The successor of OPPO’s main offering is finally in our hands.
The F5 from last year introduced the advantages of artificial intelligence when it comes to taking selfies and 18:9 displays on midrange OPPO phones. As expected, their latest device uses the foundations of the F5 and takes forward steps to make it a worthy successor.
Here’s our hands-on with the OPPO F7.
Let’s start with the display. OPPO calls the 6.23-inch 19:9 display “Super Full Screen” and it’s a major upgrade from the F5. The panel still has a Full HD+ resolution, but the bezels are now slimmer.
In order to achieve this though, OPPO resorted to having a notch that houses the selfie camera, a couple of sensors, and an earpiece. In return, you get an immersive display similar to the iPhone X’s. OPPO claims to have an 88 percent screen-to-body ratio.
Speaking of the body, the F7 sports a new design that I find more appealing than its predecessor. The F5’s matte metallic-looking finish on its unibody back made the phone look utilitarian, with the exclusion of the red model, of course. OPPO redesigned the look and feel of their new F series release by giving it a glossy finish.
The F7 has an acrylic back and new color options. I have the Moonlight Silver here, and if you look closely, there’s a pattern beneath the acrylic that interplays with light.
The OPPO F7 feels more squarish in hand with its sharp edges; gone are the curves! Don’t fret, the chrome-like frame of the phone adds comfort when handling, although I find it to be a bit slippery.
The physical buttons on the F7 are found on both sides: the power/lock button on the right and the volume rocker on the left. The buttons have the same feel as the frame with its chrome-like coating but they’re tactile and responsive.
On top of the phone is the noise-canceling microphone while the bottom side has the loudspeaker, micro-USB port, primary microphone, and 3.5mm audio port.
Specs-wise, the F7 has performance upgrades including the latest MediaTek Helio P60 processor. The new Helio P60 brings in the Mali-G72 MP3 graphics which should please the mobile gaming enthusiasts. 4GB memory will be able to handle multitasking well and 64GB of internal storage is more than enough to store big apps and files. If that ain’t enough, the dedicated microSD card slot is ready to add up to 256GB of storage.
The F7 runs the latest Android 8.1 Oreo skinned with the newest ColorOS 5.0. The UI is still pretty much like iOS but there are some tweaks made to accommodate the display notch. For instance, the control panel is now accessed by swiping down from the top instead at the bottom and there are new swipe-up gesture layouts for UI navigation. The icons are also updated but the rest of ColorOS 5.0 is pretty much the same.
Let’s now dive into the cameras. As a selfie phone, the F7 now has a whopping 25-megapixel front-facing camera with a bright f/2.0 lens — that’s 5 megapixels more than its predecessor. The upgraded selfie sensor is complemented by an updated camera launcher to complete the deal.
As expected, the F7 with its AI Beauty Technology 2.0 can capture great selfies. AI-powered selfies is a step up from your typical photo filters. It recognizes and learns your facial features as you take more photos.
Here’s a sample I took with and without the beauty mode:
And here are more AI Beauty Mode samples with the GadgetMatch team:
There are also new AR Stickers available right in the camera app which add cuteness to your selfies.
As for the rear camera, it’s a 16-megapixel f/1.8 shooter paired with a single LED flash. No dual camera setup for the F series for now, unlike its R series cousin. AI is also embedded in the rear camera which aids in scene recognition. It can identify 16 different scenes and objects in real-time. I’ll try this out in the coming days and will update with more photo samples using the rear camera.
Before we wrap things up, let’s not forget about the non-removable 3400mAh battery and the speedy fingerprint scanner positioned at the back of the phone. Face unlock is also available and it works like a charm, even in dim-lighted environments. How secure is it? We’ll find out more as we spend more time with the F7.
The OPPO F7 is already available in India for INR 21,990 (US$ 340), while in the Philippines it’ll retail for PhP 17,990 (US$ 345). Pre-orders start on April 12 and will be available in stores on April 21.
Cherry Mobile Flare S7 Plus hands-on: A step-up
The company’s greatest contender
Cherry Mobile recently launched their new Flare S7 series, which is essentially their main smartphone lineup for the year. The greatest offering among the bunch is the Flare S7 Plus, a device with all the specifications and features you’d expect from a 2018 phone.
Since it’s from Cherry Mobile, you’d expect the phone to be cheap, right? Price-wise, it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s just another affordable phone.
Here’s what I got to say about the Flare S7 Plus.
Cherry Mobile has officially joined the notch wagon with a borderless 6.18-inch display. It’s a Full HD+ panel with a 19:9 aspect ratio, and it’s Cherry Mobile’s best display yet.
It’s vibrant and produces vivid colors, but the user interface kind of ruins the beauty of the display. It’s best to download your preferred third-party launcher and customize to your heart’s content.
Unlike with other midrange phones, the Flare S7 Plus’ notch is pretty wide and there’s a reason for it. The phone is equipped with more advanced facial recognition hardware including an IR camera. This ensures higher accuracy, faster unlocking, and even better face detection in low-light.
If you’re not a fan of face unlock, you can always resort to the fingerprint sensor placed on the back of the phone. Based on my usage, the fingerprint reader is faster most of the time than the face unlock. Good thing you have the best of both worlds.
Now that we’re on the back of the phone, let’s talk about another special feature of the Flare S7 Plus. Finally, Cherry Mobile embraces a more elegant design using a glass back and metal frame. I was told that they used Gorilla Glass 3 on both sides, so it won’t scratch easily in your pocket or on the table.
Since we we have a glass back, it’s possible to put in wireless charging and the company did just that. Simply place the phone on any Qi standard wireless charger, and let the magic happen.
It’s not exactly magic per se, but it’s amazing to have your phone charge by placing it on a table. This phone costs less than half of most flagships that don’t even support wireless charging.
Of course, you can always charge this phone’s 3050mAh battery through the reversible USB-C port, which also doubles as the audio port because, sadly, the Flare S7 Plus doesn’t have a 3.5 headphone jack. Cherry Mobile bundles a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter inside the box, so you can still use your legacy headphones as you please.
Powering the Flare S7 Plus is a MediaTek Helio P60 processor. We have already tried the capabilities of this chipset with the OPPO F9, and it definitely delivers great performance. If you’re into benchmarking, you’ll be glad to know the Helio P60 scores higher than its competitors.
The phone also comes with 4GB of memory and 64GB of expandable storage which is pretty standard nowadays. It boots Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, but there’s no word when Android 9 Pie is coming.
The gaming performance of the Flare S7 Plus is above average, which is what you can expect from the Helio P60. The Mali-G72 MP3 GPU works well with intensive games, but you must reduce the graphics quality a bit to get consistently high frame rates.
As for the cameras, the Flare S7 Plus has capable shooters that are probably the fruit of Cherry Mobile’s investment in improving their R&D when it comes to picture quality. The phone has dual rear shooters using a main 16-megapixel RGB sensor and a secondary 5-megapixel depth sensor. In the front, there’s another 16-megapixel selfie camera that’s paired with the IR sensor when needed. Check out the samples below:
An additional feature of the front sensors is FlareMoji. Using the IR sensor and facial recognition, you can animate cutesy characters. Check this out:
It’s essentially like Apple’s Animoji, but the tracking is nowhere near as smooth as with the iPhone. Anyhow, it’s still enjoyable to use.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
For just PhP 11,999 (US$ 225), the Flare S7 Plus offers a lot. You get a great premium phone with midrange power, beautiful display, and a plethora of extra features like wireless charging and an IR face scanner. The software UI is quite a letdown, but you can always download a launcher from the Play Store.
If you’re wondering what the Flare S7 Plus is in other markets, it’s also called the BLU VIVO XI+ and they share similar specifications and design.
Huawei Mate 20 Pro Hands-on: Best phone of 2018?
Huawei outdoes itself again
In an industry where incremental updates are the new norm, Huawei manages to wow us again — barely a year after the release of the P20 Pro. The Chinese company is back with the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro which might just be the best among the best this year.
In this video, we go over the phones’ new designs, updated cameras, and new memory card format. We also go through the differences between the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.
Razer Phone 2 Hands-on
A pocketable gaming rig with flagship features
Razer has improved last year’s model, and from the looks of it, we might just have a phone that not only gamers would want to use. This is our Razer Phone 2 hands-on.
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