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Oppo Find 5 Review: A Phone Of Firsts From A Brand To Watch

Default ROM And Supported Alternatives

Default ROM

We’re generally not fans of most custom manufacturer skins or overlays, and the Find 5’s unique version of Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean is not in the rare category that offers a better experience than stock Android.

The Find 5’s custom skin takes a number of design cues from the popular MIUI series of ROMs and the iconic (pardon the pun) Faenza icon set used in many Linux distributions. Bizarrely shaped widgets aside, it actually looks quite good. The handset’s software also incorporates a number of useful features, such as a native NFC configuration tool, easily customizable notification LED, and “Easy Answer”, which uses the proximity sensor to automatically answer calls when the phone is placed next to your ear.

This attempt to differentiate the UI is, however, completely overshadowed by the ROM’s perceptible sluggishness and frequent frame drops, which are most noticeable when scrolling through the home screens and unlocking the “Glassboard” lock screen. Considering the capable hardware powering the Find 5, poor firmware optimization seems to be the most likely explanation.

Moreover, the ROM’s glossy visual design could reasonably be offered as the dictionary definition of incoherence. Its colorful MIUI-esque applications and widgets significantly clash with the bundled stock Android programs that utilize Google`s increasingly flat and monochromatic “Holo” design guidelines. This issue is demonstrated most plainly with the iconography, which includes some admittedly well designed icons for a handful of common programs, but adds a gray background to everything else in order for the interface to have a consistent set of square icons.

Supported Third-Party ROMs

What ultimately redeems the Find 5 is the company's exemplary support for the third-party development community. What’s more, the Find 5 is bootloader-unlocked right out of the box, fully GPL-compliant, and comes with an explicit guarantee that modifying the device’s software will not void the warranty.

The net result of this support is that the Find 5 sees considerable aftermarket development on both Oppo's official forums and XDA-Developers, and currently has official builds from AOKP, CyanogenMod, Paranoid Android, MIUI, and even a functional Omnirom port of Android 4.4 Kit Kat. Gadgets, being what they are, cannot have their hardware upgraded, so any tweaking and tuning has to be done in software. Needless to say, this commitment to the enthusiast community is a major selling point in our eyes.