Oppo F5 is the latest in a (fast) growing line of affordable smartphones offering taller, borderless screens, a trend that has broken the design monotony the smartphone industry has been stuck with for the past few years. In fact, Oppo F5 makes use of the new design trend to squeeze a 6-inch screen with FHD+ resolution. And courtesy the 18:9 aspect ratio, the Oppo phone is almost the same size as regular 5.5-inch phones, being taller but not wider. We got to spend some time with this new model prior to its official launch, and here are our Oppo F5 first impressions.As per usual, Oppo opted for sensible packaging on the F5. The phone comes in a plain white, yet sturdy two-piece box. It does feature Oppo logos on a couple of places, but is standard enough to be re-used for various models, keeping costs down. We’ve always been fans of such measures, since, overpaying for presentation does not really make that much sense.The actual phone art and specs overview are printed out on a sleeve that slides on to the box. Inside, we find a standard layered layout. The F5 is seated securely in its own plastic tray, so no complaints there. All of the accessories are underneath and Oppo is pretty generous in this department.
First, the basics – a wall charger and USB cable. The microUSB remains the standard of choice. More disappointingly, though, the Oppo F5 lacks support for the company’s excellent VOOC fast charging technology. Hence, you only get a basic 5V@2A wall charger in the box.
It is hard not to notice the change in materials in the F5, Oppo opted for plastic, instead of the solid metal construction of the F3 pair might have been a necessary cost-saving measure. We can only imagine a new ultra-wide panel costs noticeably more, especially a sharp FullHD one.Frankly, if this is the trade-off Oppo had to make, we won’t complain too much. Even in the absence of metal, the F5 manages to impress with a nicely-curved unibody design and a smooth mat finish – great to the touch and pretty fingerprint-repellent. Plus, like we’ve always said, even in the age of glass and metal, there are still certain benefits to molding a phone from plastic. Dents, for one, are a non-issue. Polycarbonate also keeps the chassis light and accommodates wireless radio transmission nicely.Even with its significantly taller display, the F5 manages to tip the scale at just 152 grams, which is almost exactly what the Oppo F3 weighs. We have to hand it to Oppo for slimming down the bezels and chins of the new design quite a bit. It’s a really impressive look for a mid-ranger and one that results in a very compact 156.5 x 76 x 7.5 mm body on the F5.This makes the additional height of the panel a bonus on top of what is essentially a 5.5-inch, 16:9 device footprint.
Since edge-to-edge displays at an aspect ratio of 18:9 seems to be the thing in smartphones these days, we aren’t surprised that OPPO has followed suit by adapting to the trend. As we mentioned above, the LPTS IPS LCD display measures at 6-inches and has a resolution of 1080 x 2160 or Full HD+. This gives the display great pixel density at 402 pixels per inch. All of those numbers translate into clear, crisp images and is comfortable for prolonged use like if you were going on a Netflix binger with just the right amount of color saturation and contrast as well.
Oppo really did put a lot of effort into crafting an impressive face for the new F5. We can only assume the company’s engineers had plenty of experience refining the design, while also working on the Vivo V7+ and OnePlus 5T. Oppo didn’t skimp on the panel resolution either, going for a fullHD one. But, more on that in the display section. Performance-wise, it has excellent contrast, thanks to really deep backs and trumping most everything else in its price bracket, shy of the Super AMOLED Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro. It scores top marks in brightness as well.There is not much else around the front of the Oppo, besides display. The bottom chin is absolutely empty. Not even a notification LED, hidden away somewhere. On top, there is a single speaker, light and proximity sensors, as well as the now single selfie shooter.Since there wasn’t really any space for Oppo’s typical home button/fingerprint reader combo, the F5 relies entirely on on-screen navigation. As for the biometric reader, it is moved to the back of the phone. Center-mounted and slightly elongated.The reader is blazing-fast and very accurate. It is a perfectly reliable backup option if the trendy face recognition should fail for some reason.
The back is pretty empty as well. We can get behind the shiny silver logo. The legal notice on the bottom – not so much. The 16MP main camera has a sizeable bump to it. It’s not ideal, but the right case can smooth that out nicely. Plus, the F5’s finish isn’t particularly grippy, which is another reason to consider a case.Slowly moving to the side bezels, we can’t help but address the “antenna lines” stretching near the top and bottom of the phone. The quotes are no coincidence. These are merely accents since the plastic build of the F5 requires no such expensive measures to accommodate radio communication.
The top bezel of the Oppo F5 is completely empty, except for a tiny hole to house the noise-canceling microphone. The opposite side is quite a bit busier. The phone’s sole speaker is positioned here. So is the micro USB port. We are also happy to see that no courageous decisions were made and the Oppo F5 still has a 3.5mm audio jack.Nothing special on the left of the F5, just a lonely volume rocker. Just like the rest of the body, it appears to be plastic as well.On the right – the power button, positioned quite conveniently. Next to it is a SIM and SD card tray and a pretty impressive one at that. It has three separate slots, so you don’t have to choose between a second nano-SIM or a micro SD. The new MediaTek Helio P23 even has the ability to run both SIMs at 4G, LTE speeds.
The Oppo F5 packs a decently sized 3,200 mAh battery, just like its F3 predecessor. It is not a battery beast, by any means, but to reiterate a previous point, the new plastic body has allowed Oppo to keep weight down at 152 grams, even with the same battery capacity and a larger display.Also, we went into the battery test segment with high hopes for any potential endurance improvements by the new MediaTek Helio P23 chip. Still, we can’t realistically expect an amazing difference over the Helio P20, since both are based on the same 16nm TSMC fabrication process.As expected, the numbers show the new Helio P23 is just as frugal as its older sibling when it comes to battery life. It scored a great endurance rating of 91 hours, with good scores across the board. Well, video playback could use use some extra optimization. But other than that, a very good score.
Oppo ColorOS 3.2
The Oppo F5 runs ColorOS 3.2, based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Oppo’s own UI team has never really been subtle about its aspirations and “creative inspiration” in the face of Apple and iOS. A little while back ColorOS 3.1 really took this to almost lawsuit-worthy levels and things are no different with the fresh new 3.2 release.To be fair though, styling aside, Oppo has been introducing interesting new features in its ROM, like WeChat payments via fingerprints, a dedicated night mode, and more refined UX. The level of customization runs deep within the ROM, making it far off from the standard Google-developed mobile experience. Units sold outside of China still come with the full Google suite, which has resulted in having a few apps with similar functionality – one by Oppo, and another one by Google.
Once you set up the fingerprint reader, you might not be seeing much of the lock screen anyway. Unlike some previous Oppo implementations, this time the back-mounted reader is always on.It is also blazing fast and very reliable. It can secure more than the lockscreen – the phone can encrypt individual files or even whole apps, and make them accessible only with the correct fingerprint (or a Pattern lock as a fallback)
ColorOS is pretty big on the management side of things as a whole. Besides notifications, you can also manage some interesting permissions, like which apps get to spawn floating windows and paint over the rest of the UI.There is also a clone apps feature, but only a handful of messengers are supported. The same goes for game acceleration, which detects what it deems as games on its own, with no possible way for external control.
The Oppo F5 is the first phone to come through the office, equipped with MediaTek’s new MT6763T Helio P23 chipset. Back in the communication section of the review, we established the main goal with the P23 was to provide advanced network features for a mass market, rather than any meaningful performance bump over the older Helio P20
Since both chips are based on the same 16nm manufacturing process and use a total of eight Cortex-A53 cores (4 @ 2.3GHz and 4 @ 1.6GHz), this should definitely be true for CPU performance. We are sure that most if not all synthetic tests would gladly back us up on this claim, but the Oppo F5 refused to run GeekBench at all.All things considered, the Oppo F5 and its shiny new Helio P23 chipset have more than enough power to chew through average daily tasks without even breaking a sweat. The ColorOS UI runs smooth and there are no noticeable hiccups in gaming performance either.Just like all recent ultra-wide devices on the market, though, you do have to be mindful of app behaviour and adjust the aspect settings accordingly.