It's not the fastest budget handset, but the Oppo AX7 impresses with camera quality and especially great battery life.
Battery lasts for ages.
Decent dual lens camera.
Teardrop notch design.
Very slow to charge.
Not particularly quick.
ColorOS can be annoying.
Oppo spent the latter part of 2018 dabbling in the higher end of the smartphone market, first with the interesting (but not quite compelling) Oppo Find X and then the much more interesting Oppo R17 Pro.
Still, it's a company built on the promise of delivering more phone for less money, which means it's traditionally offered more handsets in the budget and mid-price range. That's precisely what you get with its first phone in the Australian market in 2019, the Oppo AX7.
Glaring Gold or Glaze Blue finishes look nice.
Teardrop notch, but you can't obscure it.
Fingerprint sensor placed high on the body.
Oppo's design language has evolved over time, shifting from the model that a lot of Chinese OEMs used to adopt where everything looked as much like an iPhone as possible into its own unique style.
The Oppo AX7 definitely has a taste of the design we saw in the Oppo R17 Pro, with a "teardrop" style front notch on the 6.2 inch 720 x 1520 pixel LCD display, and a choice of two finishes. Oppo advises that not all vendors will offer both the Glaring Gold and Glaze Blue finishes. I tested with the Glaze Blue finish model supplied by Oppo.
I'm rather fond of blue phones as a tone choice generally, and the Oppo AX7 doesn't disappoint, with a subtle lined effect running down the rear of the case. The edges are a lot less reflective, and also a lot less prone to fingerprint smudging if that kind of issue bothers you.
Notches are a divisive design element on handsets, seemingly looking to be replaced in 2019 with the equally controversial punch hole design for cameras. In the case of the Oppo AX7, you're faced with a teardrop notch, but unusually there doesn't seem to be any way to obscure it at all.
Most Android devices with notches will allow you to black out the top section of the screen around the notch if you don't like the look, or don't want it intruding on apps, but there's no such function for the Oppo AX7. Some apps, such as the bundled Opera browser will do it automatically, but there's no quick setting if you never want to see it at all.
The Oppo AX7 unlocks via a fingerprint sensor located relatively high up on the back of the phone body. It's quick enough, but it did take me some time to get used to where it was before I could confidently pick it up and unlock with one smooth motion.
Dual rear lenses.
Front facing wide angle lens.
Overall pleasing performance for its price.
Oppo pitches itself as the "camera phone" company, and that's a commitment that doesn't simply extend to its premium phone lines. The Oppo AX7 has dual rear 13MP f/2.2 and 2MP f/2.4 lenses. Like many in this category, that secondary lens isn't one you use directly. Instead, it's used for portrait shots to add a level of bokeh to your photos. You're not constrained to just taking shots of actual people either, although the bokeh results on still objects can be quite variable in real world usage.
Oppo's camera app is an almost direct copy of the iOS camera app, which means it's very easy to use, but it's not exactly feature rich. If you're the tinkering type, you may find the lack of customisation a problem. Conversely if all you do is point and shoot, it'll be just fine. It's not extremely fast to focus, and switching between camera modes is likewise a little slow. Low light performance isn't exceptional, but again that's exactly what you'd expect for a camera in this price range.
Around the front, Oppo has a 16MP f/2.0 lens, which is quite decent for a phone at this price. It's also a wide angle lens, which means it's suitable for group selfies if that's to your style.
Oppo equips the front lens with an AI-led "beauty" mode that does a predictable job of smoothing out skin imperfections. So as an example, here's what I look like with only my own innate beauty on show:
And here's me taking it way too far, looking like a shop mannequin. The choice is yours.
Overall, the Oppo AX7's camera is fine, but not exceptional for a camera in this price range. Push it to work fast, or give it poor lighting and you'll get poor results, but for most point and shoot users it'll be entirely adequate.
Oppo AX7 sample photos
Snapdragon 450 isn't exactly fast.
ColorOS remains clunky in places.
ColorOS still gives an iPhone feel.
The beating heart of the Oppo AX7 is a Snapdragon 450 processor, paired up with 4GB of RAM. That's appropriate for its price point, but it's not a combination that makes the Oppo AX7 notably quick, even for a mid-to-budget priced handset.
That's very much reflected in the Oppo AX7's benchmark results, where it struggles even to keep up with similarly priced handsets in Geekbench 4's CPU test:
3D performance is rarely a high point for low-cost phones, and again the Oppo AX7 is no powerhouse. Here's how it compares using 3DMark's Slingshot Extreme test:
Benchmarks don't always tell the whole story, but here they're quite a good indication of the kind of experience you'll get out of the Oppo AX7. It simply isn't a nimble device, even within its category and especially for any kind of power-hungry app or game.
The Oppo AX7 runs on Android 8.1, but as is common across Oppo's entire range, it's using Oppo's own "ColorOS" launcher on top. ColorOS is super-colourful to a level that's almost painfully saturated, and it's a real holdover from when Oppo's phones were virtual iPhone clones.
It works, mostly, but it's a somewhat clunky approach that does away with the app drawer and sometimes has pop-ups that feel a little invasive, especially if you consider Oppo's Chinese roots. To be fair, they're warning you about access via Oppo's apps to specific private data. Still it always leaves me wondering why simple apps like the clock need this kind of access in the first place.
The Oppo AX7 as tested was a dual SIM model, and unusually it offers dual SIM plus a separate microSD expansion slot. It's not clear if the Optus-supplied variant will be dual-SIM capable, but the smart money says it won't be.
4230mAh battery gives superb endurance.
Very slow to charge back up.
At its price point, Oppo could be forgiven for offering up a battery with around 2,500-3,000mAh. After all, that's what much of its competition does.
Instead, Oppo went all out with the Oppo AX7, stuffing an impressive 4,230mAh of battery capacity into its frame. That's a lot of battery for a low-end phone, and it equates out to a lot of battery life. Here's how it compares using Geekbench 4's battery test against a range of other mid-price handsets. Pay particular attention to the battery time in minutes for the Oppo AX7:
It is worth noting that for its impressive battery time, the Oppo AX7's actual battery score isn't that high compared to many premium handsets. That indicates that it's not working quite as hard as they are, but again that's a function of that lower power processor.
The practical takeaway here is that while the Oppo AX7 isn't a fast phone, it's one that will last the distance, and then some if you're away from a charger for any length of time.
It turns out that's a good state of affairs, because the Oppo AX7's impressive battery charges exceptionally slowly. Oppo has its own fast charging standard, called VOOC, but the Oppo AX7 isn't VOOC-compatible. As such, there's no fast charging for the Oppo AX7, and if you do let it run down too much, it will take you considerable time to get it back up to 100%. Your best bet here is to remember to charge it overnight.
A great value, high battery capacity phone.
The mid-range mobile market is awash with choices to make, and it's an area where Oppo has had significant successes in the past. The Oppo AX7 won't wow you with particularly great application performance, but it gets the essentials right while running all day and night, and for most folks well into the next day as well.
That superb battery life is undeniably its best feature, so if you're after a phone in this price bracket and you suffer from the mobile equivalent of range anxiety, it's highly recommended.
Pricing and availability
Stylish and affordable
The Oppo AX7 provides great battery endurance in a stylish phone body.
The Oppo AX7 retails for $319 as a prepaid handset in Australia through Optus.
The Oppo AX7 will also retail directly through The Good Guys, JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks, Woolworths, Mobileciti, Telechoice and Yes Distribution, but it launched first through Optus.
You're spoilt for choice when it comes to phones in this price bracket, although none of them do come close to the Oppo AX7's remarkable battery stamina. If ColorOS isn't your style, you could consider the Motorola Moto G6 or Motorola Moto G6 Plus.
Motorola Moto G6
Motorola's Moto 6
The Motorola Moto G6 offers good value for mid-range phone buyers on a budget.
Alex Kidman is the tech and telco editor at Finder. He's been a technology writer with experience spanning more than 20 years, writing and editing at Gizmodo, CNET, PC Magazine, Kotaku and many more. Alex has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New England and a serious passion for retro gaming.
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