Oppo AX7 review: New looks, same old budget buy

Oppo AX7
  • Oppo AX7
  • Oppo AX7
  • Expert Rating

    3.75 / 5

Pros

  • Clean design
  • Outstanding battery life

Cons

  • "OK" camera
  • Inconsistent performance

Bottom Line

Unless you’re particularly spurred by the choice to feature a teardrop-style notch and more-powerful front-facing camera over the traditional wedge found in the AX5, there’s not a huge number of reasons to opt for this device over its predecessor.

Would you buy this?

The Pitch

It’s been approximately three years since Oppo arrived on Australian shores so, at this point, the Oppo AX7 feels like a familiar bet from the Chinese company.

Like previous A-series acts (such as the Oppo AX5 and Oppo A73), the AX7 benefits from a featureset it inherits from the company’s flagship devices but cuts a few corners in pursuit of a more-affordable price. There’s plenty of value here for the everyday but reason still to consider more expensive options if your wallet can accommodate it. The Oppo AX7 is an otherwise-solid budget device concerned with making an argument for itself than one making the case for the price-point it occupies as a whole. If it’s all you can afford, you’ll probably be happy enough with it.

The Oppo AX7 is pitched at those who have already committed to making the necessary compromises that come hand-in-hand with the world of sub-$400 smartphones, but it thrives within those limitations nevertheless.

Specs - Oppo AX7

Display size: 6.2-inches

Display type: LCD, HD+

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 450

Operating System: Android 8.1 / Color OS 5.2

Fingerprint Sensor: Yes, rear-mounted

RAM:  4GB

Storage: 64GB

MicroSD slot: Yes

Durability: N/A

Ports: Micro-USB

SIM: Dual

Battery: 4230mAh

Connectivity: Bluetooth 4, Cat 6 LTE, GPS,

Rear Camera:  13-megapixel (f/2.2) + 2-megapixel (f/2.5)

Front-Facing Camera: 16-megapixel (f/2.0)

Colors: Glaring Gold and Glaze Blue

Dimensions: 156.7 x 74 x 8 mm

Weight: 168g

Price:  $319

Availability: Optus, Officeworks, The Good Guys, Woolworths, Mobileciti, Telechoice and Yes Distribution

Design - Oppo AX7 Look, Feel & Features

Despite the bargain-bin price, the feel-factor you get out of the Oppo AX7 is surprisingly close to more premium fare. In line with modern trends, the device features both a curved, glass body and notched display.

The usual pros and cons apply. You get a little more screen space and the device feels incredibly nice to hold. The back of the device is a smudge magnet and you have to cope with the presence of the teardrop-shaped imposition on the upper edge of the display.

Beyond these aspects, the Oppo AX7 is very much business as usual for Oppo. The device features a MicroSD card slot, letting you bump up the storage from the baseline 64GBs, plus a traditional 3.5mm headphone jack, letting you use it with most headphones. There’s also a traditional fingerprint sensor on the back but there’s no sign of the in-display fingerprint tech found in the more expensive R17 Pro.

In terms of how it compares to the previous AX5, the AX7 doesn’t differentiate itself by much beyond the previously-mentioned teardrop notch. The glass back lacks the geometric flair found in the AX5 but I found that this actually works in the device’s favor. It’s a little more casual and inconspicuous.

Back when we reviewed the AX5, we said that “if there is any particular irk to be found here, it’s in the subtle contrast between the plastic sides of the device and the glass faces on the front and back. It’s nothing major, mind you. But the seams are occasionally felt, giving away the cheapness of the make.” We encountered no such problems with the AX7. It isn’t quite as flash-feeling as the R17 Pro - but it’s not as far off as the AX5 was.

Camera - How Does The Oppo AX7 Compare To The Competition?

The camera kit integrated into the backside of the Oppo AX7 isn’t radically different from that found in its predecessor. In fact, it’s almost identical.

Like the AX5, the AX7 features a dual-lens configuration with 13-megapixel f/2.2 lens paired with a second 2-megapixel f/2.5 lens. Also like the AX5, the camera on the AX7 also boasts an AI-powered portrait mode but no scene optimizations like those found in the Huawei P20 or LG G7 ThinQ.

That said, the front-facing camera on the Oppo AX7 is a significant step above its predecessor. Where the AX5 boasted a scant 8-megapixel selfie-shooter, the AX7 features a beefier 16-megapixel front-facing camera, making it a better-buy for those who love their selfies.

I was generally pretty happy with the results, though they did often have a slightly fuzzy quality to them which set them apart from more expensive smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or the Huawei P20 Pro.

Performance - Oppo AX7 Software, Benchmarks and Battery Life

As with all Oppo devices, the Oppo AX5 runs on the company’s ColorOS skin, now in version 5.2. The usual caveats apply. Bulk managing notifications from the lock screen can sometimes be a bit annoying, etc. Still, for the most part, ColorOS still holds up a super-slick and cohesive interface that blends together the utility of Android with the intuitiveness of Apple’s iOS. I remain a fan.

That said, the performance of the Oppo AX7 was the one aspect of the experience I felt a little lacking, To be sure, there’s definitely some value here.

For a device that sits on the line between mid-tier options like the Moto G6 and budget buys like Nokia 3.1, the experience of actually Oppo AX7 is surprisingly smooth. All the same, it doesn’t take long for the seams to a show. Rapidly swapping between different apps would often cause the AX7 to stumble. It never quite freezes out but it often experienced noticeable slowdowns.

When it came to benchmarks, the Oppo AX7 delivered impressive results but didn’t exactly leave its predecessor in the dust. To the AX7’s credit, it’s not exactly pushing the RRP higher but any improvements here seem negligible. Aside from 3DMark’s SlingShot benchmark, that is - where we found the AX7 offered some improved performance.

Like its predecessor, the Oppo AX7 proved itself exceptional when it came to battery-life. The 4230mAh battery went the distance without fail. We’d easily make it through the usual nine-to-five work day and often into a second day of active use as well. Even if we accidentally forgot to leave the Oppo AX7 on charge overnight, we’d still plenty of juice left to work with.

We’re talking fifteen or more hours of average use here, though, as always, your mileage may vary - particularly if you watch or film a lot of video content or crank the brightness way up.

Unfortunately, there’s no wireless charging here - nor support for Oppo’s VOOC fast-charging.

The Bottom Line

Like the Oppo AX5, Oppo’s latest is a solid budget buy that provides a ton of value. That said, unless you’re particularly spurred by the choice to feature a teardrop-style notch and more-powerful front-facing camera over the traditional wedge found in the AX5, there’s not a huge number of reasons to opt for this device over its predecessor.

Like I said, the Oppo AX7 is a familiar bet.

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Read more on these topics: smartphones, Oppo, budget smartphones, Oppo AX5, Oppo AX7
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