Today we put the OnePlus One up against a contender that basically comes from the same stable as its illustrious self. The Oppo Find 7 is a 5.5 inch Android smartphone that packs a QHD display and a top of the range Qualcomm processor, plus other features that make the Find 7 a flagship class device. However, is it completely inferior to the OnePlus, a smartphone marketed as a ‘Flagship Killer’?
The Oppo Find 7 is Oppo’s top tier smartphone offering, and it certainly has enough under the hood in terms of high-end hardware to warrant its place among the Android smartphone elite. However, the OnePlus One has the reputation of eating flagship smartphones for lunch, such is its stature. But before we relegate the Find 7 to the dust bin of mediocrity, let’s take a deeper look at the two devices and see where the OnePlus is winning, and also see if the Find 7 can hold its own in a few areas.
Don’t forget you can check out this detailed comparison video that accompanies this article:
The OnePlus One / Oppo Relationship
The One smartphone from OnePlus was launched to much fanfare a few months ago, and was painted as a revolutionary device from a renegade start-up manufacturer based in Shenzhen China that was bent on shaking up the high-end smartphone market on a global scale. We have since spent a great deal of time with the device, and in truth we absolutely love it. The OnePlus One can be difficult to get hold of (only invitees may make a purchase), but it retails for an astonishing $300.
The Oppo Find 7 finally became available in May of this year and retails in China for true flagship smartphone prices. It can be had on Amazon for a premium of around $650.
Check out the full OnePlus One review here, plus our ‘Day in the Life of a OnePlus One’ video review:
Having visited the company a few months earlier at their HQ in downtown Shenzhen, we had a good idea about who was backing OnePlus in this massive venture. Most of the employees we spoke to either had backgrounds at Oppo, were hired directly from Oppo or had some kind of connection with Oppo, whose HQ building was actually just walking distance away.
The founder of OnePlus, Pete Lau previously held the position of VP and in conversations with the OnePlus team we learned that financing for the ‘Start-up’ had indeed come from a source connected with Oppo.
There are many ways of looking at the relationship between Oppo and OnePlus; is OnePlus simply a necessary subsidiary, especially seeing as the OS used on the One, CyanogenMod 11S, is actually a forked Android OS? That’s a story for another day however. Today the focus is on the two devices that define the companies; the One and the flagship Android handset from Oppo, the Find 7.
OnePlus One vs Opp Find 7: Hardware Comparison
We cannot say for sure if the One and Find 7 actually originate from the same smartphone factory, but it is possible. The two devices do have plenty in common. They both have 5 inch screens with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and both run a Snapdragon 801 processor from Qualcomm backed by a generous 3GB of RAM. They both run a custom version of Android and have a 13MP rear camera, with a 5MP on the front. Pretty similar hardware configurations, on the surface at least.
Despite their similarities, the One and the Find 7 are quite different devices once you delve deeper. First of all lets take a look at the full specifications sheets of both and compare them side by side:
OnePlus vs Oppo Find 7: Specifications Comparison Table
|OnePlus One||Oppo Find 7|
|Display||5.5" 1080p Full HD IPS LCD|
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
|5.5" 1440p QHD IPS LCD|
Corning Gorilla Glass 3
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 801|
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 801|
|RAM||3GB DDR3l||3GB DDR3l|
|Storage||16GB / 64GB||32GB|
|microSD||No microSD Support||Up to 128GB|
|Cameras||13MP & 5MP||13MP & 5MP|
|Weight||162 grams||171 grams|
|OS||Android 4.4.2 Kit Kat||Android 4.3. Jelly Bean|
|UI||CyanogenMod 11S||ColorOS v1.2.1i|
To really separate the wheat from the chaff, I will focus on four key areas; Design and Build Quality, Displays, Cameras and Software. Let’s kick off with a look at the design and build quality of the two devices.
Design and Build Quality
There is little doubt that the build quality of the two devices is excellent. However you can easily perceive one very major difference in the way that the two actually combine the back of the device to the rest of the chassis. The Oppo Find 7 uses a metallic frame or band that integrates both the display and the back panel; a common and widely used approach to smartphone design. The back panel of the Find 7 is made of plastic, and upon your first touch you will doubtless recognize the material used as plastic. The pattern employed is a diagonal ziz-zag design that looks attractive enough, and the very matte finish is not prone to fingerprints in anyway.
The OnePlus One back panel has all the advantages. Firstly, it integrates directly with the display portion of the device, thus negating the need for a frame or band around the edge. The back cover clicks firmly into place, integrating with a chrome plate that goes around the the front edge, with the display kind of sitting snugly on top of it. It is a totally unique design that looks really professional.
Then there’s the finish. The Sandstone Black edition of the One that we have here in the office is one of the best feeling devices ever. You will want to stroke this baby. You just will. It’s a polycarbonate material (essentially a fancy kind of plastic) that literally has a grainy stone feel. It feels very good to the touch, does not attract fingerprints and it’s also scuff resistant. The back cover does come off (not easily I might add) and is replaceable with several other great options from the company. Check out this bamboo case we met with at the OnePlus HQ.
Overall, the Oppo Find 7 is actually quite heavy compared to the One. Weighing in at 171 grams compared to the lighter One at 162 grams. In terms of length, the two are almost identical (the One is technically 0.3mm longer), but considering both sport the same sized 5.5 inch display, they are equally compact considering the screens they use. Weight is a concern however, so the One has a healthy advantage in this area. Being similar sized, using using similar batteries, one does wonder where the extra 9 grams is actually coming from.
When it comes to button placement, the two devices are completely at odds with each other. The Oppo Find 7 places the power button on the left edge, with the volume rocker on the right. The One prefers the reverse. Which implementation do I prefer? The OnePlus feels more natural to me.
Overall I have to give the OnePlus the nod in terms of design and build quality. The Oppo Find 7 is a very well built device that will impress the vast majority of users, but the OnePlus will simply blow your mind. The finish on the back alone will draw you in, with instant bouts of stroking imminent. It’s also lighter and feels better balanced in the hand.
Displays: 1080p vs 1440p
One area where which deserves plenty of attention is the area of the displays used in the two divices. The Find 7 is in fact a rare beast in the current smartphone scene in that it uses a QHD, 2560 x 1440 resolution display. The only other smartphone on the market that uses a QHD is the LG G3, so this is a major statement of intent from Oppo, who can confidently claim to be the first smartphone manufacturer to make the highly anticipated jump to QHD. Kudos to you Oppo.
We had hoped prior to launch that the OnePlus one would also break the Full HD barrier and arrive in glorious 1440p. Alas, it did not. But that’s not to say that the display that adorns the OnePlus One is actually inferior. It has fewer pixels which results in a lower pixel density, sure, but in reality, the OnePlus One display is actually on of the best IPS LCD displays we have ever come across. Manufactured by Japan Display Inc. the One panel is an absolute stunner. JDI are actually a relatively new player on the panel manufacturing scene, only coming in to existence in early 2012. However, the company is in fact an integration of some very well known and respected players, bringing together Sony Mobile Display, Toshiba Mobile Display and Hitachi Displays. The results of this collaboration is a 5.5 inch display that really pleases with sharp, crisp pixels that have great color reproduction, excellent brightness and really impressive viewing angles.
This is a tough area to decide as I love the OnePlus One display. However, I also like having more pixels, so fundamentally speaking, the Oppo Find 7 wins here.
Camera: Are All 13MP Cams Equal?
Once again the spec sheet would have us believe that the cameras fitted in both the One and the Find 7 are alike. We have two 13MP rear cams and two 5MP front facing cameras. Both rear sensors are using the IMX214 CMOS sensor from Sony, do 4K video and generally offer a great camera experience.
There are differences however. The Oppo Find 7 can take astoundingly high resolution pictures with their Ultra HD 50MP ‘Multi Shot’ feature, but seriously, who needs 50 megapixel photos? The One comes back with a few tricks up its sleeves however. The One features manual exposure so you can tweak to your hearts content and get the exposure exactly how you want it. It also features 360 degree panorama shooting which allows you to shoot a panorama 360° in every direction, stitching together multiple shots taken whilst turning on the spot. Nice feature. In terms of video quality the One can also do 720p at an awesome 120fps.
However, when it comes to the software that drives the camera hardware, the One has one of the most unintuitive camera apps around, with an kind of hidden, floating hidden menu that throws together a bunch of filters, options and modes in one long list. Ok, so you can configure the list to just the stuff that you want, but why just jam it together? The One camera app is an attempt at simplicity that simply backfires in my opinion. The ColorOS camera app is a much simpler affair, separating things in to a more logical structure that works better for me.
In conclusion, both the One and the Find 7 offer great cameras that can take amazing pics in the right conditions. The One offers more in terms of features, but has a UI that drives me nuts. I am going to call this a draw.
No Winner: Draw
Software: CyanogenMod vs Color OS
Both the One and the Find 7 use quite heavily customized Android UIs that stray pretty far from vanilla Google. Let’s start with ColorOS that we find running on the Find 7.
ColorOS is a slick and buttery smooth Android 4.3 Jelly Bean experience that looks at times overly functional, and even a little dated. The icons used are very detailed and are also often too descriptive of the things they represent, despite being rendered to look like real life objects. This is because icons are much better when they are just simple representations of a concept, not actually replications of an object. The dialer icon is a dialing pad plus an old fashioned handset. But at a glance it does not convey the concept well. The camera icon is supposed to represent the lens of an actual camera, but is essentially a purple circle with a white band around the edge. In short, the ColorOS design team need a few classes iconography. Some of the apps also tend to look a touch dated, although the menu systems and general layout is reasonably strong.
The CyanogenMod 11S that we find on the OnePlus One is the polar opposite of ColorOS. CyanogenMod is one of the cooler and most popular custom Android ROMs around, and a major talking point for OnePlus when launching the device. The cornerstone of the CyanogenMod experience is a very graphically appealing design with more configuration settings and options than you could possibly imagine. In terms of looks, the colorful and stylish icons, wallpapers and other theme components frankly look very attractive to the point of actually being fashionable. We have always enjoyed CyanogenMod’s penchant for style, and the 11S build they made for OnePlus is probably the most attractive OS they have ever made.
However, as I mentioned with the camera app, there are times when CyanogenMod have bitten off more than they could chew. The gestures for screen unlock for example are enabled by default and will drive you to despair if you don’t understand them all. Likewise, having the most customizable OS can be a joy for many device enthusiasts, myself included, but for many mainstream users, just finding a simple function or setting among the reams and reams of menus can become a chore.
Overall, I have to give the OnePlus the win here, simply because, a) the OS looks so damn good, and b) they are trying new ideas and approaches and should be commended for that. ColorOS looks like it belongs in the 90’s. I would never describe it as attractive, even if is actually functionally solid. Oppo should also be slapped for not having their act together on Kit Kat yet.
Also, let’s not forget that software can be updated too, with kinks and issues ironed out with incremental over the air updates, which is exactly what happened with OnePlus One this week. The update carries the CyanogenMod UI up to the latest Android 4.4.4 and while we haven’t yet had a chance to assess the changes and fixes, but we know that it will improve the 13MP camera’s low light performance. We also hope that some other issues regarding gestures and touchscreen unlocking have also been fixed.
Interestingly, the were reports that OnePlus were planning to ditch CyanogenMod in favor of creating their own Android UI. I think this would be an over-reaction from the company. CyanogenMod is a work in progress and is deserving of a little time to iron out the kinks.
Final Thoughts: OnePlus One is Half the Price of the Oppo Find 7
Firstly, there are a few other minor details that deserve a mention. The OnePlus One sports a slightly bigger battery (3,100maH vs 3,000mAh), it also has stereo speakers. We also find Bluetooth 4.1 on the OnePlus One, and 4.0 on the Find 7.
The above features add more weight to the idea that the OnePlus One is the superior device, an opinion that has now been confirmed during the creation of this article. However, the Oppo find 7 has two things that I really like; a QHD display and microSD support. These are great features to have (and I wish the OnePlus had these features for sure), but they are not going to give the Oppo Find 7 the win, in fact when you factor in the element of Price, we find what is in effect the death knell for the Find 7.
The OnePlus is arguably a superior device and it comes with a much cheaper $299 price tag. The Oppo Find 7 will cost you more than twice that much, a fact that almost borders on the incredulous.The OnePlus One may still be a little difficult to actually source, but I would argue that it is without doubt well worth the hassle. A fantastic device, at an astounding price.
Overall Winner: OnePlus One.