Oppo AX7 An AXcellent device, but almost AXactly the same Look, there are only so many puns I can make with this name, and I’m sticking to it. The Oppo AX5 that I reviewed last year was a truly remarkable device, costing a mere $400 and feeling like twice that.
The new AX7 takes what was excellent about the AX5, and changes the shape of the notch. That’s, um, about it. OK there’s a bit more to it than that but it’s an incremental update not a monumental update.
The AX7 runs on the ColorOS 5.2, as opposed to the 5.1 of its predecessor. Both are Android 8.1 builds, and run off the same Snapdragon 450 processor.
Colour-wise, instead of blue or pink, the options for the AX7 are blue or gold. I got the gold, which is honestly more of a bronze, but still wonderfully pretty. I was shimmering it back and forth in the light for almost a minute before I turned it on; it’s hypnotic, like a lava lamp.
The front facing camera is better than expected at 16MP, for all those terrifying beauty filter selfies. Seriously, anything above setting 2 and we veer uncomfortably into the uncanny valley, and I look weird enough as it is. Photo quality was great, although the AR stickers aren’t really my jam. I know, what kind of heartless monster doesn’t want to have banana stickers on their face?
The AX7 also boasts the same outstanding battery as the AX5, a ludicrous 4230 mAh. Anecdotally, I got the AX7, played with it a bit, and then had some family stuff come up; life is a ride, friends. I remembered five days later that I was reviewing it, cursed, and pulled it out of the bag. It still had 12% battery left after 5 solid days on standby. How is that even possible? How have Oppo managed to circumvent Newton’s second law of thermodynamics? It’s either astonishingly efficient engineering or witchcraft, and I’m willing to bet both.
Oppo make excellent phones. The R17 Pro is sitting beside me right now as my everyday handset, and I adore it. The AX7 doesn’t have all the bells and whistles like NFC, but it’s a reliable, accessible, and beautiful device. I’m even coming around to the notch, which is now a much less intrusive teardrop design. Although, if I am going for the notch I personally prefer the sharper edges of the traditional notch over the teardrop.
You want negatives? Well, there aren’t many.
If you’ve been spoiled by VOOC or fast charging like I have with my R17 Pro, the hours it takes to recharge the AX7 will be excruciating. That said, you apparently only need to charge it once a decade, so you’re probably OK with just doing it at night, yeah?
Other than that, the issue I had with my first Oppo remains; if you’re not used to the ColourOS, it can be frustrating to begin with. Once you get to grips with it, though, you’re away and laughing. Differences exist between this and the AX5, but they are very minor.
The AX7 is basically the AX5 again with a couple of minor changes, tweaks, and improvements so, if, you’ve already got an AX5, this isn’t much of an upgrade. That being said, if you’re in the market for budget smartphones, I’m gonna assume you have more sense than to upgrade each year. As such, basically everything I said in my review last year stands. With a price tag of just $399, you categorically will not get as good a phone as this for the same money anywhere. In fact many $700 phones aren’t even this good.
The AX7 may cost $399 but it looks, feels, and handles like a $1000 phone, and I will never understand how Oppo make a profit off it. I’m going to say about the AX7 what I’ve said about every Oppo phone I’ve laid hands on; this is too good to be this inexpensive. If you’re in the market for a budget smartphone, the Oppo AX7 edges out everything else in its class. It’s AXactly what you’re looking for.