I review a lot of phones. It’s a privilege, but it also means that my SIM card has been in so many Android phones that I often can’t remember what I was using three months ago.
It’s not just the budget or mid-range phones that I forget about. I used the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, nodded my approval, sent it back to Samsung, and haven’t missed it much since.
That means that I sit up and take notice when I use an Android phone that rekindles my years-old love for the platform, and it doesn’t happen very often. The Oppo Find X2 Pro is the most pure fun I’ve had using an Android phone since 2017’s Google Pixel 2 for the same reason that it has made me love everything about Android anew.
In my time as a phone reviewer I’ve found two things: first, that changing phones all the time is the annoying trade-off to being lucky enough to use lots of new phones, and second is that unfortunately I have recently come into some serious Android fatigue.
Android is great because it offers such a huge variety of phones at every price point. But that means apart from once a year when I might get to use the latest iPhone, all the other phones I review are Android devices.
I’m not saying that I haven’t liked any Android phones since that Pixel, but when reviewing so many it becomes more about assessing a phone for the market in a short space of time to give other people buying advice. It’s more important for my job to fairly assess the phone for the market.
I’ve given excellent scores to phones like the OnePlus 6T, Moto G7, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and LG V60, but they all failed to kindle in me the emotion I miss most as a professional reviewer – the rare excitement of using a great new Android phone that most normal people get to savour every two or three years.
I wasn’t expecting the Find X2 Pro to be that phone. It’s as huge as the Galaxy S20 Ultra, runs the acquired-taste Color OS, and doesn’t have wireless charging. Usually when I assess such downsides, I score a phone down, or am not fussed when I have to send it back to the company.
But despite these things the Find X2 Pro is compelling. It’s made me realise I really don’t need wireless charging, and Color OS is far better than it was even a year ago. The software is polished enough to get out my way but still looks and feels like a pocket computer, that Android feeling of being different that you used to get back in 2014 when everyone else around you was buying the iPhone 6.
I commend Oppo for clearly listening to critical feedback and quickly evolving. Knowing a company actually cares and makes those changes is great to see.
Despite the phone’s large size, it goes to show that screen size does not necessarily equal unwieldy. I couldn’t stand the S20 Ultra’s bulk but for some reason the Find X2 Pro is more balanced in my hand and it feels like a slimmer device. Its display is also calibrated amazingly, and I prefer its tone to Samsung’s. It helps you can run the Pro at full 1440p resolution at 120Hz too. Maybe I love it because Android simply hasn’t looked this good for years.
I like the Find X2 Pro because of its quirks and differences. OnePlus’s Oxygen OS gets plaudits for looking clean and rounded but I like the squared off look and icon design of Color OS more. The cameras on the device are also perfect for my personal use – the macro camera has been a godsend for my work while the wide-angle and 5x optical zoom hit the sweet spot for photography outdoors.
Add to that full waterproofing, one of the best in-screen fingerprint scanners and the so-damn-fast-I-can-never-go-back 65W wired charger and the Find X2 Pro has delivered, for me personally, just as Android weariness was setting in. When I pick up my iPhone now it looks and feels dated in comparison to the freeing Android feel of the X2 Pro.
This isn’t a full review, and on paper there are things wrong with Oppo’s phone like the lack of wireless charging and very high price of £1,099. But I’ve been taken aback with the sheer quality of the phone overall, which is light years ahead of the original Find X and even substantially improved over last year’s Reno 10x Zoom.
After the scores of Android phones that have come across my desk in the last few years, the Find X2 Pro stands out as the right one for me, and that’s something I didn’t expect.
Whether or not it’s the right phone for you depends on if you like large phones, don’t need wireless charging, and are willing to pay Samsung or Apple money for a phone that is made by neither.