Oppo Beats Gionee and Adds Motors to N Series

China’s Gionee’s S5.1 (Display Monitor Vol 21 No 39) didn’t hold on to its title of ‘world’s thinnest smartphone’ for long. Domestic rival Oppo has beaten the 5.1mm phone with its Oppo R5, which is 4.85mm thick.

Of course, the thin (steel) body does have a trade-off. While many of the phone’s specifications are toward the high end, storage is only 16GB, without a micro-SD slot – and there is no 3.5mm headphone jack. A micro-USB adapter (included) or Bluetooth must be used instead.

Slim phones are known to get hot quickly, which Oppo has done its best to counter. The R5 uses a phase-shifting material made of ‘metal, resin and other composite materials’. When the phone begins to get hot, the material changes; it is said to both absorb heat and improve thermal efficiency.

A 1.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 615 processor runs Oppo’s Color OS 2.0, based on Android 4.4. One of the features of Color OS is a gesture control panel (swiped up from the bottom of the display); users can draw symbols to open apps. For example, a circle to open the camera. The phone also features an Adreno 330 GPU a 2GB of RAM.

‘Vooc’ rapid battery charging is supported on the phone. Five minutes will provide enough power for a two hour phone call, while 30 minutes will restore 75% of the battery’s charge.

The Oppo R5 uses a 5.2″ AMOLED display with 1920 x 1080 resolution. It will be available internationally in December, for $500.

Another phone announced at the same time is Oppo’s N3, which focuses on the camera – although with a 5.5″ LCD screen (1920 x 1080) and 9.9mm thickness, ‘phablet’ is a more accurate description.

Replacing last year’s N1, the N3 has a motorised camera that can swivel between forward- and rear-facing. The camera can be flipped with a flick gesture on the screen or using a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone. This sensor can also be programmed to open different apps, depending on the finger it is touched with. It can also recognise other users’ prints and swap the phone to a restricted guest mode.

Several apps have been created by Oppo for the camera, including one for panorama shots and another to take 64MP images. The SDK has been made available for developers to create their own apps, too.

The N3 is a dual-SIM phone and supports 4G connectivity. An aluminium alloy frame hosts a notification light at the bottom, visible from the front and back, and holds a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and Adreno 330 GPU. 32GB of storage, expandable via micro-SD, is built in, along with 2GB of RAM and support for Vooc rapid charging.

Going on sale at the same time as the R5, Oppo’s N3 will cost $650.