Oppo's beautiful gold-colored aluminum R7s (it also comes in silver) looks more like a premium phone than its humble midrange innards would suggest, and it unfortunately costs more than other phones with similar specs.
To be sure, I like the R7s' iPhone-like looks, but with disappointing performance its $399 price cannot be justified. (The price converts to about £280.): For just about $100 more, you can snag a Google Nexus 6P, whose 32GB model sells for $499 ($449 for a limited time) in the US and £449 in the UK.
In Australia, of course, that's a slightly different story. At AU$529 it's priced quite well compared to similar phones, and the retail price is actually cheaper than a direct currency conversion of the US price. And with the Nexus 6P selling for a cool AU$899, they're not even playing the same game, let alone in the same ballpark. It's all part of Oppo's ongoing strategy of putting a smaller price tag on its phones in Australia, presumably to get a solid foothold and deliver a bit of a midrange rival to Huawei as well.
Although you can buy Oppo's phones through its online OppoStyle website, this R7s doesn't appear to support US LTE bands, which makes the phone an even harder sell for US locals -- you'd be paying quite a bit for a 3G-compatible phone with none of the superfast 4G speeds that you should be getting.
That said, if you live in the other parts of the world, such as Asia, Australia or the UK, and prize style over top-of-the-line power, the R7s' fashion-forward looks could lure you.
What's this R7s about? Doesn't Oppo already have the R7 and R7 Plus?
If you're confused, it's because Oppo is making a range of phones based on the original R7 phone. The R7, as you can see from our review here, is a 5-inch phone that sports a similar premium styling to the R7s. The larger R7 Plus, however, has a 6-inch display.
From a size perspective, the 5.5-inch R7s sits right between its two brethren. It costs the same as the original R7 and $100 less than the R7 Plus. So choosing between the three really boils down to which screen size you prefer and whether the features borrowed from the R7 Plus, such as the fingerprint scanner, are important to you.
The iPhone 6S Plus also has a 5.5-inch screen. How does the R7s compare from a size perspective?
Interestingly, because the Oppo R7s doesn't need the extra space at the bottom for the iPhone's home button and TouchID sensor, it's a bit smaller in size and a little thinner, though not by much. Oppo has also moved on from having physical touch sensors on the bottom bezel -- the R7s uses software-based buttons for Back, Home and Menu, freeing up more space to further slim down the phone.
Where is this phone available?
Oppo is selling the R7s globally either through local retail channels or its own e-commerce site, OppoStyle. Oppo is also offering the phone through Amazon in some locations. Do check the manufacturer's website for more details.
Which 4G networks will the R7s work with?
The good news is like most international compatible phones out of China, the R7s will work on 4G networks in the UK, such as Three and EE, while also compatible with the Optus, Telstra and Vodafone networks in Australia. The bad news is, you'll be stuck with only 3G in the US.
Is the camera any good?
Well, yes, the camera's pretty decent. While it's not as good as the Samsung Galaxy S6 or the iPhone 6S, the rear 13-megapixel camera will take good pictures in places with enough lighting. My only issue is with low-light performance; it's tricky even on the best cameras and the Oppo R7s doesn't handle that too well, with pictures lacking the finer details.