Trendy New Notch Design
As I pull it out of the box, the first and most noticeable thing about the Oppo F7 is the notch design. Its screen fills up where a top bezel should be, leaving just the front facing camera and earpiece left. The screen doesn’t completely cover the front of the device though, with a small bezel at the bottom. This together with the bright glossy back does make it look like its price range: not top of the line but solidly midrange. The phone is also very much a fingerprint magnet. I’m also surprised it comes with microUSB instead of USB-C, especially at its price. Despite that, it is a nice phone to carry around as your daily driver as it’s not heavy for its size and isn’t too thick or bulky.
The Mediatek Helio P60 makes it case as a solid chipset loud and clear through the Oppo F7. As a midrange device, the Oppo F7 manages to ace all benchmark tests I threw at it. Its results beat most competing chipsets out of the park. The Oppo F7 is also on the pricier end of the midrange scale so I guess you do get what you’re paying for, in terms of performance anyway. Saying that, acing benchmark tests means nothing if it can’t perform day-to-day tasks. Unsurprisingly, it handles multitasking and heavy work with ease. I can have a multitude of apps in the background and it still didn’t give me any issues. It does warm up a little though under heavy load, but not to the point where it got uncomfortable.
The Oppo F7 has its cameras as one of its major selling points and it is easy to see why. Its front camera is excellent, one of the best I’ve seen in fact. The AI Beauty mode does tend to overdo it with the beautification though (or maybe my face needed as much help as it can get). The rear camera isn’t too shabby either, producing great quality images both in ideal and nonideal conditions. My personal favourite part of the Oppo F7 however is how well it handles games. The ‘game acceleration’ feature makes gameplay smooth, with no visible tearing of frame drops during animation-heavy scenes. But just like when it was under heavy workload, it does warm up a bit when I’ve been playing for a while.
Great Screen that’s Slightly Spoiled
I really like the 6.23” screen that the Oppo F7 has. It’s nice and clear with good contrast that isn’t tiring on your eyes even after hours of YouTube. However, the notch design gets in the way far too often. Several apps, when operating in full screen display, get blocked off by the notch. Pop-up menus and option lists also get blocked off by the notch far too often. Of course, this is also partly the fault of app developers who have yet to optimise their apps for Android that have the notch design. This can be seen again as apps often get stretched out to fit the 19:9 screen to the point where back buttons get cut off. I believe that with updates from both app developers and Oppo themselves, the notch design shouldn’t bother too much in the future.
Little Negatives Here and There
I feel that the Oppo F7 could have been a lot better without the notch design. It feels more like a gimmick than a feature. There’s a lot of potential in this device; the powerful chipset under the hood and the quality cameras prove are the stars of the show but that’s just about it. Maybe with a more standard 18:9 screen, the look and feel of the phone would be a lot better too; right now, it almost feels as though the phone was designed around the notch. There’s also a few features I would have expected from a phone at this price point such as fast charging for example. These little negatives cancel out what is by itself a decent smartphone.
Decent, But There’s More Potential
As mentioned earlier, this is a very good smartphone. It’s not often you would find a device that takes selfies this good available at this price range. It is also capable of handling the occasional game or two. On top of that, the Oppo F7 also has no issue whatsoever doubling up as a daily driver for work purposes. Fulfilling both entertainment and professional needs isn’t something that every device can achieve, and this one does that just fine. However, there’s a lot more potential that could and should have been achieved. The notch design also seems to follow the trend more than a necessary inclusion. But compared to the bigger picture, it’s nothing more than a small annoyance. All in all, the Oppo F7 is a great all-round device that meets all requirements without issue.
Verdict: It’s a solid device with impressive cameras and an excellent chip underneath but lacks a premium feel, and the notch design feels gimmicky.