In the hoopla surrounding the new iPhones and the upcoming Google Pixel phones, it’s sometimes easy to forget that there are other phone companies that are actually doing really impressive software, and more importantly hardware, innovations in their devices. The most note-worthy among those is the Oppo Find X – Oppo’s flagship phone that was released last month. You may have seen the phone in stores and read some reviews, but allow us to give you the most important lowdown you’ll need in deciding whether you want a phone that is, quite possibly, one of the most beautiful Android phones (or smartphones) ever made.
Build and design: For starters, the Find X is a notch-less phone. The fact that Oppo refused to get sucked into “the notch is normal” trend kickstarted by Apple with the iPhone X last year, is great. Instead, Oppo decided to do something about it – in an industry first, they designed the motorised camera system in such a way that it is completely hidden when the phone is off or the camera app is closed.
At the media pre-launch event here in Sydney last month, I had the opportunity to check out a see-through model of the Find X – I actually saw how the camera mechanism works, and I must say, I’m so happy that Oppo is pushing itself to do this kind of well-executed innovation!
The Find X is a gorgeous-looking slim phone (9.6 mm thickness, and it weighs 186g with the battery…which really isn’t much, unless you’re petite like me, with small hands!) with a hidden camera (which can open in just 0.5 seconds!) and fast flash charging technology. When you turn the Find X on and open the camera app, the entire top section of the phone rises up to reveal the hidden camera. When you close the camera app, the entire pop-up section elegantly slides back into the phone’s sleek, notch-less and nearly bezel-less body.
The phone is available in two stunning “gradient design” colours – Glacier Blue, and my review unit which was the appropriately named Bordeaux Red – making it look like a seamless shiny gemstone when it’s just on a desk or any other surface.
The camera portion also has the smartphone’s only biometric authentication system; it uses structured light to scan your face in 3D. The cameras are always covered unless they are in use, so you can be a bit more relaxed about privacy concerns. Also, the hidden mechanism means that your camera lens will always be protected from scratches.
According to Oppo, the sliding structure has fall protection and the company tested it so that it works fine 3,00,000 times. I’ve been using the phone for the past 3 weeks, and it’s not been problematic yet. But it’s been cold weather here, and I haven’t gone anywhere near a beach in 3 months – I’m a tad bit vary of how this mechanism will react to dust or fine sand grains getting into it. There’s also a faint whirring sound that the pop-up camera mechanism makes, each time it opens and closes. Normally, that’s fine, but when you’re taking multiple pictures and if, like me, you like to look at each picture you take, the whirring sound can get a bit annoying because the camera keeps popping down every time I swipe to look at the picture I just took, in the gallery; it then pops right back up when I go to the photo-clicking mode.
Product specs and features: The Find X introduces a unique and beautiful Panoramic Arc Screen, an all-screen display that is truly beautiful. It has a 6.4-inch AMOLED display with 2,340 x 1,080 pixel resolution. Its screen to body ratio of 93.8%, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB of internal storage, are all top notch.
The camera is a single 25-megapixel front-facing camera with 16-megapixel + 20-megapixel dual rear cameras (with a dual LED flash). All three cameras feature an f/2.0 aperture.
The 3645/3730 mAh battery easily lasts a day, so the phone’s good on the go as well.
Sadly, there is no headphone jack on the Find X, and you can blame Apple for that.
Display and software: The Find X’s “Panoramic Arc Screen” is somewhat similar to Samsung’s Infinity Display in the S8 and S9, at least theoretically – I’m not sure Oppo has managed to use it as effectively as Samsung does (with the slide out widgets etc.), but Oppo puts it to full use by having an aesthetically pleasing lighting display whenever you get a notification. I’m fine with that; sometimes I’ll take pretty over functionality! And the display really is super pretty – I loved binge-watching Netflix shows and Youtube videos on the Find X.
The Find X uses Oppo’s ColorOS 5.1, which is based on Android 8.1, and honestly, other than stock Android, it’s possibly the best OS you’re going to find. It looks good and works fast, the icons look pretty neat, and it’s intuitive enough that you’re not struggling to figure out your own phone.
Camera: All of the above details are fine, but let’s now move on to the most important part of the phone – its camera. Oppo markets itself as a leading cameraphone brand, and with the innovative technology that the Find X boasts, its camera makes for an interesting study.
The Find X’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) performance enhancements are meant to further improve Oppo’s selfie game. The Find X introduced 3D Smart Selfie Capture – which means that based on the 3D model of your face, AI technology intelligently analyzes facial characteristics such as the shape of your face and your features, providing suggestions to make your face look more natural and realistic.
To use the camera for other normal purposes though, is a different story. And here’s where it gets interesting – the Find X camera opens up real quick, the autofocus works nicely, and the colours (at least in daytime images) are bright. There’s also the really useful zoom lens feature, which is thoroughly handy (you’ll know when you’re in one of the back rows at a concert or a show!).
However, when comparing the photos from the Find X to photos I took on my partner’s Samsung S9, I could notice that the sharpness isn’t anywhere near as pronounced in the Find X images (see the images below: left – Find X image, right – Samsung S9 image. You’ll notice the sharpness is much better on the S9 with the Lego seats or the Mini Cooper brand logo).
There’s a certain dream-like hazyness to the photos on the Find X, and while that may be nice for lush landscapes or bright cityscapes, it didn’t work well for a lot of other types of photography.
The camera also doesn’t stack up all that well with low-light photography – the overall result is decent, but only until you zoom in and realize that the images aren’t as good as some of the other Android phones with stellar cameras, e.g. the S9, S9+ or even the Huawei P20 Pro.
Overall verdict: If you aren’t sitting on the fence about investing over a thousand dollars on it or if you aren’t already committed to buying a different phone (the S9, S9+ or the P20 Pro), then don’t overthink it – go ahead and buy the Find X. It delivers quite well on everything it promises, and the innovation is quite cool. If, on the other hand, you’re cautious and don’t mind holding out a big longer, then wait for another month and see what the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL are going to be like.
Oppo Find X price: $1,099. The device is available for purchase exclusively through JB Hi-Fi.