Oppo has been in the Indian market for over a year now, and has released a range of phones across budgets. Oppo has tried its hand at coming out with phones which have one special feature which makes them stand out – be it the rotating camera on the Oppo N1 or the Quad HD display on the Oppo Find 7. Last October, Oppo announced two new phones at an event in Singapore – the Oppo N3 and the Oppo R5. While the former is yet to come to Indian shores, the Oppo R5 has started selling here. The claim to fame for the R5 had been the ‘Slimmest phone’ tag, which has since been captured by Vivo X5 Max. So does the Oppo R5 delivers the goods while being a thin phone? We shall find out soon.
Build and Design: 8.5/10
Oppo impresses here. Thanks to the slim size, the steel frame with chamfered edges, the aluminum back, the R5 feels quite good in the hand. It looks like quite a premium device. At 4.85mm, this is the slimmest phone we have tested so far, after the Gionee Elife S5.5 which was 5.5mm thick. The slim form factor has a price to pay – the phone lacks a 3.5mm audio jack and the rear camera protrudes out slightly from the rear side. Due to this whenever you place the Oppo R5 on a flat surface, it will rest on the camera on the top.
The rear side of the phone has a gray-coloured matte finish on the metallic body. That helps in giving a good grip. Oppo has also bundled a translucent phone cover which looks good on the phone as well. The steel edges of the phone are flat and volume rocker and power buttons are located on the right hand side, whereas a microSIM card slot is present on the left edge at the bottom. You will notice antenna cut-outs around the top and bottom edge, a feature that has been seen in many phones in the past now. The camera is located on the right hand side, on the rear along side which you have the LED flash unit. Oppo branding is emblazoned towards the lower side.
The front portion of the R5 comprises the 5.2-inch display with thin bezels on the side, but the top and bottom bezels are quite thick. On the top you have the earpiece speaker, which is also works as a regular speaker. There aren’t any other speaker grilles found anywhere on the phone.
Being slim is one of the calling cards of the Oppo R5, but it also offers some goodies on the inside. For starters, it has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 system on chip, which has the 1.5GHz octa-core processor along with Adreno 405 GPU. This SoC has been seen in a lot of the phones recently. We have reviewed the Yu Yureka which also has the same SoC. It comes with 2GB of RAM, which has become a standard these days for mid-range phones.
The Oppo R5 runs on Android 4.4.4 KitKat OS, but it comes with the ColorOS skin on top of it. ColorOS has been seen on all Oppo devices and it does share some similarities with the Amigo UI (Gionee) and MIUI (Xiaomi) in the sense that it has no app drawer and has its own proprietary app for themes where users can submit their own designs. We will talk more about the software touches in the Software section.
On the camera front, you get a 13MP rear camera and a 5MP front-facing camera. You just get 16GB storage capacity with the R5, and there is no provision to expand the storage. Out of the 16GB, you will get access to only 11.04GB of this. The rest is used up by the system storage and the ColorOS skin. The R5 comes with a microUSB to 3.5mm audio jack adapter, as it does not have a dedicated 3.5mm audio jack. While the in-ear earphones look good, you will have to be careful about the adapter, as if you lose it, the only way you can listen to the audio is if you have a bluetooth headset.
Oppo R5 comes with Android 4.4.4 with its proprietary ColorOS skin on top. This OS does not have an app drawer and comes with its own set of proprietary apps such as Theme Store, NearMe Cloud, Security Center and so on. The File Explorer app is neatly divided into categories such as Music, Videos, Pictures, Documents, APK and ZIP. You can even select the Storage tab on top, to get the file directory tree structure. It has a folder called Tools which houses apps such as Sound Recorder, Flashlight, Compass, Download Manager, Kingsoft Office, System Update and the instant messaging app WeChat. Opening up a folder makes the apps within it appear on a translucent background which blurs the screen behind it.
The Settings app has a dark backdrop with coloured section for various settings. On the top you have three tabs: General, Sound and Display; with each tab highlighting the settings pertinent to these sections. It also supports gestures to quickly open apps, to prevent misoperations, to interact with incoming calls, air gestures and so on. Pulling down the notification drawer shows around 15 quick settings on the top followed by the Notifications section below.
We ran the standard set of synthetic benchmarks and got scores that we have come to expect from the Snapdragon 615 SoC. The Geekbench 3 score comes to around 2596 which is slightly higher than Yu Yureka’s 2416; with AnTuTu the Yureka went ahead with 32,428 and finally with Quadrant the R5 gives 17,290 on the R5.
The ColorOS 2.0 skin does tend to behave sluggish at times. Although it is not drastically slow, you do notice a slight time delay when opening multiple apps which can be annoying for some. For instance, the camera app does not open as quickly as we would have liked it. Tapping on the notifications to open them from the notification drawer would at times require more than two taps. We hope Oppo fixes these glitches with future software updates. During the time I was reviewing it there weren’t any new updates which improved the above flaws.
Call quality is generally good and the earpiece speaker is loud enough to be audible even inside a moving train, with all the background noise. I did not experience any call drops, but when calling landline numbers, did experience an echo-effect. Despite being a slim phone, the speaker of the R5 is loud enough and does not distort at maximum volume levels.
Heavy apps such as high end games ran fine, but tend to heat up the phone a lot. Playing 10 mins of games such as ShadowGun or Riptide GP2 heats up the rear side of the phone. Movie playback is handled well in comparison.
The Oppo R5 comes with a 5.2-inch full HD display with a Super AMOLED panel. This makes the display quite good and colours appear to pop out. Text appears sharp and there is no dithering of text anywhere. Legibility in sunlight is quite good and even with a 60pc brightness, you can read well. Reading long articles and ebooks on the R5 is a pleasure. Thanks to the AMOLED display, watching movies is a pleasure on the R5 thanks to great black levels and a good overall contrast. All in all, Oppo R5 ticks all the right spots with the display.
Oppo R5 sports a 13MP rear camera with the Sony Exmor IMX214 backside illuminated sensor with an f/2.0 aperture with an LED flash unit located beside the camera. On the front you get a 5MP camera for selfies and video calling. Although not a selfie-enthusiast, I quite liked the quality of the selfies produced by the Oppo R5 and with its multiple filters and beautification modes, I am sure it will be a hit with those who love taking selfies.
Coming to the rear camera, you get a clean interface and the settings menu gives you access to elementary tweaks. Swiping up or left from the camera buttons opens up more features or rather app-lets which add some enhancement to the camera. So you get modes such as Expert mode which lets you tweak settings such as ISO, time and so on; then there’s an UltraHD mode which shoots multiple images to combine them into one high resolution image; Colourful night for night photographs and HDR mode and so on. You can also download more apps. The Settings menu is locked to portait orientation, so anytime you want to make some changes you will have to go back and forth between horizontal and vertical orientations – this is annoying specially when you have composed a shot and want to make some minor changes.
In terms of performance, the image quality on outdoor shots was good. But I noticed that when it came to high contrast situations, the Oppo R5 tended to over expose the bright regions and at times it can take quite a while to get the right shot. Of course, you have the HDR mode, but we would have liked to see better metering with the default camera. The AF is speedy and you can shoot a series of images quickly. Indoor shots are also good, but in low lit rooms expect to see a lot of noise. Oppo R5 has a slow shutter mode which is a good workaround in low light situations where the normal camera gives under-exposed shots. But in the slow shutter mode, your hand needs to be rock steady. It is capable of shooting full HD and 4K video. You can also shoot slo-mo video thanks to the 120fps video mode.
Battery Life: 6/10
The Oppo R5 comes with a 2,000 mAh Li-polymer battery, which may not seem like much considering we are seeing 3,000 mAh batteries for 5-inch plus phones. But the charger that comes bundled with the R5 makes a world of a difference. Since it is a 5A VOOC charger, which can take the R5 from 0-100 percent charge in an hour and 15 minutes. It is seriously fast when it comes to charging, and once addicted to this speedy charging, you will never want to use the generic 1A chargers.
We ran our standard loop test involving 2 hours each of calling, video streaming, video playback and audio playback. At the end of the 8-hour test, the Oppo R5 had around 18% battery remaining. In a real-life scenario on moderate use case the Oppo R5 will easily last you for a full day. It does come with power saving modes which can extend the battery life. When compared with other 5-inch plus devices we have tested in the recent past, the battery life is not up to the mark. But thanks to the speedy charging of the phone using the VOOC charger, you are saved. In the beginning, I noticed that the phone was discharging soon after a rapid charging session, but over using it for a couple of weeks, the charge is held for a longer time. Bottom line is the battery life is strictly OK, but the fast charger saves the day.
Verdict and price in India
The Oppo R5 wins in the looks department. The 4.85mm thin form factor makes this one stand apart from the crowd and the silver back looks elegant. In terms of performance, the Oppo R5 does have some issues, but on a daily use-case is quite well-equipped to handle most tasks you throw at it. The display is wonderful and the quick charger is a boon for many.
Now comes the bad aspects, starting off with the price. The Oppo R5 comes at Rs 29,990 and if you have been following the Indian smartphone market over the last six months, that price is way off the mark. Sure, this is a thin phone but for this one feature you cannot charge as huge a premium. The internal specifications are seen in phones such as Yu Yureka, which comes at Rs 8,999. Sure in terms of build quality and camera performance, the Oppo R5 outperforms the Yu Yureka.
At Rs 21,999 you have the OnePlus One which offers superior internals – Snapdragon 801 SoC, 3GB RAM and 64GB storage, and even Xiaomi is expected to come out with the 64GB variant of the Mi 4 at Rs 23,999. The Oppo R5 pales in comparison with its Snapdragon 615 SoC, 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. Add in flaws such as average low-light camera performance, below par battery life (the fast-charging notwithstanding), it is quite difficult to recommend the Oppo R5 at a 30k price point. Another competitor is the Samsung Galaxy S4, which although a generation old is still an able performer. It has recently got a price drop to Rs 17,999 and it comes with Android 5.0 Lollipop. So it is evident that Oppo R5 is way overpriced in this extremely competitive price segment. Wait for the price to drop if you absolutely have to get a thin phone.