Now in Dubai: Oppo R5, 30% thinner than iPhone 6

Chinese smartphones manufacturer Oppo on Monday officially launched its new spearhead in Dubai, the R5, which is just 4.85mm thin, losing the title of the world’s thinnest phone by the proverbial whisker.

For the record, that title belongs to Vivo, another Chinese brand, whose X5 Max clocks in at 4.75mm.

The Oppo R5

That said, Oppo has huge expectations from its new device (priced at Dh1,899), and is hoping to give rivals Apple and Samsung a run for their money.

“We’re targeting the young, more fashionable individual who enjoys the quality of life – the indefinite possibilities of life,” Henry Tang, Oppo’s GCC Regional Sales Manager, told Emirates 24|7 on the sidelines of the launch.

But why would someone in the UAE who can spend Dh1,899 on a smartphone choose Oppo and not go for the more established Samsung Galaxy S5 (starting at Dh1,799) or even the iPhone 6 (starting at Dh2,599)?

The R5 was officially unveiled in Dubai today

“Oppo has a proven track record in some other markets, and users love the brand, especially in China and some Southeast Asian countries,” says Tang. “They believe, regard, our products as premium, and are happy with it,” he says. 

“Oppo as a brand has always focused on design and achieving perfection. We were the first to release a 5-inch smartphone with 1080p display and a 441 PPI screen,” he said. “We are also the first to unveil the rotating camera design,” he adds.

Chinese brands are not always seen as cutting-edge innovators but Oppo is out there to change that perception. Oppo’s Finder did hold on to the title of the world’s slimmest smartphone since its launch in July 2012 until just a couple of months ago, when the Vivo X5 Max was unveiled in December 2014.

The Oppo R5

Nevertheless, the brand has high expectations from the UAE as a regional hub, says Tang. “We are fully confident of the quality of our products,” Tang says.

But even as the brand is ‘positive’ on the price-points, Oppo is offering a Dh500 cash-back offer until February 8 to UAE customers who pre-order the R5 from its retail partners Jumbo Electronics.

Isn’t that cash-back offer undercutting the brand’s premium positioning, we ask. “That’s just the initial launch offer that we’re giving, and will expire soon after,” says Tang, who refuses to be drawn into a chat about the brand’s market share targets for the region.

“We’re still in the learning curve,” is all he’ll say.

Coming back to one of the primary USPs of the phone, at 4.85mm, the R5 is almost a third thinner than the iPhone 6 (6.9mm). And even as iPhone 6 has been the hottest selling phone in the world, the only chink in its proverbial armour has been the complaints about it bending (unintentionally) when in back pocket or even the front ones in some cases.

What about the R5, we ask. “It won’t bend,” says Chris Zhu, Product Manager at Oppo UAE. “We have made a lot of effort to achieve perfection on our products,” he says. “We’ve used a titanium and aluminium alloy for the middle frame, and we also have manual polishing to make sure that it doesn’t bend,” says Zhu.

Here’s a tongue-in-cheek video of an apple smash test of the R5 which shows the R5 smashing, among other fruits, an apple. It also shows a person using the R5 as a hammer to pound a nail into a wooden block, as well as running it over with a car (still works) although we’d advise against using a Dh1,899 device to do any such thing.
 

Among its features, the R5 boasts of an Ultra HD camera feature that can combine up to four images to give a result that is much sharper than the camera’s resolution of 13MP. Oppo claims that images shot in the Ultra HD mode can be combined to give a 50MP resolution.

The company also announced the entry of another of its smartphones, the N3, in the UAE market although it did not disclose the pricing of that phone, which will only be available ‘by the end of February’ in the local market.

The Oppo N3 Control Motorized Rotating Camera with O-click

The N3 features a rotating camera with an added function – automation. Its camera has the ability to rotate 206b degrees and is capable of taking pictures using its free-stop and multi-angle shooting features. Similar to the R5, the Ultra HD mode in the N3 16MP camera gives an even richer 64MP result, says Oppo.

OPPO N3 Motorized Rotating Camera

Here’s a video of the ‘no need to bend over backwards’ N3 camera that shows Apple and Samsung users literally falling over themselves to click panoramic images while the N3 user (surprise, surprise) can do so with just a touch of the finger.

The N3 also boasts of Touch Access, that is, the touch-sensitive device also responds to wet or gloved hands. In addition, users can control the camera rotation in three ways –by O-click, gestures and touch access.

OPPO N3

But what’s perhaps one of the best features of any Oppo smartphone is its rapid charging function (VOOC), which helps give the phones up to 2 hours of talk time with a 10-minute charge. “You can charge the phones from 0 to 75 per cent in just 30 minutes,” adds Zhu, “or fully charge it in one hour,” he says.

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