of the locked smartphone. We have always appreciated this feature, since it offers something new every time you tap on your handset. However, we realised that the collection offered by the Oppo F7 is quite strange when we saw pictures of actresses like Nina Dobrev, Alia Bhatt and Soha Ali Khan also pop up.
Other features include ‘Quiet Time’ which puts the phone in silent mode for a set time period of the day; ‘Full Screen Multitasking’ which places the app shortcuts on the notch area of the smartphone. This then leads to a floating window of the opened app. Besides this, users also get a handy access to functions such as screen recording, screenshot and blocking notifications, through this feature of Full Screen Multitasking. These shortcuts were also accessible while watching Netflix and Prime Video and in our opinion they were very useful. Besides these two features, the Oppo F7 comes with the standard assistive ball and gesture and motion support as well. As for security, users get both fingerprint scanner and a facial unlock support. There is a Oppo Secure keyboard that appears every time you have to input a password or OTP-Pin. We weren’t particularly impressed by this as it felt a little too intrusive. The Oppo F7 also offers an in-built TrueCaller type functionality to block harassment/fraud calls and identification of unknown numbers. The facial unlock feature works perfectly fine and unlocks the handset in a blink of an eye.
The MediaTek processor surprisingly handled all the routine tasks with consummate ease. We were quite impressed with the performance of the Oppo F7. There weren’t any issues such as lags or heating of any kind during our time with the device. The speaker output is also more than satisfactory.
The most emphasized feature of the Oppo F7 is the camera. It comes equipped with an Artificial Intelligence-based selfie camera of 25MP Sony sensor, with an f/2.0 aperture and sensor HDR that is claimed to ‘capture the real you’. For beautification, the camera has AI Beauty Technology 2.0.
On the back, Oppo has dared to sell a flagship smartphone with a single rear camera of 16MP — with features such as with f/1.8 aperture, phase detection autofocus — in today’s day and age. This may clearly come across as less powerful than the dual rear cameras that are present in cheaper phones also now.
Moving on to the front camera, the Oppo F7 comes with features such as front bokeh effect (blurring of background when your face is in focus), which was good enough. There is an option to manually choose the beautification and on the higher side, the smartphone does make them look a bit artificial.
The 3400mAh battery on the Oppo F7 lasts just about a day easily with slightly heavy usage. This involves routine tasks, as well as GPS tracking, watching Netflix and more. For a more moderate user, it can sustain more than a day’s work load.
The Oppo F7 performs wonderfully well when it comes to the display and cameras. So that’s two big boxes ticked for most smartphone buyers. Having said that, the easily smudged plastic body of the device and too-cluttered OS do not work for the latest Oppo device. The Vivo V9, the handset that is in direct competition with the F7, has a better design and cleaner UI. At a starting price of Rs 21,990, the Oppo F7 is far from perfection and can be considered to be your next buy only for camera and display.