Post updated August 22nd, 2014 at 07:41 pm
I still remember the months leading to the Oppo Find 7 launch, the world was excited at the rumoured specs that looked like a geek’s wish list. Everybody was wondering if the Chinese company was going to pack a 2K display into a small smartphone size, and the rumoured 50MP rear camera was just mouth-wateringly exciting.
Fast forward a few months, not only did Oppo launch the Oppo Find 7 that proved most of the rumours true, but it also introduced the Find 7a, a lower-end version of the Find 7 that looks identical in terms of design, but packs slightly less powerful specs and is, of course, a lot more affordable.
So how do the Oppo Find 7 and Find 7a perform in everyday usage? Hit the break to check out our full review.
First up, a brief introduction to tell the two apart. The biggest difference between the Find 7 and Find 7a is this: the Find 7 comes with the world’s smallest 2K display measuring at only 5.5”, while the Find 7 packs a regular Full HD display of the same size. The Find 7a is also slightly less powerful than the Find 7 with a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 processor on board compared to the 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 on the Find 7. Other differences include a slightly smaller battery on the Find 7a (3,000mAh vs 2,800mAh) and a tiny weight difference of 1 gram (171g vs 170g). Just in case you’re wondering, both batteries are interchangeable so if you’d like to have a larger battery capacity, you can always buy a 3,000mAh one and put it into the Find 7a.
Apart from that, everything else is essentially the same like they both come with a 13MP Sony IMX 214 camera that is also found in other devices such as the OnePlus One and Xiaomi Mi 4. However, what sets Oppo’s camera apart is that is equipped with the company’s very own 50MP Super Zoom technology that churns out pictures with a resolution of 8160 x 6120.
The design on both the Oppo Find 7 and Find 7a are very sleek and sexy. While they may be made of plastic, they are slightly on the heavy side, making them feel very solid to hold.
The front features a sexy 5.5” display with only one cutout for the earpiece and a pulsating light right at the bottom. Flipping it over will give you a very simple textured back cover with the word “oppo” written across, and right above that would be a dual-LED flash, camera followed by a microphone hole, while the speaker grill sits at the bottom.
The power and volume rocker are located on either side, 3.5mm audio jack at the top and a microUSB slot at the bottom.
Perhaps phablets have become a norm, or perhaps it’s because prior to this I was using a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 as my primary device, I’ve gotten used to the large form factor and 5.5” no longer feels humongous. Of course, if given a choice, a 5” size would be perfect.
I’m not sure if it’s just our review unit but the power button on the Find 7 feels a little too flat so trying to power on your display by pressing the button could be slightly problematic, especially if you’re using only one hand. The one on the Find 7a is slightly more protruded but hey, who needs to hit the power button when you can double-tap to wake it up?
As a flagship device, it is without a doubt Oppo has packed the latest and greatest (during launch of course) under the Find 7’s hood. Powered by a 2.5Ghz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, the Find 7 has 3GB of RAM on board with 32GB of internal storage that is expandable via microSD slot. What makes this device stand out even further is its IPS Quad HD display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, giving a whopping 538ppi pixel density.
The Find 7a on the other hand is slightly less powerful than the Find 7 with a 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of expandable internal storage and a regular Full HD display with 403ppi.
As you can see, both the Find 7 and Find 7a look amazing on paper. The spec sheet comparison we have shows that the Find 7 is just as powerful, if not even more powerful, than the Samsung Galaxy S5, Sony Xperia Z2 and LG G3, but instead of costing almost RM2,400 like the latter three, it retails at only RM1,898. While the Find 7a may not be as powerful, it still features a high-end spec that is slightly less powerful than the Find 7 and the best part? The retail price of the Find 7a is only RM1,598.
Here’s how the Find 7 and Find 7a stack against other flagships in the market, inclusive of price:
Both the Oppo Find 7 and Find 7a runs on ColorOS, Oppo’s custom ROM based on Android 4.3. Somehow, the Find 7a runs on a later version of ColorOS,
V1.2.4i V1.2.5i (update received about a week ago), while the Find 7 only runs on V1.2.0. The differences are not very apparent, in fact, I only noticed some differences in the settings menu.
ColorOS have some pretty interesting tricks, like gesture controls that allows you to access various apps and such while the display is still turned off. The default gestures are double tap on the screen to unlock, draw a circle to activate the camera and draw a “V” to turn on the flashlight.
Apart from those, you can also set your own gestures like “W” to activate Whatsapp, “P” for Play Store and more, but these gestures will not be usable in a sleeping display (i.e. when the phone is locked). Instead, you will need to use them in a pull-down Gesture, which requires you to pull down from the top left side of your device; pulling down the right side will call for the Notification panel.
If you would like to make a gesture that can be used when the phone is locked, you can only use the default gestures found under “Screen off gesture” in “Gesture & motion” in the Settings menu. There are a lot to choose from, so I don’t think you’ll run out of unique gestures to assign tasks to. Screen off gesture / Blank screen gesture includes double tap, circle, two-finger slide down, upward arrow, downward arrow, left arrow, right arrow, slide up, slide down, slide left, slide right, “M” and “W”.
However, as much as I love gesture control, particularly the ability to double tap to wake the phone up since the Find 7’s power button is a little hard to press, I hate it as well. Actually, I hate how sensitive it is because every time I bring my phone out and hold it because it barely fits into my little bag, I’ll wake it up by accident. At best, it drains out the battery. At worse, I’ll start calling random people in my contacts list. Sure, set a screen lock and you won’t call someone by accident, but I’d rather that than risk keying in the wrong code too many times. Fortunately, the problem has been fixed with a recent software update to make it a lot less sensitive than before.
Now here comes my favourite part of ColorOS – the Themes store. There’s a huge list of themes for you to pick from and a lot more gets added in pretty frequently. When I first started using the Find 7 I remember there were only a few to pick from but today, there are a lot from artistic ones to simple ones and even cartoon and cute themes.
However, unlike what Xiaomi has for its devices (and also available in MIUI Launcher for other Android devices) which changes the interface of the entire device, Themes in ColorOS only applies to the home screens and icons – the settings menu and all are still the same.
If you’d like to change the lock screen, you can download more lock screen themes under Personalize in the Themes app, or via the Settings menu. There are a lot less lock screens to pick from but hey, it’ll only be a matter of time before Oppo (or the community) releases more, right?
Other things provided in ColorOS include Holiday mode, whereby all calls and message notifications will be muted if they’re not in a white list because, well, you need to enjoy your holiday. However, if the person tries to call 3 times within 3 minutes, the third call will not be muted even if the number is in the white list, as it indicates that it may be an urgent call.
“Easy come, easy go” is probably the best description I have for both the Find 7 and Find 7a. The bundled VOOC charger is without a doubt the most useful accessory I’ve had for a while, but despite having a large 3000mAh (2800mAh for Find 7a) battery capacity, it gets drained out pretty quickly.
Just to give you an idea of how poor the battery life is: I leave my phone overnight with everything connected – WiFi on, and all accounts connected, I’d wake up to 20% less battery from the previous night. In comparison, my fully-connected iPhone 5s does a much better job conserving battery overnight.
Fortunately, both the Find 7 and Find 7a can last me about a day with normal usage. I manage to squeeze 17 hours out of the battery once, but because it drains out so quickly on most occasions, I usually make sure I charge it before I go to sleep. But hey, if you forget to do so, the VOOC charger can fully charge the Find 7 in about an hour or so.
With everything said, the battery life is definitely my greatest issue with both the Find 7 and Find 7a. Sure, the VOOC charger works great, but it’s huge and heavy, and I’m not going to carry that around with me (between work and home).
One last note regarding the battery life: I’m not sure why, but using original chargers from other manufacturers charges up the Find 7/7a really slowly. I use my Xiaomi Mi 3 charger most of the time but both phones charges up awfully slow with it, and I usually have to leave it overnight.
Now here comes one of the most interesting part, the Oppo Find 7 features a 2K display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, giving a whopping 538ppi. Does it make a huge difference? I’m not quite sure how to say this. I see a difference, but I can’t seem to pinpoint what exactly is the difference. Of course, it doesn’t help that both displays on the Find 7 and Find 7a are so different. For some reason, the Find 7 has a much warmer tint, and to my naked eye looks brighter and clearer, while the Find 7a’s display is cooler, and has a dimmer display.
Does a 2K display look a lot nicer than the good old 1080p ones? Frankly speaking, no. In fact, we couldn’t see any difference at all and at a glance, I actually prefer the cooler display on the 1080p Find 7a. The text on the Find 7 does look slightly sharper, but it’s not something you’d actually notice unless you really scrutinize it.
Both the Oppo Find 7 and 7a features the MAXX Audio Mobile technology that promises to deliver the best audio quality ever produced on a smartphone. They also have a MAXXEQ equalizer that gives users a greater audio control. I’m not an audio enthusiast but there’s one thing I can tell you for sure, the audio is freaking very loud.
One of the most interesting things about both the Find 7 and Find 7a would definitely have to be the 13MP camera that is capable of taking images up to 50MP. The camera has a 13MP sensor, but with a Super Zoom Technology on board, you can take pictures with a resolution of 8160 x 6120. What does this mean? Simply put, it can capture a lot more details.
But before that, let’s talk about the regular 13MP camera on both devices. Thanks to gesture control, you just need to draw a circle on a blank screen and the camera will be activated almost instantly (almost, it still takes about 2 seconds but good enough for me). The camera interface is nice and simple, nothing we haven’t seen before. Tap to focus and tap the shutter/video button to take a picture or start recording a video. Settings can be accessed via the on-screen buttons.
The camera on both devices also comes with other features like the ability to capture RAW files, a hand-held night mode, and a 32-second slow shutter speed. As for the 50MP camera, you can switch to HD Picture (or Ultra-HD on the Find 7a) and the camera will capture 50MP pictures. It takes a while though, about 5 seconds for each shot but fortunately, you don’t have to hold your hands still for the shot to be taken, just snap and while it’s still loading, you can move the phone away.
As for the front camera, both devices features a 5MP front shooter that, like most smartphones out there, comes with a beauty mode that will automatically enhance your face giving you fairer and flawless skin, bigger eyes and a slimmer face. This may sound vain but if I ever go for plastic surgery, I’ll probably give the surgeon a picture taken with the front camera…plus a higher nose bridge, maybe.
Both the Oppo Find 7 and Find 7a are very good devices. They pack high-end specs and yet are much cheaper than a lot of the other players out there, as seen in our specs comparison table we shared earlier in the review. Everything performs very well, but there are have two major flaws that need to be addressed – the poor battery life and an overly sensitive gesture control screen that wakes the screen up unintentionally.
The two devices’ batteries are removable so you can easily replace them or carry extra batteries and sure, there are a lot of affordable power banks out there, but having to carry out extra accessories just adds extra weight and isn’t fun when you already need to carry a 16kg toddler around. The VOOC charger is a blessing, but when you consider the poor battery life on the two flagship devices, it seems like almost an apology in the form of a fast charger packed with the phones.
I could also turn off the option to double tap to wake the screen, but that would defeat the purpose of having the feature on in the first place. It is also easily one of my favourite features that is sadly affected by Oppo’s overly-sensitive display. That said, the problem is also fixable via a software update
but I’m not quite sure why the Find 7 we have hasn’t been receiving any updates at all while I’m pretty sure I’ve already given the Find 7a at least 3 updates during the span of this review. The Find 7a’s display is notably less sensitive than the Find 7 so hopefully an update is on its way for the Find 7.
Update: We were told that our review unit of the Find 7 does not have the right country Firmware, which is why we haven’t been receiving the updates like the Find 7a. The overly-sensitive gesture control to wake the screen up has been fixed by the latest update so that’s one problem solved, thankfully.
In the end, the little annoyances mar the experience of what should be two really good Android smartphones. Perhaps, if they focused on just delivering one flagship device at a time, things could have been a lot different.