Oppo’s 4.85mm thin R5 smartphone reviewed

Apple may lead the smartphone wars with the iPhone, but Oppo is challenging the big A for some inventiveness, finding a way to make mobiles slimmer than ever with the 4.85mm thin R5. Is this as good as it is thin?

Features

Oppo’s thinnest device — not just Oppo’s, but the world’s — is the R5, a phone that pushes past the 6 and 7mm thickness limits we’ve been seeing on major phones of late, and settles on something positively hard to spot: 4.85mm.

Just a hair under 5mm is what Oppo is reaching for in this rather unique mobile handset that tries to show it’s not just the big boys that can do something special.

That thickness is the key feature for this phone, and Oppo has done it with a metal and glass build, throwing in some processing power to boot.

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As such, you’ll find an eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor made up of two quad-core sections, one clocked at 1.7GHz and another at 1GHZ, with this paired with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. No microSD storage slot can be found in this handset, so your storage is set to 16GB only.

Google’s Android operating system arrives on this smartphone, with version 4.4 “KitKat” there out of the box, though this is Oppo’s take on the

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Cameras are included with the smartphone, part and parcel with nearly every smartphone out there, and you’ll find a 13 megapixel camera with LED Flash on the rear, raised at the back slightly and bumping up the thickness a little.

The front also features a camera, with a 5 megapixel shooter above the display.

The connections on offer aren’t the best they could be, with 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, as well as Bluetooth 4.0, GPS with A-GPS, and 4G LTE available for the mobile broadband side of things. Meanwhile, only one hard wired port is offered in the R5, with a microUSB port at the bottom.

If you’re curious as to why there is no 3.5mm headset jack, the omission of that port is one of the main reasons why Oppo has been able to produce such a slim handset.

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Buttons are still here, too, with a physical power button on the right edge just below the volume rocker, while the rest of the phone’s buttons are below the screen as soft buttons, providing the older Android menu (hold down for multi-tasking), home, and back.

Only one slot can be found in the handset, with the microSIM slot ejectable by a supplied pin ejector tool.

The battery is built into the Oppo R5 smartphone and is rated at 2000mAh.

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Performance

Every year, we see the best and the brightest ideas enter the smartphone world. New screens, better processors, and the technology that turns practically every mobile calling device into something that makes it an even more impressive super computer with every improvement.

And every time that happens, we find the devices change shape.

The manufacturers and designers of the world add curves and give the phones new form, hugging our legs when we walk and cradling our hands when we take them out for use, and every time a new design arrives, so too does a new thickness.

We all crave big screens at the moment, but a thick phone isn’t something anyone really wants, and right now, the holy grail is to make a phone that is easy to hold, big enough to read anywhere, and slim enough to not make an impact on your stride as you walk down the road.

Oppo may not have been in the mobile phone game for very long, but it has apparently been paying close attention to this last one, because that is the primary reason we’re seeing a new handset hit the streets, the R5.

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This handset is a little different from your regular flagship, and we’re not kidding when we say the emphasis has been on getting the size down because this is more or less advertised as the world’s thinnest phone, sitting at a depth of 4.85mm when you don’t include the camera bump (and if you do, it barely jumps up much in size, maybe half a millimetre or so).

That’s enough to set a record for being the world’s thinnest smartphone, and it’s not even a slouch in the processing department, packing in an eight-core Snapdragon 615 processor, 2GB RAM, and 16GB storage.

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In the hands, the design is very angular, reminding us of the Sony Xperia Z2, which like this phone was made from glass and metal. In fact, the design is very similar, even if the back of the Oppo is more iPhone like. One could almost say the R5 is like taking the frame of the Xperia Z2 and cutting it in half, since the Z2 measures 8.2mm thick, and the Oppo R5 is nearly half that at 4.85mm.

Not all mobile users will appreciate this super-slim angular design, which is pleasing enough thanks to the use of metal in its build, and we blame that on just how much of a block this can resemble.

Fortunately, it won’t leave too much of an impact in your pants, and that’s where Oppo can say the thickness — or lack thereof, even — is having an impact. Or even little impact, as both statements are accurate.

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Switch the phone on, however, and you’ll see the screen make an impact on you, presenting a 5.2 inch display of Full HD resolution to your eyes. Again, this is very similar to what Sony’s Xperia Z2 offers, with more or less the same resolution minus the soft keys, which in the Oppo R5 sit under the screen and aren’t digital and part of the display like they are on the Sony.

This is of course no detriment to the Oppo, which technically offers a little more in the pixel clarity count, though not enough to make a dent.

Sufficed to say, you’ll find roughly 424 pixels per inch offered here, providing more than enough clarity to take on Apple’s Retina resolution, which is either 326 ppi on the iPhone 6 or 400 ppi on the iPhone 6 Plus. The Oppo R5 beats both of those numbers, telling us your eyes shouldn’t feel any problems when staying locked on the 5.2 inch display used in this handset.

Performance is, however, a mixed bag.

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