It seems everyone is trying to climb the peak that Samsung set as the largest mobile manufacturer of 2012, and there is no shortage of places that these competitors will come from. Coming on the heels of fellow Chinese entity Huawei reaching American shores is Oppo, whose very well received Blu-ray players have paved the way for a crack into the smartphone market. It is definitely expected that many Western users will see the name of this phone and its creators for the first time. So, with that lack of initial exposure, Oppo has to make some ground by bringing a lot to the table.
Thankfully, the Oppo Find 5 does deserve attention, as it brings some real eye-openers. This initial release by Oppo on North American shores takes on the growing trend of 5 inch screens on smartphones, and with a sleek white profile, this newcomer certainly has some style. And let’s not forget the specs underneath, as beauty in smartphones is much more than skin deep.
And let’s not forget one aspect that proves to be important for at least a small core group of people – exclusivity. With the Oppo Find 5 being released for the first time in the Western markets, it is currently only available by buying an unlocked, off-contract model at full price. Whether or not this will change remains to be seen, but people who are willing to invest in the Find 5 will often stand alone among the masses drowning in the sea of Samsung and Nexus devices. For some people, this is pretty inviting on its own.
But enough of all that, let’s find out what Oppo has to offer with their specific brand of Android.
Look and Feel
At first glance, the Oppo Find 5 might remind you of recent Sony Xperia phones, at least with the white models. The screen, its bezel, and the area for the capacitive buttons (menu, home, and back) on the bottom are the black centerpieces – all are surrounded by a white body that stretches around the rest of the phone. Stark contrast is an underrated design choice, and the Find 5 does well to wear it proudly. There is a welcome amount of style to this phone, and a decidedly simplistic design continues to the back area.
There is no removable door or cover on the back, making the Oppo Find 5 a unibody phone. The back, then, has a nicely placed 13 megapixel camera right at the top, it and its flash diode lined with silver. Below that is the ‘oppo’ moniker, sideways, suggesting the phone’s propensity to be used in landscape. Either way, the branding on the back is easy on the eyes. Just remember that this is an Oppo, not an Oddo.
Around the sides are more silver trimmings in the form of the power button, found on the left side, opposite the volume rockers. This is an interesting and unique perspective on the volume and power handling, as the Find 5 essentially mirrors Samsung’s ubiquitous button placement (power on the right where the thumb is, volume opposite). Perhaps left handed people will find a lot to like with the button placement, but us right handers will be waking our phones up using either an index or middle finger. Takes a little getting used to, but makes enough sense all the same. At least there is still minimal finger gymnastics needed compared to if the power button was found on the top.
Finally, the top of the phone houses the headphone jack while the micro-USB port is on the bottom, off to the side a bit – again something a little different from competitors.
5 inch screens are the future, plain and simple. Whether or not everyone is happy with that, it seems that all major phone companies will come out with their own version of the 5 inch beasts in the coming year. Right now, the closest and perhaps only companion to the Oppo Find 5 is the HTC Droid DNA on Verizon (an in-depth VS will be done soon on this very matchup), so there is a very large group of people who have not experienced this small but significant increase from the conventional 4.7 inch displays.
Yes, the fraction of an inch increase for these larger phones makes a big difference. It doesn’t seem like much on paper, but especially for those of you who are used to our commonly sized current devices, there is definitely a learning curve involved. Granted, my Filipino hands are kind of small, so this experience is rather expected for me. Nonetheless, I feel I have to balance the phone on my pinky as it supports the bottom of the phone – or instead, I rest my hand behind the phone somewhere in the middle.
Perhaps this will just be the nature of the 5 inch market. While I have some confidence that I will get used to the larger size of the Oppo Find 5 (or the Droid DNA, for that matter), the times when I accidentally press the back button with the edge my palm while trying to reach over to press ‘a’ on the keyboard have been a little too frequent to not mention.
However, the construction of the Oppo Find 5 is pretty top-notch. There is no flimsiness across the phone and it feels very sturdy without sacrificing a sleek look. There is definitely a bit of weight to the device that, coincidentally, helps to alleviate some of the precarious handling involved with its larger size – especially considering the smooth white plastic all around doesn’t provide a whole lot of natural grip.
Ultimately, the Oppo Find 5 gets quite a few points for a design that feels nice in the hand while looking very fresh and sleek. The high contrast look of a black screen surrounded by an all-white body is an aesthetic only personal taste can judge, but I personally really enjoy it. I think it is a great looking phone with some well thought out simplicity and is deserving of any compliments it might garner while out and about. The size of the 5 inch screen makes the whole device larger than many of us might be used to – this is not a true detriment against the Oppo Find 5, but rather a reality that we might have to deal with in this up and coming market. I am pretty sure that after some time, we’ll wonder how we were so content with those puny Galaxy S3 and Nexus 4 sizes.
Screen and Display
The main attraction of the Oppo Find 5 is a growing trend with smartphone manufacturers – a 5 inch, 1080p display. As I mentioned in the previous section, it can come with some drawbacks, especially in the size of the resulting overall device and its handling, but there are certainly some real perks to having a 1080p display. On the one hand, more real estate on the screen allows for greater freedom of homescreen customization and personalized workspaces. On the other, videos and other visual content get a great big boost as these screens are supposed to greatly enhance viewing experiences.
In spectacular fashion, these promises have been kept in the case of the Oppo Find 5. The screen is really crisp to begin with, as just the specs on paper can widen the eyes – we already know the 1080p (1080×1920 resolution) feature, but the pixel density comes in at an incredibly impressive 441PPI. The IPS screen, as a result, is a beast at displaying just about anything. As you can see below, text is rendered beautifully with no signs of softness around the edges. Sharpness is at a peak here with the Oppo Find 5.
There are quite literally no problems seeing the wonderful screen at any angle – you can clearly see anything that is being displayed no matter how you rotate or skew the viewing angle. With such a good screen, you might mistake the homescreens for a showroom sticker atop the glass!
A colorful Oppo UI is your first glimpse into just how well this display can perform – colors are vibrant and the sharpness provides an pretty unparalleled level of detail to all images and video content. Fire up a YouTube video at HD quality and you will see just how great the Oppo Find 5′s screen makes the viewing experience. Despite being an almost all-white phone, the black bezel is obviously kept deliberately in order to ensure proper framing of the dynamic display, and it works – viewing just about anything is incredibly easy on the eyes and lives up to the promises that these bigger screens have claimed. If 1080p displays on smartphones are truly the future, I am all for it if they are as good as this.
However, if I had to be critical, I could pick a nit on just one aspect. The Oppo Find 5′s general color temperature in the display seems to be a bit on the warmer side. By taking a warm tone, whites and other lighter colors don’t pop as aggressively – this is admittedly more of a preferential gripe, but I would have liked to see the colors fly out of the screen at me rather than have this more laid back personality.
Hardware and Performance
Not to put all its effort into just the screen, Oppo has put some real thought into the hardware of the Find 5. As modest as my expectations were for this first foray into phones by the Guangdong, China based company; I was quite promptly corrected when a couple benchmark tests were performed. First, however, let’s look at just what the Find 5 is packing.
A fast 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon S4 Pro processor (Krait variation) is backed up by 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 320 GPU. This is a fast set of chips no doubt, and it does fly in usage. Startup is already pretty impressive, going from the Oppo boot screen to fully loaded user interface in no more than 20 seconds. Loading apps and settings takes little to no loading time, and getting things done on the Oppo Find 5 leads to few struggles. You’ll be much more than pleased with the performance of this phone.
Gaming is an absolute blast on the Find 5, as the combination of the great screen and the incredible specifications come together to make just about any experience seemless and wonderfully enjoyable. I fired up Temple Run 2 and it was some of the best fun I’ve ever had with the franchise.
Benchmark tests proved the sheer speed of the Oppo Find 5, as my favorite tool Antutu Benchmark showed me something that I haven’t seen in a while – a new device that found itself among the top 5 rankings. To showcase the graphics power, I used the benchmark feature in Epic Citadel and the phone, despite its larger screen and thus heavier video load, was able to achieve high performance throughout. Yes, it is safe to say that this phone is on par with (if not, on the heels of) the LG powerhouse fraternal twins, the Google Nexus 4 and Optimus G. I knew that this phone was fast, but actually working with this kind of performance and having the numbers to back it up makes me feel privileged to witness Oppo’s first release – one whose performance certainly deserves your attention.
But as is the case with anything, it’s hard to reach perfection. On the hardware front, the Oppo Find 5 finds (har har) itself among its peers in terms of lacking two very key features that many users typically get steamed over – replaceable batteries and expandable memory. This is, however, the flagship phone for Oppo (and my, how it can lead the pack) and thus some serious thought is put into exactly how to alleviate this. The Find 5, then, comes with an impressively sized 2500mAh battery capable of powering its massive screen and going the distance – we’ll get into that in a bit.
Otherwise, there is 16GB of memory onboard, which is the standard fare. 32GB is available, of course, for a higher price. Now, I see many a debate over how good a device is dissolve into arguments over expandable memory. Just how much memory is enough memory remains the preference of the user, but going further than the usual included 8GB on most other smartphones is something Oppo should be given some credit for. You may not be able to put a 64GB card into the phone, but at least it isn’t crippled by a complete lack of usable space. The lack of one or two key features can certainly prove to be very important to any user, but they don’t and shouldn’t ever be what brands a device as terrible.
Especially in this case – the Oppo Find 5 has been nothing but a slew of very pleasant and welcome surprises, from its great screen to its incredible performance. It is clear that Oppo has put a lot of good thought into just how it would make a splash in the Western market – and so far, it is succeeding.
To further its tear into the smartphone market with each impressive aspect, the Oppo Find 5 also tries to remedy one of the key troubles that can come with a 5 inch, 1080p display – battery life. As was the case with the HTC Droid DNA, battery life can be a hit or miss situation when you are dealing with a screen that requires a lot of power to truly shine. A fast processor, an equal performer in the graphics department, and a large screen can take up a lot of power and hinder your ability to work throughout your day.
So what does Oppo do to fix this problem? Well, perhaps the simplest solution you could think of – put a big ol’ battery in there. Coming in at 2500mAh, this phone is packing quite a lot of power. And it is able to give this buff device the longevity to run long distance.
I did not have a SIM card installed on the Find 5 during testing, but it is worth mentioning that the HSPA+ connectivity available here would not drain the battery as much as an LTE connection. Thus, the battery life I experienced in usage is not too far from when it is connected to mobile networks. Nonetheless, on primarily a WiFi connection, the phone went for 7 hours and was still above the 45% mark. This would put it at around 12-14 hours of total life during a typical day.
That’s pretty great. Aside from the RAZR MAXX, battery life on larger-sized devices has dwindled under all of the power. Oppo proves to us that the days of expecting low battery life are slowly getting behind us, as it is on par with the battery life that you might see on high end 4.7-inch screened smartphones like the Nexus 4. Good thing too – because this battery is not removeable and thus is your only source of power aside from plugging in.
As I mentioned in the previous section, the Oppo Find 5 actually doesn’t have it all as it is not geared for LTE networks. This is a GSM phone capable of all bands of 3G (except 1700, which is for the Chinese version of this phone) and can connect to HSPA+ for faster connections. For some people this might be a hindrance, but one should remember that LTE connections are still rather scarce, especially on GSM networks. And as the Nexus 4 proved, HSPA+ connectivity is quite adequate for the vast majority of general users.
Aside from this, the Oppo Find 5 has all of the different capabilities that you would expect from a high-end smartphone – WiFi, Bluetooth, a couple protocols for broadcasting to televisions (either through a TV-out cord or wireless DLNA), and NFC. Though NFC might not be used ubiquitously among general users, the inclusion of a couple NFC tags for quick settings changes is welcome. After some setup you can a NFC tag at work, for example, which will allow you to simply contact the back of the phone with it to set various settings like silent or Wi-Fi modes that you deem proper for a work environment.
Which brings us to the software. After a look at the software, it becomes clearer what kind of motif Oppo was going for the Find 5. Yes, it packs some of the greatest specifications that power smartphones in this day and age, including one of the best screens I have certainly ever worked with. However, all of that flashiness happens to end there. We already went through the intriguing and sleek body design, all taking a more simplistic approach that not only proves unassuming, considering what lies underneath, but works beautifully for its large form factor.
Thankfully, the Oppo UI continues to tow this line of simplicity layering over great power. Oppo has found a pretty good compromise between being unique while remaining functional and, most importantly, staying as much out of the way of the user as possible. Perhaps the greatest aspect of the operating system is that it is ahead of much of its competition by already having the first iteration of Jelly Bean installed – 4.1. As plenty of other phones are still stuck with their tired Ice Cream Sandwich, the Oppo Find 5 comes with a nice helping of Jelly Beans out of the box.
The changes that Oppo put into Android 4.1 might look familiar – any of you who frequent the rooting and ROM community will find that Oppo’s UI looks very much like MIUI, a custom ROM for Android devices that also happens to hail from China. The MIUI interface is supposed to be reminiscent of iOS in that there is no app drawer and thus relies on the homescreens for all app interaction (it can get a little crowded when you also have widgets).
The Oppo UI takes the colorful, rounded square design from MIUI and changes it to make it more quintessentially Android – there is an app drawer that appears when pressing the appropriate icon, but the screens simply fade into the same 4×5 grid, just populated by the apps from A to Z. It is almost like there are two modes for your homescreens, the experience of which is actually kind of cool. I also enjoyed having the built-in ability to add or remove any homescreen, as I prefer my UI to have only 3 instead of the typical 5.
Menus also take some of MIUI’s form, grouping settings under various headings that can be navigated by swiping from left to right. All of the right settings are found under the appropriate areas, so navigation is still as easy as it should be. There are also power widgets in the notification dropdown, a feature that has become more or less standard in almost all third party UIs.
The lockscreen brings a different perspective to unlocking your phone, as it is just a simple transparent screen with the time on it that is swiped left and right – the screen, like a piece of glass, rotates and your homescreens appear. The settings menus make it easy to reach a number of different toggles that might otherwise require some digging in other UIs. You can also change fonts and themes, but I didn’t have any installed on this test model.
As far as the actual elements of the UI are concerned, I actually like the rigidity of the 4×5 grid. While I usually prefer taking advantage of every little bit of space on my homescreens, the way that the large icons take up the spaced out display keeps everything looking pretty tidy and organized. The actual icons themselves are even of a high resolution to take advantage of the 1080p display. I also actually like the recent apps screen, which displays your apps in groups of 3. A built-in app/cache cleaner is available with just the press of the centered button. I don’t usually use cleanup apps, but having one in there already is a little nice.
The only parts of the user interface that I have a little bit of a weird feeling over are the built-in widgets. As you can see a ways above, they all have a weird looking blob thing going on that serves primarily as the background to the actual content. They’re quirky, they’re certainly unique, but it just seems like bit of a departure from the rigid simplicity that I came to expect from the Oppo Find 5. Overall, the UI might look like something out of MIUI, but it still has its own elements that make it very Oppo – which is funny to say, because we have no examples ever of what that really means.
And finally we come to the cameras, the first of which are the 1.9 megapixel, front-facing optics. Pictures from these are good for self portraits (are they really calling them ‘selfies’ now?) and the occasional video chat, but there isn’t anything here you haven’t seen before. So that leaves the rear facing camera, which matches the ‘large and in charge’ personality that we’ve come to know in this review by having 13 megapixels. I am still a believer that smartphone cameras will reach a peak of quality and when great devices like this Oppo Find 5 are continuously being churned out, that day should be coming soon, right?
Unfortunately, we get more of the same with this phone. While definitely not a bad camera, it is really no different over the kinds of cameras that we already have in the market. 13 megapixels on a phone is definitely a nice feature to have, but just having more megapixels doesn’t bring better quality.
Pictures taken in good lighting are still nice and definitely make the Oppo Find 5 a capable replacement when you forget your dedicated camera at home, but just like most other Android smartphone cameras, the quality gets worse and worse as you take the light away. Low light performance can be mitigated by using the flash diode, though the other typical problem is that the flash blows out details and results in a less than ideal image.
That being said, this is still a good camera to have, it just doesn’t do anything to revolutionize the system already in place. The software itself is not the updated camera app from the newest iteration of Jelly Bean 4.2, so you don’t get the touch and swipe interface or Photo Sphere. The menus are the typical bars on either side and the options underneath are pretty typical, too. HDR is available, though it can result in highlights being blown out.
It is a fast performer, however, so quickly whipping out the Oppo Find 5 (if that’s even possible, with how big this phone is) to take a picture is possible. The focus is pretty quick with a faster shutter.
Then there is video, which suffers from the same issues as the still shots – highlights might look blown out in video and the jello effect typical of anything that isn’t a camcorder or high-end DSLR can make you dizzy. One feature worthy of mention is the ability to record video at 120 frames per second. Yes, you read that right. The two ways that the Find 5 takes advantage of this insanely fast frame rate is through two 480p modes – either the slow motion that conforms the 120fps down to the standard 30 or really fast motion that uses all those frames. It’s cool, if impractical. See the video review for an example of the slow motion capture.
Price and Conclusion
So, you have your first impression of the Oppo in the Find 5. And not just of the phone but also the company itself which, with this first foray into the smartphone market, has broken away from Blu-Ray players and made a definite splash in the Android space. It is clear that Oppo paid attention to what works and what people demand out of their phones – simply put, they want the best and they want it done right.
Perhaps simplicity was Oppo’s way of interpreting ‘done right.’ Whether or not that is true is up to you, their potential first smartphone customers. And they don’t want to stop improving for our sakes, as Oppo promises that based on the feedback from its users, OTA updates will be consistently catered to fix any problems that arise and to add more functionality to make the Find experience even better. That’s pretty nice of them.
But without any ties to phone carriers yet, an interesting situation arises. North American users might never be able to know what Oppo – or its phone, for that matter – is, and this is because the only place to get the Find 5 is from their website. While the Nexus 4 proved that having freedom from contracts is a very popular setup, the Oppo Find 5 doesn’t match its accessible price. 16GB comes in at $499, with a $70 higher price tag for twice the storage. While other 16GB phones can come in at much higher prices unlocked, 500 bucks is still quite steep. But admittedly, it is rather enticing to know I could potentially be the only person I know who owns this killer device.
But in the end, we can allow the Find 5 its welcoming party by celebrating Oppo’s forward thinking. For their first foray into smartphones, Oppo has gotten so much right that they deserve a lot of credit. 2013 may be the year of the 5 inch screen, but the Oppo Find 5 is certainly the first real blockbuster. Let us know what you think in the comments below and stay tuned to Android Authority for all the Find 5 news (and an upcoming battle against the HTC Droid DNA)!