Oppo Find X3 Pro smartphone review: Checking the boxes with style
Overview, Design & Handling, Display & Audio, User Interface
Note: This review was first published on 27 Mar 2021.
Oppo is going all-in on its strengths that made the Find X phone series great. That includes better displays, better audio, and flagship-grade phone performance in one handset. Thus, the Oppo Find X3 Pro was born.
It's pretty clear that the Find X3 Pro was made for minimal compromise on specs and appearance. On the outside is a Space Age Design with a slightly different approach to its camera housing's finish (more on that later). Flip it over, and it's a 6.7-inch LTPO AMOLED display rated at 3,216 x 1,440 pixels resolution that offers far more than meets the eye.
You see, Oppo said that they've implemented Full-path 10-bit Colour Management System onto the screen. This apparently allows the Find X3 Pro to capture, recreate, and display one billion colours. Also, the system cuts across the display, media content, and imaging capabilities, so it's not limited to its already excellent display prowess.
Powering all of this is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset. This lets the Find X3 Pro to be 35% more powerful and 20% more efficient than the Find X2 Pro, which had a Snapdragon 865 processor. The phone also has a 4,500mAh battery to support its demands, and this time around, Oppo has wireless charging (30W AirVOOC) to go with it.
In the camera arena, the device promises four rear cameras, with the main and ultra-wide using the same imaging components (a 50MP Sony IMX776 sensor). Of the four cameras, the most interesting is the 3MP Microlens, which brings microscopic-like photography to the user's fingertips.
So, are all these interesting design, software, and hardware choices enough for the Oppo Find X3 Pro to power through the upcoming flagship competition? Let's find out.
|Oppo Find X3 Pro|
Design & Handling
Dubbed as the Space Age Design, Oppo’s choice of finish for the Find X3 Pro is a metal and glass combination that evokes a sleek, fluid appearance. Perhaps what’s most visually arresting about the Find X3 Pro is its interesting camera housing choice. For the first time among flagship phones in recent memory, the Find X3 Pro’s rear camera housing doesn’t use a chamfered, bevelled, or perpendicular edge. Instead, the housing is a continuous, curved slate that blends into the rest of the back, while the lenses are nearly flush against the housing itself. According to Oppo, this design was made possible with a hot-forge manufacturing process, helped along by using over 2,000 control points to get a precise curve.
This design choice didn’t offer any particular ergonomic advantage - it’s still tilted to a side when you lay it face-up on a desk, plus you’re always worrying if the surface you put the Find X3 Pro on could potentially scratch the rear lenses. But, the phone does offer a more uniform appearance, further enhanced by its mirror-like, high-gloss finish (our model came in Gloss Black). What we liked best was the level of detail this finish had - it looks like a meticulously wrapped gift, with the finish akin to a piece of glitzy wrapping paper that goes along the back and the sides.
At 8.26mm thickness, the Oppo Find X3 Pro just feels slightly slimmer than the Find X2 Pro when held (that, and a quick check of its spec sheet revealed that it’s a difference of almost 0.6mm). It’s otherwise similar to its predecessor in hand-feel, where you can run your fingers along the frame, and it still feels secure in the hand.
The front feels just as mesmerising because of Oppo’s cunning choice to use a slightly curved display that does its best to hide the bezels. Except for the front camera housing (and certain apps cutting off just slightly before it), the phone feels almost like an uninterrupted screen for immersion. If you’re big on displays, the Find X3 Pro won’t disappoint.
The phone is undisputedly elegant, no matter which angle you look at it from. And, it doesn’t just look pretty with its IP68-certified water resistance.
Display & Audio
The Oppo Find X3 Pro has a 6.7-inch AMOLED display rated at 3,216 x 1,440 pixels resolution (QHD+). This works out to a pixel density of 525 PPI. The display is also sufficiently advanced, with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling rate.
You might have come across the insane colourisation and colour gamut specs Oppo was touting at the phone’s official announcement. If you haven’t: Oppo said that the display uses a full-path, 10-bit colour management system that cuts across its display, content, and camera imaging capabilities. The technology results in displaying one billion colours on the Find X3 Pro, which far exceeds the ballpark of visible colours via the naked human eye (different sources say that human colour vision ranges anywhere from a million to 10 million colours).
Its insane colour technology translates into several certifications, with 97% NTSC/100% DCI-P3 colour gamut coverage in its default Vivid Mode, going up to 104% NTSC/100% DCI-P3 coverage in Brillant Mode (which can be toggled on in the Display settings). Basically, you can trust the Find X3 Pro to faithfully reproduce colours for just about any recorded or online content that exists.
You’ve also probably heard about the display’s 0.4 JNCD certification as well. For reference, JNCD refers to Just Noticeable Colour Difference, with a JNCD of 1 or lower being virtually indistinguishable when two very similar colours are touching each other. High-end displays for professional use generally have a JNCD of 1 or lower, precisely because our eyeballs can only tell apart colours by that much. With the phone’s 10-bit colour depth, the display colourisation should satisfy both mainstream phone users and folks who work in an industry dealing with colours professionally.
Ultimately, though, colour accuracy is also subject to the content and the brightness of your screen. If your images, videos, apps, and other stuff aren’t properly calibrated or made using calibrated tools, having a dead-accurate display would only show the content’s flaws. We hope this helps to demystify why Oppo’s attention to colour is a bit of an overkill at this point, despite how the Find X series has always been brilliant when it comes to displaying colours.
Fortunately, all that power in colour isn’t pointless - Oppo added a little colour adjustment tool that adjusts colours based on your own vision (since not everyone perceives colour perfectly or equally). Hidden inside Display > Screen Colour Mode is another colour option called Colour Vision Enhancement. By selecting the Personalised option, the phone will prompt you to take a quick-and-easy colour test to determine your colour vision and limits. After you complete the test, the phone will tweak its display and compensate colours based on your perception. However, all this is very subjective, too - colours appear differently to your eyes when under different lighting conditions (for example, sunlight versus table side lamp versus office fluorescent tubes). So, it’s best to take the colour vision test in an environment where you think you’ll face the phone the most.
The audio quality is clear enough for video consumption, which is a nice touch.
UI & Features
As the latest flagship-tier smartphone from Oppo, the Find X3 Pro packs Android 11 cloaked underneath ColorOS 11.2 - basically, the most up-to-date Android operating system with Oppo’s proprietary interface to match.
Most Android phone users would be familiar with how ColorOS does its best to recreate that Apple-like browsing and navigation experience. You’re still getting squarish app icons with rounded corners but in the Android format of app arrangement (selected apps available to the right, all apps tucked away in the App Drawer). ColorOS 11.2 has many of the core, yet default Android 11 enhancements. Two that come to mind are a customisable Dark Mode for the phone’s natural state and a customisable Always-On Display.
Oppo’s enhancements come in the form of a Three-Finger Translate gesture that does exactly what it says on the sticker. It’s an additional translate feature that comes along with three-finger screenshots. You could either take a screenshot by swiping down with three fingers or take a partial screenshot by holding three fingers on your display and dragging them in the direction you want. Tapping on the Translate button makes the phone look at that screenshot, and use Google Lens to provide that said translation.
Another feature is FlexDrop, where you can make an app minimise to a picture-in-picture size and have it positioned anywhere on the display. Any app you open after marking it a FlexDrop would have the previous app floating in the corner you parked it. It’s a somewhat hidden feature where you can access it by going into the Switch Apps menu (tapping the left-most icon out of the three default Android buttons for Apps, Home, and Back). Once you’re there, tap on the two dots near the top-right corner of an app and choose “Floating Window” to get FlexDrop.
It works almost exactly like Apple iPad’s Multi-tasking feature - even moving the app across the screen is done by putting your finger on a tiny little white bar. Closing the mini-app on the Oppo Find X3 Pro is done by tapping the cross icon that sits on top of the app instance. You can use it however you wish - either by letting a video run while you reply to some text messages, or allow mobile games to auto-clear stages and queue for gaming sessions while you browse social media.