Oppo R7s Review: An affordable mid-range Android
The R7s isn’t an absolute top-tier smartphone, but it’s well-suited to its price bracket.
Oppo’s market position is legendary; it makes smartphones for the budget and mid-range sector with a strong accent on style and a particular focus on delivering its own vision of Android via its Color OS rewrite of Google’s operating system.
The Oppo R7s is, in essence, the bigger brother version of the existing Oppo R7. Here is how the two phones compare at a specifications level.
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|Processor||Qualcomm MSM8939b Snapdragon 615 Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & quad-core 1.0 GHz Cortex-A53||Qualcomm MSM8939 Snapdragon 615 Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & quad-core 1.0 GHz Cortex-A53|
Upsides: Why you’d want the Oppo R7s
- Strong style elements: The R7s has a solid metal unibody design that’s undeniably derivative of design elements beloved by designers at both Samsung and Apple. Imitation may be flattering or not, but the end result is a phone that looks a lot better than many mid-priced handsets.
- Fast charging: The R7s uses Oppo’s proprietary VOOC charging system to quickly recharge its 2320mAh battery, so even if you’re the forgetful charging type, you can quickly regain a lot of battery life.
Excellent battery life: The Oppo R7s is a solid battery performer in day to day use, and when we put it to the task with Geekbench 3’s simulated battery test, we were pleasantly surprised with the results given its price point.
|Handset||Geekbench 3 battery test duration||Geekbench 3 battery score|
|Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+||8:24:10||5041|
|Apple iPhone 6S Plus||7:48:10||4681|
|Google Nexus 5X||7:14:20||4062|
|Samsung Galaxy S6||6:51:30||4115|
|Google Nexus 6P||6:39:20||3754|
|Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3||5:42:00||2276|
|Sony Xperia Z5||5:41:30||3414|
|Huawei P8 Lite||4:39:40||2768|
|Apple iPhone 6s||3:52:10||2321|
- It is worth noting that while the Oppo R7s battery lasted a very respectable seven hours in the Geekbench test, its battery score was substantially lower than that of competing handset with the same kind of times. This indicates that while it lasted well, it did fewer work cycles while running, which you’d expect for a mid-range performer.
- Respectable camera: Like every manufacturer, Oppo talks up the R7s’ camera as being the next great big thing. It isn’t, especially (and predictably) in low light, but in decent conditions it delivers bright and snappy shots which again is what you’d expect from a mid-range phone in 2016. It also offers a range of custom modes, including the inevitable "Beauty" mode which can, if abused, makes you look like the world's worst cosmetic surgery victim.
Downsides: Why you might not want the Oppo R7s
Middling performance: The Oppo R7s is one of a rare breed of smartphones that ships with 4GB of RAM, but you wouldn’t know it to look at its performance results.
Handset Geekbench 3 single core (higher is better) Geekbench 3 multi-core (higher is better) Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ 1492 4893 Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge 1324 4626 Google Nexus 6P 1251 4597 Samsung Galaxy S6 1347 4569 Apple iPhone 6S 2540 4410 Apple iPhone 6S Plus 2491 4391 Sony Xperia Z5 1358 4134 LG G4 1190 3313 Google Nexus 5X 1188 3198 Oppo R7s 696 2980 Huawei P8 Lite 582 2612 Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3 655 2461
Benchmarks aren’t everything, and it’s a testament to what you can get in a mid-range phone in 2016 that the Oppo R7s is still a reasonable performer in real world usage, but not an exceptional one.
- Not quite an "Android" experience: Oppo radically re-skins its phones with what it calls "Color OS". It’s more of an iOS-style experience than an Android one, complete with no app drawer, which could be jarring if you’re an Android fan. There are many customisable skins available – many of which dance merrily on copyright’s grave – but the overall aesthetic of many of them is quite jarring unless you really like bright clashing colours. The use of Color OS also means that unless you’re willing to jailbreak you’re very much at Oppo’s mercy when it comes to Android system updates, which could have security implications.
- Dual SIM or microSD – but not both: The Oppo R7s sells itself as having microSD expansion possibilities, and it does. Equally, it’s a Dual SIM phone if that suits your needs. The problem is that it can’t be both, because the Dual SIM tray is also the microSD card slot tray. You have to pick between functions, so if you want extra storage, it’s only a single SIM device.
- Supplied charger doesn’t like other Android devices: Oppo’s VOOC charger is great for charging up the Oppo R7s, and if you use another phone’s charger, it’ll charge the R7s much more slowly. However, the supplied charger didn’t much like our other Android phones during testing, refusing to supply any juice to a procession of Samsung, Sony and LG phones. It’s not an earth-shattering flaw, but it is annoying if you have multiple devices to charge at once.
- Poor speaker placement: The Oppo R7s' speaker is placed at the bottom of the phone in a position that means if you're holding the phone in landscape orientation to watch a video or play a game, it's inevitable you're going to cover it with your finger, muffling the sound output considerably.
Who is it best suited for? What are my other options?
Given Color OS’ iOS style and the R7s’ general iPhone-imitation style, like much of the rest of Oppo’s range it’s clear to see that the R7s would make a good gateway smartphone between the iOS and Android worlds. Conversely, if you’re already fluent in Android conventions, it might be a little jarring to use day to day.
The mid-range Android space is awash with all sorts of choices that could entice you, not to mention cheaper fare such as the Huawei P8 Lite or Alcatel One Touch Idol 3. Equally, any of 2014 (and some of 2015’s) premium devices in the Android space can often be purchased at these kinds of price points.
Where can I get it?
Oppo sells the R7s for $529 through Dick Smith stores and via its own web site.