Oppo today launched the R5 at an event in Singapore, and at 4.85mm is the thinnest smartphone in the world. The R5 takes the crown away from the Gionee Elife S5.1, which was recently added to the Guinness World Book of Records. While it is undoubtedly an impressive feat to achieve such thinness, it comes with a great compromise.
To attain the R5’s thinness, Oppo has done away with the 3.5mm audio jack as it is thicker than the phone itself. Instead it bundles a pair of headphones that connect to the phone’s micro-USB port. So essentially if you own a pair of headphones from any of the leading brands, it won’t work with this smartphone. Unless of course, you buy a micro-USB to 3.5mm jack adapter.
Oppo is bundling a pair of compatible wired headset but it drastically limits the choice of third-party headphones you can use with the smartphone, even if you go out looking for a new pair. And the situation isn’t going to change anytime soon until bigger and more popular brands start doing away with the 3.5mm port, which is not likely to happen any time soon.
The situation can be compared to Apple’s decision to discontinue its 30-pin port for the new Lightning connector starting with the iPhone 5. That too disrupted millions of existing Apple users who had to either let go of their existing accessories when they bought a new iOS device or they had to drop an additional $20 to buy a 30-pin to Lightning adapter.
However, that situation is slightly different from Oppo, because Apple had scale and there were millions of new users who wanted accessories with Lightning connector to encourage accessory manufacturers start manufacturing compatible accessories. That is unlikely to happen with Oppo and we would recommend them to bundle an adapter in the sales box. That’s the least they can do for a smartphone that costs above Rs 30,000.
What do you think — is a mobile device’s thinness so important that you are ready to do without an essential part of the device? Let us know in our comment section below.