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Oppo R5 review: A beautiful slim smartphone let down by poor performance

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MSRP: $449.00
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The Good The Oppo R5 has a ridiculously sleek profile with a metal frame that feels solid and well-built.

The Bad Despite having an octa-core processor, the phone is oftentimes sluggish. The 13-megapixel camera takes a while to start, too. The thin frame means there's no headphone jack or microSD card slot.

The Bottom Line Oppo has created a beautiful phone that shows plenty of promise, but it needs to iron out the kinks in its performance if it's to stand out against the cheaper competition.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.7 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7

Review Sections

Oppo's R5 is a seriously gorgeous phone. Clad in metal, it's super-thin -- just 4.85mm (0.19 inches) deep, and it weighs a scant 155 grams (5.5 ounces). It's certainly impressive, but this comes at the loss of the 3.5mm audio jack, so you'll have to use Bluetooth headphones if you want to listen to music.

For Android fans envious of the iPhone 6 's slim frame, well, look no further. The R5's ultra-slim body beats the iPhone handily, and will draw envious stares from other Android owners as well.

But slimness isn't all that great without the performance to back it up, and this is where the phone falters. It's oftentimes sluggish, and the camera takes forever to start up. The phone's thin frame also doesn't help with the heat and it can get uncomfortably hot at times.

Pricing and availablity

Oppo hasn't yet revealed exact dates for the phone's availability, but the Chinese company intends to sell it globally, either through its online store or working in partnership with local distributors. What I do know is that there will be three versions due to the different LTE bands -- one for the US, one for China and one for the rest of the world.

Price wise, the R5 will be sold at $449, which converts to roughly £310. It will also come unlocked, so you'll be able to use the phone on 3G mostly everywhere.

Design

The R5 is encased in metal -- with a hand-polished steel frame and, on the back, brushed aluminum. This gives the phone a premium feel that you'd expect from a more expensive device.

The two-tone color scheme (either white and silver or white and gold) at the back does draw comparisons to Apple's iPhone designs, but the shape of the phone is much more angular. Despite being thinner, it doesn't feel as slippery as the iPhone.

One downside to the thin frame of the phone is that the rear 13-megapixel sticks out, much like Apple's iPhone. However, unlike the small bump of the iPhone 6, the R5's rear camera pops out a fair way, enough that it makes the phone uneven when placed on a flat surface.

Aloysius Low/CNET

The R5 sports a 5.2-inch AMOLED display, with a full HD resolution of 1,920x1,080 pixels. The screen is bright and sharp, while colors were vibrant. I do have issues with the auto-brightness settings of the phone -- it can sometimes be too dim.

Like most Chinese-made smartphones, the R5 sports physical home, menu and back keys. I'm not a fan of physical keys since I feel software keys are better to interact with -- you can (depending on the OS) switch the back button to either the left or right position.

The volume and power keys are on the right side, with the micro-USB port at the bottom. As mentioned earlier, there's no 3.5mm audio jack.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Hardware

Oppo's R5 is powered by an octa-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, and in theory, should have enough juice to power the phone. But my experience with the device was less than satisfactory: at times the phone would pause between switching apps, for example. I reckon a software update could fix this, and I will update the review if it does.

The phone packs 2GB of RAM, 16GB of onboard storage and a 2,000mAh battery. There's no microSD card slot to expand that storage, which limits the number of apps you can install and the number of tunes and movies you can keep onboard.

Aloysius Low/CNET

Software and features

The phone is powered by Android 4.4 KitKat -- not the latest 5.0 Lollipop -- with Oppo's custom ColorOS UI on top. The software is very much improved from the company's first version, though it looks similar. For one, it's much flatter.

oppor5screenshot01.jpg
Screenshot by Aloysius Low/CNET

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