While many of Oppo’s latest releases have aped the major manufacturers in both hardware and software design (the Oppo R15 Pro, for instance), the Find X offers up some seriously fresh takes on the modern smartphone.
Immediately obvious to anyone who’s glanced at the phone is its all-encompassing display, with a whopping 93.8% screen-to-body ratio made possible by near-absent bezels and a headline-worthy camera trick.
But the handset isn’t solely relying on its novelty. Backing up this stylish aesthetic is an incredible array of internals, with an awesome 8GB of RAM that complements the powerful Snapdragon 845 at the heart of the device.
At the moment there’s a few unknowns in the Oppo Find X release schedule for the UK, with neither date nor price set in stone, but given Australia’s launch price of AU$1,099, and the €999 price tag in Europe, we’re likely looking at a handset that will cost £899 (around $1,099 if it ever lands in the US).
There’s no doubt that this is Oppo’s boldest offering to date – in both pricing and features – and whether or not it’s worth the investment is ultimately dependent on what you’re after, and what’s available in your region.
While its novel display and camera design won’t surpass gimmick-status for many, and may even be a hindrance to some, its premium power and prettiness is definitely worth weighing up against its more expensive flagship competition.
Brilliant notchless display
Pop-up camera and sensors
3D facial recognition
Without a doubt, the notchless display and counterpart pop-up cameras are the features that define the Find X, for better and for worse. The sleek aesthetic that this allows for is at the forefront of Oppo’s marketing, and for good reason – it looks stellar.
It’s been a while since Oppo released anything in its Find series. The Find 7 launched in 2014 with a then-novel 2K display resolution, a feature that was only available in one other phone on the market at the time – the Vivo Xplay 3S.
Interestingly, a Vivo handset (the Vivo Nex) was also the first to rock the bezel-free, notchless display and pop-up camera combo that the Find X is now banking on, although it’s worth noting that Oppo beat Vivo to market on this one in the West.
While the camera mechanism and trim styling marry up to make a noteworthy design, we find that this steals the limelight from some of the handset’s other strengths – namely, it’s insane performance.
The processing, graphical, and battery power of the Find X comfortably competes with, and often outdoes, phones in a significantly higher price range (such as the Galaxy Note 9). In fact, if Oppo were to have dropped the gimmick, this would be a potent contender for the best value Android on the market.
While we applaud innovation in the smartphone realm, we have our misgivings about the phone’s ‘star’ feature and, unfortunately, the phone is also held back by software grievances and missing hardware specs that are all-but standard flagship affair at this point.
Design and display
6.4-inch AMOLED display
93.8% screen-to-body ratio
No waterproofing, fingerprint scanner
No microSD, headphone jack
We’ll kick it off with the good news: Oppo’s screen on the Find X is impressive, which is a relief considering how much of it there is.
The AMOLED display is vivid and bright, and with it’s stupendous 6.4-inch size, is ideal for watching media on the move. Its 1,080 x 2,340 resolution is certainly decent but can occasionally lack clarity when compared to rivals like the HTC U12+, which boasts a 1,440 x 2,880 resolution over 6-inches.
The two available colors – Bordeaux Red and Glacier Blue – both look rather striking as well. While the majority of the handsets rear is a glossy black, its bordered by iridescent highlights in your color of choice that play with the light as you angle the handset.
The handset’s “Panoramic Arc” screen features similar curved edges to Samsung’s recent Galaxy flagships (such as the Galaxy S9) and is mirrored on the phone’s dazzling rear. This svelte sheen coupled with the pop-up 3D facial scanning makes the unit feel somewhat alien – more at home in Men in Black than Men in Finance.
The combination of the rounded edges and the near-absent bezels makes for a somewhat surreal experience when holding the phone, but this effect is only slightly exaggerated when compared with other contemporary all-screen handsets.
As for the lacking notch, let’s take a look at the functionality that makes that possible. Given the absence of any front-facing cameras, sensors or speakers on the handset’s face, Oppo’s solution is to house these all in a sliding, motorised shelf that automatically extends when it’s needed.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen any such mechanisms in a handset , especially ones which involve automation (the most recent that comes to mind is the Oppo N3), but is it as clunky as it sounds?
Oppo’s word is that the motorized mechanism has a durability rating of over 300,000 uses, which would allow you a little over 400 movements every day for two years (more or less the average length of time people hang on to their handsets).
Despite this promise, we can’t help but feel a little sceptical that the whirring motor will be able to maintain its speed over that lifetime, and it’s not necessarily zippy out of the box, taking just under a second to extend.
The sliding drawer also has a tendency to collect pocket lint and dust, which we assume isn't healthy for the handset when it slides back in. When extended, it also feels a little spongey, offering moderate resistance but a little wobble when handled.
All this wouldn’t pose such an issue if Oppo hadn’t doubled down on 3D facial recognition as the primary security measure for the handset. If there were a fingerprint scanner, then users could cut down their reliance on this gimmick severely, relegating the sliding shelf to taking photos and selfies.
While the facial recognition itself is just as snappy as its Samsung and Apple equivalents, even sporting an infrared scanner to allow for unlocking in the dark, the speed of the recognition tends to be bottlenecked by the speed of the mechanism itself.
In the case of this bearded, bespectacled reviewer, facial recognition was unsuccessful often enough that we ended up compromising and deactivating it (alongside the tedious passcode). Not an ideal situation, but lacking security slightly outweighs the frustrating alternatives.
Once we’ve gotten past the beauty and anguish of the Find X’s signature feature, the rest of the handset’s layout is fairly straightforward, with volume and power buttons on either side, and the rest relegated to its base.
Notably missing, however, is any kind of storage expansion potential in the way of a microSD card slot, or a headphone jack for that matter. Naturally, the top of the phone is unable to support these features due to its mechanism, and the base of the phone already crowded.
Another victim of the pop-up mechanism is any promise of water resistance, which we’ve come to expect in most modern handsets, let alone premium flagships. Again, if there weren’t so many necessary design sacrifices being made for the sake of the sliding shelf, then we’d be a little more forgiving of it.
VOOC Fast Charge is fast
Thankfully, Oppo has ditched the micro-USB that has plagued its flagships to date (we’re looking at you again, R15 Pro) and replaced it with the rightful heir to the throne: USB-C.
The company’s VOOC Flash Charge technology is much less silly than the name would imply, allowing for some speedy top-ups, particularly in the lower percentages. For instance, we saw the battery rise from 12-87% in just under an hour, although it slows down significantly when hitting the 80s.
We’re happy to say that the big 3,730mAh battery isn’t just for show either, with decent optimisation making it comfortably last a day and half’s usage, and likely even a full second day if you’re not too heavy-handed with power-hungry tasks.
In our PCMark Work battery tests, the Find X scored 8 hours 4 minutes, which beats out the Galaxy S9 at 7 hours 44 minutes, and the HTC U12+ at 6 hours 24 minutes, and doesn’t look too shabby next to the 4,000mAh battery-touting Galaxy Note 9, which scored 8 hours 56 minutes.
While PCMark’s Work test focuses on processor and RAM-intensive activities, the GFXBench tests we ran showed the Find X battery drained much quicker when it was cranking its GPU, so those looking to game on the go may have to be a touch more conservative if they want to hit that second day.
Dual-lens primary camera
25MP front-facing camera
Tap on the camera app and up pops that pesky sliding drawer again, housing its dual rear camera (16MP + 20MP) as well as its 25MP selfie camera. While we won’t dwell on this feature, we will mention that it makes holding the phone in landscape a little awkward due to the spongy resistance it gives in the hand.
Oppo’s camera app offers just about every photo and video mode we’ve come to expect from an Android flagship in 2018, with portrait, panorama, sticker, and expert modes for capturing stills, and slo-mo and time-lapse joining the standard video affair.
With that said, it’s slightly strange that there isn’t any settings menu to speak of. You can’t lay a grid over the display in order to align shots better, for instance, and neat modes such as light-painting and long exposure that appear in Huawei flagships aren’t present here.
Several of these settings are available on both the front and rear camera, meaning you can apply the bokeh-style portrait effects to selfies or film yourself in slo-mo. And then, of course, there’s the beauty settings…
If you’ve used an Android from a Chinese manufacturer in recent years then you’re likely familiar with beauty modes, but the Find X sports the most extreme settings we’ve seen to date.
Beyond some fairly standard auto-beauty settings, and some much deeper individual tweaks like “dermabrasion”, “slim face”, and “whiten teeth”, the Find X can also employ its facial scanning capabilities.
This technology allows you to create a kind of 3D-modelled death mask (or, as Oppo call it, a Custom 3D Beautified Look) that apparently uses AI to apply “delicacy”, “loli” or “model” tweaks to the structure of your face in photos. Unfortunately, it doesn’t play nice with beards.
Gimmicks aside, the front-facing camera is really quite powerful and, with the availability of several modes, is one of the better options for the selfie-inclined on the market.
As for the primary dual-lens snapper, the images are definitely up to scratch with many other Android handsets, but they suffer a little more when in low-light conditions than most other 2018 flagships.
However, Oppo’s AI is surprisingly good at detecting the subject of your shots, adjusting the settings accordingly whether you’re capturing blue sky, text, indoors, or landscape.
Snapdragon 845 with 8GB RAM
Adreno 630 is solid for gaming
As we’ve mentioned earlier, Oppo’s crammed in some real beef when it comes to internal components, and it pays off quite smartly across the board.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 is still the chipset to beat for Android handsets at the moment, and alongside 8GB of RAM, this is a top-shelf combo. In our history of benchmarking using PCMark Work, the Find X has the top score with 9,971, with the nearest competition (the HTC U12+) more than 1,000 points lower.
Its Geekbench 4 single- and multi-core scores also impress (2316/7764), with little in the way of competition outside of Samsung’s latest line of Galaxy flagships.
This makes for a handset that is beyond capable when it comes to everyday tasks – we never noticed a single stutter in practise – and will excel at more compute-heavy tasks as well.
As for its graphical prowess, the Adreno 630 GPU is either the best in the mobile realm, or very close to it. Once again, the Oppo Find X topped our charts for all of our 3DMark and GFXBench tests, narrowly beating the HTC U12+ once more, despite sharing the same GPU.
As we mentioned earlier in the battery tests, we did find that GPU-intensive tasks seemed to drain the battery at a much faster rate comparable to other handsets, so it’s likely that there’s an optimization issue in this area.
Now, we’ve raved about the hardware potency of the Find X, but this isn’t the only ingredient in the performance recipe. A common area of concern for Oppo is its user interface, and unfortunately the OS is no less frustrating with this flagship.
Aiming for an Apple-esque style, ColorOS often manages to carry the worst of the two competing platforms. While there may be iOS-style simplicity, the hidden functions are somewhat vital to Android handsets, and when it comes to the customizations and ‘clever’ adjustments you can make, the OS is often too pushy in its approach.
While ColorOS certainly isn’t the schmickest Android skin around, many of its quirks can be overcome or adjusted to with use. While this is a compromise some people will be willing to make, some of its annoyances are unforgivable.
For instance, the inability to swipe away notifications with a single gesture (it requires a swipe and a tap) is much more frustrating than we were expecting it to be. Considering the average users will be doing this dozens of times a day, it’s no small inconvenience to be doubling this effort.
While the Oppo Find X succeeds in pushing the boundaries of the modern smartphone, it does so at the expense of many staples that we’ve come to expect from a contemporary flagship.
The Find X doesn't have NFC, a headphone jack, waterproofing, microSD card support, or a fingerprint scanner. It could be forgiven for lacking any one of these features, but the sum of these absences doesn't bode well against its premium competition.
The internals of the Find X make for a really capable phone – Snapdragon 845, 8GB of RAM and an Adreno 630 GPU is a deadly combo – but it’s a shame Oppo’s ColorOS is still a little intrusive.
If it were to have abandoned its gimmick and resulting hardware omissions, however, the handset’s immense performance capabilities and sleek design would have cemented it as a premium alternative to Samsung and Apple flagships.
Who's this for?
If you’re not necessarily chasing a flagship with a fingerprint scanner, headphone jack, microSD card slot, NFC, or waterproofing, then the Find X is going to be a much more appealing prospect for you.
If you already treat your phone like a newborn child, many of the longevity and fragility concerns will likely be outweighed by the handset’s gorgeous aesthetic, and for those that need a powerful phone, there are few more capable on the market at present.
Should you buy it?
Considering this is the first (of many, we predict) handset to hit the Western market with the bezel-free display and pop-up camera combo, there’ll likely be a few kinks ironed out in future products with the same format.
But if you’re keen on jumping on the trend early, then the Find X certainly has plenty of selling points. If the design appeals to you and the missing hardware features aren’t going to bother you, this is a powerful and pretty device that’s likely ahead of the design-curve.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
If it’s the best-of-the-best you’re looking for, then the Galaxy Note 9 is the pinnacle of Android handsets right now. Instead of worrying about notches or novelties, the Galaxy Note 9 packs in top-end specs and a gorgeous display into Samsung’s trademark sleek chassis.
In Australia, there’s a considerable price jump to even the lowest storage capacity model (Find X: $1,099, Note 9: $1,499), but the difference likely won’t hit the wallet quite as hard in other regions.
Oppo’s ColorOS clearly takes some interface and design queues from Apple’s own iOS, so if you’re chasing that Apple aesthetic with an expansive display, the iPhone X is the obvious choice.
Obviously, you’ll have to deal with the iconic notch – love it or hate it – and there’ll be a similar jump in price as you’d find from the Find X to the Note 9, but this is your best choice if you’re dead-set on an authentic Apple experience.
For a similar price, the Huawei P20 Pro offers much the same performance and prettiness as the Find X while dropping its gimmick. A powerful performer with a triple-lens rear camera and top-notch specs, this is probably the best non-Samsung Android going at the moment.
Unlike its competitors, Huawei flagships drop in price a tad quicker, so if you’re able to snatch this up for slightly less, it’s one of the most compelling handset offerings on the market at the moment – especially if you’re after an iPhone X aesthetic with Android functionality.