OPPO has been pushing boundaries in the midrange game for the past couple of years. They managed to get and dominate their own niche in the selfie department, with a barrage of marketing campaigns to back it up.
Filipinos from every corner of the Philippines probably know OPPO — or at least heard of it once. The company’s advertising ventures proved to be successful, as they are now the number 3 smartphone brand in the country.
The latest challenge for the Chinese electronics giant is the heated competition in the midrange smartphone battlefield. Xiaomi’s arrival in the Philippines shocked everyone, and their well-equipped handsets are shaking the entire smartphone landscape.
Now more than ever, consumers are looking at the hardware setup of other international brands like OPPO, Vivo, Huawei, and Samsung. Perhaps this is the Xiaomi effect, which smartphone manufacturers should attend to if they don’t want to lose market share.
The OPPO F7 is the company’s newest top of the line smartphone. It’s got everything its predecessor has, with the addition of innovative features and performance optimizations. But along with the slew of improvements is the increase in price. Unlike the F5, it’s marginally more expensive at Php17,990. Does the new design and better hardware deserve the Php2,000 price bump? That’s what we’re about to find out in our OPPO F7 review.
OPPO F7 Specs
- Android 8.1 Oreo, ColorOS 5.0
- Dual SIM, Dual Standby
- 6.23-inch Full HD+ LTPS IPS Corning Gorilla Glass 5 display, 2280 x 1080 pixel resolution, ~403ppi
- 2GHz MediaTek Helio P60 octa-core processor
- Mali-G72 MP3 GPU
- 4GB / 6GB RAM
- 64GB / 128GB internal storage, expandable up to 256GB using microSD
- 16-megapixel rear camera, f/1.8 aperture, LED flash
- 25-megapixel front camera with f/2.0 aperture, AI
- WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, WiFi hotspot
- HSPA+, 4G LTE
- Bluetooth 4.2
- GPS, A-GPS
- Fingerprint scanner
- Dimensions: 156 x 75.3 x 7.8mm
- Weight: 158g
- Colors: Moonlight Silver, Solar Red, Diamond Black
- 3,400mAh battery
OPPO has completely moved away from the previous designs of its smartphones. The iPhone-like rear panel has been replaced with a glass-y back plate, which upon further checking, is actually plastic. Instead of copying the back of the iPhone X, the company has opted for the screen notch in front.
We at NoypiGeeks are not fans of the display notch trend, but as an iPhone X user myself, I don’t really mind it at all. It’s there, but it’s not really distracting as much as others say so. The good news here is that the OPPO F7 actually has an option to toggle it on and off, in rare cases that applications don’t work as they should.
Sometimes there are texts or icons on the status bar that gets cut off, but it’s nothing really big to even notice. A lot of apps actually don’t support tall 19:9 aspect ratios just yet, but the F7 can transform it into full-screen mode with a click of a button by slightly stretching it from its native resolution.
The new color options are a welcome change, as they provide more uniqueness to the product. Gone are the days of the old Black and Gold variants. Now, there’s Solar Red, Moonlight Silver, and Diamond Black — all available in 4GB models. The 6GB variant is available in either Diamond Black or Solar Red.
With the help of the screen notch, OPPO was able to increase the screen-to-body ratio of the F7 to a staggering 82.62% — an all-time high for any OPPO smartphone. There’s also no logo on the bottom which leaves more space for the screen itself. Protecting the display from scratches is a Corning Gorilla Glass 5.
Now for those who are saying that they should’ve skipped the notch, there’s an explanation behind it. The notch actually has a purpose, because it’s the one which holds the front-facing camera and sensors in front. So yes, for now, we need the notch if we want to maximize the space until engineers develop a way to hide them underneath the screen.
At the back, there’s a single 16-megapixel rear camera supported by an LED flash. The fingerprint scanner has been kept as well, to let the consumers make the choice which security feature they’d like to use. Personally, I prefer the accuracy and convenience of using the fingerprint sensor over the face unlock, so this is a huge plus for me.
The design of the OPPO F7 is a little more edgy on the sides, instead of the rounded edges on the previous generation. Putting them side-by-side also reveals the drastic change in design, as they don’t look identical to each other like the F5 and F3.
While we’re impressed with the improvements in design, it comes with its own issues. Perhaps I’m just nitpicking, but it’s worth noting that the OPPO F7 is a fingerprint magnet. Those who have sweaty hands would definitely put a lot of smudges all over it. In any case, wiping it with a cloth from time to time would be enough to clean it.
Overall, I believe that this is a step in the right direction. OPPO has remained stagnant in the design department from the F1s up to the F5, so it’s really refreshing to see them evolve in this division.
Because of the extremely thin bezels, OPPO was able to fill in more screen than usual. For comparison, the OPPO F5 (~78.1% screen-to-body ratio) is almost exactly the same size as the OPPO F7, but the latter has a bigger 6.23-inch display. The resolution is 2280 x 1080 pixels, which puts it lower to the F5 in terms of pixel density. The colors are punchy and accurate based on my standards, however, I would still pick an AMOLED screen over this one any day of the week. My only gripe with this phone is the extra bezel at the bottom which prevented the screen to stretch all the way down.
Moving to the hardware, we can definitely say that the OPPO F7 blows every other F-series smartphone out of the water by a huge margin. MediaTek’s new Helio P60 chipset is actually very powerful, as evidenced by incredibly high benchmark scores and impressive real-world performance.
OPPO retained the 4GB RAM and 64GB storage combination, and we’re glad they did. Even with the fast phase development in technology, we don’t really see any significant reason to crave for a memory bump. We could always use extra storage for more photos, videos, and music, but that can be easily fixed with the use of a microSD card. Anything more than 64GB would definitely be more expensive, so we’d rather have the choice of adding more storage as needed.
Playing games on the OPPO F7 is really enjoyable thanks to its large 6.23-inch screen. However, there are cases where we experienced bugs with regards to the compatibility with the display notch which resulted in game controls being cut out of the screen.
We immediately downloaded and installed PUBG Mobile to test it when we received our OPPO F7 review unit. Frame rates are consistent and the experience was really smooth from start to finish. NBA2K18 also ran well with no noticeable performance hiccups during our time with it. Other games we tried on the OPPO F7 include Mobile Legends, Rules of Survival, Clash of Clans, and Arena of Valor.
What I like most about gaming with the OPPO F7 is the dedicated game acceleration feature which improves its gaming prowess by optimizing system resources and restricting network access to other apps during gameplay. A ‘Do not disturb’ option is also available for those who want to concentrate on competing in games without unnecessary disruption from notifications.
To get a perspective of how the OPPO F7 performs, we ran popular benchmark apps like AnTuTu, GeekBench 4, 3DMark, and PCMark. We first tested AnTuTu and we got a score of 137,999. On the other hand, GeekBench 4 gave us 1,328 for the single-core, while multi-core resulted to 4,766 points for CPU. For GPU, the F7 scored 4,307 points. In 3DMark, we got 1,086 for the Sling Shot Extreme OpenGL ES 3.1 test, while Vulkan resulted to 934. Lastly, PCMark’s Work 2.0 performance score is 7,374.
When people ask us about the weakness of OPPO, the first thing that comes to our mind is software. That’s primarily because they are not really well-known for providing major software updates for their smartphones. But in reality, that’s pretty much every other smartphone manufacturer in the same price range. What the company often give is security patches, which we appreciate a lot. In fact, during our review period, we got one over-the-air (OTA) security upgrade. As long as the security is up to date, we couldn’t care less about any new Android feature.
The OPPO F7 runs on the latest Android 8.1 Oreo operating system, a huge jump from the 7.1 Nougat of the F5. The same goes for its ColorOS skin, up from version 3.2. There are a lot of subtle changes in ColorOS 5.0. Consumers who already owned any recent OPPO smartphone would immediately notice that the Quick settings has finally returned to where it belongs — in the notification shade. The Chinese smartphone manufacturer tried to copy the iPhone X’s implementation of the quick settings with the use of a single swipe up from the bottom of the screen on the F5, but it seems like it did not work for them.
Nonetheless, the overall feel of ColorOS is still the same as before, sporting iOS-like icons and familiar color combinations inspired by Apple. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s one of the few OEM skins that I can live with as there’s not much bloatware out of the box. Some of the additions by OPPO are actually useful. The OPPO secure keyboard is kinda nice, although I don’t trust it completely. Anyway, it’s enough to give a confidence boost when typing passwords in websites and apps.
ColorOS also debuts several multitasking features that come with the display notch. Flipping the phone to landscape mode reveals three (3) small icons on the side which lets the user to the following: do screen recording, take a screenshot, and block banner notifications.
My favorite feature of OPPO F7’s ColorOS 5.0 is ‘Clone app’. As the name suggests, it clones an app and creates a duplicate standalone copy on the home screen. Together with the original app, it can run side-by-side simulating two instances. For example, duplicating the Instagram app results to two independent Instagram apps. This means that you can use two accounts simultaneously, without needing through the hassle of moving from one another.
During the launch, OPPO also mentioned that they now have a deeper integration of Google Assistant. Swiping to the left from the home screen reveals the quick functions including the location and weather card, step tracker, calendar events, and favorite contacts. In case you don’t want something appearing on the home screen, users can easily choose which card to remove from settings menu.
Those who use mobile data for internet access would be happy to know that the OPPO F7 has a built-in feature to help manage data allocation. It can be set to do a pop-up notification and access cut off whenever it reaches a certain amount (default is 200MB), so the user is constantly reminded on how much data he/she has left. While it is a nice feature to have, take note that you have to manually turn it off in case you need to consume huge amounts of data or else the connection will be cut in between thresholds.
The cameras of the OPPO F7 are one of the major recipients of the improvements. But are we really surprised? After all, the #SelfieExpert tagline should easily give away that they are focused on the front camera.
Aside from the typical AI Beauty mode, OPPO also added several key features in the camera software, specifically the Super Vivid mode and stickers. Those who want saturated and punchy colors would definitely love the Vivid feature as it enhances the images incredibly well.
OPPO F7’s rear camera is a 16-megapixel sensor which is unsurprisingly smaller compared to the front camera. But that’s not to say that it’s less capable than the latter. In fact, it gets good results with decent contrast and fairly accurate colors during good lighting conditions.
When there’s not much light, the OPPO F7’s camera struggles a bit but it can get good results with some adjustments in the settings. In addition, for advanced photographers, there’s manual mode to tinker with the settings one by one. Exposure value, white balance, ISO, and shutter speed can all be adjusted according to the users’ liking. Check out some of our sample photos from the primary camera of OPPO F7.
The OPPO F7 Beauty mode has considerably improved especially the AI feature. There are 6 Beauty levels, ranging from 1 to 6. A subtle skin softening which is barely noticeable is achieved using level 1. Increasing it one step at a time should give more improvements in the face of the subject, removing blemishes, pimples, and rashes. When you reach level 6, the selfies would become undeniably enhanced, which is never a good thing. Personally, I always depend on the AI-assisted Beauty mode as I find it clever enough to adjust the settings, even in different lighting scenarios.
AI stickers of the OPPO F7 are basically a built-in version of the Snapchat and Instagram filters that puts animated objects on top of the subjects face. There are several items available and more can be downloaded online in the future as OPPO rolls out more styles. The feature supports more than one face, as it can intelligently detect two faces at the same time. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in videos like in Samsung smartphones.
Dual SIM capability is one of the primary requirements in budget and midrange smartphones today. Thankfully, the company decided not to go with a hybrid slot on the OPPO F7. Instead, there are two nano-SIM card slots and another dedicated one for the microSD storage expansion. We tried using both and we didn’t have any problems regarding cellular reception and memory expansion.
When we talk about connectivity, OPPO smartphones are normally complete with all the basic necessities. One thing that’s missing is NFC, but most people don’t really use it so we bet it won’t make much difference.
LTE connection is often on par with my iPhone, so it goes without saying that it is indeed fast. Not only that, the LTE also works on both SIM 1 and SIM 2, unlike other handsets which only support it on only one SIM. The OPPO F7 Bluetooth connectivity is also on point, as it doesn’t have any problems connecting to my wireless speakers and headphones. I also tried pairing it with a Mi Band and it worked flawlessly as well. The GPS is fairly accurate and I encountered no issues when using it for navigation purposes.
OPPO F7’s battery life is neither amazing nor bad. It’s quite good, probably at the same level or slightly better than most midrange smartphones today. There are times when I used it as mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, and it lasted around 8 hours before reaching critical battery status.
There’s a Power Saving mode available which helps preserve battery in times of need. Basically, what it does is to pause the auto-sync function of apps, turn off the vibrations, and reduce the screen brightness of the OPPO F7.
If you want to go the extra mile, the Energy Saver feature can help conserve battery by going to specific apps and enabling the optimizations. There are options like background freeze which suspends the apps running in the background, and doze which prevents apps from consuming data and performing other actions when the screen is off. Lastly, there’s the abnormal apps optimization which kills the processes run by apps behaving strangely to prevent unnecessary battery drain.
Typically smartphone usage consisting of surfing the web, wasting time on social media, taking photos, playing games, and occasional calls lasted me for a whole day. I usually check the screen-on time to gauge how good the battery life of a phone is, but since it’s not available on ColorOS, we have to depend on PCMark’s battery test as a reference. For that test, we got a score of 11 hours and 7 minutes — pretty impressive for its capacity.
Unfortunately, there’s still no fast-charging technology embedded within OPPO latest high-end smartphone. No USB Type-C either, as they settled with the old microUSB standard. Charging is rather long, taking up to 2 hours to fill up the battery from 0% to 100%.
In conclusion, the OPPO F7 is an excellent midrange smartphone as it improved upon the solid foundations laid on the F5. While magnificent selfies are definitely the selling point of this handset, it also performs great in everyday smartphone usage, playing games, and everything in between.
The performance jump was quite substantial, thanks to the faster and more efficient MediaTek Helio P60 processor. For comparison, AnTuTu gave the OPPO F5 a score of ~65,000 points, while the OPPO F7 got 137,999. This means that it’s theoretically twice as fast as its predecessor, a noteworthy bump considering they are only one generation away from each other.
Of course, while I do like most of what the OPPO F7 has to offer, I still have reservations. First, I didn’t like that it doesn’t have an LED indicator for notifications. There’s actually an alternative which turns on the screen for alerts, but it drains more battery than just a simple light so I wish they went with that instead. Next, I hate that they didn’t go with USB Type-C. I know that the microUSB standard is still the most commonly used today, but embracing the future is the way to go forward. Lastly, the lack of OIS and video stabilization is quite disappointing. Even though the OPPO F7 takes good pictures, it could have been better if the video performance went along with it. It’s decent, but sometimes the videos appear shaky especially if the user is in motion.
Overall, I honestly think that OPPO has outdone themselves. The design of the OPPO F7 is refreshing, as it’s a completely new form away from the generic iPhone look that they used over and over again in the past. It’s also speedy in its own right, although there are rare cases where it experiences some hiccups. But as they say, nothing’s perfect, and the same goes for smartphones.
The OPPO F7 is now available in the Philippines with a price of Php17,990 for the base 4GB / 64GB model. Meanwhile, the OPPO F7 6GB + 128GB variant costs Php21,990. Customers can visit OPPO stores, kiosks, and authorized dealers nationwide to test it out. For those who don’t have the capability to pay in cash, the OPPO F7 is also offered in 0% installment plans via Home Credit.
- New design and solid build quality
- Large screen, small body
- Good rear and selfie cameras
- Decent real-world performance
- Updated Android software
- Fingerprint magnet
- No USB Type-C
- No image and video stabilization
- Slightly expensive