Oppo R15 smartphone review: bezel-free beauty with a notch is more than ever an iPhone X lookalike
Chinese brand’s latest mid-market offering has a premium feel, AI camera smarts, well-designed fingerprint reader, excellent battery life and good security. If you haven’t owned an Oppo before, this is a good introduction
Hot on the heels of a new generation of bezel-less Android smartphones featuring a notch in the display is the Oppo R15, with a beautiful OLED display and a design that mirrors the Apple iPhone X more closely than ever. Can it stand out from other iPhone X lookalikes?
Design and hardware
It is immediately evident that the Oppo R15 goes to great lengths to mimic the iPhone X. From the chrome frame and glass back, down to the antenna lines at the sides and the speaker grilles along the bottom – and the notch cutting into the top of the display, of course – the R15 could easily be mistaken for an iPhone X by someone looking over your shoulder.
It is no clone, though, with differences that become clear when you look closer. The bezel of the full screen display is just a tad thicker at the bottom, while the dual cameras at the back are positioned side by side instead of vertically. There is no mute switch at the side, and fans of wired headphones will rejoice at the presence of a stereo plug.
Our review unit was powered by a MediaTek Helio P60 processor and 6GB of RAM. While some may lament that this represents a downgrade from its predecessors, the higher-end R15 Pro does offer a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, which also incorporates Bluetooth 5.0 and NFC; the R15 has Bluetooth 4.2 and no NFC.
Oppo made sure to retain features that worked, such as the oblong fingerprint reader on the handset’s back that makes it easier to position your finger than round ones do. Its facial recognition software continues to do a decent job of unlocking the device, too. The R15 has a premium handset feel despite its mid-level pricing.
Software and features
Oppo has put a lot of work into the software: ColorOS is now at version 5.0 and based on Android 8.1. Unlike the Oppo R11s that we previously reviewed, you can set your own launcher, enable an assistive ball with highly configurable options, and choose from among several options to display the navigation bar. If the ability to tweak navigation options is important to you, then you’ll love the ability to heavily customise it on the R15.
Oppo R11s and R11s Plus full review – face recognition login, improved fingerprint sensor as handsets ape Apple iPhoneX
The Oppo has several built-in security features: an anti-malware scanner, and the means to block screen captures and recording under certain circumstances. The downside is that the security seemed a little too tight in some situations: we couldn’t get a corporate-managed Office 365 account added due to ColorOS’s automatic rejection of its mandatory device policy.
Those mulling the R15 for play will be impressed by the camera smarts in the R15. AI-based scene recognition technology can identify 120 different screens for the best shots. The 20-megapixel front camera means that you no longer need to settle for lo-res selfies. Whether taking photos using the front camera or back camera, you can select from a range of beautifying modes to take improved shots of yourself, or tap on “AI” to let the camera decide for you.
Performance and battery life
As with other Oppo smartphones, the R15 offers excellent battery life – and exceptional endurance when left idle. This is courtesy of the aggressive battery management in ColorOS, and a slightly beefier 3,450mAh battery. From our experience, the former may cause some issues with some apps, though it was a relatively simple matter to disable battery management for individual apps.
With most smartphones having switched to USB-C for charging, the continued use of micro-USB on the R15 was jarring and somewhat annoying, even if Oppo’s VOCC charging technology is one of the fastest around. It is also a pity that the R15 doesn’t support wireless charging, despite the move away from a metallic back.
There is no noticeable performance hit during normal use from the MediaTek processor, which was designed to compete with the Snapdragon 660. Users who game extensively on their smartphones, or who care about handset specifications, may want to opt for the more capable Snapdragon and GPU processors on the R15 Pro, though.
If looks are all that matters, then the Oppo R15 is a decent mid-range entry for those new to the brand and a highly compelling upgrade for those who already own an Oppo. Its large, 6.28-inch display and 90 per cent screen ratio stand out from the crowd, while ColorOS 5.0 allows users to configure the phone’s interface to their heart’s content.
Of course, if specifications and raw performance matter more than good looks, then you may be better holding out for the next Oppo device.
Dimensions: 155.1mm x 75.2mm x 7.4mm
Display: 6.28 inches
Battery: 3,450 mAh
OS version reviewed : ColorOS 5.0 based on Android 8.1
Processor: MediaTek Helio P60 Octa-core SoC (Mali-G72 MP3 GPU)
Cameras: back: 16MP (f/1.7) + 5MP (f/2.2), front: 20MP (f/2.0)
Memory: 128GB storage, 6GB RAM
Colours: red, white, purple
Price: around HK$3,600 (US$459)