Chinese phone makers have been engaged in a long-running battle to see who can produce the thinnest possible smartphone, and today Oppo has scooped the title with the scarcely believable 4.85mm-thick R5. There is a caveat to that measurement since the camera sticks out from the ultra-slim body of the phone, but this is still the first handset of its kind to fit in under half a centimeter. Oppo has done its best not to compromise a spec sheet that includes a 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display, an octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor, and 13-megapixel camera, however the small 2,000mAh battery and the absence of a headphone jack mark significant drawbacks for the R5.
Oppo's no stranger to building peculiar or niche devices — the company today also introduced a new selfie-focused handset in the form of the Oppo N3 — but it just doesn't provide a real reason for why anyone would want a 4.85mm-thick smartphone. Apple's opted for a similar approach with its new slimmed-down iPhones this year, though it too has failed to justify the emphasis on aesthetics over manifestly useful things like a bigger battery. The fact is that most phones today are thin enough, and the single-minded pursuit of making them thinner is now leading us down a path of carrying more equipment, whether it be battery cases or headphone adapters, rather than less.