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22 April 2022

Oppo Find X5 Pro: a phone designed to last

Yes, it costs $2000 – but you just might be able to get your money’s worth.

Oppo claims its new flagship phone can recharge 1600 times before the battery drops below 80% capacity. That’s four years and four months if you fully drain it every day. But during my trial, one charge lasted about 44 hours. Run some maths, and the Find X5 Pro is pushing a seven-year life – no battery replacement required.

Oppo backs the Find X5 Pro with its first ever three-year warranty. Previously, only certain Nokia smartphones had warranties that long. As New Zealand’s third-largest seller, Oppo’s move is a giant neon warning to Apple and Samsung, which offer warranties of one and two years, respectively.

The phone will survive the elements too, with a rating of IP68 – topping the IP scale for protection against water and dust.

A phone that lasts a long time is less damaging to the environment. The Find X5 Pro box also contains a leaflet suggesting you recycle your old phone through the RE:mobile initiative (which you absolutely should do, unless you can gift it on instead).

However, there’s a small problem. Oppo has committed to three new Android versions for this phone, taking it through to Android 15 in 2025. Security updates, which keep the phone safe to use, are guaranteed for another year after that. Once updates end, you can’t bank on using the Pro beyond 2026 (regardless of how resilient its battery is). By contrast, Samsung’s S22 series will receive five years of security updates, and iPhones are reliably supported for five-plus years as well (although Apple doesn’t make any promises).

Key specs

  • Price: $1999
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Screen: 6.7-inch AMOLED
  • Connectivity: 5G, WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2

Of course, if Oppo truly expects consumers to use this product for that long, it needs to be good enough to stay desirable through four years of innovation. I guess it’s too early to say if I’d happily use this phone in 2026, but it does feel like it’s from the future.

Oppofindx5pro phone

The OLED display is astonishingly high-res. Scrolling feels smooth and natural, courtesy of a screen refresh rate of up to 120 times per second.

Processing is deftly handled by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which is probably the best mobile processor in the world right now. It’s also the backbone of several other flagship Androids, including Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra (which starts at $1999 as well).

The Find X5 Pro ships with a fast charger capable of 80W of power (compared to the roughly 25W you get from a regular adapter). The battery is properly huge, with a 5000mAh capacity (the iPhone 13 Pro Max has 4350mAh, for example). Still, it took me just 34 minutes to charge the phone from nought to 100 with the fast charger. It’s amazing to only need to plug in for 20 minutes each day – but if you want to charge this thing from a regular plug, you’d better have hours to spare. Oppo also sells a 50W wireless charger for $150.

Design-wise, not much is new since last year’s Find X3 Pro (4 is an unlucky number in China, so Oppo skipped the Find X4). There’s an improved shape to the camera area, which curves beautifully but still extrudes far enough that the phone’s unbalanced on flat surfaces. Even with a case to smoothe it (a basic rubber one is included), there’s quite a bit of wobble.

The camera hardware consists of two 50MP wide angles, a 13MP telephoto and a 32MP front camera. It’s the same set-up as the Find X3 Pro, but minus that handset’s best gimmick: the microscope camera that took super-close-ups. As a reviewer I’m sad to see it go, because it was fun to play with for a while. But I can see why a novelty with no clear everyday purpose was cut.

Camera specs continue to matter less as computational photography takes over – the beautification algorithms built into a phone are now more important than pixel counts. To that end, Oppo has thrown in MariSilicon X, its new house-built neural processor, to calculate the photo you were actually trying to take. Results are impressive, especially in video and especially in low light. In particular, colours are bright and vivid due to enhanced saturation. Complain about science corrupting art all you like, but it’s hard to take a bad photo with this phone.

Howzat? The rich colours captured by the Find X5 Pro's camera system.
Howzat? The rich colours captured by the Find X5 Pro's camera system.

The camera software is also a collab with Swedish camera maker Hasselblad, which doesn’t mean much to me but might lend cred with certain audiences (read: hipsters).

The Find X5 Pro comes loaded with Android 12, the most recent version (well, technically it’s Color OS 12, Oppo’s proprietary wrapper over Android). Unfortunately, there are pre-installed apps to delete, such as PUBG Mobile and Amazon Shopping. TikTok’s presence almost tempted me to finally sign up. Surely that’s irrefutable evidence that bloatware is a bad practice?

I’m disappointed that dull old black and white are the only colour options. There aren’t any customisation options for memory, either – you can have any configuration you want, as long as it’s 256GB of storage and 12GB of RAM.

However, the series does include two other phones – the Find X5 and Find X5 Lite. The Find X5 ($1599) is a close sibling, sharing many features with the Pro including its camera set-up, but with some concessions such as an older Snapdragon CPU. The Lite ($899) isn’t really comparable from a technical perspective, but if it’s like the Find X3 Lite, will be a quality mid-range phone that distils the essence of Find X5 to a more realistic price point.

At $1999, the Find X5 Pro is a lot of money to spend on a phone. For most people, it’s too much. But compare it to an iPhone 13 Pro Max with the same amount of storage ($2199) and it doesn’t look so crazy. Just maybe, if you’re a power user who can hold on to the Find X5 Pro for a full four years, it’s an investment worth making.

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