OPPO A7 Hands-on: A cheaper yet better-looking alternative

Another familiar OPPO phone



OPPO has a new budget-slash-midrange phone in town. With all the phones to come out lately, does the OPPO A7 offer something different? No, but it’s a great option to those looking for a decent device with a beautiful design.

How attractive is the A7? Let’s take a look in this hands-on beginning with the exterior:

It’s got a 6.2-inch HD+ display

Just an IPS LCD but topped with Gorilla Glass 3

OPPO’s signature water-drop is here

For the selfie camera

The power button is on the right…

Also doubles as a lock button

… while the volume keys are on the left

Two tiny buttons for adjusting the volume

It accepts a microSD and two SIM cards

One of the staple OPPO features

The bottom looks pretty busy with all the holes

Here are the loudspeaker, micro-USB port, microphone, and 3.5mm jack

The back of the A7 looks quite sophisticated

No need to hide it inside a case

For the beauty

For some reason, OPPO made the A7 look and feel more attractive than their main midrange offering, the F9. How? I find A7’s curved back more comfortable to hold and the grating pattern more appealing. The oval-shaped fingerprint reader and the gold accent surrounding the cameras also nice touches.

The overall build quality is good and doesn’t feel cheap, but it’s still plastic all around. It lacks the cold feeling of metal or glass that more expensive phones have.

I can’t say the same for the display, though, because it lacks the sharpness I’m accustomed to. The phone’s 6.2-inch panel only has an HD+ resolution and it converts to a passable 271ppi pixel density. The phone won’t even pass as a “retina” display, but it does have good color reproduction and sunlight legibility.

Decent performance

The phone is powered by a Snapdragon 450 processor with 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage. The choice of using a Snapdragon processor instead of a MediaTek one is quite surprising and might even be good news for those who are biased against the reliability MediaTek. As expected, the A7 is able to perform any everyday task and all of the apps I tried on it work fine.

There are slight hiccups which can be addressed via a patch and we do hope OPPO will support the phone through regular updates. ColorOS 5.2, OPPO’s custom software based on Android Oreo, is still trying hard to copy iOS. It has candy-like icons and doesn’t have an app drawer. It’s also known to have pretty bad notification management, just like the early days of iOS.

Gaming-wise, the A7 is a decent performer. It supports the latest titles, but it can’t always run games in their highest graphics settings. Big titles like NBA 2K17 and PUBG: Mobile are playable but in low to medium settings, while Asphalt 9: Legends can be maxed out. It’s not the smoothest gaming phone in its range, but it can still handle gaming.

Made for selfies

One of the main selling points of OPPO phones is great selfies. The A7 is equipped with a 16-megapixel f/2.0 front camera which has a beauty mode enhanced by AI or “Smart Beauty” as labeled in the camera launcher. The rear shooter, on the other hand, is a 13-megapixel sensor paired with a 2-megapixel depth sensor for proper bokeh effects.

Here are some samples:

The overall quality of the rear cameras is good, but it suffers in low-light environments. The dynamic range is also just so-so, but you can always tinker with it after shooting. The front camera of the A7 is obviously much better than others and it captures sharp-looking selfies even at night. Although, the beautification mode is still more inclined toward feminine faces.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The OPPO A7 is not that different from other midrange OPPO phones in the market. All the new models virtually run the same software and will give the same experience. If there’s anything that would convince me to get the A7 over, let’s say, the F9 is the design. The A7’s looks are a lot sleeker than the F9’s, which is supposedly OPPO’s main midrange offering.

If ever you’re more inclined to get the A7, you’ll actually save a bit more cash because it’s cheaper at PhP 13,990 or roughly US$ 265. You’re not missing out a lot from the F9 either, except its VOOC fast charging technology. The A7 comes in either blue or gold, and both look great.

SEE ALSO: Here’s why OPPO created a new brand called Realme


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