Fri. Nov 18th, 2022

Oppo Find X3 Pro
Ben Sin
Chinese smartphone brand Oppo is on a bit of a roll. The Shenzhen-headquartered company started the year by unveiling a concept rollable phone that grabbed headlines all over the internet, then overtook Huawei as Chinas number one phone brand (thanks in no small part to the U.S. government), and now it has a new flagship phone thats highly polished and can do a new camera trick no other phone has done before.
Ive been testing this devicethe Find X3 Profor a couple of weeks, and it is as polished as anything Ive used.
The original Oppo Find X, released in 2018, was an experimental, weird handset that was unlike anything else on the market. It had a camera system that was hidden behind the phones shell when not in use, making for a phone that feels like on seamless piece without any protrusions or indentations (at least when the camera was hidden).
The Find X3 Pro is a lot more conventional, but manages to keep some of that same seamless design aesthetic of the original. This is thanks to the Find X3 Pros back glass plate, a single piece of glass that covers the camera system. More than 99% of smartphones on the market have a camera module that is separate from the back plate. If the camera module did not protrude from the phones back, then a single piece of glass covering is nothing noteworthy; but the Find X3 Pro, like all modern smartphones, have a very powerful camera system that requires extra heft. So the camera sticks out, too, but the glass plate still covers it via this subtle curvature.
It looks odd in photos, even ugly in press renders, but in person, this weird curvy vibe grew on me. It reflects light in this distinct pattern different from the rest of the glass back. It looks like the liquid metal T-1000 Terminator when hes shape-shifting.
Oppo Find X2 Pro camera array
Ben Sin
Oppo Find X3 Pro in this color looks like liquid metal
Ben Sin
Oppo says it had to map over 2,000 points of curvature on the glass to achieve this designI generally take numbers used by consumer brand marketing with a heavy grain of salt, but this is a unique build I havent seen before. The phone certainly feels comfortable to hold, not too heavy or thick at 193g and 8.26mm, and the phone doesnt have a single sharp edge. Even the camera protrusion, which tend to result in a flat edge on 99% of phones, is smoother here thanks to that curvature of the glass plate.
Ill get back to that camera system and how it performs in a bit, but first lets finish going over the phones overall specs and components. The display is a 6.7-inch, WQHD panel, which means it has 1440p resolution, and it refreshes at a variable refresh rate up to 120Hz. The faster refresh rate ensures the phones animations appear extra fluid and zippy.
The Find X3 Pro’s screen
Ben Sin
Oppos marketing is making a big deal about this phone being one of the very first to use a 10-bit panel, meaning it can display a billion colors. Virtually all other phones on the market use an 8-bit panel, which can only display 16.7 million colors. Yeah, this is about as technical and nerdy as it sounds. Im sure color science purists, or display experts will be glad to have the billion possible shades of colors, but for me, 16.7 million is enough. Id be lying if I said I can actually see more colors on the Find X3 Pro screen than other top tier Android phones.
But that isnt to say the screen doesnt look goodit looks exceptional, as good as the display panels seen in recent Xiaomi and Samsung phones. I just cant say its better even though technically it can display more colors.
Oppo Find X3 Pro
Ben Sin
Inside the Find X3 Pro is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 with 12GB of RAM, so these are top notch components. The phone also supports wireless charging and has IP68 water resistance. And unlike Samsung and Apple, it comes with a charging brick in the box, a super fast charging 65W one that can bump the phones large 4,500 mAh battery from 0 to 50% in under 15 minutes.
Because the screen has such a high refresh rate and is so pixel-dense, the 4,500 mAh battery can only power the device for about 12-13 hours of use, which is solid, but not great, battery life. Theres an option to lower the screen refresh rate for much better battery life, but Im not willing to make that compromise because 120Hz screens look so much better than 60Hz.
Cameras
Let talk about that camera system. The Oppo Find X3 Pros main system is a quad-camera array featuring two 50-megapixel Sony IMX 766 sensors covering the wide and ultra-wide focal lengths; a 13-megapixel telephoto zoom lens, and a 3-megapixel microscope lens.
It is that last lens that can do things Ive never seen before. It essentially allows you to place the phone really close to an objectso close the camera is basically pressing against the thing its shootingand capture a super macro shot so magnified that it shows details the human eye cant see. Dont just take my word for it, look at these set of photo samples.
A normal photo, and a microshot photo getting very close to the subject
Ben Sin
A normal photo, and a microshot photo getting very close to the subject
Ben Sin
A fair case can be made that the ability to capture these photos is a niche feature, that many average smartphone users have no use for this camera. Thats finebut I still think its noteworthy when a smartphone camera can pull off impressive shots that the naked eye cannot see.
The micro-lens has a ring light to help with lighting
Ben Sin
The Find X3 Pro’s micro-lens can see the individual strands of fiber of my wallet.
Ben SIn
A more useful lens is the ultra-wide angle lens; its been one of my favorite lenses to use ever since LG pioneered the camera for smartphones several years ago. I enjoy using the wider field-of-view to capture architecture and landscape.
Usually, the ultra-wide camera is inferior to the main camera, sometimes jarringly so. They have far less pixels, and usually an older camera sensor, too. This means if you use the ultra-wide camera, youre taking a compromised shot compared to that phones main camera. Both Xiaomi and Samsung phones suffer from this problem.
Oppos Find X3 Pro doesnt make this compromise, because the ultra-wide lens and the main camera use the exact same 50-megapixel Sony IMX 766 sensor. Ultra-wide shots appear as detailed, with the same exact exposure and color science under most shooting conditions.
Oppo Find X3 Pro ultrawide shot
Ben Sin
Oppo Find X3 Pro ultrawide shot
Ben Sin
The main camera of the Find X3 Pro performs well, too, capturing vibrant, noise-free images. But the main cameras of top flagship phones have been very good for a while now, so for me, its the ultra-wide camera and the micro-lens that help set this phones camera system apart.
The selfie camera is fine, but struggles with dynamic range at times. Selfies are solid but unspectacular.
Oppo Find X3 Pro.
Ben Sin
A photo captured by the main camera of the Find X3 Pro
Ben Sin
Software and overall performance
The Find X3 pro runs Oppos software skin over Android 11, and I am a fan. The software, named ColorOS, is full of customization options, and zips around without hiccups even when loaded with apps.
The phone has stereo speakers and a brilliant display, so its a joy to use as a gaming or movie machine, too. Overall, this phone is a top performer.
Pricing, however, is very erratic
The Find X3 Pro is a very polished and well-rounded premium flagship phone. But its pricing varies from region to region and the differences are really jarring. In the U.K., its priced at 1099 GBP, which is a whopping $1,500. In other parts of Europe it’s priced at 1,149, an equivalent to $1,300. In China, it’s the most affordable as expected, priced at 5,499 yuan, around $845. The rest of Asia, including Hong Kong and Singapore, will probably see pricing somewhere between China and Europe. I don’t see how those living in the U.K. can justify paying almost double what people on other side of the world pays.
The Find X3 Pro’s display
Ben Sin
Finding the right price for the Find X3 Pro is key. In a vacuummeaning ignoring pricing and just rate the phone on its technical meritsthe Find X3 Pro is worthy as the latest flagship from the biggest Chinese smartphone brand.