Oppo R5: Lean, mean machine

Oppo R5: Lean, mean machine

Chinese smartphone maker Oppo has claimed the crown for the thinnest Android smartphone with the R5.

The R5, which is a mere 4.85mm thick, is expected to be available in early January in two colours - gold or silver. It's almost entirely encased in metal, giving it a sleek look and feel.

The front is dominated by the 5.2in screen which has a full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) with a pixel density of 423ppi (pixels per inch). Thanks to the high pixel density, the screen is sharp with rich colour and good viewing angles.

Colour me bright

The smartphone runs on Android 4.4 KitKat with the company's Color O.S 2.0 user interface layered on top. Version 2.0 is even more vibrant than the original, and even the settings page has been given the colour treatment.

Like most other Chinese manufacturers, Oppo has removed the app drawer in this version, making it look a little like iOS. In other words, all apps installed on the smartphone will appear on the homescreen.

You can easily jazz up the interface with a multitude of free themes, some of which are very pretty.

Packed within the thin frame of the R5 is a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor, 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage.

Sacrifices had to be made to keep the smartphone slim and as such there isn't a memory card slot. This means you will have to live with the 16GB internal memory, of which about 3.8GB is already been taken up by the operating system and pre-installed apps. We suggest relying on free Cloud storage options to store your bigger video and photo files.

As the device has an octa-core processor, it had no problems handling multiple apps running simultaneously. We didn't encounter any problems or lag when browsing the Net, watching videos or playing games.

For those of you who like to listen to music on the go, you should know that the phone is so thin there is no 3.5mm audio jack. Instead Oppo provides a micro USB audio adaptor for the job. The only downside is that you can't listen to music and charge the phone at the same time, as there is only one slot.

However, the R5 tended to heat up after use and it doesn't help that it's made mostly out of metal. We highly recommend using a case even though that means you won't be able to show off the thinness of the smartphone.

Another reason why you would want a case is because the rear camera sticks out a little.

Megapixel monster

The 13-megapixel rear camera performed well when there was sufficient light. In low-light situations, it was better to switch to the Colourful Night Shot mode, which produced clearer pictures. However, noise was still visible, especially when viewed on a bigger screen, but this is a common problem with just about every camera.

Just like its older and bigger sibling, the R5 has an Ultra HD mode that produces a 50-megapixel photo by shooting 10 images and combining them into one.

While you get sharper pictures, the file sizes are also bigger. On average, a standard photo will be about 2MB to 3MB while an Ultra HD picture will be about 6MB. That's three time the size and as space is limited it's best used sparingly.

That being said, we did not need to use Ultra HD mode too often as the standard mode was fine in most situations.

The rear camera records videos in full HD and 4K. We found the full HD mode to be good but the colour was off a little. The 4K mode, on the other hand, was clear but takes up a lot more space.

The front-facing 5-megapixel camera has a multitude of beauty filters which should please selfie takers.

In terms of battery life, the R5 lasted about nine hours on a full charge with moderate usage such as surfing the Web, shooting photos and playing games. This is not surprising as it only has a 2,000mAH battery.

To counter this, Oppo has included a Rapid Charge function that powers up the battery from 10 per cent to 80 per cent in just 30 minutes. We tested it and it works.

Conclusion

Oppo's R5 is an incredibly stylish and lightweight smartphone that doesn't sacrifice on firepower. The octa-core processor can more than handle whatever apps and games you throw at it.

The camera is also good and packs a number of very useful function such as Ultra HD for shooting photos and 4K mode for recording videos.

The thin body is definitely a plus point for the fashion forward but it comes with a few limitations such as only 16GB for storage and shorter battery life. Also, the phone tends heats up.

However, if you are looking for an attractive and extremely slim smartphone with a fast processor and good camera then the R5 may be the device for you.

Pros: Slimmest Android on the market; good camera; fast processor; rapid charging function.

Cons: Overheats; limited storage space; battery life could be better.

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