February 16, 2018

Oppo and how Canada's midrange is boring

With my recent trip to the Philippines, I didn't expect to have a newfound love for cellphones. I have an LG V20 and I absolutely love it for being a media powerhouse along with having a wonderful wide angle camera that my aunt loves. Before the V20, I had a Samsung S7 as my daily driver with a modest Moto G5 Plus as a trusted backup. These are miles ahead of the Samsung Discover and Blacberry 9220 that I used in 2015. So this means I'm a sucker for cellphones and this whole post is just me fawning over a cellphone.

(c) NoypiGeeks
I wish I took my own photos of all the advertising because it's insane, even at the airport. Oppo (stylized as OPPO) recently launched 2 cellphones in the Philippines, namely the Oppo F5 and the F5 Youth.


They look like the iPhone 7, especially the F5 Youth since the lack of silver antenna lines make it look cleaner. That's the thing about these phones though. They run ColorOS which is technically still Android but definitely makes the menus look like it's running iOS, down to the icons and notification menus.

"Oh, it's a MediaTek processor so it's cheap and crappy and won't get updates!"

Exactly! It's supposed to be cheap since the common person who doesn't care about technical specs won't really notice whether the processor is either MediaTek, Kirin, Exynos, or Snapdragon. I used to sell cellphones and never once did a customer ask "What's the processor on this phone?" They would ask relatively common questions like "Is the camera good?", "Is this phone Android or iOS?", "What's the storage on this?", and "Can I use a memory card with this phone?"

I would admit the Oppo marketing got me, I admit. I didn't need it but it's way more interesting than what midrange phones Canada is stuck with. Heck, even Huawei phones in Canada aren't that varied. You either go with a great phone like the Huawei P10 or you go with a disappointing one with the Huawei GR5.


Even though it's still technically a Chinese phone and god forbid, someone buys those instead of typical Apple, the F5 is still a wonderful phone that feels premium with its polycarbonate body, wonderful front and rear cameras, and 18:9 aspect ratio which is the trend right now thanks to the Samsung S8.

The Oppo made me realize that Canada isn't a priority when it comes to midrange phones. The closest thing to a midrange phone that can compete with the F5 is the LG Q6, which the F5 takes the lead. The F5 has a fingerprint scanner and way better cameras than the Q6. For screens, the Q6 has Gorilla Glass 3 while the F5 has Gorilla Glass 5 so scratch away with those keys and forks in your pockets. The F5 has 4 gigs of RAM while the Q6 has 3, yet the F5 Youth also has 3 gigs of RAM but is still better than the Q6. The only thing these phones have in common is the facial recognition.

The Oppo F5 is still way better than the crappy phones sold at Walmart. The Acer Liquid Zest is technically a phone but its meager 8 gigs of storage and below average battery life is nothing to be hopeful for. The F5 is still a way better buy than the pathetic BLU phones in stock, not the good BLU phones that have some quality to them. The only phone close to being a gem in Walmart's selection of unlocked phones is the Moto E4 but it's still overpriced by a hundred dollars in retail stores.

The prices for plans in British Columbia are already terribly high. I mean, 1 gig of data and 300 local minutes for $90-$95 if you want a phone like iPhone 7 or the Samsung S8 isn't really something that you head on to the store for 2-year contract. Retailers who sell postpaid plans would definitely hate you for going prepaid and bringing your own unlocked phone since they would rather sell you a postpaid monthly plan rather than a prepaid plan even though you're in the country for less than 3 weeks. The common ground between price and plan is the midrange, or at least it should be.

Good midrange smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 on a postpaid plan would just be 10-20 dollars cheaper on a 2-year contract, assuming you're lucky enough to catch them on a good day where they give you bonus data, because everyone wants data and the big companies don't want you to have it for cheap.

That's why I loved working for a prepaid cellphone company for a time because of no long-term commitments (Everyone's afraid of commitment, AMIRIGHT, GUYS? HIGH FIVE!). With no contracts, it just meant that people would bring their own unlocked phone and that would always make me happy to see what people bring in. It could be a crappy phone like a 2010 Motorola Spice, which looked like a suppository, or a OnePlus One which is a wonderful phone from 2014 that made me realize that unlocked phones are way cooler.

So after all this rambling, I'd really wish for more midrange phones to be sold in Canada, not just Oppo but Vivo and more of Huawei's lineup, because I know they'd make a good impact and give everyone an opportunity to have a good phone at a decent price. However, knowing Canada, the government would definitely just listen to the three big phone companies and put the kibosh on it since they probably can't overcharge everyone.

Wishful thinking.