Review | Oppo F7 Youth mid-range smartphone

By Ajay Joseph

Late in May this year, Oppo announced its Youth edition of its Flagship F7 phone, at a competitive pricing just shy of P14,000. With its release, Oppo successfully made available to consumers a mainstream device that would cover the needs of most regular mobile phone users, by smartly saving cost on a few features that would not be necessary for everyone.

In keeping with the USP (unique selling proposition) of the regular F7, which is marketed towards selfie enthusiasts, AI Beautification is in place for the front camera.

Design and Ergonomics

The F7 Youth has a bar form factor, and has a flat angular design, with rounded edges. Both the front and the rear are absolutely flat, and will appeal to those who like the thin-flat design ethos.

While personally I’ve found that phones with a slight curve in the rear design feel better to hold in the hand, from a visual perspective the current market trend is aligned to the all flat look.

The rear panel of the Youth edition of the F7 sports what Oppo is calling its Diamond styling. It reacts with the light, and creates a shimmery finish. It’s nice, but nothing remarkable. The rear is a fingerprint magnet though, and is quite difficult to keep clean.

The upper edge of the phone is spartan, while the lower edge has the mic, speaker, standard mini-USB charger port, and a 3.5mm audio port.

The power button is on the right, fairly high up, and the left side has two buttons for the volume. Owing to the high placement of the buttons, you need to hold the phone higher than normal for ease of use. While okay, the overall ergonomics of the button placement could’ve been better. Just above the power button is the slot for the dual SIMs and the expandable storage.

Typing on the F7 Youth was a convenient, and long pressing the full stop on the virtual keypad defaults to a comma, which was handy. The feedback/vibration when typing is quite high, and I found it a little too much for my liking. It can be turned off, but can’t be dialed-down.

Specs and Performance

The SOC powering the device is the Helio P60 processor, an octa-core from Mediatek. While it’s not as well-endowed as, say the current champ — the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, it is a capable processor that leaves little to be desired in day-to-day use. Coupled with 4GB of memory, the device is responsive and deals well with just about anything, including modern games such as PUBG and Asphalt 8.

Android Oreo (8.1) comes preinstalled, with Oppo’s own ColorOS 5.0 UI. Kudos to Oppo for keeping the device current with Oreo, while ColorOS was rather forgettable. The home screen UI reminded me of the older Samsung devices which used to run the TouchWiz UI. With the base software installed, the phone had 46GB of its 64GB available.

The display is a 6-inch full HD IPS panel with a resolution of 2160 x 1080. It looks and feels good to use, and will fit the needs of pretty much every mainstream user. That said, don’t expect it to be as vivid as special screen technologies like the Sony’s Triluminos display.

Housing a pretty massive 3400 mAh battery, the Oppo F7 Youth was pretty long-lasting. With mild use, including some emails, Facebook, Messenger, and some photos, it lasted three days. Even with heavy use, I’d expect it do a day easily. The charge cycle takes quite some time though, clocking more than three hours to get to 100%. Perhaps if you’re charging it overnight, you wouldn’t feel the pinch.

Camera

The rear camera on the F7 Youth edition is a 13-megapixel shooter, and does an acceptable job by today’s standards. Focus and response is quick, clicking pictures instantly. Daylight pictures are good, with decent detail. Low light or night shots are average though, with city landscape looking washed out and lacking color detail.

When compared to other more expensive flagship devices from Samsung, Sony, Huawei and the likes, the rear camera does end-up a little short. The more expensive multi-camera setups offering more details, and better colors in most cases. If you’re a hardcore photo enthusiast, and are very particular about the camera quality, then this device isn’t for you.

Oppo uses an 8-megapixel front camera, with AI Beautification, which softens and applies aggressive enhancement to selfies. While not big on selfies myself, I had some of my friends test it, and they admitted that it made them look better than normal, and were quite impressed with the results. Since the regular F7 is marketed towards selfie-focused youngsters, it’s nice that the lesser Youth edition stays true to that goal.

Value

In terms of value, you’d be hard-pressed to get more bang for your buck, as at P13,990, Oppo gives consumers a full-fledged mainstream device, with near flagship functionality, at less than half the price.

To save cost, Oppo skims on features like a fingerprint scanner, or water resistance, which honestly is not necessary for the average everyday user. Instead, it covers the bases that matter, including a capable processor, a good amount of memory, sufficient storage, a big full HD display, a massive battery, and a moderate camera.

Conclusion

Five years ago, if you were on a budget but wanted a solid mainstream device, you had no option but to expand your budget or compromise on your expectations. The options available in the sub-P15,000 category were clunky, with small screens, and crippled performance. Oppo changes all that with giving users a near flagship product, with everything most mainstream users would need, at a fraction of the cost.

Model – Oppo F7 Youth (CPH1859)
Price – P13,999
Verdict – Excellent value proposition; a mainstream phone for the masses

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