The Oppo R7 is the more compact of the two devices and comes with a more traditional look. But just because it is outshined by the bigger R7 Plus, doesn't mean it is void of merits itself. The device boasts a slick and clean all-metal exterior and with its more conventional screen size it will probably appeal to a wider audience.
Oppo refers to the design as "Lineism" and even compares the arcs to those on a violin. It is clear that a lot of emphasis is placed on elegance. Frankly, we have to agree that the R7 is a charmer. It is made with excellent taste and a lot of moderation, but we will refrain from going into poetic descriptions ourselves.
The Oppo R7 employs a unibody design and what is referred to as "aircraft-grade aluminum alloy" that has undergone a painstaking 48-step polishing process to achieve the final result. The phone is available in silver and gold colors.
The smaller R7 clearly has a wider bezel than its sibling with its 5.0-inch Full HD display surrounded by white stripes with a 2.5D finish, but it also has a pretty prominent black bezel around the display itself. Seeing how it uses AMOLED technology, this outer frame is nearly invisible when the display is off, but once turned on, it is pretty apparent.
As long as we are on the topic of display, the 5.0-inch AMOLED unit seems to be a solid choice. Is offers a superb viewing experience with excellent side viewing angles. Colors are nice and vibrant and the picture is very sharp at 445ppi and with a nice contrast.
We also can't fail to mention that the R7 is quite slim and definitely fits snugly in the hand. It is 143 mm tall and 71 mm wide with a thickness of only 6.3 mm. It weighs in at 147 grams, which is definitely justifiable, considering all the metal. The 2.5D glass and body curves really bring out the best in the design and create a convincing illusion of an even thinner body.
There is nothing really out of the ordinary regarding the controls on the R7 and the R7 Plus as well. Whereas competitors like ZTE are going crazy with new and innovative gestures, Oppo has stuck to basics. Rather inexplicably, though, the two devices have most of their buttons swapped.
On the R7 the power button is on the left and volume rockers on the right, while the R7 Plus has them the other way around. The buttons themselves are nicely rounded and also made of metal. Placement is also convenient in terms of height.
Going round the device, on top, we find a 3.5mm audio jack and not much else. There is also a small plastic insert on the top frame, presumably for an antenna. Still, it works as a nice little color accent.
On the left-hand side, we only find the power-button. The rest of it is absolutely empty, which looks very clean and neat.
The right side offers much of the same. The volume rockers are nicely defined with a groove in the middle and are also quite convenient to use. The only other thing found here is the card tray. The two SIM card go on the same tray and you have to choose between using two SIM cards or popping in a microSD card in place of one. This definitely saves room and removes needless slots for many but those wanting dual SIM and storage expansion will be disappointed. The cradle itself fits nicely into the bezel, making the side nice and flush.
The bottom is equally clean. There is a USB port in the middle and a microphone slightly to the left of it. The only other thing are two plastic inserts. Once again, a nice little color accent.
The back side of the Oppo R7 is a little busier. Naturally, it houses the 13MP camera, which occupies the top left corner, along with a single LED flash. On a side note, a lot is missing from the camera itself, compared to the R7 Plus. There is no dual-tone flash, no laser focus and the sensor is different as well.
Besides the camera, there is also a secondary microphone here. At the bottom, there is a speaker grille and quite a bit of text.
The top and bottom of the R7 have quite noticeable plastic inlays. These, of course, are necessary for the radios to work, seeing how the rest of the body is metal, but, perhaps Oppo should have went with something more subtle, like the patterns of the iPhone 6 or the HTC One M9. On the other hand, it doesn't really take that much off the overall impression. We really like the little dimple on the bottom which is intended to prevent the rear speaker from getting muffled easily. These sort of tiny details really do matter in everyday use and it is evident that Oppo has invested a lot of effort into the R7.