Oppo Find X review

If this is the future of smartphones, we hope there are some refinements along the way. The Oppo Find X has one of the cleverest (not the best) designs in smartphone history, but with that comes too many caveats.

The build quality is excellent, the cameras are better than expected and the sheer engineering on show is enough to make us swoon. But Oppo has poured so much attention into the design for the Find X, the phone that it chose to enter the Western market with, that it forgot about the software.

It means that the Oppo Find X is a frustrating, expensive phone. It has a lust worthy design but clunky software that meant we didn’t particularly enjoy using it. It will no doubt influence smartphone design over the next couple of years, but it’s not a phone we can recommend to most people.

Oppo Find X: Price and availability

The Find X has not been officially released in the UK, but you can import it from Gearbest, a reputable Chinese retailer. At the time of writing, it costs £630, less than its €999 European RRP (the phone has an official release on the continent).

Oppo Find X: Design and build

There’s no denying the Oppo Find X is a design marvel. Every single person we showed the phone was suitably stunned – either in a swooning or mocking way, but there was always a reaction.

The practically bezel-less display is an amazing feat, with no notch and only a thin (necessary) black rim around the whole thing. It has a 93.8% screen to body ratio and the display curves gently into the frame.

It comes at the same time as the Vivo NEX, which has a pop up camera with a different design.

Also available in Bordeaux Red (purple), our Glacier Blue review unit has an awesome gradient finish on its glass back. The pebble-like design has taken more than a few cues from the Galaxy S9 but is slightly taller, wider and thicker than that phone at 156.7 x 74.2 x 9.4 mm, and weighs 186g.

It’s a metal and glass sandwich, with Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back. It can be a tad difficult to hold sometimes given the taper to its thin edges and lack of bezel or extra body to hold onto, but that’s what you get with a full display like this.

The top edge houses a slim grille, but the earpiece is actually on the mechanism that houses the camera. In its showpiece move, if you open the camera or use any part of the phone that requires it, the Oppo Find X’s internal mechanism whirs audibly into gear and the top section the phone slides out to reveal the camera module – front and rear lens – that also has the earpiece on it.

It’s pretty crazy that this is a thing, and we get a childish glee sometimes when using it. But it collects dust like nobody’s business, means the phone can’t be waterproof and makes it that much more fragile. Oppo claims the mechanism has been tested to withstand over 300,000 uses. We have not tested this for obvious reasons.

The SIM tray is on the bottom with a speaker grille and USB-C port. There’s no headphone jack here, but there are USB-C headphones in the box that look exactly like Apple EarPods, along with an adapter for any other wired headphones.

Volume and power keys break what is otherwise a very clean, slippery design. Given the camera module, it’s not a phone you can put in a traditional snap-on case, either. We considered carrying it around in a sock, but resisted as that is mad.

This is a phone that you might love or hate the design of. We are in awe of it sometimes, but it actually brings inconvenience in the lack of waterproofing and the fact that it could conceivably break quite easily. No waterproofing on a phone as fragile and expensive as this could be a deal breaker for some.

Oppo Find X: Features and specs

For a phone that looks like no other Oppo has packed in flagship specs that go some way to justifying the spend.

Screen

The display on the Find X is an expansive 6.4in 19.5:9 2340 x 1080 AMOLED with a degree of eye-pleasing saturation applied. The sheer size of the thing makes it a joy to use with no notch interfering with the top edge.

It comes with a screen protector applied but we peeled it off to fully experience the display and test the true touch response, which is excellent. Viewing angles are decent but the panel doesn’t get as bright as phones like the S9 or LG G7.

You can adjust the warmth of the display colours on a slider from ‘cooler’ to ‘warmer’ to match your tastes and there’s a night mode to take away the blue colour for night time reading.

It’s a great display, but you’d expect it given the price. A 6.4in screen with no notch is pretty great for gaming and YouTube viewing, all in a phone with a tall aspect ratio that doesn’t make it as difficult to hold as a phone like the Note 9.

Processor, memory and storage

The Find X runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with 8GB RAM, matching the top tier configurations of the OnePlus 6 and Galaxy Note 9. It flies through everything thrown at it and we didn’t experience any slowdown in two weeks of constant use.

Our review unit came with 256GB storage, but there’s a 128GB option too. It’s notable that this non-expandable, but both options should be large enough for most people.

Benchmarks

The below benchmarks measure processing speed (Geekbench), graphical output (GFXBench) and browser speeds (Jetstream) – higher numbers are better.

The Oppo Find X scores excellently and scores the best frames per second score on every GPU test. In real world use though, you won’t notice much difference at all between any of these five high-end phones.

Connectivity and audio

A major flaw in the phone is the lack of NFC. A staple feature that allows you to make contactless payments, it’s a glaring omission on a phone with a €1000 price tag. But the Chinese market has long used payment methods on phones that rely on QR codes and only adopted Apple Pay in 2016, so many Chinese such as this phones lack NFC.

This is at odds with excellent Bluetooth 5.0 support, USB-C fast charging using Oppo’s VOOC charging (which is basically the same as OnePlus’ dash charging) and great LTE and cellular connection in our usage.

Phone calls are loud and clear, though the position right at the top of the edge of the phone takes getting used to. There’s only a single SIM option, no dual SIM.

The single speaker is a necessity on a phone that without bezels can't have stereo speakers, meaning the loudspeaker is pretty ropey and tinny. And along with no waterproofing, there's no wireless charging despite the glass back.

Cameras

The cameras hidden in the mechanism are very good, if not the best on the market. The front facing camera has next to it a hidden dot projector, ranging sensor, infrared camera, receiver and flood illuminator to replicate for the first time on an Android phone the 3D facial scanning first seen on the iPhone X.

This is a bit of a coup for Oppo and it works incredibly well, even in the dark. Unfortunately, Oppo has not integrated it as well as Apple, so you can’t use it instead of a fingerprint sensor to authenticate banking apps. But you can lock apps so that they only open after a face scan, which is useful in some cases. The camera knows when to pop out to take a peek at you, and never failed to do so.

There is no fingerprint scanner on the phone, even though Oppo could conceivably have put one on the back. This means on a busy day of unlocking your phone and camera use that mechanism is put to the test. It’s not a problem and it’s reliable, but it might annoy you given the physical movement of parts required. Like most things in tech though, you’ll get used to it after a while.

The dual camera sensors on the rear are 16Mp f/2.0 with OIS and a 20Mp f/2.0 for telephoto and depth sensing. The front facing lens is 25Mp f/2.0 and produces pleasingly crisp shots. You might want to disable the beauty modes that persist on Chinese phones, though.

We were pleased with the photos from the phone even if they did come into a degree of over-saturation. Images are crisp and colours generally well reproduced while the bokeh mode is better than some rivals.

Here’s a gallery of shots on the Find X (you might need to click to view):

Oppo Find X camera test

Battery life

The phone lasted for a surprisingly long time in real world use given the 3730mAh cell is powering a 6.4in OLED screen and a physically moving part. With general use as our main device using Bluetooth headphones, streaming music and connected to 4G and Wi-Fi the phone always made it into a second day.

Thankfully this is becoming slightly more normal after a few years of expensive phones that limp towards bedtime on 5%, but you’ll need to take a charger overnight with the Find X.

Oppo Find X: Software and apps

The Oppo Find X loses appeal when it comes to the software. Given that this is the part you interact with 100% of the time, it’s a big deal. We have used other Oppo phones and feel that ColorOS’s shortcomings are actually amplified on hardware as premium as the Find X.

On cheaper handsets we could forgive the niggly things Oppo has unnecessarily changed. ColorOS v5.1 sits on top of Android 8.1 Oreo, so it’s a recent build. But when you can’t swipe to dismiss notifications you know that Oppo has changed what didn’t need touching (you have to swipe left and then tap the bin icon).

Like other Chinese phone software it’s trying to look like iOS with the white menus and settings icons within. You also can’t have an app drawer, with all apps displayed across your homescreens like on the iPhone. Things like holding on the homescreen to adjust settings doesn’t work and the notification shade takes over the whole screen.

It does not render the phone unusable by any means, but it’s less refined than any other Android skin out there at the moment and its shortcomings are amplified on such expensive hardware.

The phone is also chock with Oppo’s own apps (read: bloat), which while you can’t uninstall you can largely ignore. Google apps run fine here too, and we installed Gboard right away. But Oppo makes you use its own secure keyboard when typing passwords, which is a good thing, but disrupts the user experience and is confusing the first few times it happens.

Quick shortcuts for screenshots and screen recording also only appear on the left if you turn the phone landscape which doesn’t make sense. It’s not that the Find X is unusable, it’s just it’s so wildly inconsistent and resistant to granular control that it’s hard to recommend, and becomes something to get over and accept – not something we can say for most of the phones that it’s competing against in the market.

Oppo Find X: Specs

  • Android 8.1 Oreo with ColorOS 5.1
  • 6.42in 19.5:9 2340 x 1080 AMOLED, 401ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Adreno 630 graphics
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128/256GB storage, non-expandable
  • 16Mp f/2.0 with 20Mp f/2.0 telephoto
  • 25Mp f/2.0 front facing camera with face unlock
  • 802.11ac dual band Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 4G LTE
  • Single nano-SIM
  • GPS
  • No NFC
  • No headphone jack
  • No waterproofing
  • 3750mAh battery with VOOC charging
  • 156.7 x 74.2 x 9.4mm
  • 186g
  • Android 8.1 Oreo with ColorOS 5.1
  • 6.42in 19.5:9 2340 x 1080 AMOLED, 401ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
  • Adreno 630 graphics
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128/256GB storage, non-expandable
  • 16Mp f/2.0 with 20Mp f/2.0 telephoto
  • 25Mp f/2.0 front facing camera with face unlock
  • 802.11ac dual band Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • 4G LTE
  • Single nano-SIM
  • GPS
  • No NFC
  • No headphone jack
  • No waterproofing
  • 3750mAh battery with VOOC charging
  • 156.7 x 74.2 x 9.4mm
  • 186g

SHOULD I BUY OPPO FIND X?

The Oppo Find X is a beautiful jumble of a phone with many great ideas. But the futuristic design, good cameras and excellent face unlock technology can’t save it from feeling like a concept phone.

This is largely down to the quirky software that often is at odds with common sense. Oppo clearly went to a lot of trouble to change Android so far from what Google considers stock, and it suffers greatly for it. 

Even with stock Android we’d be worried about the camera mechanism on the phone too, given it could conceivably break easier than a phone with no moving parts. The Find X is amazing, but it’s not a phone we can recommend if you want a flagship phone to last you two years. There are too many pitfalls.

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