OPPO Find X Review – The Return Of A Flagship With Something Different

OPPO Find X Review

The Return Of A Flagship With Something Different

When we talk about flagship smartphones, we’d usually think of brands such as Apple and Samsung, as both these 2 brands usually dominate the market here in Malaysia. But what we have in today’s review is something a little different. OPPO, a brand usually associated with budget friendly phones with their F7, F7 Youth and A3s, definitely shocked us when they decide to bring back their Find flagship range, with the Find X, featuring a mechanical-actuated slider on the top of the device. So, with a price tag of RM3699, has OPPO’s ambitious efforts to lure us away from the usual Apple or Samsung devices worked? Let’s find out.

Specifications:
Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, Octa-core (4 X 2.8GHz, 4 X 1.7GHz)
8GB RAM, 256GB storage, no microSD card support
6.42-inch 19.5:9 OLED arc display, 93.8% Screen-to-body ratio
1080 X 2340 resolution, 401 ppi
16MP + 20MP rear camera, f/2.0 aperture, 4K video recording
25MP front-facing camera
3730mAh non-removable battery

Unboxing

The R15 Pro, which is one level below the Find X, already has a pretty unique packaging, and the packaging that comes with the Find X is equally as premium. In fact, both packaging does look pretty premium. The outer shell is of a dark blue colour with the “Find X” writings printed in reflective colours. Pulling the drawer from the right immediately reveals the the Find X in an orange tray. The orange box that the tray sits in presumably comes with the usual documentations, a case and a SIM tray ejector tool, since our early review unit doesn’t come with those. Removing the box reveals the rest of the accessories – a pair of earphones (which unsurprisingly, looked extremely familiar), a USB Type C cable and a USB wall adapter. Since the Find X doesn’t have a headphone out jack, there’s a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adapter included.

Design

Looks different, but familiar feel.

The Find X is all about attention, attention and attention, and once again, OPPO designers have gone quite wild with exquisite and premium theme for their flagship. For those who are familiar with the flagship Android smartphone market here in Malaysia, the Find X might look familiar to that of Samsung’s Galaxy S9+, which isn’t a bad thing. The Find X just screams premium. We thought that the R15 Pro is the best that OPPO could do, but the Find X just takes it to the next level.

The premium looks do complement with premium materials. You’d immediately feel the premium feeling of the Find X once you pick up the phone. The front and rear are fully covered by premium Gorilla Glass 5 with rounded corners on both left and right sides, with a metal reflective band in the middle which acts as a chassis for the device. Seriously, this is an OPPO device that you want to immediately put on a case and tempered glass protectors on both sides. It’s 186-grams weight is very close to the Galaxy S9+ too.

The front of the Find X pretty much showcases OPPO’s latest creation – a near 100% body-to-screen ratio display. It’s a 6.42-inch OLED display, with arc on both sides which adopts the rounded sides of the front glass. There are bezels on all 4 sides, which we think is fine since it’s small enough, but even with the arches on both sides, it doesn’t introduce unnecessary finger input while holding it. There is a small little earpiece on the top which is barely visible, and a lip at the bottom to. The proximity sensor is somewhere on the top near the earpiece.

In true OPPO fashion, the volume buttons are on the left, while the power button is to the right. Rather surprisingly, the ambient light sensor, which controls the auto-brightness and various other functions, lives on the top of the device, which is where the retractable unit is.

This leaves the rest of the port at the bottom, which includes a bottom-firing speaker, a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer, as well as the SIM slot at the bottom, which only contain enough slots for 2 nano-SIM cards.

There’s really nothing much going on the back, apart from the OPPO and Find X brandings. The rear glass is curved on both left and right sides, as well as the bottom.

via GIPHY

Now we get to the party trick of the Find X. The top of the Find X is actually a mechanically-actuated retractable unit. In order to achieve the near bezel-less display, the cameras had to go somewhere. So now, once it comes out, it reveals a 25-megapixel camera for the front, as well as a pair of 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel cameras for the rear along with an LED flash. The front also houses sensors for OPPO’s 3D face recognition technology, which is required for secure unlock and sophisticated 3D beautification system. The mechanism is rated up to 300,000 times of use, which is up to 5 years for an average user of around 200 actuations per day.

Well, as fun as it looks, it does start to get annoying pretty soon. No doubt it’s fast, and from the way it sounds, it’s going to be quite reliable. But, there’s still a bit of lag when unlocking, as it still needs time to go up and down every single time you unlock the device. And no, like the iPhone X, the Find X does not have a fingerprint reader, so you’d have no choice but to rely on the face scanner. It also tends to collect dust at the camera area, which you’ll have to clean every now and then.

The Find X is available in 2 colours, and our review unit is Glacier Blue. The other option is Bordeaux Red. Both colours are easily differentiable, and gives pretty much similar premium look to the Find X.

Specs and Performance

OPPO really isn’t messing around this time.

With a flagship price tag, we’d expected flagship specifications, and luckily, the Find X doesn’t disappoint. Powering the Find X is Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 845 processor, with half of it’s cores clocked at a whopping 2.8GHz, while the rest are at 1.7GHz. There’s no shortage of RAM and storage configuration as well, with the Find X equipped with a whopping 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.

Numbers on paper aside, the Find X is a pleasing device to use in the real world. This thing just chews through pretty much all of the tasks that you throw at it with ease. We had no problem operating most built-in or third-party apps, and when all cores are pushed to the max, the heat is barely an issue. But, even with the latest Android OS on-board, we couldn’t help but feel that there could be better integration between hardware and software, as there are times where it still randomly struggles.

This is also apparent when it comes to RAM management, and although 8GB of RAM is a lot for a smartphone and is pretty much the same capacity that’s on the laptop that this review is being written on, we’d notice that RAM usage is typically on the higher side only with a few apps running in the background.

Putting the Find X through Geekbench’s benchmark phases reveals some astonishing numbers. Single-core score is rated at 2285, while multi-core score is at 8173.

The Find X is also equipped with 256GB of internal storage. Let’s hope that’s enough for your usage as it does not come with any microSD card support. The speeds though are on the average side, with read speeds close to 800MB/s and write speeds around 200MB/s.

The Find X is also loaded with good amount of connectivity options. A 802.11a/b/g/n/ac dual-band Wi-Fi is supported, along with Wi-Fi Direct and Hotspot functionality. Bluetooth 5.0 is also thrown in – which means more bandwidth and speed in file transfers. Like the R15 Pro, NFC chip is also available on-board, and supports vast variety of contactless payment. And it supports 4G+ on most networks. Lo and behold, there’s finally, I mean FINALLY, a Type-C connector at the bottom instead of the dated microUSB setup. This means better durability and support for other devices such as external storage devices. But, at this price point, it’s disappointing to see that it’s only a 2.0 unit, and this means it can’t take full advantage of what the Type C port offers.

via GIPHY

OPPO must have looked at iPhone and said “Well, they could get away without a fingerprint reader, so let’s do that as well”. The Find X, like the iPhone, relies on facial recognition for unlocking. But, it’s no ordinary facial unlock. OPPO called it a “3D camera” system, which consists of a flood illuminator, infrared camera and a dot projector, all positioned around the front-facing camera. In regular English, it’s precise, fast and secure compared to a regular face unlock, as not only it requires an actual human face, you’ll need to look at it in order for it to unlock the device. It works really well in different lightings, as we’re astonished by it’s ability in low-light conditions. But, we think that it could be much faster if it wasn’t due to the mechanical actuations.

Display

This is what you’d call FullView.

With all the sensors and earpiece hidden away, there’s room for an actual FullView display, and luckily, the Find X is aimed to do that, without the ugly notch. The display measures at 6.42-inches, at a 19.5:9 display ratio, pretty much the longest we’ve came across. Like the Galaxy S9+, it does curve in at both sides, not only giving it an immersive view, but also premium touches. OPPO’s claim to fame 93.8% screen-to-body ratio is what really impresses us, and we also don’t mind the little bezels around the display. But, it still isn’t the sharpest. With a resolution of 1080 X 2340, the display density is just around 401 pixels-per-inch. Now we understand that it might costs more to pack more pixels in it especially at this ratio, but at this price point, might as well, right?

Luckily, what’s powering the display is a pretty good panel. It’s an AMOLED unit, and this time round, it’s a good unit. It looks pretty much the same as the panel found in the Galaxy S9+, with it’s rich and vibrant colours. Thanks to nature of AMOLED where pixels won’t light up at a dark area, colours really do pop with the display, and is miles better than even a good IPS panel. The colours are spot on, even though it’s towards the cooler side. It does go pretty bright, and is perfectly usable under bright sunlight, and has a very wide viewing angle.

Speaker

Not what you’d expect from a flagship.

This part is where the Find X disappoint the most. Devices like the Galaxy S9+, iPhone 8 Plus and the P20 Pro all comes with stereo speakers, the Find X, at this price point, makes do with only bottom-firing mono speaker. Yes, it might be a good unit, with quite good bass and loudness for a mono speaker. But, this is 2018, and mono speaker on a flagship smartphone at this price, is unacceptable.

Camera performance

AI-assistance is the way to go.

The camera performance is also an important aspect on expensive phones like the Find X. Samsung puts more effort on the hardware to allow the Galaxy S9+ to perform the way it is, while Huawei has adopted both hardware and software adaptations for their devices. The Find X comes with dual cameras – 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel sensors – both with f/2.0 aperture. As usual, OPPO has turned to Sony to source all of the sensors. The camera setup is pretty much the same as the R15 Pro – 16-megapixel sensor being the primary sensor that you’ll be using for most of the time, while the 20-megapixel sensor, which shares the same focal length as the primary sensor, pretty much only be used in portrait modes or in low-lighting.

OPPO has also turned to relying on AI-assistance for the camera, and the AI Scene Recognition 2.0 is said to be able to identify up to 21 scenes, thus adjusting colours and various other settings accordingly to make it look better. It’s switched on by default, but if you’d like to turn it off (not sure why would you want to do that), you have to dig into the camera settings, which is hidden deep in the settings app.

With that said, the Find X actually takes quite good photos. In brighter conditions, the samples turned up well, with good amount of well rendered details, and images do look pretty sharp. The colours are pleasing and pretty true to life. We think that the AI assistance in scene recognition helps as well, as it will show up in the viewfinder before an image is taken. We noticed that at times it could be a little hard on overexposure, but it can be solved by touching on the object again and it will adjust accordingly. OPPO’s HDR also kicks in at the right moment to keep lighting even.

The 20-megapixel sensor is used to aid in portrait photography, and to be fair, the Find X takes some pretty accurate portrait photos which doesn’t look too artificial. Most of the time it gets the shape and distance right, but can be confused with objects of different distances.

As for low-lighting, it’s rather impressive too. We think that it works pretty much the same way as the R15 Pro, where the 20-megapixel sensor is used so that it can combine 4 pixels into 1 to create a brighter, yet less noise image, which is then down-sampled back to 16-megapixels. The lighting is alright, but at times there’s still some visible noise. The Find X does have Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), so chances of getting blurry shots at night is pretty slim. The colours are good though, as the AI assistance do kick in low-light conditions as well to help in noise reduction and colour rectification.

In typical OPPO fashion, the Find X will only record videos in 3 resolutions – 4K, 1080p and 720p, all in 30 frames-per-second only. There’s no 60 frames-per-second, or any mind-blowing slow-mo modes. Nevertheless, videos recorded in 4K resolution are sharp and pretty smooth for most part, and the details are well rendered and colours are slightly on the dull side without any AI-assistance. The biggest problem is the stabilization, and in any resolution, it looks like there’s no stabilization at all. This immediately leaves video recording out of the question for the Find X.

Since this is an OPPO device, you can expect a pretty good selfie camera. On the front is a 25-megapixel sensor, and this time, it works with their sophisticated AI-assisted 3D cameras. Samples taken off the front-facing camera is pretty much as good as the rear, with very well rendered details, nice skin tone and pretty accurate colours. After all these years, they’ve still not included a autofocus feature for the front camera. The 3D beautification works well, finally giving it a convincing enough software beautification, as it actually follows the shape of your actual face.

Of course, like other OPPO devices, we’re greeted by a camera app that looks pretty much the same as what you might get from Apple’s iPhone. The setting toggles are on the left, while the modes, shutter, camera change and preview buttons are to the right. You can switch to different modes by tapping on them if they are visible, or swiping up and down. The settings for the camera is buried inside the phone’s Settings app. There are a few lighting modes to choose from in portrait mode, and lots to play with in PRO mode.

Software

A little cheap on this device.

The Find X comes preloaded with Android 8.1 right out of the box, with their own ColorOS 5.1 on top of it. It’s the same layout as found on other OPPO devices, but this time optimized to make full use of the Find X’s intuitive mechanisms on board. The overall layout is still very similar to that of Apple’s iOS interface. There’s no app drawer to begin with, plus the entire interface feels disorganized. It does make it stand out putting it next to it’s rivals, but not in a good way. The interface may work in the F7 and probably the R15 Pro, but putting it in a flagship device that’s aimed to sell globally, they’ll probably need a redesign. On the bright side, there’s not much bloatware that’s packed with the device.

Powered by flickr embed.

Battery Life

Not as great as we’d hoped.

Now here’s the part where we’re really not sure about the Find X. The Find X is packed with a non-removable 3730mAh battery capacity, which is in between Huawei’s P20 Pro and Samsung’s Galaxy S9+. But, the battery life that we got out of the Find X isn’t as good as expected. 12 hours away from the charger and our usual routine ended up with around 30% of battery, which is way lower than what we expected. We suspect the mechanism that constantly raise and lower the top part is what draining the battery quickly, especially when it had to operate both ways for every single unlock.

On the bright side, charging the Find X is quick, as it supports OPPO’s own VOOC quick charging system. With the included USB wall adapter and cable, it only takes 30-minutes to charge up a flat battery to 55%, and of course, it will gradually slow down, and a full charge takes less than 2 hours. If you think that’s pretty fast, the Find X is also available in Lamborghini edition, and it’s Super VOOC charging system claims to fully charge a battery in only 35 minutes.

Our Verdict

We don’t want to jump to the conclusion saying that the Find X is an overcomplicated solution to a small problem, and credit where credit is due, OPPO is actually trying out something different, and bravely stepped back into the flagship market where it’s customers are mostly brand-conscious. But, we’re still not sure if this is the better solution, and after looking at things that disappointed us on the Find X, we’re not really sure about the price as well. But, if you want something fresh and different of the others, the Find X is definitely the one to go for. We are really looking forward to OPPO getting all issues sorted out in the next device.

If the OPPO Find X isn’t your cup of tea, you can still turn to Huawei’s P20 Pro or Samsung’s Galaxy S9+, as they are better experienced in this market, even though both devices are out for a while. If you want something fresh, Samsung will be bringing out the next device in their Galaxy Note series, and Huawei might be working on their next flagship Mate series device. If you’re looking for similar specs at a lower price, Vivo NEX is not a bad option for RM2799, while ASUS’s Zenfone 5z will offer you the same processor and pretty similar configuration around the RM2000 bracket.

Things we like:
• The premium design & feel
• Display with panoramic arc sides
• Performance of cameras in low-light
• Face unlock is secure, fast and accurate
• Amazing performance

Things we’re not sure of:
• The battery life isn’t as great
• Overcomplicated mechanism for the top part
• Camera module collects dust easily
• The ColorOS user interface looks cheap
• Hard to recommend this device overall

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