AI-backed front camera works well
Good battery life
Average build quality
The OPPO F5 continues the company’s ‘Selfie Expert’ pitch with AI smarts to enhance your selfies. It also keeps up with the latest trend of tall displays with 18:9 aspect ratio, a trend that became mainstream in 2017, trickling down to even budget smartphones.
The OPPO F5 doesn’t pack in top-of-the-line specifications for the price it comes at, but aims to impress customers with its camera prowess wrapped in an attractive chassis.
Does the OPPO F5 manage to offer a nice package where the sum of whole is greater than the parts? I spent two weeks with the device, and here’s my detailed OPPO F5 review.
From a distant glance, the finish on the rear makes the OPPO F5 look like a metal unibody smartphone, but in fact, it’s all plastic when observed up close. That does make it lightweight though, and, at 152 grams with just 7.5mm in thickness, it is fairly manageable to use and handle despite the tall display. The rounded edges also make the OPPO F5 quite ergonomic for one-handed usage.
The rear camera does protrude a little but it’s not a showstopper, since the phone doesn’t wobble when it rests on the back.
On the front, there’s not much hunky-dory. The display rests on a plastic trim and does not merge seamlessly into the body which obfuscates the design. Also, while OPPO claims the phone sports an edge-to-edge display, there are still enough bezels on the top and bottom and an annoying black border around the display.
The F5 comes with a plastic screen protector affixed, which is good enough for most people who prefer screen protection, but I removed it as soon as I took the smartphone out of the box. The edge of the screen protector forms another line on the display, which is distracting and also picks up scuffs and smudges.
The blue color variant of the OPPO F5 clearly dazzles and looks really slick, and I’d really recommend you pick this one over the black or gold ones. There’s also a fancy red edition but it’s only available for the 6GB + 64GB memory variant.
The OPPO F5 sports a bright 6-inch Full HD+ display with 18:9 aspect ratio. The taller display works well with the ergonomics of the phone and offers an immersive experience especially while watching videos or playing games.
The display is crisp and boasts punchy colors. The bright display makes for pretty good sunlight legibility and the viewing angles are great too.
Moving on with our OPPO F5 review, the phone is powered by the MediaTek MT6763T octa-core processor paired with 4GB of RAM. This setup is definitely not for those who want raw performance. In its price segment, the F5 wouldn’t impress you with its specifications sheet, and that’s not what OPPO is going for anyway.
The F5 was launched with the 4GB variant that packs in 32GB of storage, but there’s another variant now with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. While the extra storage never hurts, the premium one pays for that extra bit of RAM doesn’t make much sense, considering the modest processor.
Overall, the OPPO F5 is a capable performer if you don’t stretch it too much.
The F5 performs quite well for everyday tasks. Multitasking is smooth, and the UI does not feel sluggish at any time, even with multiple apps open in the background. That said, as is expected, it struggles with graphic-intensive games at higher graphic settings. Overall, the OPPO F5 is a capable performer if you don’t stretch it too much.
OPPO F5 comes with a 3,200-mAh battery which lasts for a full work day on heavy usage, which is good enough for a phone with a 6-inch display. The lack of fast charging is disappointing though, and it takes about two hours to charge the phone from zero to 100%.
For a smartphone at this price, the microUSB port you get on the OPPO F5 is disappointing. I would’ve preferred USB Type-C along with the support for fast charging.
The fingerprint sensor at the back is slightly elongated and placed well. The authentication is quick, and seamless almost every time.
That brings us to the marquee feature of the phone and a core part of our OPPO F5 review. OPPO was one of the first brands to validate the growing trend of selfies and has offered multiple capabilities in their selfie-focused smartphones, from beautification features to AI-backed enhancements.
The OPPO F5 boasts a 20MP front camera with an f/2.0 aperture. The highlight of the front camera is the AI-based facial recognition technology. OPPO claims that the technology scans about 200 positioning points on your face and then accentuates the facial landmarks. Crisper jawline and well-defined cheekbones, for example. It also automatically judges the background lighting conditions, so that your portraits have the appropriate luminance.
Technical specifics aside, the front camera on the F5 does take some great selfies. The portraits taken in good lighting conditions are crisp, color reproduction is great, and the captured shots are rich in details. In low light, there’s a definite dip in the image quality, but still most selfies turn up good enough for sharing on Facebook or Instagram and garnering likes. In some shots, though, the objects in the background aren’t reproduced quite well, which looks odd.
The front camera also attempts to emulate the bokeh effect via some software wizardry, similar to the Google Pixel 2. In my experience, several shots had blurry edges, but were still good enough for the usual social media sharing. The artificial depth effect is a gimmick, but one that a lot of people would lap up.
While the front camera gets all the attention, the 16MP rear camera with f/1.8 sensor is no slouch. In good daylight conditions, the photos come out great, with good amount of details and vivid colors. In low light though, it struggles quite a bit and considerable noise creeps in. Yet there’s enough amount of details and the low-light pics are passable.
One of the biggest issues with the rear camera is that it either takes a while to focus on the subject or the autofocus messes up while taking a quick picture.
OPPO F5 runs ColorOS, the company’s proprietary UI layer on top of Android 7.1 Nougat. ColorOS is a heavily themed, yet quite polished skin that takes liberal inspiration from iOS. It’s jarring for someone coming from stock Android, but, like most Android customizations, it grows on you.
Android Nougat is disappointing, more so since there’s no clear information about an upgrade to Android Oreo.
The F5 comes preloaded with OPPO’s versions of primary apps like Photos, Music, Videos, et al, and a handful of third-party apps like Facebook WPS Office, Amazon, and Prime Video. There’s also OPPO’s own app store and an app to pick themes and wallpapers.
OPPO F5 also supports unlocking the phone using facial recognition, but it’s a pain to set up and face recognition is patchy. It fails often in diverse lighting conditions (and not just in low light) at different locations. Even when it works, it’s slower than fingerprint authentication, so in just a few days, I got back to the faster and more natural way of using the fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone.
|Operating System||ColorOS 3.2, based on Android 7.1|
|Display||15.24cm (6-inch) LTPS TFT
Full HD+ (2160 x 1080)18:9 aspect ratio
Mali G71 MP2 GPU
Expandable up to 256GB with microSD card
|Dimensions||156.5 x 76 x 7.5mm|
Pricing and final thoughts
To wrap up our OPPO F5 review, the phone doesn’t fail in its claim of being a ‘Selfie Expert’. Most people would buy an OPPO smartphone for camera quality, and in most cases, the F5 doesn’t disappoint. Honestly, a power-user looking for performance wouldn’t bet on an OPPO anyway, and that aside, the F5 should serve most people quite well in terms of performance. There’s also a wonderful display to boot.
OPPO F5 is for those who don’t mind paying a premium for some great selfies.
But, as our OPPO F5 review shows, there are a fair bit of compromises, like the plastic build, the design oddities, and the use of Android Nougat instead of Oreo.
Read next: The best flagship phones in India
OPPO F5 is for those who don’t mind paying a premium for some great selfies, even if there are more well-rounded options at a lesser price in the market.