OPPO F5 is the company’s entry to the growing population of smartphones with an 18:9 aspect ratio. And more importantly, this is the company’s way of gearing up for the upcoming holiday season, and not being dragged down by the competition.
Aside from its 6-inch FHD+ screen, the OPPO F5 also touts an AI-powered selfie camera, MediaTek’s latest midrange processor, and a facial recognition feature. Are these features enough to blow the competition out in the water? Let’s figure that out in our OPPO F5 review.
OPPO F5 Video Review
OPPO F5 Specs
- Android 7.1.1 Nougat, ColorOS 3.2
- 6-inch FHD+ display, 2160 x 1080 pixel resolution, ~402ppi
- Corning Gorilla Glass 5
- MediaTek Helio P23 octa-core processor
- 4GB RAM
- Mali-G71 GPU
- 32GB internal storage, expandable via microSD
- 20-megapixel front camera
- 16-megapixel rear camera, LED flash
- AI Beauty Mode
- Fingerprint scanner, Facial recognition
- 4G LTE
- GPS, A-GPS
- 3200mAh non-removable battery
Design and Build Quality
Right off the bat, the OPPO F5 a refreshing design — or at least, for an OPPO handset. The seamless transition of the back panel to the sides, the shiny antenna bands, and the curved corners made it look a bit identical to the OPPO R11. But thanks to its unusual form and shape, the F5 looks a little less like the earlier OPPO devices before it.
Actually, the OPPO F5’s isn’t really one of a kind. The device looks very identical to its archenemy, the Vivo V7+. Besides having a tall, 6-inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio, the two smartphones share a lot of identical physical features.
For one, the OPPO F5 is also made of plastic. Despite how gorgeous, and metal-like it looks, this thing’s rear cover is made of plastic which is painted to look premium. And just like in our Vivo V7+ review, I barely noticed its second-rate material construction. The device has this premium metal look to it, without the heavy metal weight.
Its sleek design, lightweight, curvy corners and edges make the OPPO F5 look beautiful in my eyes. It’s also really ergonomic to use. However, since it has a tall screen, reaching for the top frame is quite impossible to do single-handedly. That’s considering I have large hands and fingers myself. I can’t access the Notifications tab without using my other hand, or running my fingers all the way up.
Like I said earlier, the F5’s highlight feature is its tall screen. Its 18:9 aspect ratio display is almost borderless, which populates the front of the device with nothing but screen. OPPO was still able to cram in the 20-megapixel sensor on top, together with the other necessary sensors and the earpiece.
However, the space at the chin of the OPPO F5 isn’t roomy enough to house the fingerprint scanner, so it’s been relocated to the back. Meanwhile, the capacitive buttons were also shifted to be on-screen.
The fingerprint sensor at the back is placed right above the reflective and metallic OPPO logo. It is easily reachable by the index finger and it falls naturally once the user gets used to it.
On the left side, we have the volume controls while the right houses the lock/power button below the SIM tray. The buttons have an ultra-thin profile with great tactility and it still feels satisfying to press.
Moreover, there’s a noise-canceling microphone on top while at the bottom we have the other built-in mic, the 3.5mm headphone jack, and the loudspeaker.
Overall, I really admire the design of the OPPO F5. It would have been better if they used metal instead of plastic, though. But for me, personally, I like my smartphone light and easy to carry.
Another visual highlight of the OPPO F5 is its display. What we’re seeing here is a 6-inch FHD+ IPS display, with a high pixel density of 402. The unusual screen resolution was due to its 18:9 aspect ratio, a display feat that more and more companies are starting to adapt.
The screen delivers a standard performance for an IPS panel. The colors are good with deep blacks and average whites. Saturation is just average so it doesn’t exaggerate nor downgrade the color fidelity.
Watching movies, playing games, or browsing through pictures on social media is good on this screen. Using the OPPO F5 on landscape mode delivers a more immersive experience. Also, reading materials from websites and what not is a joy on this screen as you don’t have to scroll a lot because there’s more content to be seen by default.
Moreover, the screen panel also delivers enough backlighting to make it still usable during broad daylight. Viewing angles are also not the best, but acceptable and more than enough.
Unlike the V7+, the OPPO F5 doesn’t have a dedicated HiFi chip that ensures impressive audio output. But that doesn’t mean that the sound that’s coming out of this device is terrible. In lieu of a hardware chip, the F5 is equipped with a Real Sound Technology which basically works like a native equalizer in the settings menu. It does improve the sound output, but it’s nothing like a built-in DAC.
Plugging in the included earphones delivers decent performance. The treble is acceptable, the bass is present, although they aren’t thumping. The volume is decent for listening in an empty room, although it might not be that audible when traveling or in a noisy environment. I did plug in some decent pair of cans, and unsurprisingly, it sounded way better.
On the other hand, the loudspeaker of the OPPO F5 performed better than the bundled earphones. It has some really loud volume that can fill a small, quiet room. Both the treble and bass are acceptable, although the mids are a bit harsh.
Performance and Hardware
Just this August, MediaTek announced their new midrange SoCs, the Helio P23, and P30. And now, we’re seeing the said Helio P23 chipset on the OPPO F5. This device is rigged with a 2.5GHz octa-core 16nm processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of expandable storage.
The chipset holds up pretty well during my test. The octa-core processor and 4GB of RAM handled almost any app really well. Browsing through the interface, social media apps, and Google Chrome were seamless. Although there were some very occasional stutters, those are to be expected for a midrange smartphone like this.
The OPPO F5’s multitasking capabilities are also impressive. You can switch between apps, from the basic to high-intensive ones, without breaking a sweat. You can also use some of them, side-by-side, with its Split Screen feature.
Moving on, gaming on the OPPO F5 is also satisfying. Besides the immersiveness brought by its display, the processor also assures that it will project games with good frame rates. Playing games like Stacks and Mario Run, up to some graphically intensive ones like UFC and NBA Live are pretty enjoyable without noticeable hiccups.
I did notice some stutters on UFC’s menu screen and home page, but nothing too alarming. And since it runs with an internet connection on, it might just be a latency issue on our network.
MediaTek Helio P23 is also said to be more efficient than its predecessors which contributes to a better battery performance despite the increase in power. MediaTek’s CorePilot 4.0 technology helps a lot because it has Energy Awareness Intelligent Scheduling.
See also: OPPO A71 Review
Thanks to the iPhone X, facial recognition on smartphones are starting to go mainstream. The OPPO F5 has the said security feature, but it doesn’t have the elaborate sensors that the iPhone X has. But still, the feature works surprisingly well.
The OPPO F5 utilizes the 20-megapixel front camera for scanning the face. And despite that, it still worked well. The device instantly scans my facial features, without having to literally put the device straight up on my face. During my testing, it had a 90% success rate of recognizing my face correctly.
The scanning technology also works well in a pitch black room, for as long as the screen is bright enough to act and light up your face.
I also tried showing it a picture of mine, and it intelligently refused to recognize it.
But if you’re the traditional kind, you can opt for the fingerprint scanner at the back. And just like the previous OPPO devices that I have tested, the scanner on this thing is insanely fast. It can instantly unlock the device in a mere 0.2 seconds, even when the screen is off.
But if you cant choose what to use, you can have the facial recognition and fingerprint scanner security features active at the same time.
The OPPO F5 gets to have the company’s new ColorOS 3.2, with Google’s Android 7.1 at its core. The new interface brings new features that will utilize the F5’s characters, plus other subtle changes to mark its newness.
The ColorOS 3.2 still has that iOS look and feel to it, which is now more evident as the Control Center has been separated from the Notification tabs. With this version of ColorOS, you can now have access to quick controls by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen, which is more ergonomic considering the device’s tall display.
It would have been nice to have the volume control slider on the Control Center, but we’re not seeing it here. Although, what we have here is a new feature called OPPO Share, which basically OPPO’s take on Apple’s Airdrop. It lets you send files to any compatible OPPO device 100x faster than Bluetooth (probably via WiFi). The feature also toggles the Bluetooth antenna, so you can still receive files from other Android devices.
Moreover, the OPPO F5’s ColorOS 3.2 also introduces new native apps icons and a “secured” keyboard when typing passwords. Unfortunately, the Split Screen mode only works on most native and Google apps. There’s also a game mode that lets you block distracting notifications to help you focus playing games.
You can also take continuous screenshots, clone apps for easier multi-account management, and have easy access to Night Mode to protect your eyes from extreme blue light exposure.
And since the OPPO F5 belongs to the company’s F-series of smartphones, the device has feature-packed selfie capabilities. OPPO skipped the dual front camera setup and focused on the new technologies working behind the scenes. The OPPO F5 has a 20-megapixel front camera, combined with an AI-powered beauty mode.
Together with MediaTek Helio P23’s Imagiq 2.0 technology, OPPO F5 was equipped with advanced photography features which enabled it to have significantly better imaging prowess when compared to its predecessor.
The Face Beauty mode had been present in previous OPPO smartphones and in other competing midrange devices. However, the company wants to separate the F5 by incorporating AI with it. When the said picture mode is activated, OPPO’s “complex algorithms” analyzes your face, so it can apply the right skin enhancement filters.
What’s more interesting is, it can also alter the contours of your face. And during my tests, the AI Face Beauty does work like what OPPO claims, although it’s still not perfect.
As you can see in the samples below, my face still looks a bit natural — as if no filter was added. That’s when the Face Beauty is in auto mode. But when its set to the highest level, you can already notice that it’s, indeed, just a synthetic effect.
I also noticed that my jaw is slightly more symmetrical. You wouldn’t notice it at first glance, but if you examine the image closely, you’d see the difference from the original.
The front camera of the OPPO F5 also has a Bokeh/Portrait mode. And unlike their previous attempts, it’s slightly better this time for as long as you set it correctly, and give the device a second or two to figure that out, it will result in a more believable effect. Your face will be separated from the background, but still with some minor lapses on sides, especially in the hair area.
But even when the AI Face Beauty is off, the selfie camera works really well. The images taken looks bright, with good colors and contrast, impressive sharpness, and decent dynamic range.
With its wide aperture of f/2.0 and an on-screen flash feature, taking pictures at low-light scenarios are also possible.
We also have the 16-megapixel primary camera at the back. During a bright, sunny day, the sensor can take great pictures. The colors appear natural, contrast is average, and just like most smartphone cameras, the dynamic range is nothing to write home about.
The device also has poor low-light performance. Noise and grains are just everywhere. But depending on your preference, the images taken are still fairly usable.
The OPPO F5 is also guilty of trying to oversharpen the images. It’s barely noticeable if you’re just looking at it on a smartphone. But zooming in on a large monitor shows the muddy evidence of oversharpening.
But overall, I’m pretty satisfied with the camera’s performance.
The OPPO F5 is powered by a 3200mAh battery. It might not be an ideal size to complement its large 6-inch FHD+ screen, but considering the power-efficiency promises of the new MediaTek Helio P23 processor, there’s really not much to worry about.
And during my tests, the battery did deliver impressive performance. In a whole day of casual use — internet browsing through 4G LTE, sending messages and listening to music — I ended up with about 25% to 35% battery juice left before the night comes to a close.
PCMark’s battery tests also garnered an average of 9 hours and 20 minutes of screen-on time before the battery reached 20%. That’s almost 1-hour shy than the V7+’s result. But that’s understandable since it has a slightly bigger battery and a lower resolution.
The OPPO F5 can run on two nano SIM cards. Both of which can support 4G LTE. I haven’t experienced any issues with while browsing the internet via LTE. For as long as there’s 4G reception in the area, the connection was fast and reliable on the device’s part.
With the help of the new MediaTek Helio P23 CPU, the device is capable of going to LTE on both SIM cards instead of a single one like on the previous models.
I also have no complaints when it comes to call quality. I can hear the voice of the person I’m talking to clearly from the earpiece, even when there’s considerable noise in the surroundings. It also appears that the dual microphone setup picked up my voice well as I didn’t encounter any complaints from the other party on the line.
The Bluetooth v4.2 antenna didn’t show any problems connecting to my wireless speaker and headphones as well. There’s no noticeable latency or distortion even from afar. The WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n also connected seamlessly on our wireless network.
The OPPO F5 is a refreshing product from the company, in many different ways. Unlike their previous releases, OPPO got pretty close on getting the right blend on this one. The OPPO F5 offers a pretty compelling and acceptable value for the price, despite falling short on some areas.
The huge 6-inch 18:9 screen with a sharp FHD+ resolution is probably the best display you can get for a midrange device. The freshly baked Helio P23 processor handles every task impressively as well. The Beauty Mode on its 20-megapixel camera turned to be a little less like a gimmick thanks to its AI accomplice. Images taken with AI turned on proved to be a little better as compared to the auto mode.
I also liked the new facial recognition feature. It introduced me to a new way of unlocking my smartphone, effectively. And of course, the impressive battery longevity is the icing on the cake.
However, the OPPO F5 is not without its flaws. For one, the use of plastic is a major turn off. For this price tag, we should already be expecting a top-of-the-line, premium-made smartphone. Also, it would be nice to see OPPO bring importance to their device’s audio capabilities.
Overall, the OPPO F5 is an interesting device. And if you’re shopping in the midrange section, this is one of the few smartphones that you should be looking at.
Pricing and Availability of OPPO F5
The OPPO F5 has a price tag of Php15,990. Those who pre-ordered the device is subject to a free OLike Bluetooth Speaker that’s worth Php2,990.
Alternatively, you can also get the device via Home Credit. It’s available for an 6-months, 0% installment plans. You just have to pay a 20% down payment to get going and pay the rest in monthly.
- Large, sharp display
- Decent performance
- Facial recognition, Face Beauty AI
- Long battery life
- Plastic build
- No dual camera shenanigans