Apple, Samsung and HTC could be getting some fierce competition from some smaller brands, based on some recent hands-on time we had with Oppo. The China-based company recently launched the Fine 7 smartphone, which claims to take 50-megapixel pictures for an unlocked price of $499. The Find 7a with lighter specs, and its bigger brother are due to arrive stateside this month, and we had a chance to preview the Find 7a in Singapore where it's already available.
One of the Find 7 series’ biggest selling points is its touted 50-megapixel shooting capability. The camera on the phone itself is only 13-megapixels sharp, but Oppo’s built-in processing engine takes 10 pictures at once (in Ultra HD mode) and combines them to form one 50-MP photo.
This software worked impressively well during our testing. Our photo of a friend in a store was accurately colored, but most impressive was that details such as a store name and customers of a shop on a higher level behind were tack sharp. The same details in an image taken at regular mode (13-mp) were fuzzier and grainy.
Each 50-MP photo takes up to 11 MB of storage, almost four times the 3 MB for a regular shot. Add to that the longer processing time after each ultra HD shot is taken, and we this one feature that will likely be used selectively.
Impressive camera aside, Oppo's Color OS adds a new skin to the Android 4.3-based Find 7a. A dedicated gestures drawer slides down from the top left corner to let you draw shortcuts for actions such as opening the camera or messages apps by drawing a C or M respectively. A whole slew of other cool features, such as voice unlock, more gesture support and a deep power saving mode are expected to arrive on Color OS soon, making the phone even more compelling.
Another nifty feature is Oppo's VOOC Rapid Charge technology that's supposed to juice up your phone to 75 percent in 30 minutes. We saw this work as promised on the Find 7a.
We also like the Find 7a's brilliant, 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 Gorilla Glass screen and its sleek titanium-aluminum alloy frame. The Find 7a packs a 2.3-GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor with 2GB RAM and 16 GB storage. You'll also find a 2,800-mAh battery, similar to the Samsung Galaxy S5 .The higher-end Find 7 has 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage and a 2.5-GHz CPU.
Overall, the Find 7a looks like a compelling smartphone for the price. We expect the Find 7, which packs a better processor and sharper 2560 x 1440 screen, to be even more exciting. We're curious to see what changes the U.S. market might introduce. You can purchase one unlocked now for $499, but if a carrier picks it up the price could change.