The last 12 months have been very good for phones; We had the excellent Samsung Galaxy S21, the class-leading iPhone 13 Pro Max, the smart Google Pixel 6 Pro and the OnePlus 9 Pro as top-notch flagship phones and worthy participants in our list of the best phones. But I feel like a phone has been overlooked, despite its rave reviews.
In my review of the Oppo Find X3 Pro from early 2021, I explained how it is one of the best Android phones you can buy right now and a worthy rival to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. I wasn’t the only one, as other tech sites like our brother TechRadar praised the Find X3 Pro as well.
But as the year wore on, I didn’t see the Find X3 Pro featured in many better phones, belittling our top UK list phones, or received a lot of talk about it. In comparison, the aforementioned flagship phones generated a lot of interest after launch. This is somewhat understandable given that the Find X3 Pro did not get a US version. And it shares a lot of components with the OnePlus 9 Pro (phone makers share a parent company), which is cheaper at £ 829 compared to the Find X3 Pro’s £ 1,099.
Other than your money, I still feel like the Oppo Find X3 Pro has been overlooked this year, which is sad because it’s such a great phone.
All the best specs
For starters, the Oppo Find X3 Pro has an enviable spec sheet. A Snapdragon 888 chip is paired with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage space. Combined with a 6.7-inch QHD + AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate that can dynamically adapt to the way the phone is used thanks to an LTPO panel, and the Find X3 Pro is blazingly fast – sometimes almost too fast, with a few zipped swipes through apps in the blink of an eye.
The build quality is fantastic too, with the screen curving smoothly into a glass chassis that integrates the camera module, meaning the camera bump is kept to a minimum. Sure, the shiny silver gray model I got fingerprints sucked in, but I think it’s good looking and very comfortable.
Speaking of cameras, they are fantastic, delivering images on par with the best camera phones. They can’t quite beat the Google Pixel 6 or the iPhone 13 Pro, but I think they’re worthy contenders in overall phone photography for the Galaxy S21 Ultra. And I would choose the camera performance of the Find X3 Pro over the OnePlus 9 Pro, as the color reproduction of the latter is not to my liking.
The Find X3 Pro is by no means perfect – battery life could be better, there’s a boring section in the keyboard where a swipe of the finger can put custom stickers of Color OS on with embarrassing consequences, and the fingerprint scanner is too low on the phone screen.
Otherwise, the Find X3 Pro is awesome and I’ve been using it for a lot longer than I normally would as someone who tests a lot of phones.
A technological showcase
But the real kicker is how the Oppo Find X3 Pro pushes a lot more innovation than it looks. The aforementioned built-in camera module isn’t something I’ve seen on other phones, and apparently it took a lot of research to get it right. Some might not like the look or claim that the layout of the camera is too similar to that of the iPhone. But I think it’s great, which makes the phone more comfortable to hold, since my fingers don’t get caught on the edges of a module.
And then there is the microscope camera. It facilitates actual microscopic photography, allowing you to see the fibers of a shirt or the layers of wood on the surface of a table. Yes, it’s a gimmick and difficult to use properly, but it’s something that’s actually different from a dull macro lens or an enhanced telephoto lens. With a certain evolution, this type of camera could give very impressive pictures that one can only dream of obtaining on a digital SLR.
Then there’s the use of the same Sony sensor on the ultra-wide-angle lens and the main lens, which the OnePlus 9 Pro also does. As a result, there is no real color change when shooting ultra-wide photos compared to those on the main camera. This makes the ultra-wide camera much more usable than those in other phones; I never liked the change in color and clarity you get when you switch to an ultra-wide camera in other phones, often preferring to pull back to adjust things in the main camera frame.
The cameras can also capture native 10-bit color photos, making the photos richer in color that can then be viewed on the 10-bit screen. I don’t notice a huge difference between standard and 10-bit photos, and the Oppo’s screen is quite similar in quality to that of the OnePlus 9 Pro; both are excellent.
But it still shows that Oppo is pushing technological innovation here by offering a display that can do more than competing phones. It also doesn’t hurt that the screen has a 240Hz touch-sensitive sample rate to make it super responsive.
And there are custom smart features that adjust the sharpness of videos and blend standard dynamic range content into high dynamic range. There are also more options for tweaking the always-on display, which in my opinion gives it a customization advantage over the OnePlus 9 Pro. None of these features are essential, but they show how generous Oppo is with technology options and explores innovation and different design approaches.
This isn’t a huge surprise to me as I’ve seen hints of it in the phone’s predecessor, the Oppo Find X2 Pro, with its cute vegan leather back, bourgeois design, stunning display, and excellent telephoto lens. 5x which unfortunately was dropped in the Find X3 Pro. But it shows that instead of building on previous successes, Oppo is ready to experiment with the flagship features of its phone and deliver a truly exciting rather than iterative smartphone; I’m really looking forward to what the Oppo Find X 4 might bring to the table.
As such, the Oppo Find X3 Pro is both a great phone and a sleek tech showcase that really shouldn’t go overlooked.
Yes, it’s expensive, but if you find a good deal, it’s still worth considering. And Oppo as a whole remains one of the smartphone brands to watch in 2022, especially when it has come up with a foldable phone in the form of the Oppo Find N.