When I mention to people that I’m reviewing a phone made by Oppo, I can usually preempt the first question I’ll be asked; who are Oppo? Well I’ll tell you something for free; Oppo is the fourth largest smartphone maker in the world, and over the past year and a half they have been coming on in leaps and bounds.
The R15 Pro is an impressive premium handset and a more than reasonable price. The Oppo AX5 is one of the best phones you’ll get your hands on for less than $500. Oppo has mastered the art of creating premium phones at less than premium prices, so the Find X is a bit of a shift. This is a genuine premium flagship with a price tag of $1,499, putting it in direct competition with the Galaxy S9 and iPhone XR.
Is it worth the money? Hell yeah it is.
The first thing that jumps out of the box is the absolutely stunning design of the Find X. It is 6.4 inches of pure, uninhibited, all-screen sexiness. It looks premium, and boy does it feel premium. If the Galaxy S9 and the iPhone XS could ever share the same room without suing each other and got frisky, the Find X would be their love child. Where the design really kicks into overdrive is the fact there are no visible cameras on the phone, yet the Find X can still snap pics. No, this isn’t a case of the dark arts at work (I think). The Oppo engineers and designers have created a concealed camera, hidden on the top bezel of the phone that pops up when you use facial recognition, or when you go into the camera app. It is a fantastic piece of design that maximises screen real estate and also means that there is no need for the “notch” in the display (something a certain Editor here despises, but I like to rub in).
I’m a massive fan of the concealed camera, but I do have some gripes with it. The mechanical whirring I hear when the camera pops up makes me wonder how long the mechanism will last before it eventually stops working. Oppo say it’s good for at least 300,000 pop-ups, so that’s decent, but if that mechanism did fail your selfie days are over. The other downsides to the concealed cam come from concessions that have had to be made in technology and they aren’t small ones. There is no Micro SD slot to expand memory, there is no NFC so things like Android Pay are out and the phone is not water or dust proof. Whilst these might not sound like much of a big deal they are standard features on almost all premium handsets today so it would have been great for Oppo to find a way to cram these features in because I can see people buying this phone expecting those features to there based on price alone and then finding themselves disappointed.
If you can look past those missing features and focus on the positives of the kick ass design and screen that screams LOOK AT ME, then you’re in for a real treat because every other bit of technology crammed into the Find X creates a truly premium handset that genuinely rivals anything Samsung, Apple and Huawei have to offer.
If you want to have a geekgasm then here are some specs for ya. Inside the Find X is a Snapdragon 845 Processor supported by an Adreno 630 GPU, 8GB RAM and a massive 256GB of storage. That much storage certainly means you probably won’t miss not having a Micro SD for extra storage, if you need more than 256GB then maybe get yourself some cloud storage options. The screen we’ve already mentioned is 6.4 inches and that is backed up by a AMOLED resolution of 2340 x 1080p and 401ppi and features Panoramic Arc. For those wondering Panoramic Arc has this nifty feature where the edges of the screen lights up when you have a notification.
The battery is 3,400mAh that under heavy use should still see you through the day and get you home safely. If you do need some extra juice then this is where Oppo have manages to harness the power of the dark side with their SuperVOOC charger. This Jedi trick is going to see your phone go from 0-100 in a mere 35 minutes. Even if you’re time poor and need a quick ten minute boost you’re going to get a huge increase in battery life in a crazy-short amount of time. Simply put there is no faster charger for a phone on the market today and of course it only works with the Find X.
Oppo prides itself on being the masters of the selfie cam and you insta and snapchatters out there are going to be in selfie overload here. The front facing camera is 25MP with f/2.0 aperture, Portrait Mode that uses AI and HDR. It also wouldn’t be an Oppo phone without 3D AI Beauty Technology. All you need to know about this beauty mode is that even Brodie Retallick would look like a model taking a selfie on this thing (sorry Brodie).
Oppo does use their proprietary ColourOS 5.1 over the top of Android 8.1 and that will be polarising to some and completely comfortable for others. If you’re coming from an iPhone then you are going to be right at home here and find a few things, like the camera app, that are as close to an iOS design as you can get. This is very much the Android version of iOS. The biggest differences being that you can’t swipe to get rid of notifications, you have to swipe then click on an x button which is bloody counter intuitive. Please Oppo if you’re the first smartphone maker to actually take on board what I have to say, fix this with an update please.
For those of us that prefer to steer away from selfies the rear shutter is no slouch either. You’ve got dual cameras, a 16MP and a 20MP both f/2.0 aperture that feature beauty mode, AI, AR stickers and Portrait modes. Video isn’t 4K unfortunately but it supports 1080p @ 240 fps for some killer super slo-mo shots. The camera shines in pretty much all conditions, the AI onboard does a great job at recognising what it’s looking at and optimising the shutter to get the best image and colour recreation that it can. It is right up there with the leading cameras on smartphones without jumping out and taking a firm lead.
When it comes to general performance I can’t fault the Find X. I thought the Note 9 was a fast phone, then I met the Find X and I discovered that this thing is probably like what Usain Bolt would have been like if he was on steroids. It is crazy fast. The only time you feel any sense of time, and we’re talking a split second, is when you use facial unlock on the phone because the camera needs to pop up to recognise you. Even then, I found that if the light was good, I was recognised and let into the phone while the camera was still rising so the extra time didn’t really feel that long. Actually using the phone, multi-tasking, gaming, opening app, it’s all seamless and ridiculously fast. The only way the Find X could be any faster is if it could sense what app I was going to open and open it before I clicked on the app. Gaming wise performance is strong but a word of warning, gaming is about the biggest battery drain you’re going to find, aside from extended use of GPS. That combination of pulling processing power and pushing the GPU is a killer for battery life, it’s the same on 95% of the phones I’ve reviewed and it’s the same on the Find X.
When it comes to consuming content, be it watching Netflix or YouTube on the fly, stalking celebs on instagram, snap chatting or having to endure your friends showing you what food they have cooked on social media, the all-screen display shines. Having so much screen real estate that takes up all the screen without a distracting notch blacking out one tiny portion is an absolute marvel. If consuming content on your phone is your life, then you need to experience the Find X because there is no better phone on the market that will draw you into your content like the Find X.
The Find X is a bold new direction for Oppo. It’s the first phone from the brand (special Lambo or Football branded phones aside) that has a price tag that is up there with the heavy hitting smartphone manufacturers. It’s one thing to make a killer phone at a fraction of the price of the big boys but when you price your phone in the same bracket as them you need to deliver and Oppo has done that in spades. The concealed camera, all-screen design is a slap in the face to the notch design philosophy, proving that you can create a genuine all-screen display and still pack in amazing cameras. That design decision is not without compromise though because some tech that you expect in the +$1,200 price range is missing but if you’re willing to compromise then the Find X is going to knock the socks off you.
Now allow me to go cry in a corner for a while before I have to send this phone back to PR. Do you think they’ll notice if I just don’t send it back???