The Oppo F5 represents a rather odd evolutionary step in the company's fairly popular "selfie expert" line. Its spotlight feature - the FullHD, ultra-wide display, while definitely trendy and a strong performer, feels rushed in its implementation.
Looking at the rest of BKK Electronics' recent device portfolio, like the Vivo V7+ and the OnePlus 5T, it is even harder to overlook the somewhat unwarranted nature of the 18:9 refresh. Besides being of dubious value in themselves, these new panels also take their toll on their respective devices, price or feature-wise.
We get it. In order to survive, Oppo has no option but to stay trendy and relevant. But, at the end of the day, you are getting a "selfie expert", lacking the second front-facing camera of its predecessor, as well as its metal build.
These notable omissions alone could be enough to turn away many prospective buyers and long-term fans of the "F" series. Don't get us wrong, the Oppo F5 is still a well-rounded mid-ranger. The thing is, it lost some unique selling points while changing screens, leaving behind more wiggle room for competitors to shine and stand out as good alternatives.
Price-wise, the Oppo F5 is launching just north of the EUR 300 mark. We'll start the list of alternatives assuming you are into the the 18:9 trend. The first and probably most obvious place to look is BKK Electronics' lineup itself. The OnePlus 5T is definitely out of budget, but the V7 and V7+ are not. Well, the latter might run you EUR 30 or so more than the Oppo F5.
The only real difference between the two vivo handsets is the screen size. So, you can find your personal match. Base storage might also be worth considering since the V7+ comes with 64GB out of the box. You have to pay a premium to get that on the Oppo. Compared to the Oppo, however, the vivo's panels of choice have lower resolution at 720p.
This does potentially mean better on-screen performance out of the Adreno 506 GPU. Although our tests show the differences are minimal. <>While on the subject of silicon, both vivo phones use a Snapdragon 450 chip. I seems to score slightly better than the MediaTek Helio P23 in benchmark tests. But for all intents and purposes, it offers identical performance in real-life terms. The Snapdragon 450 is also Qualcomm's first 14nm chip in the 400 mid-range tier. It comes with the promise of great battery efficiency and also speedy recharges, thanks to Quick Charge 3.0 compatibility.
As for some other good 18:9 aspect, reasonably priced alternatives, there is the Honor 7X. It pack a equally large 5.93-inch panel. And just like the Oppo F5, a FullHD one. The company's own Kirin 659 is also, arguably, a bit better than both the Helio P23 and the Snapdragon 450, overall. Plus, you get a noticeably better dual camera setup and Huawei's excellent software to power it.
Most of these things apply to the Huawei Mate 10 Lite as well. However, for some reason, it is currently quite a bit pricier than its almost identical Honor cousin. So, take that as you will.
And just to be thorough in examining the pool of 18:9 devices out there, we will mention the LG Q6. However, besides the lower price point, it has few things going for it, compared to the previous options. Its panel is smaller and both the chipset and camera are unimpressive. Still, if you want a trendy new ultra-wide device on a very tight budget, it might be worth considering.
If the 18:9 aspect ratio is not really that big of a priority for you, there is plenty of good value to be had from devices in the more traditional, 16:9 form factor. Xiaomi, for one, has plenty of great options below the EUR 300 mark. Some of them, like the extremely popular Redmi Note 4 costing as little as half the price of the Oppo F5. If you manage to procure one and are confident enough in the local support availability, its value proposition is hard to beat and includes a frugal, yet snappy Snapdragon 625 chipset and a pretty decent 5.5-inch, FullHD display.
Spring a few bucks more and you can get the Xiaomi Mi 5X, or better yet, its international Mi A1 incarnation. It adds a dual 12MP camera on top of what the Redmi Note 4 already offers. Plus, an Android One ROM means snappy performance and quick updates, straight from Google.
Phablet enthusiasts are covered as well. For just shy of EUR 300, you can pick up a monstrous Mi Max 2, with its massive 6.44-inch display, huge 5,300 mAh battery, and a phenomenal battery endurance, to match. However, if you do go down the Xiaomi phablet route, the original Mi Max might just be a better bet. At the expense of some battery capacity, it offers a significantly better chipset. Plus, it is cheaper than its successor.
Moving on to some relatively more Western-friendly options, there is the Motorola Moto G5S Plus. Another Snapdragon 625 device, with impressive battery efficiency to match, a decent panel and equally nice dual 13MP camera setup.
The popular Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro, or otherwise named J7 (2017), comes with an equally power efficient 14nm chipset as well and an identically sized 5.5-inch display. The latter, however, is of the superior Super AMOLED variety - a potential selling point in itself.
You could also save a few bucks and go for the Nokia 6 - an excellently built phone, with some relatively less potent hardware, hidden away under its sturdy exterior. For even less, Asus can hook you up with a Zenfone 4 Selfie. With its dual front-facing camera setup, it might very well be a better match for selfie enthusiasts than the Oppo F5.
The rest of its hardware is okay as well. Asus has more potent devices on offer for a EUR 300 budget as well. However, you are mostly on your own when it comes to actually navigating the company's unmitigated disaster of model numbers and actually picking up the one you want.
While not particularly bad in any way, the Oppo F5 clearly lacks the specific appeal of its "selfie expert" predecessors. It decided to trade all that for a trendy new ultra-wide profile - a gamble for sure, but the repercussions of this are yet to be seen.
Regardless of market success, we still feel like the "F" series lost a big chink of its individuality and charm. Still, not every phone needs to sweep us off our feet or throw magic pixie dust. The Oppo F5 is a slightly boring, but nevertheless, a solid mid-range choice.
Since shopping for a mid-ranger in 2017 is all about minimizing compromises, rather than actually avoiding outright bad devices, as was the case not long ago, you can hardly go wrong. And for the right type of customer, the Oppo F5 might be well worth considering.