Oppo Find X3 Pro Review: Top-tier but unavailable

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The Oppo Find X series has always been the manufacturer’s high-end flagship product. Unlike last year’s Find X2 Pro, the Find X3 Pro is not available officially in the UAE. Despite of this, we got a chance to check out the device and see what this region is missing out on.

Design and build

Known for its streamlined smartphone builds, Oppo’s Find X3 Pro continues the tradition. It sports a 193g weight and 8.3mm thickness, which is fairly slender and lightweight compared to its flagship competition. It is also manageable with one hand and the smartphone’s dimensions do not feel overwhelming in any way.

We love the matte finish on the back of the Find X3 Pro

To keep up with this profile, Oppo has also made the back of the smartphone unique. Not only is our version a matte finish which attracts fewer fingerprints but it also has a unique curve near the camera module. Oppo calls this the ‘Gradient Arc Camera’ which does a good job with minimising any wobble on a flat surface. But even more so, the phone delivers an impressive side profile. We found ourselves just admiring the spacecraft like finish on the flagship which is rare for smartphones these days.

Of course, the design does come with a sacrifice. Manipulating glass in this manner means Oppo could not use the latest Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protection on the back. Instead, it opted for Gorilla Glass 5, an older version even compared to the Find X2 Pro’s Gorilla Glass 6 but it does not hamper the build of the phone in any way.

Using the phone without a case during our review period, we faced no issues with micro-scratches. But if you are worried about this, Oppo does include a nice case with the smartphone’s packaging. Moreover, there is full IP68 water and dust resistance to fall back on when required.

The Find X3 Pro has a unique camera bump called the Gradient Arc Camera

Other elements of the smartphone are fairly standard, which sit around the aluminium frame. You find the power and volume buttons on the right and left edge respectively. These are tactile to press and being in opposite edges, screenshots become easier to take. The top edge houses the secondary microphone whereas the bottom edge has one part of the dual-speaker setup, the Type-C USB port for charging, the primary microphone and the dual nano-SIM tray. You can house two nano-SIM cards here with 5G support however there is no support for microSD storage expansion. Also, if you do plan to import the phone by any means, make sure you are aware that 5G bands may not consistently work with the Find X3 Pro.

Display and multimedia

The Oppo Find X3 Pro sports a 6.7-inch LTPO AMOLED panel with a 5-120Hz variable refresh rate. The QHD+ panel is also protected by Gorilla Glass 5 and has a peak brightness of 1,300nits. This is one area where Oppo’s prowess shows. Using the panel on a daily basis is a treat barring the exaggerated curves on the sides. When gripping the phone naturally, this does lead to a few accidental touches. Usually, I never encounter these on any smartphone with a curved display so it was odd to see here.

Multimedia performance on the smartphone is excellent

But otherwise, multimedia content is immersive and has a richness to it. And there is a great deal of emphasis put into the HDR videos on the smartphone. With Oppo’s O1 Ultra Vision engine, you can see regular clips being transformed and scaled to HDR content. Once you get used to this experience, going back is a bit difficult. Whether it is contrast levels, the one billion different colours or the fluidity of the experience, the Find X3 Pro’s display does it right.

Coupled with the display, you find Dolby Atmos tuned stereo speakers. While these are good, they are overshadowed by flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. But using the phone alone, you will barely notice a difference. There is no audible distortion at higher volumes and music for the most part is clear. Obviously, these will not replace your typical earphone experience. You do not find a 3.5mm headphone jack on the smartphone either but it pairs quite easily with any TWS or Bluetooth style headphones. For a wired experience, you do get some Type-C USB earphones out of the box.

When gripped in a certain way, we did face a slight issue with accidental touches given the curved display

Another aspect of the display is the smartphone’s in-screen fingerprint scanner. It sits comfortably for use either with your thumb or index finger depending on smartphone placement. We found it to be satisfying to use and fairly quick. Despite it being an optical scanner, it worked well even in damp usage conditions which is fantastic.

Performance and gaming

Quite easily, the Oppo Find X3 Pro is one of the most powerful flagship smartphones available on paper. It sports the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 octa-core CPU which is a 5nm chipset. This is paired with the Adreno 660 GPU for graphics performance. While we expected the smartphone to breeze past benchmarks, it was not the case.

Using AnTuTu, we found the Find X3 Pro to score 608,782 whereas on Geekbench 5, it posted a single-core score of 928 and a multi-core score of 3,236. This is not typical of the processor on-board and we feel a big part of this has to do with the smartphone’s thermal management.

Accompanying the processing power, you find 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage with 12GB of RAM. For general performance, the Find X3 Pro will not budge. It can handle multitasking well and gives you a satisfying experience coupled with the 120Hz refresh rate panel.

However, we did see the phone struggle when it comes to gaming. Initially, there were no dropped frames but the smartphone heated up towards the top half after 30 minutes of playing PUBG at Smooth and Extreme settings. That was when we saw slightly choppy performance which is something we should not have seen for a flagship. We hope this is an optimisation issue and Oppo looks to fix this with software updates.

User experience and software

Speaking of software, the Find X3 Pro comes running Android 11 draped in ColorOS 11.2. We discussed ColorOS in detail in our recent Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G review and the basis is similar. Having gotten used to the operating system, we seem to have no complaints. Oppo’s useful integrations are present and the pre-installed bloatware is at least not intrusive.

Throughout our usage, we did not see any advertisements pushed at us via the notification shade. Even with this update though, ColorOS’ system wide dark mode is still not perfect. The darkening of the UI sometimes renders text as invisible which is detrimental to the usage experience. And that was why we never switched it on.

The Find X3 Pro has a typical ColorOS 11.2 experience with keeps up well with its internals

Another aspect of the user experience we found strange was when interacting with notifications. Usually, I swipe my fingers outward to expand on a notification. However, this feature was missing on ColorOS 11.2. This is not something that was an issue on the earlier version so we are sure that this is something to do with software updates.

Throughout our review period, we did not receive any software updates or patches but we hope Oppo is consistent with these over time. Unfortunately, there is no way to track this given the smartphone is unavailable in this region but going by Oppo’s previous track record, we are doubtful.

Primary camera photos

The Oppo Find X3 Pro packs a quad-camera on its rear. There is a Sony IMX766 50MP f/1.8 wide sensor with optical image stabilisation (OIS) alongside a 13MP f/2.4 telephoto lens, another Sony IMX766 50MP f/2.2 ultra-wide lens and a 3MP f/3.0 microscope camera.

With both the wide and ultra-wide lenses being identical, the colour sways especially with respect to vibrant and bright colours is less pronounced on the Find X3 Pro. But for browns and darker reds, the sensors do not maintain an identical colour palette.

With a quad-camera setup, you get good hardware that we feel is let down by aggressive software tuning

As for the main camera sensor, there is reminiscence of Oppo’s exaggerated colours. The camera seems make blues and greens overly vibrant which radiates a faux look. On social media, the same effect can make an image stand out. However, for users who value realistic colours, this is unfortunately something that you miss out on. The camera also opts for strong contrast which makes images lose detail especially in darker areas.

With respect to the smartphone’s telephoto lens, it supports up to 2x optical zoom. This is a strange departure considering Oppo had been pushing optical and hybrid zoom ranges up to 10x in the last couple of years. But this time, there is only 5x hybrid and up to 20x digital zoom. Nonetheless, we think for up to 2-3x zoom, the Find X3 Pro will have you covered. However, for any range more than that, you will start to lose detail.

A large part of any flagship smartphone is also night-time photography. As the sun sets, the Find X3 Pro is able to capture some decent photos. It struggles with detail when it comes to usage without night-mode which is fixed by using it. However, we feel the effect is not as pronounced as it could be.

The results using night-mode are less impressive and less natural looking especially in very low-light conditions compared to other flagship smartphones. Even in pitch black situations, the Find X3 Pro camera often struggles to focus on a subject which is not usually the case.

Using the microscope camera is surreal

But one surprising redeeming factor is the microscope lens on the Find X3 Pro. When using this lens, a ring of light turns on around it. And this enables you to go extremely close to objects. Unlike a typical macro camera, this works in any lighting environment and truly has a wow factor. Some of the images we were able to take were incredible with the only downside being the 3MP resolution. We think this is an area that Oppo can look to develop for future releases as well.

Primary camera videos

On the video front, the Oppo Find X3 Pro supports up to 4K 60fps video. Like Huawei phones of late, Oppo defaults to video recording using the ultra-wide lens to start off. While this gives you more coverage of the scene, quality and sharpness is noticeably poorer compared to the wide lens. Even with OIS support on the wide lens, the Find X3 Pro’s video samples have a fair bit of motion blur even when taking regular walking samples. We love that the Find X3 Pro supports ultra-steady video which eliminates a lot of our stability complaints however it is capped at 1080p resolution.

To address the quality and sharpness issues, you may want to film at 4K resolution. With this enabled, there is a clear boost in video performance across all of the lenses. But at 4K 60fps, do keep in mind that the smartphone does exhibit a bit of a jitter effect. We think this is an inherent property of its stabilisation that is just part of the experience. With low light video, the Find X3 Pro introduces a fair amount of noise. This is the case even with its AI enhancing features and especially at 60fps, so you may want to be wary of that.

Front camera photos and videos

An underwhelming part of the Find X3 Pro’s camera experience is the front sensor. It is a 32MP f/2.4 sensor which is poor and lacks dynamic range. We feel Oppo’s aggressive software tuning makes selfies less pleasing to the eye. Moreover, images just come out looking flat which is the last thing you would want from a selfie camera. Video recording here is also capped at just 1080p 30fps which is disappointing. We would have liked to see at least 4K 30fps support here as that has now become the standard on flagships.

Battery life

With a 4,500mAh battery on the flagship, battery backup is good. You can expect average screen-on times between 6-7 hours on extremely demanding days. With light usage, this can be pushed up to 9 hours. We think the large battery in combination with Oppo’s optimisation allows it to deliver an experience like this. Of course, you find 65W SuperVOOC 2.0 wired charging, 30W AirVOOC wireless charging and reverse wireless charging here.

For us, the smartphone got to 100 per-cent in just shy of 35 minutes which is outstanding. While we did not have a means to test out AirVOOC charging, Oppo claims it delivers a 100 per-cent charge in 80 minutes. This is even faster than wired charging speeds on some high-end flagships.

To charge other accessories, you are looking at 10W reverse wireless charging. On top of all of these charging improvements, it is nice to see Oppo include the charging brick and cable in the Find X3 Pro box.

Conclusion

The Oppo Find X3 Pro is not a perfect smartphone by any means. But it does keep flagships from Samsung and Apple on their toes. Oppo has been consistent in delivering a good flagship smartphone experience over the years. And combined with innovation like that microscope camera, the Find X3 Pro design and top of the line specifications, it is a smartphone to think twice about. But that is a global perspective. Unfortunately, the Find X3 Pro is not available in the UAE. But if it was, and was priced at Dh3,999, we think it would be a smartphone to recommend.

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