Oppo’s new premium smartphone is fantastic, but its mid-range sibling offers much better value.
By Nick Gelling
The Find X3 series comprises two devices aimed at very different markets. The Pro is a $1900 super-phone competing with the iPhone and Galaxy S, while the Lite is an $800 trooper that cuts all the right corners.
Find X3 Pro: for people with money and sense
The Find X3 Pro is Oppo’s new flagship. It’s the absolute top of their range, with an eye-watering price tag of $1899 to match. I’m not sure anyone needs to spend that on a phone, but time has proven consumers are happy to pay for the best. And the Find X3 Pro is very good.
The OLED display is a big reason why. The screen packs in more pixels than the iPhone 12 Pro Max and matches Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra. It can refresh at 120Hz (or 120 times per second). That’s more often than the human eye can actually perceive, but makes scrolling and gaming incredibly smooth. It also has 10-bit colour, meaning there are technically a billion colours each pixel can be – though I didn’t notice a practical improvement over other flagship displays.
Photography is top-notch too, with two 50MP cameras working in tandem (as well as a nifty microscope camera for hyper close-ups). I had a slight gripe with the selfie camera being tucked in the top left corner. During video calls, it wasn’t a natural place to look and made it annoying to centre myself in the frame.
Close-ups of denim, aluminium and cotton taken with the microscope camera.
The back of the phone is beautiful, with a glass panel cleanly curving into the camera housing. It’s a shame the camera’s extrusion makes the phone unstable when laid down. I put the Pro in a case after one day – not for protection, but to make it less wobbly on hard surfaces.
The Snapdragon 888 processor was lightning-fast to open apps. The Pro’s 12GB of RAM allowed for several tasks on the go. All the latest connectivity features I’d expect of a 2021 flagship are here – 5G, Bluetooth 5.2 and WiFi 6. However, the Pro’s lack of a headphone jack was a real inconvenience as it meant I couldn’t use it with my 15-year-old stereo system.
The battery dependably lasted a day, but was nothing exceptional – although I was using the always-on display for simpler unlocking. The phone comes with a 65W fast charger, which recharged it in less than an hour. The Pro also supports wireless charging, but that requires an extra $149 piece of kit.
The Find X3 Pro is excellent and a powerful statement that Oppo is serious about challenging Samsung and Apple. It’d be great for a zealous Instagrammer, and it’s cheaper than the iPhone 12 Pro Max or Galaxy S21 Ultra – so if you were looking at one of those, consider this instead. But for most consumers, the cost is hard to get past.
Specs Price: $1899 Memory: 12GB RAM and 256GB storage Screen: 6.7-inch AMOLED (3216 x 1440) Main rear camera: 50MP resolution and f/1.8 aperture Front camera: 32MP resolution and f/2.4 aperture Weight: 193g Colour options: Blue or black
Find X3 Lite: an absolute steal
While the Pro is Oppo’s apex, its stripped-down sibling sits firmly in the mid-range. The Find X3 Lite sells for $799, less than half the cost of a Pro. It’s in a different ballpark. And yet, it doesn’t feel that much cheaper. While it lacks the Pro’s x-factor, it’s a perfectly good device in its own right.
Workmanlike is the best word to describe the Find X3 Lite. It reliably does what you ask, with no signs of strain, while not being inspirational. Its OLED screen can refresh at 90Hz, falling short of the Pro’s standard but still scrolling smoothly and responsively. It has 5G – no longer a standout feature, but not to be taken for granted. The Lite uses slightly older generations of WiFi and Bluetooth, but neither were noticeably slower. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack, a genuine selling point in 2021. Finally, it looks like a flagship – one of Oppo’s strengths is that even its budget phones are beautifully designed.
For me, the Find X3 Lite had a two-day battery even with an always-on display. That’s more than I’ve grown to expect from recent phones. It also charges shockingly quickly, especially when using fast charging. It took about 40 minutes to charge from 0% to 100% with the included 65W fast charger.
However, there were places the Lite struggled to match its flashy sister. The processor wasn’t as powerful, so apps took a few milliseconds longer to load. Its screen was less vivid and slightly smaller, and its camera specs would’ve been great last year, but aren’t cutting-edge in 2021. The 128GB of storage can’t be expanded, which would force me on to a cloud storage service after a year or so of use. Finally, I wasn’t a fan of the rough texture on the phone’s rear – but it’s nothing a protective case can’t cover up.
The Find X3 Lite is a budget-friendly phone that behaves like a flagship and doesn’t cost flagship prices. It cuts some corners, but they’re corners you won’t miss very often.
Specs Price: $799 Memory: 8GB RAM and 128GB storage Screen: 6.4-inch AMOLED (2400 x 1080) Main rear camera: 64MP resolution and f/1.7 aperture Front camera: 32MP resolution and f/2.4 aperture Weight: 172g Colour options: Blue or black
First Looks are trials of new and interesting products from the perspective of our product experts. Our lab-based tests offer truly objective product comparisons. The phones were loaned to us by Oppo.