There aren’t many players left in the premium smartphone market. LG have gone, Google have left it (temporarily?), Huawei have exited it for all intents and purposes, which for Australians means we have Samsung, Apple and OPPO only as choices. OPPO have moved aggressively in this segment piling all the hardware into their entries, with last year’s Find X2 Pro performing very well.
This year they have once again thrown the kitchen sink at their premium smartphone, the Find X3 Pro, and in my opinion has come out with what will most likely be a successful phone on the back of a gorgeous display and an excellent camera system.
Wireless Android Auto glitchy
65W wired and 30W wireless charging
The display is something to behold
OPPO have indeed thrown everything at this premium smartphone and that begins with the first thing you see- the display. The display is a massive 6.7-inch QHD+ (3216 x 1440) display with support for a 120Hz refresh rate. The display nearly fills the entire front of the phone with a screen to body ratio of a massive 92.7%.
The colours are amazing as well with great colour reproduction — you can further enhance these colours with certain settings inside the software. Not only are there still and video display picture enhancements you can use but you can also calibrate the display to your eyes as well for a more pleasant experience.
My only issue with the display is the curves on the edges. When Samsung introduced them a while ago I hated them — I still do but I’ve grown used to them. Samsung have since gone away from using such a severe curve on their display and the experience is better for it. I would have preferred OPPO bring a much smaller curve to the display, but it is what it is — even with the curve it’s a great viewing experience.
Hardware and design
The rear of the Find X3 Pro does not have the massive separate camera module but instead have molded the camera module into the rear of the device which is not just different but looks great too. Unfortunately, the rear of the phone is spoiled by the OPPO certification prints — Samsung don’t include theirs on the back so I’m not sure why OPPO keep doing this. In the end nearly all who buy one of these will use a case and thus not notice this anyway so it will not affect them.
The Find X3 Pro is slimmer than last year’s Find X2 Pro but inside still packs the best Snapdragon mobile chipset available (SD888), 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM (fast) and 256GB UFS3.1 storage (fast as well). Somehow inside are still wireless charging coils, something that was sadly missing from last year’s model, and an in-display fingerprint sensor that is possibly the best in the business.
Add in IP68, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2 support and you have just about everything you could wish for.
You would expect OPPO to continue with their photography improvements they have made in recent years this year. Their computational photography is decent finally with some decent AI chops included — the hardware they have included doesn’t hurt though.
- 50MP Wide-angle Camera: Sony IMX 766 sensor, 1/1.56″ sensor size, f/1.8 aperture, OIS, All Pixel Omni-directional PDAF
- 50MP Ultra-wide-angle Camera: Sony IMX 766 sensor, 1/1.56″ sensor size, f/2.2 aperture, Native 110.3° Field of View, All Pixel Omni-directional PDAF
- 13MP Telephoto Camera: f/2.4 aperture, 5x hybrid optical zoom, 20x digital zoom
- 3MP Microlens Camera: 60x magnification, FHD Video Recording, f/3.0 aperture
Last year the Find X2 Pro included support for 5x optical zoom, 10x hybrid zoom and 60x digital zoom but this year they have forgone the telescopic lens so don’t expect any massive decent zoom in the Find X3 Pro. The standard 13MP telephoto lens delivers 5x hybrid zoom and just 20x digital zoom.
The Find X3 Pro takes great pictures in all conditions with its AI scene detection helping it decide on ideal settings for that scenario. Night mode photography was exceptional with it comparable with the other premium smartphones on the market (Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and the iPhone 12 Max Pro). Daytime photography is excellent as well — as you would expect on any phone worth its chops in 2021.
One thing the Find X3 Pro does exceptionally well is switching to and using the macro mode. Up close and personal it produces sharper, clearer images than any of the other ultra premium phones available.
The 32MP selfie camera is also up to par producing great images with good focus and colour, although beware the beauty mode that is on at 30 by default..
Let’s talk about the gimmick — the microlens. Sure it’s great to be able to photograph something at 30x and 60x but why would you want to? That close up of the carpet? The couch? The dog’s hair? It’s something that we haven’t seen in a smartphone before but I’m not sure of its value. It could be the last time we see it. You can read more about it here if you are so inclined, but I’m still not convinced even after reading this.
Find X3 Pro has the perfect battery solution, although not the perfect battery
First things first, you can have the best phone in the world but if it is out of battery it may as well be a lump of coal. The battery life on the Find X3 Pro is good but not great. It will usually last me an entire day but only just. I have the brightness quite bright, I have the display resolution on the full QHD+ and the refresh rate on the extremely pleasing on the eye 120Hz so I certainly do push the battery a lot.
For example, today I streamed my music for an hour at the gym, watched YouTube for another hour, tethered my phone to my NUC for 3 hours to give the NUC connectivity, and then just used it for basic Internet stuff, emails etc — so a low use day. The battery needed charging at about 6pm with close to 3.5 hours of SOT — not ideal that’s for sure.
At launch OPPO promised an adaptive refresh rate for the Find X3 Pro which will adjust the refresh rate of the display from anywhere from 1Hz to 120Hz based on what is on the display and what refresh rate suits that activity. Unfortunately, although the update bringing this adaptive refresh rate has arrived on the Chinese versions it is yet to arrive here in Australia — OPPO have confirmed that the OTA is coming. I have no doubt it will arrive in the next few months and when it does it will be a game changer for the battery life on this phone — you will have the best of both worlds, a great battery life and an amazingly smooth display.
For those heavy users though who do often run out of battery on their devices — and yes I am one of those, depending on how many basketball games I stream on any particular day — OPPO has you covered, and this is where the battery solution is perfect. The wired charging solution they have included in the Find X3 Pro — SuperVOOC 2.0 — is the fastest wired solution on the Australian market — AND it is included in the box! Crazy I know right!?!
65W charging will charge the Find X3 Pro from 1% to 100% in just a tick over 30 minutes. 5 minutes of charging brings 28% of battery charge, 10 minutes 49% and just 15 minutes 69% — that should be enough for another 8 hours right? Don’t have your Find X3 Pro charger with you? Use a charger with PD support and you will get the full 18W charging speed — still damn fast.
Prefer wireless charging? OPPO include their new 30W AirVOOC Flash Charging, assuming you use their branded charger. Unfortunately, you cannot purchase it just yet but you will be able to very soon, via the OPPO Australian webstore. 30W is faster than some premium smartphones on the Australian market can charge using a wired charger.
We have so many wireless charging devices these days and you can also use the Find X3 Pro to charge them with its 10W reverse wireless charging. I used it to charge my Pixel Buds and it charged them quite quickly and easily.
ColorOS improves even more
I was one of the biggest critics of ColorOS several years ago but I was far from alone in disliking what OPPO was doing with their Android skin. Their hardware has always been some of the best around, but their software wasn’t up to par. Now though, thanks to years of listening to their customers’ complaints and feedback, their skin is as good as any other available here in Australia.
The Find X3 Pro arrives with ColorOS 11.2 on top of Android 11. ColorOS 11.2 is full of options helping to make the phone yours. The amount of options is mind boggling and it can be daunting to find them all but after setting up your phone by slowly going through each and every option in the settings app just use the search function. The speed of the OS has suffered in recent years with this many options but no more. This is the smoothest and fastest phone OPPO have ever produced.
OPPO’s face unlock also deserves a mention because it is the fastest on the Australian market. Samsung and Apple are treacle slow in comparison. It is not secure enough to use with your payment options — not many Android phones have that, but the face unlock is seamless. Pick up the phone barely even glance in its direction and its unlocked and ready to go before you even point your finger at it.
One thing OPPO have struggled with though in the past is Android Auto. They recently broke Android Auto with one of their system updates on the Find X2 Pro and they fixed it in an update not long after. Wired Android Auto works using a work around by OPPO — the display will darken while connected but not turn off (ie. go to the lock screen where the always on display stops the display and Android Auto from updating). Turn that display off yourself though and get to the always on display and Android Auto will stop functioning. Whether this is a Google or OPPO issue is unclear although Pixels do not have this issue — Android Auto has historically been buggy with any third party skins.
Wireless Android auto also finally works — which is great for OPPO but unfortunately suffers from the same issues as the wired Android Auto. Unfortunately, OPPO have not figured out an answer for that just yet and eventually the display will turn off and the wirelessly-projected Android Auto display will no longer update (if you have always on display activated). Hopefully OPPO/Google fix it soon — OPPO are aware of it but let’s face it wireless Android Auto support in head units is extremely limited at this time so it’s not a major issue.
Should you buy this phone?
As I said in the intro there aren’t many options here in Australia for those looking for an ultra-premium handset. The OPPO Find X3 is the best value ultra-premium handset on the market.
The display is up there with the best display on the market (if you don’t mind the curved display). The speed of the software is the fastest OPPO have ever created. It is smooth, speedy and easy to use with a boat-load of options for the user to make the phone theirs.
The camera may not be the best around but unless you get the magnifying glass out and investigate every single picture pixel by pixel you will not notice a difference between the images produced by the Find X3 Pro and any of the other ultra-premium smartphones on the market.
The battery charging solutions included are by far the best out of the available ultra-premium smartphones on the Australian market. 65W wired and 30W wireless charging is ideal. The battery should last you a day just) but if not you have the best charging solutions available at your disposal.
So who should buy this? There are not many cons to this phone at all and they are far outweighed by the pros so consider this phone if you are in the market for an ultra-premium device. While it is not cheap the only negative I could find was the wireless Android Auto and the smaller than ideal battery life which is offset by the charging solutions.
The OPPO Find X3 Pro is available today for $1,699 from OPPO and from your usual retailers including Optus and Telstra, and JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman.