Comparing a phone and phablet, there's always a risk of underplaying one's strengths or putting too much weight on the other's weaknesses. The difference in screen diagonal isn't that big in this case though - single-hand operability and handling might tip the scales in the more compact device's favor but that will be by no means the decider.
Both of our contenders have user-replaceable batteries and memory expansion, which means the Galaxy S5 loses much of its edge. It still has the water-proofing though, an ace up the sleeve that may as well be played.
The Galaxy S5 measures 142 x 72.5 x 8.1mm while the Find 7a stands at 152.6 x 75 x 9.2mm. Weight is 145g for the Galaxy and a hefty 170g for the Find 7a. All in all, Oppo's flagship is quite a bit heavier, over a centimeter taller, slightly wider and slightly thicker than the Galaxy S5. It's offering an extra 0.4" of screen diagonal in exchange and this could make a difference in video watching and web browsing - it may not be a meaningful gain for everyone though.
The Oppo Find 7a and Samsung Galaxy S5 both stick to their respective design philosophies, which can be tracked some generations back. The Galaxy S5 has the trademark physical home button, between two capacitive keys. The glass covering the AMOLED screen doesn't connect seamlessly with the sides but is slightly recessed instead - the side framing forming a subtle curb.
The back features a perforated faux-leather finish - borrowed from the last Galaxy Note but with a new twist. Although the latest generation of the Galaxy S is decidedly more angular than the predecessor - it still comes across as curvy next to the assertively sharp Oppo Find 7a.
A solid piece of glass covers the front of the Oppo Find 7a head to toe, it looks razor sharp and the sides are flat with no texture whatsoever. There are also no physical buttons here - it's all capacitive below the screen: home, back and menu keys. The back has finely textured, matte finish affording excellent grip.
The wider frame and added weight of the Find 7a makes single-handed hold a little less comfortable but it's still possible to operate with one hand, its controls (lock key, volume rocker) nicely placed and accessible with the index finger and thumb.
Above the Galaxy S5's spanking new 5.1" 1080p panel of the Super AMOLED variety, a 2MP front facing camera, ambient light and proximity sensors are scattered around the earpiece. There's also a status LED in the far-right corner to indicate missed events or charging.
Below the screen there's the physical home button with an integrated fingerprint scanner, a capacitive key either side for Back navigation and Recent Apps.
The Oppo Find 7a opts for a higher-res 5MP front-facing camera above the display, with the usual proximity and ambient light sensors next to the earpiece. Under the display there are three capacitive touch buttons for home, menu and back.
The Oppo Find 7a's notification LED is located under the capacitive keys and instead of just blinking, it "spills" from the center towards the edges - a breathing light in standby, but also a nice way to notify of incoming messages and missed calls.
We consider the new rear surface of the Galaxy S5 a positive move. Gone is the slippery, smudge-prone glossy finish of old, replaced by a faux-leather finish for better looks and superior grip. Depending on the color, you get either leather-like or matte finish (the Charcoal Black version feels like leather while Shimmery White is matte) - actually plastic either way but one that looks and feels premium.
An interesting bit here, located under the camera lens and right next to the LED flash, is the heart rate monitor.
The Oppo Find 7a feels much like the Find 5 - a clean, matte plastic back that's pleasant to the touch thanks to its fine texture and comfortable to hold. The sharper edges and angular frame of the Oppo Find 7a work to a more muscular appearance than the Galaxy S5's softer, curvier style.
Both smartphones have removable back covers and user-replaceable batteries. Removable storage is an option on both, but the microSD card slot on the Oppo Find 7a isn't hot-swappable.
Looking at the Oppo Find 7a you'd be forgiven for thinking it's a unibody design. You can undo the back panel using the tip of a pen or anything along these lines. You just press with it onto a tiny pinhole in the bottom left corner of the phone.
The Galaxy S5 has a flap covering the microUSB port that you'll need to undo and put back on every time you charge the battery. Thankfully, the 3.5mm headphone jack is waterproof and doesn't require an extra cover (which would've been a deal breaker). There's also an IR port on the Galaxy S5 allowing the phone to remotely control a TV (and other appliances).
The power button on the right and volume rocker on the left of the phone are logically placed and easy to reach even on this big a phone.
Oppo's placement is mirror opposite - power button on the left and volume rocker on the right - but not actually uncomfortable, unless the size of the phablet is just too big for your hand.
The Galaxy S5 is undoubtedly the easier device to handle with one hand and it weighs less, which will be welcome in prolonged use. Having said that, the Oppo Find 7a's bigger screen will have its proponents too - and it's by no means an impossible device to carry around.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy S5, but close. It has the water resistance and fingerprint scanner to thank, while the Find 7a is decidedly the better-looking device.