Oppo Find X3 Pro review
Oppo's flagship smartphone is an impressive but pricey option
- 50-megapixel camera captures vivid colour
- 3-megapixel Micro camera for taking microscopic images
- Stylish, curved 6.7-inch QHD+ AMOLED display
- Doesn't come cheap
- Rear camera sensor overcompensates in low-light conditions
The Oppo Find X3 Pro wins its flagship status for a reason, being a top-notch smartphone capable of all around high performance. Its 50-megapixel rear camera captures images in vivid colour and an added Microlens camera is a fun addition for taking microscopic shots.
If having the latest and best specs in a smartphone is important to you, then the X3 Pro, the flagship model in Oppo’s 2021 line-up, has everything you would want.
Its sleek design, large 6.7-inch AMOLED display, and 50-megapixel camera put it in the same league as the Samsung’s Galaxy S21—and its benchmarks deliver all the performance you’d expect in a premium smartphone. However, compared to its predecessor, the Oppo Find X2 Pro, these features come at a much higher cost.
Oppo X3 Pro specs
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
Display: 6.7-inch AMOLED QHD+ (3216x1440p)
Operating system: ColorOS 11.2 based on Android 11
Fingerprint sensor: Yes
Connectivity: 4G LTE, 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
Rear Camera: Wide-angle: (50MP, f/1.8, 1/1.56-inches sensor), Ultra-wide: (50MP, f/2.2, 1/1.56-inches sensor), Telephoto: (13MP, f/2.4, with 5x hybrid zoom, 20x digital zoom), Micro: (3MP, f/3.0, 30x, 60x magnification). FHD Video recording (f/3.0).
Front Camera: 32MP (f/2.4), OIS, FOV 81 degrees, 5P lens
Dimensions: 163.6 x 74 x 8.26mm
Weather rating: IP68
Look, feel and features
The Oppo X3 Pro’s styling is quite different from its predecessor, the Oppo Find X2 Pro, and not always for the better.
Instead of packing its rear camera into a neat, long band, Oppo places the X3’s rear array in a large square configuration in the top left-hand corner. It protrudes slightly, and while this may have been a necessity given the X3’s upgraded rear camera and sensors, it gives the phone a rather club-like appearance that took some getting used to. But on the plus side, the X3 Pro makes up for the camera array by being noticeably thinner and lighter than the X2.
For styling, our “ceramic” black X2 had a laser-cut finish on the underside that was remarkably modish without being too pretentious. It also looked good at every angle, no matter how you oriented it. Oppo have gone for a “gloss” (and, yes, more upmarket) black finish for the X3, and while it looks better than the X2’s finish out of the box, it quickly becomes marked with fingerprints that remain visible until wiped off. Your friends will definitely be impressed—as long as you show them the phone right after it's been cleaned off.
Oppo X3 Pro display
The X3’s display looks and feels premium. Its generous size is more than enough to watch videos without having to hunch over, and its 120Hz refresh rate ensures that it always feels smooth to the touch and has quick responsiveness. Videos and images are delivered in very high detail and are a joy to see. If you’re a fan of curved displays like those seen in the Samsung Galaxy line-up, you'll like the X3’s similar look. It never fails to impress me, each time I pick it up.
Oppo X3 Pro cameras
If you just read the top-level specs, the X3’s 50-megapixel rear camera doesn’t seem like a big leap forward from the X2’s 48MP camera, but there are big differences in the sensors and camera configurations. Indeed, colour reproduction, exposure and image crispness can vary between the two phones.
The X2’s rear camera is controlled by Sony’s IMX689 sensor, which supports PDAF, Dual Native ISO and 12-bit capture. When the X2 was released, Oppo claimed this sensor offered a noticeable performance leap for Night Mode and HDR recording. Interestingly, my results showed the X2 retains this benefit, with an observable advantage for the X2 over the X3 in low-light settings.
The X3 Find Pro uses Sony’s new IMX766 sensors for both its rear and wide-angle cameras. Oppo said this sensor, among other technologies in the X3, delivers the first 10-bit colour path management system, which can both shoot and store images and video in 10-bit depth. This should give the X3 the edge when it comes to image detail and colour, and this proved out in my tests. I shot images at 1x magnification indoors in Normal Mode to test colour capture, and as you can see, the X3 Pro’s images displayed more vivid colours than images from the X2.
Testing the cameras outside at 1x magnification in Normal Mode again showed the X3 Pro’s cameras to be superior. The images produced by the X3 had richer detail in both the foreground and background, and also appeared crisper. In contrast, images from the X2 Pro appeared to display less detail and were slightly overexposed.
Having said that, in low-light outdoor settings at 1x magnification and Normal Mode, the situation was reversed. Here, the X3’s sensors struggled with exposure control, overcompensating for the lack of light by producing images that were slightly overexposed. By contrast, in this lower-light setting, the X2’s sensor controlled exposure perfectly, producing images with better dynamic contrast.
For the X3’s ultra-wide camera, Oppo have gone for a free-form lens that features a complex and uneven surface. The purpose of this feature is to reduce camera distortion. In gaining this feature, it should be noted the X3 loses some of its field of view, which covers only 110 degrees to the X2’s 120 degrees. This is observable in the X3 images at 1x magnification, which appear to drop out some peripheral areas of the image.
To test the X3’s camera's longer-distance images, I took photos of a pergola at 5x and from 15 metres away in daylight and in Normal Mode. The X2 Pro has a 13MP periscope camera with a 10x hybrid zoom and up to 60x digital zoom for taking crisper images when zooming, but this feature has been dropped in the X3, which sports a more modest 13MP telephoto camera with a 5x hybrid zoom and 20x digital zoom. Because of this difference, I was certain the X2 would come up trumps.
Interestingly, despite the X2 having the higher magnification telephoto lens, the X3 produced clearer images at 5x. Distortion was observable in images from both cameras, but the X3’s images were clearer and captured colour closer to the pergola’s true colour profile.
The X3’s Micro camera
One of my favourite features of the Oppo X3 that’s absent in the X2, is its 3MP Micro camera, which is like having a microscope in your pocket. The Micro camera lets you take shots at 30x and 60x magnification, rendering features that may be nearly invisible to the naked eye in fine detail.
This camera worked a treat and I enjoyed taking close-ups of just about anything I could find, as indicated by my images below. However, capturing the images in focus is no easy feat: It requires exact positioning of the phone up against the surface and a very steady hand.
Operating system and software
Our review version of the X3 Pro came installed with the ColorOS 11.2. It's based on Android 11, and has all the same abilities to customise everything from your ringtone to your colour scheme, which is a big plus if you like to tinker and make everything reflect your personal tastes. Unfortunately, the X3 had more bloatware installed than I would have liked, and it made finding the apps I had installed unnecessarily harder than it should have been.
On the upside, Oppo has just announced that it has started trialing Android 12 Beta 1 of its next ColorOS, which includes features of the Android 12 OS update. This should appeal to folks wanting better security and data privacy, which are mainstays of the Android 12 OS.
According to our Geekbench scores, the X3’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 is marginally faster than the X2’s when it comes to overall CPU power. This wasn’t surprising as the X2’s Snapdragon 865 is a powerful processor in its own right. However, there were considerable differences between scores for the Open CL and Vulcan benchmarks, with the X3 clearly outdoing the X2 in these scores.
What does this mean? It means the X3 has a considerable advantage over the X2 when it comes to processing power, particularly for demanding games with heavy graphics and CPU-intensive tasks. The result in the Vulcan benchmark also implies the X3 is likely to be more future-proof for the latest games, as more developers are expected to adopt the Vulcan API for games in the near future.
I tested the battery life by playing intermittent videos during the daytime, and the Oppo X3 Pro lasted just over two days. With lighter use, its 4500mAh could have gone even longer, which is ample battery power between charges.
The bottom line
The Oppo Find X3 Pro's functionality doesn’t jump ahead of its predecessor the Oppo Find X2 Pro by leaps and bounds, but it does have a number of features—like it’s 3MP Micro camera—that make it a stand out in its own right. All things considered, the X3 Pro has won its flagship status because its functionality is as good as, or sometimes near to as good as, the best in the market. But at an asking price of $1660, it’s pricier than other phones like the Samsung Galaxy S21 ($1249) with similar functionality. And that could mean it loses a few willing fans.
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