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OPPO has been crafting and selling smartphones aimed at selfie-takers for a while now, and has built a strong brand from doing so.

The F7 is very much a phone in the vein of many other OPPO phones before it – like them, it too packs a powerful front camera perfect for selfies and groupfies – but OPPO has also sweetened the pot by mixing in a couple of other features that might also endear the F7 to those less selfie-obsessed.

Is this combination a compelling one? Join us as we find out!

Understated looker

“It’s a pretty phone, this one,” is what we all thought upon unwrapping our test F7 for the first time.

The F7 is very cleanly styled and really catches your eye. It boasts a glossy, smooth rear that gets our nod (save for the fact that it can be quite the fingerprint magnet, so you might feel the need to tote a cleaning cloth or, better yet, slip a protective case on to keep your F7 fresh and pretty).

You can buy the F7 in your choice of a smooth and shiny Solar Red or Moonlight Silver, or a uniquely styled Diamond Black featuring gemlike rear facets (take note that the F7 is available in two iterations and that the higher-situated version apparently isn’t available in Moonlight Silver). Our test higher-end unit came in Moonlight Silver – and we really liked it in this color.

Flip the F7 over and you’ll see that it’s nearly entirely screen (the phone’s screen-to-body ratio is over 82% – a record high ratio for an OPPO phone, apparently). That display is a 6.23-inch, 19:9 ratio, FHD+ 2280 x 1080 affair – a fair bit to take in, but that all means that it’s large, bright, beautiful, and almost end to end, very much in line with today’s leading displays.

The F7 is nearly bezel-free save for something of a slightly prominent chin down under. And it also boasts a notch up top, which might raise some eyebrows but really isn’t too much of an issue – more on which later. Lastly, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 helps keep the screen in good shape.

(Not) just about the selfies

Now for a look at the F7’s feature set.

The F7 being an OPPO phone, you’re probably wondering first and foremost about its imaging capabilities. We’re happy to let slip that this phone boasts a pretty powerful front snapper, all of 25MP – the better to take your selfies and groupfies with (and befitting OPPO’s ‘selfie expert’ moniker). (Take note, however, that the F7 features neither optical image stabilization nor video stabilization.)

That front camera also comes with some interesting features, including artificial intelligence, which enhances its Beauty Mode feature to help amp up your selfies, and Recognition Technology that utilizes 128 so-called “recognition points” to identify users and unlock the screen through facial recognition. The F7’s rear camera is rather less powerful than its front-facing camera at 16MP, but is far from chopped liver.

Irrespective of how good the F7’s cameras may be on paper, feature-wise, the phone has other things going for it too.

As we mentioned earlier, OPPO has seen fit to unleash two variants of the F7 upon the Philippine market. These are a lower-end 4GB RAM + 64GB ROM variant and a higher-level 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM version. Both come powered by the MediaTek Helio P60 chipset boasting an octa-core CPU that runs at 2.0GHz.

The F7 is fully up to date in terms of its software – it runs Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, with the most recent version of OPPO’s own overlay, ColorOS, atop it. The battery is a 3,400mAh affair – it doesn’t come with a quick-charge feature, but OPPO hastens to mention that ColorOS is optimized to both charge fast and reduce battery consumption. (To this end, the phone also includes key features such as Power Saving and Energy Saver.)

We were also happy to see that OPPO’s gifted the F7 with a couple of features that make it a little better to game on. These include a Game Acceleration mode that optimizes the phone’s hardware setup for gaming, including through blocking network access to other apps when the user is playing a game, as well as a Do Not Disturb option that mutes notifications while a game is running.

Last but of course not least, the F7 isn’t one of the phones that’s made the jump to USB 3.0; it instead makes do with microUSB 2.0.

Smooth runner

So what’s the F7 like to use?

In a nutshell, this phone isn’t a power broker like many top of the line phones nowadays, but it still is a decent unit that makes a strong case for itself.

Its imaging set is strong given the high megapixel count of its cameras. We found them both to be capable snappers, especially the front-facing camera. (Its AI features really helped improve our somewhat iffy initial attempts at selfies, and also helped us unlock the phone with our faces really quickly.) That being said, the lack of OIS and video stabilization might be a problem for those of you with less than steady hands and/or who want to shoot footage on the run.

We found the F7’s user interface to be powerful and more than up to whatever we required of it, from simple tasks like social media posting and internet surfing to more challenging tasks like gaming. (Those gaming-centric features really do count, we feel.) Even the most challenging games we tried were stutter and lag-free.

We also found the F7’s battery life to be decent – we daresay that’s the effect of ColorOS working behind the scenes, as well as the phone’s special features, to make sure that our usage didn’t overpower the phone. Moderate daily usage interspersed with idle periods helped our test unit average one full day of use.

Our verdict

We’ve come away from our test pretty impressed by the OPPO F7, and can wholeheartedly recommend it.

It’s not just a ‘selfie machine’ but can do plenty of other things well; it’s a capable phone that isn’t brimming with power, but can do what it needs to do without any issues.

Plus it’s really quite the looker to boot!



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