Oppo R7

Style, power and improvements galore

Oppo R7 in the hand
Oppo R7 in the hand

The Oppo R7 improves upon its predecessor in almost every way, bringing impressive performance, premium design and innovative features into the mid-range smartphone market.

We liked

With its attractive full-metal unibody design and flagship-level build quality, the Oppo R7 is one of the most premium mid-rangers currently available. The 5-inch form factor, chamfered frame and smooth rear combine to produce a great in-hand feel, and the inclusion of 2.5D glass around the front is also a classy touch.

Beneath that futuristic glass is a bright 5-inch AMOLED display, which delivers vibrant colours and insanely wide viewing angles. Consuming media on the R7 is a real treat, and the power-saving nature of the panel helps to maximise battery life.

Day-to-day performance is also superb, thanks to optimised software and powerful internals. Navigating through the Colour OS UI is super-smooth, and even graphically intensive gaming fails to bog the R7 down.

Although battery life is far from terrible, heavy users will greatly appreciate the R7's VOOC flash-charging feature. Being able to charge from empty to over 70% in just 30 minutes is pretty mind-boggling, and potentially negates the need to carry around a hefty power bank.

We disliked

Dual-SIM 4G LTE is without doubt one of the R7's more notable features, one that is extremely convenient for frequent travellers and business people. However, the absence of band 20 LTE will be a real shocker for many people residing in the UK. If you're on O2, giffgaff or Tesco Mobile you won't be able to receive any 4G signal, and that's a potential deal-breaker.

Color OS won't appeal to everyone, and the lack of an app drawer will deter many an Android purist. Surprisingly the software running on the R7 is based on the a dated version of Android, 4.4.4 KitKat, rather than the latest 5.1 Lollipop found on the R7 Plus. Considering the potential performance upgrades that Lollipop could bring, it's disappointing not to see the latest software on a recently launched device.

Despite the impressive camera app and ISOCELL technology, the R7's 13MP rear shooter produces average results when you're not using the 'Ultra HD' mode. Images tend to appear under-saturated, and the camera struggles with exposure in bright conditions. It's far from the worst camera on a mid-range smartphone, but it should still be performing a little better.

Final verdict

With the R7, Oppo has achieved its goal of producing a powerful yet affordable smartphone that features a premium all-metal unibody construction.

Bucking the trend somewhat, the R7 has attracted no price markup outside of China, making it an absolute steal.

In terms of functionality it offers far more than last year's R5, without most of the compromises. It may not possess the immediate wow factor of its predecessor and the N3, or the sheer power of the Honor 6, but it's still a fantastic all-round performer.

If you're looking a premium-feeling, stylish and powerful handset that won't break the bank, then the Oppo R7 may well be the one for you.