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Review by: Emmanuel Tortoza, Giancarlo Viterbo

The F5 marks OPPO’s debut into the 18:9 race. It features a 6-inch display with almost no bezels, a new octa-core processor, an updated version of ColorOS, and now uses artificial intelligence to achieve crystal clear and natural looking selfies.

OPPO F5 Specs:

  • 2.5GHz MediaTek Helio P23 Octa-Core Processor
  • 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage expandable via microSD card
  • 6-inch 18:9 FHD+ (2160 x 1080 pixels) Display, 403ppi, Gorilla Glass 5 Protection
  • 16MP Rear Camera, f/1.8
  • 20MP Front Camera, f/2.0, Screen Flash, Portrait Mode
  • AI Beauty Technology
  • Fingerprint Sensor (Rear)
  • Dual SIM, LTE 700MHz Support
  • Face Unlock Technology
  • ColorOS 3.2 on top of Android 7.1 Nougat
  • 3,200mAh Battery
  • Colors: Gold, Black

Seamless Looks

The OPPO F5 features a new design that does away with unnecessary gaps in the body, and instead keeps a smooth and seamless look. Despite having a large display, it’s easy to hold and use the phone with one hand.

Like its predecessor – the F3, the F5 uses a triple slot tray, and also sticks to the microUSB port rather than a Type-C port.

Perhaps it’s to keep costs at bay, or a design restriction. But I think that reversible connectors should already be a standard for mid-range devices.

The phone has a 6-inch display with a resolution of 2160 x 1080, or slightly above Full HD. This makes icons and text look sharp. And while I like the quality, the screen could use a bump in brightness, as outside visibility is only fair at best.

At first use, I thought this phone didn’t have a notification LED. But it does. It’s just that it only works for SMS and calls by default, and you have to enable it manually for other apps like Gmail. It doesn’t work for charging though, which means you won’t know if the phone is charging or if it’s fully charged unless you turn on the screen.

Good for Media Consumption

The F5 isn’t just a phone made for selfies, it’s also a great companion to have for watching videos, and listening to music.

Since there are more pixels on the screen than the usual Full HD display, YouTube videos tend to look more lively and detailed. Unfortunately, not all apps are designed to take full advantage of the 18:9 display, yet. But hopefully, that gets addressed soon.

Using the phone as a music player also works well. The speaker may only be decent with bit of distortion at max volume, but listening with headphones offers a better experience.

As for the sound quality, it’s balanced, and fits most genres. Bass is existent, but not that punchy. Vocals are given more priority and clarity is just right.

Decent in Gaming

The F5 is powered by the MediaTek Helio P23 octa-core processor, which brings a number of features such as support for VoLTE on both SIM cards, LPDDR4X memory, and improved power efficiency. It also hosts a powerful Mali-G71 MP2 GPU, which should make it more capable of gaming and other graphics-intensive tasks.

Its powerful yet power-efficient processor makes the OPPO excel in many fields. Sure, this could have had a better processor but OPPO – in collaboration with Mediatek – didn’t want to sacrifice much on the power-efficiency side. Combine this with an 18:9 display, which demands a energy, then all the more reason the phone should have an SoC that has energy-efficient features.

At the core of the Helio P23 is a EnergySmart feature under its Miravision technology. This reduces backlight power consumption while adjusting LCD image colors. In turn, this process saves 10% power consumption without sacrifice in visual quality.

As for the actual gaming experience, NBA 2K17 is very much playable in medium settings, but in order to get smooth gameplay, a mix of low and very low settings is still more ideal.

Arena of Valor also runs smoothly, with only minor stutters in menus.

Refined Cameras

One of the new features of the F5, is its new AI Beauty Technology, which detects a number of points on your face, determines your gender, age, skin tone, and skin type, and applies the corresponding touches.

Now, the good thing is that it works. And what’s even better is that it doesn’t overdo its job. You get a selfie with a more natural glow. It’s able to take care of blemishes, but it retains a fair amount of detail. In short, you don’t come out looking like a ghost.

The Bokeh effect has also been refined compared to its predecessor. To put it simply, it’s more accurate in finding which spots to blur.

The rear camera also takes good quality shots. In fact, the amount of detail and vibrancy is fairly impressive, even when using 2X zoom. It’s in low light shots that the camera starts to struggle.

The F5 is also capable of shooting 1080p videos. The sample above shows me constantly moving from one spot to another. And while the overall quality is decent, you’re likely to get shaky videos due to the lack of any stabilization.

OPPO, obviously made a lot of efforts to perfect the photography and video taking capabilities of the OPPO F5. Their close collaboration with their chipset and camera sensors vendors benefit not just OPPO but also their consumers.

Upon checking its hardware information, OPPO F5 utilizes Samsung S5K3P8SX, the same sensor on Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017). For what it’s worth, we would like to point out that MediaTek Imagiq’s image signal processor (ISP) is instrumental to the quality of OPPO F5’s output – video and photo. This processor puts the actions of the sensors into full fruition, thus resulting to impressive real-time depth of field, real-time and depth estimation. Here’s a quickl look at how this ISP works on phones like the OPPO F5:

A fresh new take on Android

ColorOS 3.2 has a fresh new look with more simplistic icons and a more “COLOR”ful look. It also brings a number of changes to the UI.

The most noticeable is that all the switches for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and the like are now located on a control panel that can be displayed by swiping upwards from the bottom of the screen.

Another new feature is Game Acceleration which intelligently optimizes the display to fully utilize the phone’s hardware, blocks notifications to prevent you from being distracted, and hides the on-screen buttons to prevent mistouches. Very nifty, just don’t forget to check those notifications afterwards.

Split screen also lets you run two apps side by side. Very convenient if for example, you’d like to watch a YouTube video while also browsing your music library.

Speedy Face Unlock is indeed… speedy

The OPPO F5 can be unlocked in just 0.4 seconds through facial recognition. The good news that it’s just as fast as they claim, and it works most of the time.

There’s a disclaimer that the phone may be unlocked by someone or something that looks like you. So I did try using a picture of myself, and it didn’t work.

A phone that should last all day

Despite having an FHD+ display, the F5 managed to yield an outstanding 10 hours of up time in a single charge with light to moderate use. That’s actually less than the F3’s 11 hours, but still a pretty good number considering the higher display resolution, and the more capable processor.

It also means you don’t have to scramble for a power outlet every now and then. The F5 doesn’t have VOOC fast charging, so you’ll have to wait a bit when you do.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of things that I like about the OPPO F5. It’s got a nice new design, the full screen display is vibrant and lively despite being a bit too dim, the gaming performance is decent, AI-aided selfies look great, and the battery life is outstanding.

On the flip side, there are a few things that could’ve been done better, such as the standard microUSB port that could’ve been a Type-C, EIS for video, and a dual cam system would’ve been welcome, considering that the MediaTek Helio P23 supports it.

Despite its shortcomings, we think the OPPO F5 is a strong contender in its segment. It’s a device that offers a compelling feature set, and good performance for a competitive price.

Pros:

  • Seamless and elegant design
  • Vibrant display
  • Decent gaming performance
  • Sound quality when using headphones
  • Great battery life
  • Competitive price
  • Good camera performance (Front and Rear)
  • Fast fingerprint and facial recognition
  • Triple slot tray

Cons

  • No fast charging
  • No OIS/EIS
  • Still uses a standard microUSB connector
  • Screen is a bit too dim
  • LED indicator doesn’t work for charging
  • Low light camera performance

Full Disclosure: OPPO Philippines is an advertiser of Gadget Pilipinas.

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