OPPO has come a long way in the past 5 years. In the early days of their forays into the Australian market their products were disappointing – but in a good way (if that’s possible). They always had some of the best looking and well-built smartphones around but their software was, well, disappointing.
Since then though they have done what so many companies don’t do – they listened to their detractors and their customers – and the results speak for themselves. They are now one of the most popular smartphone brands in the world thanks to their ability to adapt to what people want.
This year they have released the Find X5 Pro, the fourth generation of the Find X series of premium handsets, with a view to increasing their popularity even more. After the much-deserved success of last year’s Find X3 Pro the Find X5 Pro has a lot to live up to and with that in mind I put the Find X5 Pro to the test. Read on to hear my thoughts on OPPO’s 2022 flagship smartphone.
|Macro lens no more?
|Camera top notch
|Device controls still not working
|80W wired and 50W wireless charging
Let’s begin with the design of the Find X5 Pro first – after all that’s the first thing you see when you get the phone out of the box. Depending on which colour you purchase your response will vary – the black/mirror version is just like so many other black phones out there – a black slab. Having been sent the white version I was stunned once again by the sheer attractiveness of the phone thanks to the entire back, including the camera surroundings being white.
The curved display takes up most of the front of the device with the curve of it effectively replicated on the rear surface to provide a consistent and premium feel in the hand. Unlike other manufacturers who prefer to make a separate camera island OPPO has, this year and last, included the rear camera setup as a moulded part of the rear panel – ie. It is all constructed from one piece of ceramic material. This ceramic material is more than two times stronger than glass but not something I’m willing to put to the test deliberately.
The continuous nature of the rear allows for a flowing and smooth effect that looks very stylish. Once again OPPO has included the regulatory markings on the rear of the device – something Samsung and Apple don’t do so I’m not sure why OPPO has to keep doing it. It disrupts an otherwise great view and experience but there must be some reason they do it as I’ve asked them time and time again why they do this but others don’t.
The phone has all of the trappings expected in a premium flagship these days including Gorilla Glass Victus protection for the display, an IP68 waterproof rating and more.
Once again OPPO has included the best available curved AMOLED display and the results are visible as soon as you turn the device on. The 6.7-inch 2K (1440 x 3216) display supports refresh rates from 1Hz to 120Hz (LTPO2) based on what is on the display at the time.
The AMOLED is a stunning experience with an ability to display over 1 billion colours and the blackest blacks – after using an AMOLED display it’s tough to see how an LCD could ever be considered premium (even Apple switched to AMOLED a few years ago).
Same for the refresh rate. Any manufacturer still calling their 60Hz refresh rate premium is kidding themselves. The difference in everyday use between 60Hz and 120Hz is very noticeable with the experience with it night and day. OPPO also has figured out a way to allow you to run this variable refresh rate and still have an all-day battery life unlike some manufacturers – more on battery life later.
The display offers a brightness of up to 1300 nits which is super bright, even when using the phone on the beach in bright sunlight I had no issues at all seeing what was on the display and using it.
I do have one issue with the display and it’s not new. It’s curved. The curved display does “look” more premium than a flat display but to me the experience of using it is limited. The curved area is basically useless and can often lead to mis-touches. Samsung has changed their display to a much less pronounced curve on their Galaxy flagships and I was hoping OPPO would too – maybe next year.
In saying all this it’s not a massive issue and you do get used to it – when reviewing phones we look for every little detail that may irk us. This is a small one and would not stop me using the phone as my daily driver – a curved display has a learning experience and once used to, it won’t affect you negatively much.
Smartphone cameras have come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Each year not only does the hardware improve but also the software, or the computational photography as it is called. This year OPPO has included their own camera specific chipset, the Marisilicon X, to perform these computational photography calculations not just on-device but faster. MariSilicon X is OPPO’s neural processing unit (NPU) and includes its own image signal processor (ISP) and is used to perform real time image enhancements such as AI noise reduction.
OPPO state that: “When running OPPO’s AI Noise Reduction Algorithm, MariSilicon X can achieve up to 20x faster performance compared with OPPO Find X3 Pro. MariSilicon X can capture 4K AI Night Video by applying complex enhancements to each frame in real-time. MariSilicon X chip provides super-efficient AI computing power up to 18 Tera Operations per Second and delivers best-in-class power efficiency of 11.6 TOPS/W“. Although OPPO mention 4K night video and HDR video recording they don’t mention anything else. It is possible they are just scratching the surface of what they can use it for at this stage, early in its development, but in the meantime it can’t hurt the camera functionality.
So how do we know just how much difference MariSilicon X makes? We don’t. We have to take OPPOs word for it but surely it must be an advantage right?
The hardware this year is a slight change to last year’s Find X3 Pro. Although the megapixels are the same, the underlying specs of each camera are ever so slightly different. This year OPPO has included a 50MP wide-angle camera, a 50MP ultra wide-angle camera and a 13MP telephoto camera in the rear camera setup. Last year the main sensors had the same megapixels but this year the cameras have been upgraded with a slightly shorter focal length. These small upgrades are of course a positive but are they enough of an upgrade to justify upgrading your OPPO to it? Probably not but that is more a function of how good last year’s camera was.
The results from the camera this year are once again great, especially the new Hasselblad colour enhancements on photos taken in pro mode (and only in pro mode which is disappointing). These enhancements make enough of a difference that I started using pro mode all the time. Do not be scared by pro mode as it’s still good enough at detecting your surroundings and setting the correct photographic settings so don’t have to be a “pro” to use it.
A big omission this year is the macro camera. Last year the Find X3 pro had a quad camera, and the macro camera was amazing. Tbh not many use a macro camera much but I do – for device review images. The Find X5 pro has a macro mode but not a dedicated camera and although macro mode is good it is still a bit of a way off the detail and resolution you get with the dedicated macro camera on last year’s Find X3 pro.
There are no real major software gimmicks like we are on the Google Pixel cameras but who uses those all that much anyway? One software tweak that is missing and has always been absent on OPPO smartphones is the double tap of the power button to launch the camera app. OPPO say that you can use the camera shortcut on the lock screen but if you are using the phone you’re not anywhere near the lockscreen or even if the phone is locked and you have face id set up the phone unlocks before you can open the camera — you can set a display off gesture but that doesn’t help you if the phone is on already. The best way I’ve found to quickly launch the camera is having the app shortcut in the sidebar that I place next to the power button.
Check out the samples below to make your own opinion of the camera quality:
The selfie camera is a premium camera too at 32MP and f/2.4 so you won’t be disappointed in your selfies either, day or night.
Hardware by the numbers
The OPPO Find X5 Pro is packed full of all the hardware and numbers you could wish for in an ultra-premium smartphone. It is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset partnered with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of memory — more than a vast majority of users will ever need. The Find X5 Pro has all the connectivity you need with Wi-Fi connectivity up to 6e and Bluetooth 5.2 support along with a USB-C 3.1 charging port. In the end the specs mean nothing if the user experience is flawed. OPPO pay a lot of attention to use experience these days and you can tell by how smooth the experience is — software or hardware caused? How about both combined?
Charging is the best on the Aussie market with excellent battery life
Every year I bang on about how good the OPPO charging solution is and this year I’m going to do it again. When the current flagship smartphone from Google can’t charge faster than 24W (even though they sell a 30W charger separately) and Samsung have a maximum charging speed of 45W it’s amazing that OPPO support 80W standard charging speed on the Find X5 pro — with a charger that is included in the box. If you want faster charging speeds from Samsung and Google, you’ll have to fork out even more money to buy a charger as they don’t include them in the box (for “environmental” reasons).
Not only that but the Find X5 pro also supports 50W wireless charging when using their wireless charger – now this is purchased separately unless you manage to get the pre-order bonus. This is far and above what is offered on the Google, Samsung and Apple smartphones – hell, it’s even faster than their wired solution! The OPPO charging solutions also have built in battery protections to prevent premature wear and tear on the battery life and battery life-span.
Speaking of battery life, I always have my phones on the maximum possible screen resolution and refresh rate and at a decent brightness and with these on the OPPO Find X5 pro I am easily able to get a full 13-15 hours of battery life (lots of streaming and tethering) with just under 5 hours of screen on time thanks to the massive 5,000mAh battery. Definitely acceptable. If that isn’t enough for you, plug it in for 15 minutes and get another 12 hours as the battery life is able to charge to 70% from 5% in that time! 80W ftw.
The ColorOS software experience
Each and every year OPPO seem to be improving their software and this year is no different. No longer is ColorOS a manufacturer skin that allows a device down and detracts from the user experience. It is now a mature, smooth skin which offers a multitude of options for you to customise the operating system just how you like it.
Setting the phone up was smooth, painless, and a pleasant experience. This is a huge improvement over last year and was a better experience than setting up Google’s own Pixel 6.
Android Auto has been an issue for OPPO in the past but this year with Android 12 and the Find X5 Pro it is a seamless experience. Whether wired or wireless there is a constant connection without any disconnections or data transference issues.
One issue which I’d thought they’d fixed when I tested out the Find X3 lite last year is the device controls shortcuts on the lockscreen or in quick settings. You can still go to device controls where you would be able to set up the device controls you want but there is no way to see nor select the controls. It shows nothing – same as the Find X3 pro. Disappointing they still haven’t fixed that but hopefully they are working on it.
Do I recommend the OPPO Find x5 Pro?
The OPPO Find X5 Pro offers ultra-premium in every single area. The display is amazing with a high refresh rate and resolution without affecting battery life. The camera is up there with the best on the market and when you get to that level the differences from one to another smartphone camera is minimal at most.
The charging solutions offered by OPPO on the Find X5 Pro are currently the best on the Australian market with 80W wired and 50W wireless charging of what is a massive battery. You can thus run the phone to the best of its ability at a decent brightness, full resolution and refresh rate and still get a full day of battery life from it. If you run out, plug it in for 15 minutes only and get another 70% of battery.
The OPPO Find X5 Pro is an ultra-premium flagship and of course it comes with an ultra-premium price. If you jumped onto the pre-order early you would have received $686 worth of bonuses, including a wireless charger. Now though, you will have to fork out $1,799 and get just the phone. The Find X5 Pro is still cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra though and in my opinion a better phone (albeit without a stylus) — due to the software mostly. Add in better charging options, a better camera and you have a compelling package.
OPPO has once again improved their smartphone flagship offering in 2022 and if you are in the market for a phone with the best of everything, look no further than the OPPO Find X5 Pro. It should be at the top of your list when considering your purchase.