Surprising value: Oppo’s $449 R7 iPhone clone reviewed

Switch the phone on using the power button on the left edge and you’ll find a bright display greeting you back showing the Full HD resolution of 1920×1080.

This screen is fairly bright, and there’s even a dose of automatic brightness if needed, and you’ll find a pixel clarity of around 441 pixels per inch, higher than both the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and their respective Retina grade panels.

It’s certainly pleasing to the eye, though not ground breaking, running with much the same screen technology we’ve seen in phones for a good two years.

But if it ain’t broke, it don’t need fixing, and that’s what we’re seeing here, with a decent little touchscreen display that looks good in what appears to be a super-slim iPhone clone.


Get to using the phone and you’ll even see a touch more Apple inspiration in the operating system.

You see it runs on Android but you’d never realise it, and that’s because Oppo’s implementation of Android looks more like Apple’s iOS, with no separate app menu and a design that integrates that app menu into the widgetised home screens.

It’s not hard to see that this instance of Android — which Oppo calls “ColorOS” — borrows quite heavily from the look of Apple’s mobile operating system, and we’re not sure we like it as a version of Android.


Mobile beginners who have played with the iPhone before may find it quite nifty, but seasoned Android users could find it a tad limiting, especially since your app placement on the screen is singular, and you can even accidentally remove apps that you shouldn’t be able to, such as Google staples like the Play Store.

You can return these by diving into the settings menus, and this might even be useful if you’re setting up a phone for a child or a senior — ideally someone who might not want to see or be able to play with apps they don’t understand , or could cost money — but even we were thrown a bit of a curve when we discovered we could accidentally get rid of the Play Store, which struck us as odd.


There are other little quirks and bugs with ColorOS, too, such as how it opens up tabs in Google’s Chrome web browser.

As is the norm in Android 5.1 “Lollipop” — which is what the R7 runs — you’ll find these expand to different windows in the multi-tasking function, just like it does on other Android 5-based handsets.

That’s not new, and we’re used to it. What we’re not used to is seeing that the multi-tasking function on the R7 just doesn’t work properly, with tabs that don’t load properly, and tabs that you go into loading the wrong app, such as email or another app you were just recently in.


This is one of the many quirks we’ve discovered with the Oppo R7, and it’s not helped by the multi-task button on the bottom of the handset not actually being a multi-task button, but rather one of those “menu” buttons taken from an older Android phone.

It still works the same way when you hold it down, but this isn’t Android the way Google designed it, and it’s fairly clear Oppo is pushing its own take on Android with this older inclusion.

There’s also no backlighting for these buttons, which is a bit of a surprise, and something that makes the phone just that much more annoying to use in low-light, so make sure you remember what each button does, because there’s no assistance if you’re checking your phone in a dark room or movie theatre.


We found other quirks, too, including a phone that needed to be restarted a few times before all our regular apps would install, as Google’s account information would frequently disappear amidst trying to download software from the Google Play store. It took about four restarts before everything was good to go, though after that, all was fine.

Another quirk we’ve seen before on Oppo devices also reared its head, with the “misoperation prevention” still here, an error that pops up if you try to unlock your phone when the top of the handset is covered. To quell this, simply stop blocking the top of the handset and it’ll return to normal.

That’s an easy fix, for sure, but after reviewing a few Oppo phones, we still have no idea why this pops up, and it makes itself known very, very often.

Return emails feature another bizarre inclusion, and it’s one we’ve never seen out of the many, many, many phones we’ve reviewed. Simply put, replying to an email has you do it in the space normally reserved for responding to an SMS, otherwise known as the line or two above your keyboard.

Traditionally, emails are handled from the email itself, giving you the space to compose and edit, not just a field for one or two lines.

But not on this phone, because the Oppo R7 asks you to reply in a small space.

If emails were short and punchy like a text message, this would make sense, but since emails aren’t necessarily short, this way of writing a response doesn’t feel right, and this adds to the list of quirks with the phone.

From left to right: A strange way to reply to emails; web browsing in multi-tasking not loading the webpage you're on; and what's with this misoperation prevention bug we keep seeing on Oppo phones?
From left to right: A strange way to reply to emails; web browsing in multi-tasking not loading the webpage you’re on; and what’s with this misoperation prevention bug we keep seeing on Oppo phones?