OPPO Find 5

A name you've probably never heard is making devices better than you may think

The name "OPPO" probably doesn't come to mind when thinking of which phone to buy next, but the Chinese manufacturer is working hard to try and change that. Best known for making high quality Blu-Ray players and various other consumer electronics, the company has only dabbled in phones previously. But with an aggressive strategy of building high-end devices and selling direct to customers with some impressive prices, the components are all there to make at least a little splash in the market. The Find 5 is OPPO's latest attempt at a device that on paper has all of the line items to make a great phone.

But making smart phones is a difficult business to get into, and selling high-end unlocked handsets is the toughest area to aim for. Does OPPO have what it takes to branch out from making other consumer electronics and take a meaningful foothold with consumers? It certainly has some things going for it. Read on past the break for our full OPPO Find 5 review.

The Good

Extremely well-built case with quality materials. Great, high-resolution display with good viewing angles. Unlocked and pentaband HSPA+ 42 radio. The promise of frequent software updates and a generally passionate hacking community give you many software options if you're motivated.

The Bad

Large, heavy and often uncomfortable to hold while using one-handed. Capacitive keys, including a menu key, hinder usability both physically and in the software. Camera sensor is better than average, but the software backing it up lacks all common camera features. Software and interface are quirky and in many ways poorly designed.

Conclusion

The OPPO Find 5 probably wont appeal to as wide of an audience as its manufacturer had hoped. There are some usability issues in both hardware size and software features that make it hard to recommend to just anyone, even with its great build quality. Those who are interested in getting a nice hardware platform to play around with the software on won't be disappointed, but it's still a tough sell at $499/$549 considering the Nexus 4 offers much the same (and even better hacking support) for $200 less.

Inside this review

More info

OPPO Find 5 hardware

The Find 5 ticks all of the boxes when it comes to high-end hardware specs for early 2013. Powering the device is your standard combination of a Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor at 1.5GHz, 2GB of RAM and 16 or 32GB of internal storage. We also have a seemingly industry-standard 5-inch 1080x1920 display, this one being of the IPS LCD variety. Around the back of the device you'll see a 13MP camera along with a dual LED flash, and under the back cover sits a 2500mAh non-removable battery.

Build Quality

OPPO Find 5

Just because you may not have held -- or heard of -- an OPPO device doesn't mean you should have any worries about the build quality of the Find 5. And while it's basically just a giant grey slab of glass, plastic and metal it does have some design flair that is striking when you first see and hold it. The build quality and materials are top notch, all the way down to the box it ships in, which is probably built better than some phones from other manufacturers. You won't find a single gap, creak or bend out of place on the Find 5.

OPPO Find 5 OPPO Find 5

The front of the Find 5 is dominated by a solid slab of glass, which reaches from the very top edge of the phone down to a small, curved chin at the bottom. The chin doesn't seem to serve any purpose other than to be aesthetically pleasing, and it does tie together the look of the device. The glass is surrounded by what is either a metal or extremely dense plastic edge, which wraps around three sides of the device and gives the illusion when looking at it from the side as though you're looking at the side of the glass from the screen. The bulk of the edges though are surrounded in a hard plastic of a different texture and color that has a matte finish. It seems to be one solid piece of the phone that wraps all four sides (including the chin), which would account for much of the phones rigidity.

OPPO Find 5 OPPO Find 5

The Find 5 has a pretty standard button placement, although the power and volume keys are switched from what you see on many phones today. You have a side-mounted power button on the left, and volume keys on the right. A microSIM card slot sits right above the power key, and you'll find a solitary micro USB port on the bottom, as well as a 3.5mm headphone port on the top. The volume and power keys are a very interesting semi-clear acrylic type of material that gives them a very similar look to the material wrapped around the edges of the screen, which gives the phone a nicely designed look. The mixes of matte and shiny materials give a little depth to what is otherwise a generally bland slab device.

OPPO Find 5 OPPO Find 5

The back plate of the Find 5 is made of the same material as the sides, but is actually a separate piece from it. This leaves a noticeable jump between the sides and the back, one that OPPO clearly isn't trying to hide as it adds to the overall design of the device. The back plate is non-removable, and is a pretty simple affair -- camera and LED flash pod up at the top in the center, OPPO branding in the middle and a drilled speaker grille at the bottom.

As we said before, you really can't fault any piece of the build or materials on this device. It's pretty much built like a tank, but almost to a fault as the phone is likely too tall, heavy and angular to use comfortably by most. Because we're looking at a 5-inch display along with capacitive navigation keys, the Find 5 is a very tall device (142mm). It also has some sharp corners and edges, which aren't the most ergonomic things for your hand to hold onto when you're trying to reposition the phone often. And at 165 grams -- 35 grams more than the Galaxy S4 -- it's no lightweight either. You get the satisfaction of holding an extremely well-made device, but usability takes a hit.

Display

OPPO Find 5

A 5-inch 1080p display, as crazy as it sounds, is pretty normal nowadays for Android smartphones. What isn't quite so predictable, however, is the quality of these panels. Luckily OPPO has picked one of the good ones for the Find 5, and it's hard to find a flaw here. As we mentioned above it is a IPS LCD, and at 441 ppi it's plenty pixel dense for even the most eagle-eyed among us. The display is capable of very high brightness levels, and color reproduction seems pretty spot-on to our eyes. The viewing angles are also very good, thanks in part to what seems to be a gapless display technology at work. This is a high quality display that's worth some praise.

Radios

The Find 5 supports your standard set of radio bands, covering the five common ones needed for HSPA+ 42 in the U.S. -- 850, 1700/2100 (AWS), 1900 and 2100MHz -- for T-Mobile and AT&T. Unfortunately LTE support is nowhere to be found here. Aside from mobile data, you'll find Wifi a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, NFC and every other modern sensor inside. OPPO even ships a couple of stickable NFC tags in the box for you to program, which is fun.

Battery life

OPPO Find 5 Battery Life

Battery life on the Find 5 seemed to be pretty hit or miss depending on usage. As we've come to see with recent phones that are packing 1080P displays, the amount of "screen on" time still dramatically changes what you can expect in terms of battery life. With our casual usage of mostly Wifi and at least 2 hours of "screen on" time, checking email, playing a short amount of casual games and keeping up with social media accounts the Find 5 would hit a "full" 12 hour day of use.

In more intense situations when out of the house on mobile data and using the camera, Google Maps and pinging GPS more often, the battery dropped like a rock. There were a few days where the Find 5 barely made it to the 8 hour mark before we were searching for a plug, and that's a little worrying. Usage varies dramatically between different people of course, but you may want to keep this in mind when considering this device. On paper the 2500mAh battery should provide plenty of juice, but there's a lot going on under the hood that can drain that battery.

OPPO Find 5 software

When you power on the Find 5, you'll be greeted by a heavily customized version of Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean. Other than the basic layout of things, not much will be familiar unless you've seen an OPPO phone in action before. 

Launcher and interface

The launcher on the Find 5 may be familiar to you if you've dabbled with MIUI custom ROMs in the past, and borrows many design elements from that system. The launcher focuses on large icons with lots of extra pops of color and fake light reflections across icons. The folders have been changed up as well, as have the individual app icons -- most icons for third party apps are given clear square backgrounds to keep each the icons very similarly sized. The app drawer is the most frustrating of the bunch, as it can't be organized alphabetically or sorted automatically in any way. The apps simply fall in the order that you installed them unless you manually move each app to where you want it.

OPPO Find 5 Home Screens

Adding widgets gives a similarly frustrating experience as the app drawer. Widgets are added from the home screen -- rather than app drawer -- with either a long-press on a home screen or using the menu button, and again aren't listed in alphabetical order. The ordering of widgets seems to be in whatever order you installed the apps, which isn't intuitive and gets even more frustrating because you can only scroll through three widgets at a time. Frustrations aside, the launcher actually performs extremely well, and we understand why its designed the way it is. The styling fits well with the rest of the menus, settings and notification shade to make a complete product.

OPPO Find 5 App Drawer

That's not to say that those other areas of the phone haven't also been completely customized. They absolutely have, starting with the notification shade, which has been heavily redesigned. Notifications are separated into "Ongoing" and "Notifications" areas to distinguish between those that can be swiped away and those that cannot, and the "clear all" button has been moved down to the bottom center of the shade. Curiously OPPO seem to have somehow disabled the stock Jelly Bean ability to have expandable notifications as well, which hurts usability. The settings button stays in the top right, as do customizable notification power toggles across the top. The Find 5 also includes a handy data counter at the bottom of the shade showing today's and this month's usage.

OPPO Find 5 Settings

The consistent styling continues into the settings menu, which is split into four tabs -- General, Sound, Display and Personal -- across the top. It helps cut down on the number of nested settings and extremely long lists, but can be hard to navigate and remember where everything is. The menus themselves are clean and useful, and its hard to fault OPPO for following a consistent design language throughout them. You'll have to re-learn where things are in these menus coming from other devices, but that can be the case more often than not when switching devices nowadays. Every manufacturer has their own way of laying things out.

Performance and usability

General performance on the Find 5 is actually quite speedy, and we never experienced hiccups when moving through the launcher or menus. We did find some occasional app instability, although it's hard to pinpoint the reasoning. We had some games freeze and need a force close or a reboot to clear the issue, but they played properly a good 95-percent of the time otherwise. Regular productivity apps -- Google Talk, Skype, Chrome, Google+ -- all performed just fine with no crashes whatsoever.

The one other big bug we found, which we think is software related, has to do with the Wifi. No matter what way we configured the settings, we couldn't get the Find 5 to stay connected to an 802.11n router for more than a few hours consistently. Although the Wifi would indicate that it is still connected, no data would be transferred (up or down) over Wifi until it was toggled off and back on. It took a few nights before we realized that the phone was losing its ability to transfer data over Wifi in the middle of the night. A half dozen other devices have no problem with the router.

OPPO has committed to making new software releases quickly available to users both OTA and on a fast track to side-load from the official user forums, which we would expect to iron out some of these small issues. But promises only get you so far, and at some point you just want your phone to work. The Find 5 is extremely far from a buggy mess, but there are still some issues that need addressing. Of course if you're interested in going the custom ROM route, you could attempt to fix some of the issues on your own. The Find 5 seems to have a small but dedicated hacking community around it to help you out.

OPPO Find 5 cameras

OPPO Find 5

The Find 5 comes equipped with a 13MP auto focus f/2.2 camera, backed up by a dual LED flash. Those are all the numbers you're likely looking for in a smart phone camera nowadays (unless its Ultrapixels you're after), and OPPO seems to have picked some pretty good components. Where it falls on its face is in the camera software department, which is downright anemic.

The camera UI itself is simple and nicely designed, with a shutter key, still/video toggle key and gallery button on the right, and a set of four camera options on the left. The problem being those settings aren't exactly useful. You get an extremely basic set of camera functions, which are limited to toggling the flash, HDR, panorama, resolution, turning on a 5 second timer, and turning on a grid overlay for the viewfinder. Completely absent are exposure, ISO, white balance, metering, scene modes, image stabilization or any other advanced features.

This really isn't much of an issue when taking quick snapshots in good lighting and normal conditions, but as soon as you step out of those confines you'll likely be frustrated by the lack of options. It also wouldn't be as big of a deal if the camera offered some intelligent automatic settings, but sadly this isn't the case either. The camera doesn't seem to do any work to help properly expose or white balance photos in less than ideal conditions. The combination of these two shortcomings leads us to say that the stock software on the Find 5 is about one notch above useless. You'll want to explore some third party camera app options if you intend to make the best of your photos.

Pictures

When you are in those ideal lighting conditions, the Find 5 takes quite acceptable pictures. They aren't the sharpest you'll ever see from a 13MP smart phone (the post-processing isn't top-notch), but they are far better than average. Again, the big thing holding you back here is the software. Knowing that you won't be able to adjust anything, you end up just looking for pictures that you know it can take, and going from there. Stick to great lighting conditions and you'll get good results.

OPPO Find 5 Camera Sample 1 OPPO Find 5 Camera Sample 2

Click images to open full-sized in new window

OPPO Find 5 Camera Sample 3 OPPO Find 5 Camera Sample 4

OPPO Find 5 Camera Sample 5 OPPO Find 5 Camera Sample 6

OPPO Find 5 Camera Sample 7 OPPO Find 5 Camera Sample 8

OPPO Find 5 Camera Sample 9 OPPO Find 5 Camera Sample 10

Video

1080P is the standard video resolution here, and OPPO does you one better by also offering an HDR video option, which hasn't quite caught on with every other manufacturer. Below is an HDR video sample, which turned out pretty well.

Front camera

You also get a 1.9MP front-facing camera, which is situated to the left of the speaker grille. The pictures are fine, nothing to see here.

The bottom line

OPPO Find 5

After spending a considerable amount of time with the Find 5 as a daily device, it's clear that OPPO has put a lot of time into it. Coming out of (relatively) nowhere to produce a phone with a top-notch build quality, high-end internals and a great display is an abnormality nowadays. These high points are unfortunately brought down to earth with the realities of what first-generation software development looks like -- questionable design choices and some glaring gaps in usability when compared to other phones in the price range. OPPO does hit a certain target market that wants high-end specs and a digestible -- $499/$549 unlocked -- price-point, but only for those who are willing to hack with the software a little. Unfortunately, for those sort of people there may be a better "bang for your buck" elsewhere. At a minimum, OPPO has proven with the Find 5 that it is more than capable of making high quality devices that could one day join the conversation with the other headline Android manufacturers.

 

Reader comments

OPPO Find 5 review

48 Comments

The existence of updates doesn't fix the problems. Just because they will attempt to fix issues doesn't guarantee that they'll succeed. Sure, if they do fix problems and refine the software you'll get it quickly. But those are two different things.

at least its an attempt to fix or refine the software. They didnt just say take this and never support it or wait months and months to update.

mkbhd loves his find 5....his review says the same and you had a look at project firefly of oppo?

I would be interested in you coming back to this when they release project firefly, their updated software and UI.

I'm split between this and the Galaxy S4. Considering all the software issues won't be much of a problem for me as whichever device I decide to finally buy will be rooted and running a custom ROM within a week, this seem like a damn good phone. I would actually prefer a heavier phone. Plus the design and build quality seem to be much better than that generic piece of shiny plastic known as the Galaxy S4.

Haven't had a chance to hold the two side-by-side, but yes you will indeed get a heavier, better built device in the Find 5. The price will be much cheaper than any unlocked or unsubsidized S4 you find right now also.

I predict just like their bluray players oppo will eventually make the best phones available. Look what happens with their first true attempt.

He's right I have a find 5 the software does have a lot of bugs but it's fine the hardware and screen make up for it and I use cm on it anyways so that fixes any problems with software

Oppo Find 5 is probably one of the most underrated phones compared to the Htc One and S4, but i really think this shouldn't be overlooked. Software problems and all, however you get TWO updates a month that can fix and add even more. The Hardware on this device is sure to get you through a few years (unless you're a power freak)and the hardware is on par with the many new devices.

Since it's complete open-source under GPL, rooting takes less than a minute and Paranoid Android is soon to be knocking on your door ( or CM, though I prefer PA).
All those software problems are now nothing.

My friend has the s4 and it just feels all plastic and cheap, but INSANELY light.

Nonetheless, a great and unbiased review from the authors of AC ( which is why i love this site so much).

I agree, the Find 5 will likely not receive its fair share (how that would be determined isn't quite clear) of coverage considering the quality of the device. That's true for many devices that are released though. Hopefully if OPPO keeps on plugging along on good, solid devices at an approachable price more people will at least look at them.

And thanks for the kind words, glad you liked the review.

I am actually impressed with what they have done for there first phone. It will be interesting to see how many updates will come out for it and see how they will improve on it in the future.

I have an Oppo blu-ray player and it was very expensive but worth every penny. The picture and sound blow my Sony out of the water. If they build phones like they do blu-ray players then I'm interested!

I went for the Xperia Z this time but otherwise I would have taken the Oppo Find 5. I think it is superior to the Galaxy S 4 (a device that is let down by carrier branding and different editions with different CPU/GPU etc paired with bloatware etc) and the HTC One (I really dislike the sandwiched battery even if the build quality is nice).

The fact that the Find 5 offers decent CM support and also Paranoid Android, it basically becomes like a Nexus in many aspects (I prefer CM over Google vanilla) and that makes it superior. It is a great alternative for those that want more than the Nexus 4 is offering.

Price wise, it is very good. It blows all US carrier branded devices out of the water in that department, especially when paired with a good prepaid plan.

Next device could very well be an Oppo. My experience with their BD players is very good and I look forward to the successor to the Find 5.

I would never consider a Galaxy S 4 if my option is the Find 5.:)

"those who are willing to hack with the software a little. Unfortunately, for those sort of people there may be a better "bang for your buck" elsewhere"

Andrew, not sure if you think that software tinkerers are loaded or if you know if other examples at that price. with those specs (Mainly 13mp camera, storage, and screen size) I don't know anything at that price with no contact. the closest to it I believe it's at least 100 bucks more

Mainly referring to devices like the Nexus 4, and last year's flagships like the Galaxy S3, LG Opt G and HTC One X/X+, which could be had for cheaper but with high-end specs and a larger software hacking community than the Find 5.

You're right it is much cheaper than phones like the Galaxy S4 (but not drastically cheaper than the HTC One), but there are indeed other phones to consider from a "cheap phone to hack" standpoint.

I'd say if you're planning on rooting the Find 5 and putting a ROM on it then YES its better to switch. The S4 doesn't compare to the feel and build of the Find 5. And then again The Find 5 doesn't compare to the software of the S4. But if you put a ROM on both then definitely the Find 5 is better.. it's up to what you prefer. After trying both, rooting and installing a ROM on both, i realized i preferred the Find 5 alot more. With stock android on it, it's a beauty.

Looks nice! Certainly keeping it in "mind" for upgrade a couple months hence.

As far as the capacitive button arrangement, that's only odd depending on what phone you're coming from. My current device, the G2X has the buttons in the same order, menu, home, back, + a search button which was still present on Gingerbread devices. A much better arrangement than the HTC One, even with the button hack.

That's true that it's mostly about what you're used to. But the slow and steady drumbeat of Android design is moving towards either completely on-screen buttons or a 3-button setup mirroring what Google does w/ the on-screen ones. True there are those holding out with the Menu button like the Galaxy S3/S4, but they're likely to change eventually as well.

That being said, just because there are other devices out there doing it isn't an excuse to keep including a menu button on your devices. Android is just downright more confusing and less intuitive when you have a hardware menu key. Part of that showed up in the frustration with the Find 5's software, which relied heavily on the menu key and made it very hard to navigate and understand the interface. Having to just randomly hit the menu button to reveal menus and settings that are otherwise undetectable is not a great user experience.

Actually i don't think it's that big a deal. Sure if they didn't have it, it might have felt different. But it certainly doesn't hold it back from anything to have it. Most Samsung's still have it too and they still do a job and i cant complain on it. the phone still looks and feels better than 9/10 phones out there. And trust me I've tried practically every phone out there. Except the HTC One which I've played with, just haven't had it for an extensive time.

"Those who are interested in getting a nice hardware platform to play around with the software on won't be disappointed, but it's still a tough sell at $499/$549 considering the Nexus 4 offers much the same (and even better hacking support) for $200 less."

It's actually only $150 difference compared to the Nexus 4 if you compare apples to apples at 16GB, instead of comparing the way you did with the low/high spec. It doesn't make much sense to compare that way.

It does make sense from a "bang for your buck" standpoint. If you want the cheapest route to a quality phone that you can hack on, the lowest Nexus 4 is indeed $200 cheaper than the lowest OPPO Find 5.

I LOVE the Nexus 4. Had it for a while. But then again though it is cheaper, and it does feel great in the hand and sort of "premium", the Find 5 still looks and feels much better. And as far as hacking as long as you can get CM 10.1 or Paranoid Android on ANY phone to me you'll be good if you're into having stock Android. I use mine with PA and I LOVE it. Not as smooth as the Nexus with a ROM but still works greats and looks and feels AWESOME!

Cool. I thought you were going there. But then I thought, maybe he knows about other 13mp camera phone I don't know about running at Find 5's price. I agree that the Nexus 4 is the way to go if price is more important than pixels.

Interesting phone. Seems like everything great from android has been either Samsung, HTC, or Nexus. Don't get me wrong I absolutely adored my One X and am still stoked on my Nexus 4 but I find myself checking out the new Sony and this phone online and in forums just to get a breath of fresh air.

One thing though.. Sup with the usb port being off to the right side like that? I have to imagine it'll make holding the phone with you're right hand strange at times while plugged in. I recall this being an issue with other phones like the Mytouch 4g which. Was pretty much impossible to hold left handed while plugged in. Just put the usb port in the middle so is comfy in either hand.

The Mytouch 4G had the port on the side of the phone. The Find 5 is on the bottom right of the phone. its a little off the center, which yeah it would have been better, but it still isn't a deal breaker nor does it bug me really. Trust me when you hold the phone in your hand you'll see how great it looks and feels. the steel frame on it makes it feel as if it extremely sturdy, like you wouldn't even need a case on it.

I wasnt suggesting it would be a major problem, only during times when say youre laying down and the cord prevents you from holding the phone at a certain angle. Annoying but not a deal breaker. Also, as a left handed person using the mytouch 4g while charging it was a nightmare lol.

I never found it to be an issue. The port is still on a bottom, so there are much worse places they could've put it (like jutting out of the right edge) that would have hurt usability. I'm not really using the phone while plugged in all that much either. If moving the USB port off to the side makes the device easier to design the way they wanted it, I think that's a good tradeoff.

No LTE, , too bad. Still waiting for the ONE to show up in some iteration on Verizon then. Does Oppo have any plans to incorporate LTE support going forward?

We're not aware of any plans for that. It's still pretty rare to find unlocked devices that support many LTE bands, but it wouldn't be surprising if they did at some point in the future.

Don't think it's comparable considering the DNA is on Verizon and this can't be used on that carrier.

Specs-wise, they're very similar but the software experiences will be dramatically different on the two.